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.
8. Dexter: Dex Is Executed For His Crimes
Dexter was running on fumes during the final few seasons, yet fans lived in hope that Showtime's serial killer drama would go out on a high.
Everyone wondered whether the series would force Dex to answer for his crimes or somehow absolve him of them, but in the end it did neither. The showrunners sat on the fence, killed off poor innocent Deb and sent her to a watery grave, and condemned the protagonist to an eternity of lumberjacking.
Not only was this dumb, it didn't feel like an ending at all. All Dex achieved with his self-imposed isolation is putting his inner demon on hold.
The show made it clear he cannot help himself when it comes to taking lives, and without the resources of Miami PD's forensics lab on his side, he would no longer be able to vet potential victims and go about his dark defending with safeguards in place.
No doubt he would continue to kill, but it's unlikely to go as smoothly as before, and how this plays out is something the fans needed to see. His ultimate endgate is what the audience wanted, but instead they got lumberjacking and a dodgy beard.
It went down as one of the most hated endings in recent memory, but Dexter's exec producer Clyde Phillips had a different, more satisfactory conclusion in mind.
“In the very last scene of the series, Dexter wakes up and everybody is going to think, ‘Oh, it was a dream’, and then the camera pulls back and back and back and then we realise, ‘No, it’s not a dream’. Dexter’s opening his eyes and he’s on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary."
That sounds a lot more like it, but that isn't even the best part. While the Dexecution is being carried out, he spots every one of his victims in the gallery.
Rita, his brother Rudy, Doakes, LaGuerta, the Trinity Killer, and Lyla are all watching on from the stalls. What a great call-back to the history of the show this would have been, and a wonderful opportunity for multiple cameos.