One, just one simple thing that made The Wire great is that although there was a huge cast, their website literally had a page listing those characters and their role & some backstory. So if you did get confused as to who is who, you had a resource to go look them up. Additionally, the series was so interesting, you WANTED to go look them up.
Barksdale missing so much in the series drove us, the audience nuts. Not only could they not catch him in early episodes, but we didn’t see him as much as we expected, based on how other shows exhibit their heavy hitters and key players.
Also, the creator/writer David Simon and others respected the institution black people in the streets constructed. The organization generated a need for the police department to up their game. Most black shows just show blacks committing crimes, as if there is no method to what they do, nor a reason why. In fact, most shows lend to the false notion that people of color are mischief, lazy and commit crimes because it is easier. The Wire told the characters backstory and ironically, the police officers interest in those backstories as well as how much the police actually engage with criminals.
There is so much more I can say about The Wire. What can say at the present is, it definitely has an effect on how I wrote the H. I. T. S. series on human trafficking. It inspires me to construct a series of realism, with real people doing real things, even if the things they do are wrong; or in the case of my series on human trafficking, the characters do the right thing, for the wrong reasons.
Check out this video on The Wire. I came across it on the YouTube opening page