There are a lot of similarities between the ends of season one and season two of The Wire. Both had a key witness that was compromised. In season one, D’Angelo was ready to absolve himself and come clean. Similarly, Frank Sobotka was ready to turn in the Greeks. Further, both men were inspired to confess because of a recent tragedy. For D’Angelo, that tragedy is the death of Wallace, while for Frank the tragedy is the downfall of Ziggy. Yet both witnesses are silenced by their higher powers. D’Angelo’s mother convinces him to remain loyal and the Greeks murder Frank.
The difference in the two conclusions comes Nick’s confession. The first season case is basically halted by D’Angelo’s silence, and his murder later means that Avon will not be brought to justice. Yet in season two, Nick steps up to confess after Frank dies. Unlike the Barksdale organization, the Greeks do not have familial loyalty to silence their co-conspirators. This allows Nick to turn in the organization and helps the police investigation make a legitimate case. However, the Greeks do successfully flee which ruins the case. In both situations, the case reaches some resolution, but that resolution is unsatisfying legally.
Further, the seasons are different because the Barksdale organization continues, while the port continues to slowly die. This end ties into Simon’s message of the death of industrial cities in Baltimore. As Frank says, “We used to make shit in this country, build shit” (The Wire, Episode 11). While the union used to be profitable, it must turn to the drug trade to stay afloat. This symbolizes a trend away from industry towards a different kind of economy. Season one, however, sent the message that the drug trade continues under Stringer’s strategy and his capitalistic instincts. The similarities and small differences between the conclusions of the two seasons indicate the differing economic trends each represents.