Man kan ju låtsas, som i den här anakronistiska jämförelsen. En litteraturkritiker från 1800-talet jämför The Wire med andra gotiska romaner:
In fact, Dickens, in later novels—which incriminate fundamental social institutions such as government (Little Dorrit), the justice system (Bleak House), and social class (A Tale of Two Cities, among others)—seems to have been influenced by The Wire. This is evidenced by the increased complexity of Dickens’ novels, which, instead of following the rollicking adventures of one roguish but endearing protagonist, rather seek to build a complete picture of society. Instead of driving a linear plot forward, Dickens, in A Tale of Two Cities and Bleak House, seeks to unfold the narrative outward, gradually uncovering different aspects of a socially complex world.
While Dickens is lauded for these attempts, The Wire does the same thing, with less appeal to the masses and more skill. For one thing, The Wire’s treatment of the class system is far more nuanced than that of Dickens. Who could forget “Bubbles”—the lovable drifter, Stringer Bell—the bourgeoisie merchant with pretentions to aristocracy, or Bodie—who, despite lack of education or Victorian “good breeding”, is seen reading and enjoying the likes of Jane Austen? Yet these portrayals of the “criminal element” always maintain a certain realism. We never descend into the divisions of “loveable rogues” and truly evil villains of which Dickens makes such effective use. Odgen’s Bodie, an adult who uses children to perpetrate criminal activity, is not a caricature of an ethnic minority in the mode of Dickens’ Fagin the Jew.