- As weird as it may sound, the immediate aftermath of Kima getting shot. It's also pretty sad, but you have all the bureaucrats and selfish policemen you've come to dislike through the season, along with the few good ones, supporting each other and actually caring about their police work for once. Also doubles as a Moment of Awesome for most of the characters involved. It's telling that even Burrell and Rawls get their Pet the Dog moments.
- Rawls taking McNulty aside and telling him that getting Kima shot was not his fault, assuring him that, even though he is a "gaping asshole" that nothing that happened was his fault, and if it were, he'd be the one leading the charge for his arrest.
- McNulty's tearful apology to Kima.
- D'Angelo's final conversation with his mother in Jessup, telling her he intends to carry the weight of the Barkdales, only asking that she as well as Stringer and Avon leave him to serve his sentence in peace.
- Walon's speech to the addicts at Narcotics Anonymous in Season 1. He's a world-weary addict who's been through hell and back, and he refuses to sugarcoat the truth of how badly addiction can screw up one's life. But in spite of it all, he makes it clear that he's there to remind every fellow addict in Baltimore that they're not alone.
Walon: When I was out on them corners, not a pot to piss in, with everybody who ever knew me or loved me cussing my name, you know what I told myself? I said, "Walon, you're doing good." I surely did. I thought I was God's own drug addict. I figured that if God hadn't meant for me to get high, he wouldn't have made being high so much like perfect. Now I know I've got one more high left in me, but I doubt very seriously that I have one more recovery. So if there's anybody out there that sees that bottom coming up at them, I'm here to talk sense. I don't care who you are, what you done, or who you done it to. If you're here...so am I.
- Lester, Bunk and Daniels fighting to get McNulty out of the boat, and their passion about doing quality police work.
- The stevedores showing several times that the Brotherhood part of "International Brotherhood of Stevedores" isn't just for show, specially after New Charles' accident.
- Jimmy showing his decency by attempting to identify one of the anonymous women, and Beadie's shared empathy.
- McNulty deciding to not sleep with Beadie after seeing a picture of her kids, knowing he'd only screw up the good life she has. He only approaches her about getting together when he's in a far better place himself.
- Nicky reminiscing about the good old days, long time gone.
- "Re-elect Frank Sobotka." Ott, who Frank angered by seeking a second term as Treasurer (in order to protect his arrangement with the Greek) when it was supposed to be Ott's turn next, withdraws his candidacy in a show of solidarity. Note that by this point, Frank is dead and the Feds have warned the union that they'll be shut down if they don't make some changes in leadership, but the stevedores stand by a man who stood by them.
- Slim Charles' willingness to take blame for Cutty. Despite the fact that Cutty had a chance to kill Fruit but decides not to Slim instantly says its his fault for attacking too early (which is wrong) despite no evidence to say so. Especially heartwarming as most dealers in the show happy to blame each other
- Cutty leaving the game, all of it, combined with Avon's cool reaction about it. When Slim Charles laments Cutty's departure with a mildly disparaging remark, Avon is quick to defend his former soldier:
"He a man today, he a man."
- Season 2 makes it clear that Stan Valchek has no love for his son-in-law Prez. Despite the fact that he does it in his usual smarmy way, it's oddly touching to see Valchek at the Homicide department trying to take the heat off of Prez after the latter shoots and kills another police officer in a case of mistaken identity.
- Dennis "Cutty" Wise is just starting to get his boxing gym together, but all he has is beat-up old equipment that is falling apart. Knowing he'll never get a loan from a bank, he goes to the only person he knows that can fund the project: Avon Barksdale. Avon sits unimpressed and almost seemingly disinterested while Dennis does his sales pitch, and asks Dennis how much he wants. Obviously expecting rejection, Dennis asks for $10,000. Avon laughs at him for only asking for $10,000, and has Slim Charles go get Dennis $15,000 in cash, no strings attached.
Avon: You take care of those little niggas, you feel me?
- When Terry D'Agostino tries to pump McNulty for information about Hamsterdam, McNulty demonstrates that he's not just a breathing machine for his dick; he refuses to betray his old commander for sex and proudly leaves.
- Cedric and Rhonda becoming an official couple.
- Colvin lectures Carver on what it takes to be a proper cop. And it's one in hindsight as Carver takes Colvin's words to heart and applies them to his everyday policing.
Howard "Bunny" Colvin: You're a good man, Sergeant. You got good instincts, and as far as I can tell, you're a decent supervisor. But from where I sit you ain't shit when it come to policin'. Don't take it personal, ain't just you. It's all our young police. A whole generation of y'all. Now, you think about it: You been here over a year now, Carver. You got nobody looking out for you, nobody willing to talk to you. That about sum it up? And that's a problem. And I didn't think there was anyway I was ever gonna get my head around it. But then Dozerman gets shot for some bullshit and that's when I 'bout reach my limit. And that's when the idea of the free zone of Hamsterdam come to me. Because this drug thing, this ain't police work. No, it ain't. I mean, I can send any fool with a badge and a gun up on those corners and jack a crew and grab vials. But policing? You call something a war, and pretty soon everybody gonna running around acting like warriors. They gonna be runnin' around on a damn crusade stormin' corners, slappin' on cuffs, rackin' up body counts. And when you at war, you need a fuckin' enemy. And pretty soon damn near everybody on every corner is your fuckin' enemy and soon the neighborhood that you're supposed to be policing that's just occupied territory. You follow this?Ellis Carver: I think so.Howard "Bunny" Colvin: Look, the point I'm makin', Carver, is this soldiering and policing, they ain't the same thing. And before we went and took the wrong turn and started with these war games the cop walked a beat, and he learned that post. And if there were things that happened up on that post whether there be a rape, a robbery, a shooting he had people out there helping him, feeding him information. But every time I come to you, my D.E.U. sergeant, for information to find out what's going on out there on them streets, all that came back was some bullshit. You had your stats, you had your arrests, you had your seizures. But don't none of that amount to shit when you talking about protecting a neighborhood now, do it? [sighs] You know, he worst thing about this, so-called drug war, to my mind...it just, it ruined this job.
- Bunny's talk about community policing above gets a Call-Back when Bunny gives Carcetti a tour of the Western to show him the good he's done with Hamsterdam. A woman at a neighborhood council meeting talks about how in the good old days the local police knew the people in the community and would talk with them on their stoops. Recently she's been seeing that again.
- Snoop giving a store clerk $800 for a nailgun worth less than $700, telling him to ring her up and keep the rest for himself, saying that he "earns that shit like motherfucker". Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- As a stone-cold killer, Wee-Bey Brice comes across as generally warm and funny. But there's nothing like the moment where Bey agrees to give up Namond to Colvin.
Wee-Bey: Man came down here to say my son can be anything he damn please.
- When Landsman, the most statistic and career conscious cop in Homicide, decides to let Bubbles go, saying "Fuck the clearance."
- If you put the events of Season 5 out of your mind, McNulty having a stable relationship with Beadie and seeming genuinely happy during Season 4 is pretty heartwarming to see.
- Walon's unexpected reappearance in the Season 4 finale, when he shows up to comfort Bubbles in the detox ward of the downtown hospital following Sherrod's accidental death, and Bubbles' subsequent suicide attempt. We never find out what he says to Bubbles—we just see him cradling him in his arms from a distance as he breaks down into uncontrollable sobs. As much of a Tearjerker as that episode is, it reminds us that Walon kept his promise: he showed up without any warning or explanation, just when a fellow addict needed him most.
- Slim sympathizing with Bodie and trying to ease his transition into Marlo's new era, for Bodie's own good.
- Bunny telling Namond just how much he's improved, and Namond showing an unwillingness to return to "gen-pop," right before they playfully roughhouse in the hallway together. The father-son aspects of their relationship simply shine in that moment.
- Bodie and McNulty earning one another's mutual respect in the Season 4 finale, right before Bodie is killed in a corner shootout.
- Cutty hanging Avon's old Golden Gloves picture in his gym, under the words Platinum Club. Hell, Cutty's entire story arc can be seen as this in contrast with just about every other character. He successfully leaves "the Game" on his own accord and ends up making a positive effect on the community of West Baltimore.
- Even after Colvin's humiliating dismissal, Carver still has enough respect to call him "boss."
- Kima reciting the West Baltimore version of "Goodnight Moon" to her son Elijah
Kima: Goodnight Po-PoElijah: Goodnight Po-PoKima: Goodnight FiendsElijah: Goodnight FiendsKima: Goodnight HustlersElijah: Goodnight HustlersKima: Goodnight to everybodyElijah: Goodnight to everybodyKima: Goodnight one and all
- Chris Partlow, while he may be a walking death machine, sure does care for his family. Even to the point where he doesn't want to be in contact with them during Omar's rampage against the Stanfield gang for their own safety. He also constantly expresses annoyance towards Marlo about the situation and not being able to see them. The one scene we see of Chris with them, even cold-hearted Marlo cracks possibly his ONLY genuine smile in the entire series while he watches them interact with each other.
- In a dark way there is one between Chris and Marlo in season 5 as Marlo keeps on trying to convince Chris to go on a celebratory holiday to Atlantic City with him. Also, in the aforementioned scene of them briefly visiting Chris's family, Marlo shows that he truly does care about his friend and lieutenant. This is also apparent in Levy's and Marlo's discussion of his gang's legal situation in the series finale.
Levy: Will Chris be okay with that? (taking the murder rap for over 20 homicides)Marlo: Yea, as long as I take care of his people.
- Bubbles finally coming to terms with the death of Sharrod in a heartfelt speech to his support group.
Bubbles: Ain't no shame in holdin' on to grief, as long as you make room for other things too.
- Corruption, violent crime and a cast full of adulterous Jerkasses can't make Bubbles walking up those stairs any less heartwarming.
- Wee-Bay and Chris Partlow bonding in jail during the ending montage of season 5. Takes one to know one, but damn if these two aren't some of the most likable killers ever.
- Proposition Joe expressing his condolences for Butchie because he feels like it. It doesn't matter to him if Omar is out for Joe's blood or not.
Joe: Have it say: "Butchie. Woe to them that call evil good and good evil." Sign it, "your true and loyal friend, Proposition Joe."
- Although brought about by a disturbing situation, it's clear that Butchie and Omar's relationship is truly genuine in a father-son way. Butchie, with a bullet in his knee AND groin, refuses to give up Omar. Omar, retired from "the Game" and living a utopian life in Puerto Rico, immediately shows anguish and returns for one last rampage against Marlo upon hearing the news of Butchie's murder.
- Watching Beadie rest her head on McNulty's shoulder after everything that happened.
- The implicit comradeship and mutual respect that Prop. Joe and Slim Charles develop. Slim doesn't hesitate to avenge Joe in the finale
Slim: That was for Joe.
- Perhaps the most heartwarming moments of The Wire involve Bubbles finally managing to achieve sobriety in the final season after years, perhaps decades, of being a homeless drug addict. At his first year anniversary he talks in heartbreaking detail about how he almost couldn't complete that first year due to his continued desire to get high.
- This culminates in the series finale's final montage, where the final image of Bubbles is of him finally being allowed upstairs to have dinner with his sister and her family, forgiven for his past transgressions against them while an addict.
General / Unsorted
- The cop funerals. When a supporting cast member of the police cast dies, their character also dies and gets a proper send off from Baltimore's Finest.
Jay Landsman: He was called. He served. He is counted.
- Hell, the last one was pretty heartwarming too. Seeing Landsman of all people giving McNulty a heartfelt (and even tearful) send off was sweet to see.