Call it better than The Shield, call it a TV phenomenon, call it the next great American novel. Whichever way you swing at it, The Wire’s epic police drama continues to evolve with a scope, richness, complexity and ambition unrivalled by anything on the small screen. Four brutal, bittersweet seasons in, creator David Simon shuffles his phonebook cast-list to bring back old characters with fresh slants. Amoral cop McNulty (Dominic West) drops to the sidelines, letting former Major Crimes man turned schoolteacher Roland Pryzbylewski ( Jim True-Frost) go front and centre as Simon pulls Baltimore’s stumbling school system into his sweeping, multilayered city portrait of drugs, politics, cops, race and poverty. Extras don’t overspill, but what’s here is all meat. Six episodes boast talky chat-tracks by Simon and cast ’n’crew, plus a one-hour double-doc gives insight into the weight of research trucked into every episode.