A mind map that plots the narrative arcs of two characters, Dennis Wise and Avon Barksdale on a scale of lawlessness to lawfulness displaying the extremes of leaning too far one way, and too far the other, with The Game, an unspoken law that defines criminality and the flawed policing of it throughout The Wire, resting down the middle.
Dennis Wise and Avon Barksdale are foils for each other, with the start of the season putting both characters in the same starting point: Maryland State Penitentiary. Dennis Wise, however, is characterized to have a natural inclination towards lawfulness, and Avon Barksdale is pulled towards lawlessness. Both of which are deeply tangled in The Game, wavering back and forth on issues and events throughout the season.
Placing their actions on this specific scale shows that the current level of lawfulness has been twisted and warped into The Game, exploited by both sides. It shows lawlessness as chaotic, and a slippery slope, but that full lawfulness becomes a bureaucracy so tightly wound that nothing is effective. Looking at the events in this manner provides the opportunity to draw a line of best fit where the most positive and progressive actions are taken.