I’m kind of late to the party on this, but as my anticipation builds for the fifth and final season of The Wire, I’m scrambling to find anything to meet my Omar-Bunk-McNulty-Marlo jones.

Cool, then, that the show has put together a set of three flashback clips that give a little bit of insight into how three key players in The Wire came to be who they are. They’re at turns hilarious and harsh and a little sad, but they’re all completely in keeping with the present-day characters.

What they’re not, unfortunately, is embeddable on this page. They all live on the Amazon.com page for the show’s season four DVD set. But at least I can link to each one. The first shows Prop Joe in 1962, already learning to work both sides of a problem to his advantage. The second one is set in 2000 and shows McNulty’s first night in homicide, where he learns that the midnight shift is a fine place to indulge his fondness for the bottle and finds a partner/drinking buddy in Bunk.

Finally, the third video shows us a young Omar, who even in 1985 had his own particular code.

A number of other promos are floating around on YouTube. My favorite is this behind-the-scenes clip, but a search for "The Wire season 5" brings up a bunch of well-done promos as well.

Twenty-three days and counting till the last season premieres. Or 17 if you have HBO On Demand. In what looks to be a bleak, strike-addled TV landscape come January, The Wire will be an even more welcome bastion of quality.

Looking forward to the new season?