When Detective Jimmy McNulty was forced to turn in his badge, there was an inevitability about the whole thing. The flawed Baltimore lawman, like his fellow The Wire protagonists, was ultimately the victim of a system he cannot change.
Bringing the curtain down in May 2008, the critically-lauded HBO show ushered several character arcs to a satisfactory conclusion and reminded viewers that the next generation are doomed to fall into the same traps as its cast.
It was as solemn as it was in keeping with the series' tone and ethos, but not every show manages to wrap things up quite so seamlessly as The Wire.
One of the sad truths of scripted television is that so many shows fluff their lines at the last minute, and messing up the ending is often enough to nullify multiple seasons' worth of solid gold and inspire a fanbase revolt.
Showrunners don't always get it right when it comes to crafting the perfect finale, but there are rare occasions when they do, yet for some unknown reason, it never makes it beyond the scripting phase or ends up among the DVD extras.
The alternate endings that might have been are fun to read about or watch online (if they made it before the cameras), but sometimes they're even better than the conclusion that aired.