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The Wire Episode Guide

Show: The Wire
When: Sundays 9pm
Status: Cancelled / Ended
Network: HBO
First Aired: June 2002
Last Aired: Match 2008
Country: United States

Regular Cast
Dominic West as Det. Jimmy McNulty
Sonja Sohn as Det. Shakima Greggs
Lance Reddick as Lt. Cedric Daniels
Wendell Pierce as Det. William “Bunk” Moreland
Seth Gilliam as Det. Ellis Carver
Domenick Lombardozzi as Det. Thomas “Herc” Hauk
Frankie R. Faison as Deputy Commissioner Ervin Burrell
Jim True-Frost as Det. Pryzblewski
Larry Gilliard Jr. as D’Angelo Barksdale
Wood Harris as Avon Barksdale
Idris Elba as Stringer Bell
Andre Royo as Bubbles
J.D. Williams as Bodie
Peter Gerety as Phelan

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Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason Five

Season One 2002

  1. June 2, 2002: The Target:
    Baltimore Homicide Detective Jimmy McNulty drops in on the murder trial of a young drug dealer named D’Angelo Barksdale. From his vantage point in the back of the courtroom, McNulty observes who is there and is himself observed, by associates of Barksdale and by the presiding Judge Phelan.A witness to the murder, William Gant, is called to testify and positively identifies Barksdale as the shooter at the crime scene. Next on the stand: a security guard who witnessed the killing and who, despite having previously identified the killer, is suddenly unable – or unwilling – to finger Barksdale. In short order, D’Angelo is acquitted of the murder.Across town, Narcotics Detective Shakima “Kima” Greggs waits patiently in an unmarked car on a drug stakeout, accompanied by a woman who has set up her drug-dealing ex-boyfriend for a bust. After the deal goes down, Narcotics Detectives Thomas “Herc” Hauk and Ellis Carver order the driver of the car and his female passenger to lie on the pavement. When Greggs arrives on the scene, she shows her senior colleagues who is the smarter cop when she searches the car more thoroughly than Herc or Carver and finds two additional guns hidden in the back seat.Back at the courthouse, McNulty is called into Judge Phelan’s office, curious to know why he’s attending a trial that does not involve him. McNulty explains that D’Angelo’s uncle Avon Barksdale and his partner Stringer Bell, are reigning terror in the high-rises and are apparently behind as many as a dozen murders a year, raps they always manage to beat. “Who’s working them?” Judge Phelan wants to know. “Nobody,” McNulty answers. The reason, he explains: the force is too busy doing community policing.When McNulty returns to his office, Sergeant Jay Landsman tells him that his boss, Major William Rawls, wants to speak with him immediately. The Major is furious that McNulty spoke with the Judge. He is also furious because he’s been called on the carpet by the Deputy Commissioner about Avon Barksdale, a man Rawls knows nothing about. McNulty is ordered to have a full report on Barksdale by eight the next morning.D’Angelo Barksdale, now off the hook, is driven back to Orlando’s Gentlemen’s Club by his uncle’s business partner Stringer Bell. When D’Angelo expresses relief at the verdict and amazement over the way the security guard suddenly went dumb, Bell pulls the car over and reminds D’Angelo of the rule. “Don’t talk in the car or on the phone or anyplace that ain’t ours.” When they arrive at the club, D’Angelo is greeted by his uncle Avon, who is unhappy over the murder D’Angelo committed and reminds him that turning the security guard required time and money. Chastened, D’Angelo prepares to leave when Avon hugs him and kisses his head. “You family,” he says.Nevertheless, when D’Angelo shows up to oversee the drug trade at the Towers the next morning, Stringer is there to tell D’Angelo he’s being reassigned to the less prestigious low-rise projects. At the low rise, affectionately called the Pit, the junkie Bubbles and his friend Johnny buy heroin with crudely made counterfeit money. When they try the same trick the next day, Johnny is caught and beaten severely.After McNulty files his report, he is warned by Sgt. Jay Landsman that another such stunt will likely leave him walking a beat in the Western District. When McNulty seems unconcerned, Landsman asks about his worst-case scenario. “The boat,” McNulty says, laughing. The marine unit.Narcotics Lieutenant Cedric Daniels is ordered to organize a detail to pursue Barksdale, but in a half-hearted manner. Daniels brings in the narcotics detectives under him, with McNulty sent by Rawls from homicide. When McNulty arrives at the detail, late, his new colleagues are already pissed-off at him for starting all this trouble.When Daniels tells McNulty of the buy-and-bust scheme, McNulty rebels, saying the way to catch Barksdale is with surveillance and wiretaps. “He’s been running the Towers for years and we don’t even have a picture of him,” McNulty says. Lt. Daniels disagrees: “No mikes. No wires. We do this fast and simple.” In the meantime, Daniels says, we’re going to go back through unsolved murders to see if we can’t find one to hang on Barksdale.McNulty visits his old pal FBI Special Agent Fitzhugh, who expresses gratitude to McNulty for the C.I. (confidential informant) he sent to the FBI. He astounds McNulty when he shows him a TV screen with a live shot of a major drug operation at work across town, the technology far superior to what the city detectives are given. When he tells McNulty that this is the last drug case the FBI has pending in Baltimore, since most agents have been reassigned to the war on terror, McNulty responds: “What? We don’t have enough love in our hearts for two wars?”McNulty goes drinking with his partner William “Bunk” Moreland and complains about his ex-wife, who prevents him from seeing his two kids enough. D’Angelo goes to Orlando’s for a drink and passes on a pretty stripper who approaches him. And Greggs arrives home, where she is kissed by her girlfriend.The next day, Greggs, at a hospital, runs into Bubbles, her sometimes informant, who is distraught over the badly injured Johnny. Bubbles asks if Greggs is still working drugs and tells her he has something for her. Greggs realizes that Bubbles information is tied to Barksdale, the target of her new detail.In the projects meanwhile, another dead body turns up in the middle of the street with two gunshots in the head. The victim: William Gant, the man who identified D’Angelo Barksdale as the shooter in his murder trial. Passing by, D’Angelo sees the body, recognizes who it is. The younger Barksdale, realizing that Gant has paid with his life for having testified, wanders off into the streets with his conscience tearing at him.
  2. June 9, 2002: The Detail:
    Detectives McNulty and Bunk visit the city morgue to view the body of William Gant, the state’s witness in D’Angelo Barksdale’s ill-fated murder trial. McNulty is convinced that Gant was murdered by the Barksdale organization, to send a message.Lieutenant Daniels, who’s been given a mixed bag of cops to create a case against Avon Barksdale, leads several members of his team to their new “office,” a dungeon-like space in the basement of Mitchell Courthouse.McNulty risks another visit to Judge Phelan to inform him that Gant — a witness in his courtroom — has been murdered. McNulty asks Phelan to pressure the police department’s Deputy of Operations to open an investigation, but Phelan refuses, telling McNulty to go the press. McNulty says that will compromise the investigation, and asks Phelan this time to please keep his name out of any information he passes on.Lt. Daniels tells Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman that the powers-that-be are sending him a message by the police they chose for his detail. “I can’t build anything with the garbage they sent me,” Daniels says. “If they gave me good policemen, I might do good police work.” Daniels conclusion: He’s being told not to dig deep into this case; just slap an indictment on Barksdale and get out.Greggs, Herc and Carver do surveillance from the Towers’ roof with the help of Bubbles, the scruffy, heroin-addicted C.I. He has volunteered to inform on the Towers drug dealers to even the score after they beat up his friend Johnny. Bubbles shows up with a bag of hats to sell to the Towers drug dealers, and each time he puts a red hat on a man, Greggs shoots pictures from the roof. The red hat identifies the dealers in photos.Meanwhile, McNulty and Bunk show up at the low rise projects to intimidate D’Angelo. They take him downtown to interview him but first Daniels insists that Greggs participate. McNulty resists, but slowly realizes she is a smart cop. They play to D’Angelo’s vulnerabilities, convincing him that the dead witness Gant was a church-going family man whose wife is dead and whose three children — showings him a picture of Bunk’s three kids to corroborate this — now have no parents. D’Angelo is clearly moved, and agrees to write a letter to the three kids, telling them he is sorry their father was murdered. As he finishes the letter, his uncle’s attorney Maurice Levy shows up and berates him for writing or saying anything at all.After Judge Phelan calls Deputy Commissioner Burrell’s office about the murder of the witness, McNulty’s boss, Major Rawls, is even more furious, and threatens to pull McNulty off the case. Burrell points out if they do that, the Judge will go make a stink in the press and the city will be up in arms. So, says Burrell, “We’re going to sit tight and hope that McNulty comes up short.”His crew complete, Daniels calls them all together in the task force’s basement Detail Room to make introductions and announce partners. Detectives Greggs and Sydnor, Herc and Carver, Mahon and Polk (two drunks waiting on retirement), McNulty and Santangelo, and the screw up Roland “Prez” Pryzbylweski (Prez is the son-in-law of Major Valchek, commanding officer of the Southeastern District with an ear in the Mayor’s office) with Detective Lester Freamon (a quiet cop who spends his day building dollhouse furniture).Later, McNulty and Greggs try to convince Daniels that the apology letter D’Angelo has written is a valuable document. “Why apologize if you have nothing to apologize for?” Greggs asks. But Daniels doesn’t buy it. Meanwhile, at a church gathering, where Avon and Stringer Bell are helping serve food, D’Angelo arrives with his eleven month old son and the boy’s mother, Donette. Stringer admires Donette while uncle and nephew talk. D’Angelo tells Avon what happened when he was taken downtown, and is chided when he reveals he wrote a letter to Gant’s children. D’Angelo is clearly fearful of being chastised by Avon.Greggs and Bubbles scrutinize the surveillance photos, putting names to each member of the Towers’ drug team. Meanwhile, Herc, Carver and Prez, stoked on beer, put in a 2 a.m. appearance at the Towers and bust heads. Things go terribly wrong when Prez punches one of the kids in the eye, and as the situation escalates, bottles, air conditioners and other debris reign down on the trio. They claim the kids in the project jumped them. Daniels is angry, but protects his officers anyway.”You should have hung them,” Daniels’ wife Marla says of Prez, Carver and Herc, whose victim has lost an eye. “The department put you on a case it doesn’t want,” she says. “If you push too hard and any shit hits the fan, you’ll be blamed for it. If you don’t push hard enough, and there are no arrests, you’ll be paying for that, too. The game is rigged, but you cannot lose if you do not play,” she tells him.
  3. June 16, 2002: The Buys:
    In the fallout from the ruckus at the Towers — including a looming Grand Jury investigation — Lieutenant Daniels reluctantly covers for his detectives, saying he sent them to the projects in the middle of the night. “If I tell you I knew they were going, I screwed up,” he says to Deputy Commissioner Burrell. “If I tell you I didn’t, I get my officers in trouble…I screwed up.” However, Daniels does insist that Prez be placed on desk duty. Major Valchek, Prez’s father-in-law, says he owes Daniels for helping Prez, and promises Daniels two new cars and a surveillance van as well as some recording equipment to further the investigation.The recorders, however, turn out to be a joke, bulky and out of date. So McNulty calls upon his FBI pal Fitzhugh to ask for better ones.At a press conference, Burrell, Rawls and Bunk deny that the killing of the witness Gant had anything to do with D’Angelo’s murder trial.Still unable to identify Avon Barksdale, McNulty asks Polk to try and get a picture from the housing project’s security office. When Polk returns with a photo of a white man, Freamon recalls that Barksdale used to be a Golden Gloves fighter and wrangles a photo of the drug kingpin on an old boxing poster. McNulty’s respect for Freamon grows.McNulty, complaining about his wife’s continuing failure to honor his visitation rights, learns that Greggs is a lesbian, and tells her that the only good female cop he’s known was also a lesbian. Greggs responds: “All I know is I just love this job.”D’Angelo visits Orlando’s Gentlemen’s Club, owned by Stringer and Avon through front man Orlando. When D’Angelo delivers cash from his operation, Stringer is impressed with the haul, commends D’Angelo and gives him a bonus. D’Angelo complains that the quality of the drugs they are selling has gone down and the junkies are unhappy. Stringer’s response: “They’re fiends. What do we care.” D’Angelo is approached by Shardene, a stripper who becomes more interested when D’Angelo brags that Avon is his uncle and that he’s “his right hand man.”Detective Sydnor shows up in the Detail Room dressed as a junkie, preparing to go to the projects with Bubbles to buy drugs. Bubbles advises him to take off his wedding ring, yellow his teeth, get some track marks on his hands and lose 20 pounds. Nevertheless, he manages to make a buy from D’Angelo’s gang.Lt. Daniels arrives and says they’ve been ordered to hit the projects and make arrests in a few days. Greggs protests that they don’t even know which doors to hit, but Daniels says to hit the stash houses. “Man upstairs wants to see a circus. In a couple of days, we gotta show them three rings.” McNulty refuses to take part, saying he won’t help gut the case they are trying to build.Instead, he visits Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman at home in the evening, ostensibly to ask for instructions on cloning a beeper to monitor calls the Barksdale’s gang receives. After explaining how he can do that, they end up in bed together — not for the first time.Meanwhile, Omar, a legendary Baltimore stick-up artist, stakes out Avon’s drug operation with a plan to steal his stash. D’Angelo is off buying sandwiches when the stash is stolen and one of D’Angelo’s boys is shot in the process. During the heist, Omar’s boyfriend Brandon calls Omar by name. Bubbles, perched nearby, sees the robbery go down.The next day, the cops — without McNulty — swoop into the projects and round up the drug gang. But they break down the wrong door and are unable to find the stash. During the bust, D’Angelo’s boy Bodie hits Detective Mahon in the face and is beaten badly by the other cops, including Greggs.Later, drinking beer in his car, McNulty meets up with FBI pal Fitzhugh, who tells him that Lt. Daniels is “dirty.” “He has a couple hundred thousand more in assets than any police lieutenant should have,” says Fitzhugh, whose FBI unit had been asked to do a study on Daniels. It’s been more than a year, he says, and “we’re waiting for something to happen.”
  4. June 23, 2002: Old Cases:
    Detective Mahon dramatizes his injuries sustained during the unproductive low-rise bust and, resisting Daniels’ plea that he continue, says he wants out on a medical disability.Meanwhile Bodie, who’s incarcerated at the Juvenile Services Boys Village, escapes by simply walking out the unattended door to the facility. At about the same time, Carver and Herc, with dreams of glory, head for Boys Village hoping to sweat Bodie until he begins to squeal. “Then we break the case wide open,” Herc says.At police headquarters, Burrell is disappointed to learn that despite all the “hand-to-hand” drug buys the squad has made, none of the project denizens will flip and name names. “In that part of town,” McNulty says, “Barksdale carries more weight.” Sgt. Landsman brings in an old murder case of a young woman, Diedre Kresson, shot after being visited by someone named “D.” That, and a now disconnected phone number for a friend of the victim, are the only evidence that might lead to the Barksdales.Back home, Omar and his two boys count their money and enjoy the success of their robbery. Omar is mildly perturbed that Brandon called him by name during the robbery, but only because “I don’t want them coming down on y’all, baby boy,” he says, giving Brandon a kiss. Stringer and Avon are furious that they’ve been robbed and tell D’Angelo to put the word out that there’s a bounty on the heads of Omar and his gang.Upon Bodie’s swaggering return to the low rise, D’Angelo brags that he’s tougher. He once killed his uncle’s girlfriend after she threatened to drop the dime on him.Searching for Bodie, Herc and Carver bust in on an elderly woman who is Bodie’s grandmother. After searching the place, Herc apologizes to the woman for his profanity and she asks him to sit down, whereupon she describes Bodie’s tough upbringing, which included a mother who was a drug addict. Herc leaves his card with her.Sgt. Landsman meets with Major Rawls and asks him to consider cutting McNulty some slack. “He can’t help it,” Landsman explains. “He’s a good policeman. Last year he gave us eight collars.” Rawls responds that if McNulty can wrap up the Barksdale case in two weeks, he can come back with a clean slate.Lt. Daniels reports to Burrell that the case against Barksdale is progressing slowly, and that McNulty says what the case needs is a wire. Greggs meanwhile tells McNulty that her C.I. Bubbles has named Omar as the one who made off with Barksdale’s stash. “And if he knows where the Barksdale stash is, he probably knows a whole lot more.”McNulty makes the case to Daniels that they need to clone the Barksdale pagers — set up duplicate pagers that they can read — if they’re going to progress on the case. Detective Freamon impresses McNulty further when he shows him a pager number scrawled on a wall that he discovered during the low-rise bust, a number he says belongs to D’Angelo.Bunk and McNulty visit the vacant apartment of Diedre Kresson, the young woman killed in the old murder case they’ve been asked to work, to see if there’s a connection to Barksdale. The partners conduct the entire investigation, needing barely a word between them to communicate. They find two bullet casings overlooked in the initial investigation, and are pleased when they learn later that they match the casing in two other murders that may be connected to the Barksdales.McNulty and Freamon go drinking together. Freamon tells McNulty that he was busted down to the pawnshop unit 13 years ago after he refused to follow the Deputy’s orders, and he’s been moldering there ever since. Fremon’s advice to McNulty: “Do yourself a favor. Keep your mouth shut.”
  5. June 30, 2002: The Pager:
    Avon Barksdale is paranoid, and begins to worry that his phones are tapped. Stringer Bell visits D’Angelo and urges him to keep his boys alert in the wake of Omar stealing the stash at the Pit. Stringer also hatches a plan with D’Angelo to smoke out what Stringer and Avon believe is a snitch in D’Angelo’s crew. “Don’t pay your team,” Stringer says. “The ones who don’t ask for an advance when their money runs out obviously have another source of income, and those are your snitches.”Judge Phelan signs off on the clones for the beepers. Things remain tense at the Pit. When one of D’Angelo’s boys lolls lazily while supposedly on lookout, Bodie throws a beer bottle at him, cutting him. D’Angelo is inclined to object but at that moment gets a page — a page that arrives simultaneously at the Detail Room.Barksdale’s crew is using a code for the pagers that puzzles the cops. Greggs wonders “How complex a code can it be if these knuckleheads are using it?” It is Prez who breaks the code, making his first positive contribution to the squad’s work.Bubbles visits his friend Johnny in the Green Hill Hospice Center, where he’s recovering from his beating and his heroin addition. Johnny reveals to Bubbles that they say he has the Bug: AIDS. In one breath Johnny talks recovery lingo but in the next, he’s asking Bubbles which neighborhood has the best dope these days. Bubbles brags that he’s been working with the police as an informant.At Police Headquarters, Sgt. Landsman is exuberant over the forensics break in the three murder cases. Bunk tells McNulty he’s convinced that whoever killed Diedre Kresson also committed the other two killings, “and those two are straight-up drug executions.” Together, they visit the friend, Towanda, and learn that in fact, Avon Barksdale was the dead girl’s boyfriend. That was, until she threatened to inform on him when she found out she was being two-timed. Towanda also mentions that Avon and Stringer own not only Orlando’s but numerous other companies.At Orlando’s, D’Angelo learns from the bartender that Stinkum is no longer on salary but is working for a percentage since he’s opening a new territory for Stringer and Avon. D’Angelo is frustrated at being passed over for promotion, but does manage to put a move on Shardene, the stripper who had come on to him earlier.Outside the club, McNulty, Daniels and Greggs are on a stakeout to see what goes on there. What kind of gentleman’s club has a video camera on the outside, McNulty observes. And not only does Barksdale own the club, he owns a warehouse, an apartment building and a tow-truck company.Meanwhile, Avon takes D’Angelo to visit his uncle, who is comatose from a bullet wound to the temple. Even though they could afford a fancy nursing home, they have to keep the uncle here so they don’t show advertise the fact that they have plenty of money. D’Angelo is uneasy during the visit, but Avon reassures him that it’s important. “Cause it’s family, that’s what it’s all about, family” Avon is remorseful of the fate of his brother: “Be a little slow, a little late. Just once.”McNulty and Greggs meet with Omar and explain that they have a common problem: Barksdale. They want him to give up what he knows about Barksdale but Omar is reluctant. “Me snitching?” he says. “I don’t think the game should be played that way.” McNulty tells Omar that his respects that, but purposely lets it slip that Barksdale killed Bailey, one of Omar’s men. Omar then gives them a lead on Avon’s boy named Bird, who Omar says killed Gant.When two of D’Angelo’s boys, Wallace and Poot, go to a convenience store and spot Omar’s boy Brandon playing the pinball, they phone D’Angelo to tell him. Dee in turn calls Stringer Bell, who takes his crew to the spot. Stringer praises Wallace and asks him to point out Brandon to his thugs. D’Angelo later receives a call from Stringer Bell at the same payphone: “Done. Nice work, cuz.” The detail computer tracks the calls, but in a deserted office, without the manpower for nighttime surveillance
  6. July 7, 2002: The Wire:
    D’Angelo’s boy Wallace awakens to a grim scene outside the abandoned rowhouse that he shares with a group of parentless children. The brutalized corpse of Omar’s boy Brandon is splayed across the hood of a car. Wallace gets all the kids off to school, handing each of them a juice box on their way out the door. As the police arrive and cordon off the crime scene and Wallace realizes it is Brandon’s body, it dawns on him that it was his phone call that set in motion this killing.D’Angelo has hooked up with Shardene, the stripper from Orlando’s, who is in his kitchen preparing breakfast and sees pictures of his son on the fridge. She asks if D’Angelo is friendly with his son’s mother. Dee tries to play down their relationship but also manages to offend Shardene with his answer.The police squad now has taps on the courtyard phone at the projects, but Herc is unhappy to learn that they are allowed to listen only to those calls involving one of the Barksdale suspects. He is told he must continue doing surveillance at the Towers and must notify the cops in the Detail Room who exactly is using the phone, so they know which calls they’re allowed to listen to.Barksdale’s attorney Maurice Levy represents Bodie at his court appearance. He assures the Judge that Bodie will straighten up if he’s allowed to return home. The Judge buys it and puts Bodie on a home monitoring system.Omar contacts McNulty for one last look at Brandon in the morgue. He is distraught after McNulty shows him Brandon’s tortured body, and reverses his previous refusal to help the cops get Barksdale. When Greggs tells Omar she’s looking for an eyeball witness to pin the Gant murder on Bird, he offers his services.After Johnny’s release from rehab and a successful score, Johnny and Bubbles have a drug-fueled celebration. It is short-lived, however, when Johnny is busted. Bubbles mumbles about his luck, but goes to Greggs to help out Johnny once again.McNulty’s plan to score brownie points with Rawls backfires when Rawls reads the report on the link between the three murders and decides he wants warrants issued for D’Angelo Barksdale immediately. McNulty is furious when he learns of Rawl’s order, convinced that there isn’t sufficient evidence to convict D’Angelo and that the rest of the investigation will be blown if they’re forced to bring charges. Avon Barksdale will change his patterns immediately. “And what he don’t change up he’ll clean up,” adds Greggs.They decide to ask Daniels to appeal the order with Rawls. Daniels does, with great reluctance, and Rawls turns him down. Then Daniels goes over Rawl’s head, and in a tense meeting with Rawls and Burrell, Burrell overrules Rawl’s order and gives Daniels another month to wrap up the case.At the projects, Stringer and Avon put in a rare appearance, delivering the bounty money they promised for anyone who brought in Omar or his crew. Wallace gets $500, as does D’Angelo, and Wee-Bey and Bird get money, too, “for doing the muscling up,” Avon says. D’Angelo lies to Avon on the matter of who’s not asking for cash advances, suspicious that Wallace may be involved. Later, trying to school Wallace in their ways, he explains that if he ratted them out, they’d get a baseball bat in the head.Rawls is angry again that McNulty has succeeded in stalling his push for arrest warrants in the Barksdale case. He calls Detective Santangelo in and says he wants Santangelo to keep an eye on McNulty. Reluctantly, Santangelo finds himself at Rawls’ mercy and forced to snitch on his partner.
  7. July 14, 2002: One Arrest:
    Prez, it turns out, has another unexpected gift: the ability to decipher the slurred, streetwise slang of the drug dealers. In the Detail Room, he’s the undisputed champ of grasping the meaning of the wiretapped conversations, a talent he developed, he explains, from listening to the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar.” “I used to put my head to the stereo speaker and play that record over and over.”Rawls presses Santangelo to come up with something negative on McNulty but Santangelo resists, saying, “It’s not my job to fuck another cop.” Rawls says he better come through with something he can use against McNulty, and in the meantime assigns Santangelo to the unsolved Denise Redding murder case for him to close.The squad lays plans to bust the Barksdale crew as they re-up the stash which, they’ve learned from the wiretaps, Stinkum and a runner will be carrying the next morning. The plan is to get the stash without revealing their wiretap. The bust goes down precisely according to plan, with Stinkum getting away and the stash — four packages of street-ready heroin — captured. Stink goes to a pay phone to inform Stringer of what’s happened, a conversation that is taped at the Detail Room.In a meeting with Judge Phelan, McNulty lays out the progress of the Barksdale case in order to convince the Judge to extend the wiretap authorization for another 30 days. The Judge is surprised to learn that Daniels went up against Rawls to prevent the investigation from being blown. And he assures McNulty that he’s a friend, if he has trouble with his bosses, which McNulty assures him he does.At the behest of Bubbles, Greggs rescues Johnny from drug court so that he gets probation instead of jail time, as long as he attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings. At a NA meeting, Johnny is bored but Bubbles is affected by the speaker, a recovering addict named Walon, and indicates that he’d like to straighten out his life. Later, however, he gets high again.When D’Angelo visits Stringer and Avon at Orlando’s, Stringer tells him he thinks D’Angelo has a snitch on his crew. After D’Angelo leaves, the Barksdale gang continues to mull over the bust and Stringer concludes: “Something is up; something is definitely up.”Later Stringer comes to the projects and makes procedural changes, ordering the project’s pay phones destroyed and telling the crew if they need to make a phone call, they must walk a few blocks to a new one, and never use the same phone more than once a day.Omar directs Greggs and McNulty to another part of town to find Bird, because, he explains that Avon won’t have his men buying dope in the Towers. Sure enough, Bird turns up and is promptly apprehended. Forensics determine quickly that the gun Bird was carrying matches the bullets from the three murders. Unless he gives up Barksdale, Bird will likely face the death penalty. Bird however, remains hostile, prompting Daniels to enter the interrogation room and beat him severely.In the Pit, Orlando approaches D’Angelo about going into business together and selling drugs, offering an even split. D’Angelo seems interested. Wallace has been scarce since Brandon’s murder, coping with his guilt by snorting heroin in his apartment.Omar, who is at police headquarters, explains that he ratted Bird out because Bird killed a regular citizen. “I do some dirt, too, but I never put my gun on nobody who wasn’t in the game,” he explains. “A man must have a code,” Bunk replies, the irony lost on Omar. Bunk also asks Omar if there are any more murders he can help them with, and Omar coughs up details on another: the murder of Denise Redding. When Omar hears the beating Bird is getting, he observes: “Bird sure knows how to bring it out in people, don’t he?”Santangelo arrives at headquarters and he is given the solved Redding case, including two witnesses and the name of the shooter. Santangelo realizes that McNulty and Bunk saved his ass. Appreciative, Santangelo confides in McNulty that Rawls is out to bust him out of the department.McNulty, distraught at the news Santangelo has given him, visits Rhonda Pearlman at home. “It’s about Rawls. He’s after my badge,” McNulty explains. “They’re gonna do me, Ronnie.” She is sympathetic to his plight, knowing that the job means much more to McNulty then he would like to let on.
  8. July 21, 2002: Lessons:
    Sleuthing apparently runs in McNulty’s family. When the detective encounters Stringer Bell in a grocery store while shopping with his kids, he has his sons play a spy game in which one leads and one follows the target. The kids tail Bell to his car and write down his license number, but not before McNulty loses track of his boys in the market.With both phones at the low rise ripped out, detectives continue surveillance there to determine which phones the drug crew is using. When the taps reveal that some sort of pickup is being scheduled, the team makes plans to intercede. After observing a bag passed to a man in a fancy car, detectives stop the car a few blocks away and discover the driver, has received $20,000.They seize the money and apprehend the driver, Day-Day. Turns out that he drives for a Senator Davis. An angry Deputy Commissioner Burrell insists that the money be returned. Unnerved by the way the investigation is going, he demands that Daniels bring things to a close. “I’m shutting this down and you charge what you can and do it by the end of the week,” he tells Daniels. When McNulty learns what has happened, he accuses Daniels of complicity and asks what Burrell has on Daniels. And when Judge Phelan learns of Burrell’s plan to end the investigation, he phones the Deputy and orders him not to do so.Avon’s boys break into Omar’s apartment and ransack the place when he is not home. On their departure, they set fire to Omar’s van.At the Pit, Wallace is still in a funk following Brandon’s death, staying at home and using heroin. D’Angelo is invited by Avon’s boys, Wee-Bey, Stinkum and Savino, to come celebrate their plan to open a new drug territory and he leaves Bodie in charge while he leaves for an hour. Over lunch, D’Angelo mentions Orlando’s offer to move some coke through the projects and is advised to run it by uncle Avon before he agrees. Later, however, they tell Avon of Orlando’s approach. Orlando is seriously reprimanded by Avon before being physically thrown from his office and kicked in the ribs in front of a few strippers, including Shardene.That night, D’Angelo is invited to a wild party Avon’s boys are throwing. He sees Stinkum and Wee-Bey getting high, in violation of Avon’s rules, and later finds one of the strippers from the club unconscious — possibly dead — on a bed at the party.Wee-Bey and Stinkum’s plan to take over Scar’s drug territory veers badly off course when Omar suddenly appears and shoots both of them, killing Stinkum and injuring Wee-Bey. From his perch in the darkness, Omar shouts to Wee-Bey: “If you come at the king, you best not miss.” Greggs and McNulty are unhappy because Omar’s actions cast doubt on his credibility as a witness in the murder trial of Bird for the killing of Gant. In a meeting with Omar, they urge him to cool it until they wrap up their investigation. His response: “I’ll do what I can to help y’all, but the game is out there, and it’s either play or get played.” Later, he stands outside Orlando’s, watching from the darkness.Avon is enraged over Stinkum’s killing and in a crew meeting at Orlando’s, he exhorts his boys to find Omar and kill him. Stringer advises a more low-key approach, urging Avon to call a truce and hit Omar when he re-emerges. D’Angelo meanwhile is unnerved by all the action and confides to Shardene that he may want another job. She shares his feeling, saying, “I can’t stay pretty forever.”Greggs confides in Freamon that she is having second thoughts about her conversation with Omar, the one in which she said they needed a witness for the Bird murder trial and Omar volunteered. Freamon tells her that interviewing technique is more art than science, and that Greggs should go with her instincts. To emphasize his point, he shows Greggs photos of the strippers at Orlando’s and asks which one she would approach for information on Barksdale’s operation. She immediately chooses the same woman Freamon has, based on her lack of a police record and on her face. “She looks like a citizen, right?” Freamon says. That woman in the photo is Shardene.
  9. August 4, 2002: Game Day:
    Avon and Stringer watch basketball practice at a local junior college and pay $10,000 to one of its players so he’ll play for them in an upcoming game between the East and West projects. Afterwards the player leaves, they discuss Omar. Stringer again advises that they call a truce and wait for Omar to emerge. Avon is concerned about the message that would send about his standing in the community.Wallace tells D’Angelo that he wants out of the game. At 16, he feels there’s still hope for him, and he says he wants to go back to school and finish the 9th grade. D’Angelo gives him some cash, and Poot later observes Wallace buying drugs.The wiretaps reveal that Wee-Bey will be picking up cash from the Towers shortly, so Herc and Carver follow him and take the money, which amounts to $22,000. “We don’t have a charge,” they tell him. “We just got your money. You want it back, you can explain to the state’s attorney where you got it.”In the Detail Room, Freamon instructs Sydnor and Prez on the finer points of combing through corporate papers and public records to unearth Barksdale’s hidden ownership in front companies. “It’s a brave new world for you boys,” he tells them. Freamon also collects campaign finance reports from the Board of Elections, to determine if Barksdale is supporting any candidates.Bubbles, waiting to score at the low rise, is embarrassed when he encounters a speaker from the previous day’s Narcotics Anonymous meeting, but again says he would like to get straight. He visits his sister, who is under-whelmed to see him. After he reiterates that he wants to get off drugs, she reluctantly gives him a backdoor key so he can stay in the basement.As they unload the cash they seized from Wee-Bey, Herc and Carver discuss stealing some of it, but Carver points out the folly of doing so. “Say we turn in 20 and keep 10, and the bosses hear we took 30 outta that car on the wiretap. You didn’t think of that did you?” But later, to their surprise, they are accused by Daniels of stealing some of the cash anyway. They deny it, now each suspicious of the other. When they go back to their car and find the missing money in the wheel well, Carver is relieved, and apologizes to Herc for doubting his word.Omar swaggers into the low rise with a shotgun in plain view, demanding Avon’s stash. The project residents scatter and he stands below a window insisting that he’ll be back each day until he gets what he’s after. Suddenly, a stash bag drops from a window. “Fair enough,” he says, and leaves. Herc and Carver arrive shortly after and are puzzled by the empty project courtyard. “Maybe the whole thing’s over and nobody bothered to tell us,” says Herc. “Maybe we won.” Carver senses something is up and suggests they go for a drive. When they do, they discover the basketball game in progress, being played in front of a huge crowd from the projects.Greggs and Freamon pick up Shardene and take her to their office to talk. The show her the body of her fellow dancer and friend, who died at Wee-Bey’s and Stinkum’s recent party. She weeps when she sees her friend, whose body was rolled in a carpet and disposed of. Well spoken and forthright, she acknowledges that she dances at Orlando’s but says she doesn’t use drugs and isn’t a hooker. Greggs and Freamon leave her for a moment and discuss flipping her. “I think she’s a sweetheart,” says Freamon, “and we push her hard enough, she’ll tumble.”Shardene explains that she’s involved with D’Angelo but, now horrified, says she realizes that she has to quit her job. Freamon presses her to stay on a bit longer and help him gather information. She packs her things at D’Angelo’s apartment, and when he asks her why she’s leaving, he’s taken aback by her response: “Do I look like someone you can roll up in a rug and throw in the trash?”Bodie and Poot turn up at the basketball game and encounter Herc and Carver, who then realize that Avon must be there too. Since they don’t know what he looks like, they call the Detail Room to let the squad know, and Daniels and other crew members scramble so they can get a visual on Avon. Avon’s team loses and he drops $100,000 in a bet with Proposition Joe Stewart from the east side. When Avon leaves, he’s followed by several cars from the squad, leading them on a cat-and-mouse chase that ends when he drives by Daniels, wagging a mocking finger at him.Omar shows up in the office of Proposition Joe Stewart, Avon’s rival, and bargains with him. Omar gives him Barksdale’s stash and says in return he wants two things: the number for Avon’s pager and the code one of Avon’s boys uses when he beeps. The deal is done. Later, outside Orlando’s, Omar beeps Avon, and shoots at him when he steps outside to a pay phone to respond to the beep. Wee-Bey arrives at the same moment and shoots at Omar, hitting him in the shoulder. Avon is shaken but unharmed.
  10. August 11, 2002: The Cost:
    After his failed attempt to kill Avon, Omar lays low, afraid even to go to a hospital because Avon’s boys, he believes, will be waiting on him in the parking lot when he gets out. Avon at last seems willing to take Stringer’s advice, and Omar receives word that Barksdale wants a truce. Omar agrees to meet Stringer in person to discuss the terms. Stringer meanwhile tells Avon he should give up his phone, not touch any drugs, make no money runs and replace his pager with a New York pager number. “We gotta build a wall around you, B,” Stringer says to him.Omar tells Greggs and McNulty that Barksdale has sent out a peace message to him. “If I stop hitting them in the head for their product, they gonna call off the bounty,” he says. A wired up Omar then meets with Stringer Bell and asks for money as part of the truce. Omar tries to get Stringer to implicate Avon on the tap, but Stringer is too careful to make that kind of mistake. McNulty convinces Omar to play it safe by hiding out in New York City. McNulty sees him off at the bus station, giving him money and urging him to stay in touch. “We’ll need you for the Bird trial,” he says.Judge Phelan is losing friends and political support because of his assistance in the Barksdale investigation. Pearlman shows McNulty a campaign fundraising flyer from which Phelan has been excluded. When McNulty asks why, she answers: “Maybe it’s the company he keeps.” Nevertheless, the Judge is willing to sign another 30-day extension on the Barksdale phone taps.Bubbles makes a valiant effort to go straight. He meets with Walon, who urges him to “forgive your own self. Love yourself bro, and drag yourself to some meetings.” Greggs is irritated when Bubbles summons her but listens sympathetically when she learns he’s been clean for three days and seems serious about getting off dope. What he needs he says, is a couple hundred dollars to get a place, some clean sheets and new clothes. Greggs jokes with him, “What the fuck am I gonna do with a clean informant?” but is willing to help and asks him to wait until tomorrow for the cash.D’Angelo is less than thrilled when Donette, the mother of his son, makes plans to move back in with him. During a vist, she begins to list the things they’re going to need, including a bigger apartment, a new bedroom suite and a new sofa. D’Angelo leaves without warning during her recitation of what she wants.At the Detail Room, the squad has detected a beeper pattern they want to investigate further. When Barksdale’s drug stash runs low, a call is made over one of the tapped phones to an unknown pager, and a call comes back from a pay phone in Pimlico. Staking out the Pimlico phone, the squad follows the caller back to a most unusual house. In a conventional middleclass neighborhood, the house has security cameras covering every angle and heavy window guards all around.Daniels asks Prez if he’s ready for street duty again, and sends Sydnor and Prez on the back of a garbage truck to Pimlico. When the truck picks up garbage from the house they’re watching, the two detectives take it back to the Detail Room and sort through it, finding major drug related evidence, which they photograph.Orlando, still determined to get in the game despite Avon’s warning, is busted by a narcotics officer when he tries to buy four ounces of coke. In jail, his claim that he can buy weight from Barksdale gets the attention of Daniels’ squad as well as Deputy Commish Burrell, but McNulty is skeptical. “He caught a charge and now he’s talking out his ass,” he tells Daniels. Burrell has also heard of Orlando’s claims and pressures Daniels to set up a buy-and-bust using Orlando. Meanwhile, Attorney Maury Levy visits Orlando in jail, asking him to sign documents transferring his liquor license and the club to someone else. “A front has to be clean, and right now, you aren’t that,” Levy tells him. “You wanted to be in the game. Now you’re in the game.”Wallace, determined to get out of the game, is collared by McNulty and begins immediately to tell what he knows. He picks out pictures of Wee-Bey, Stinkum and Bird and says all three were at the convenience store the night Brandon was murdered. He also says he pointed out Brandon to Stringer himself. Daniels wants to keep Wallace safe until a Barksdale trial but a hotel is impractical, so he drives Wallace to his grandma in the country.D’Angelo waits in front of Orlando’s for Shardene to come to work, but she rebuffs his attempt to talk. At work, she is all ears, even listening through Avon’s office door after she delivers drinks to the boys there.McNulty’s wife is furious about the spy game he had the kids play with Stringer Bell, and is asking a judge to allow only supervised visits. McNulty asks Rhonda Pearlman to represent him in an emergency hearing in family court. The Judge is reluctant to comply with the visitation request and asks that the two parents try and resolve the matter while the Judge goes for lunch. McNulty’s wife is incensed that he’s asked Pearlman to represent him, since his affair with Pearlman was one of the reasons behind the breakup of the marriage. McNulty assures his wife that he not only loves the kids but he still loves her, too.Daniels tells his squad that the DEA has lent them $30,000 for a buy-and-bust operation in which Greggs will pose as Orlando’s girlfriend as they make a purchase from Avon’s boy Savino. Pearlman reminds Orlando that his plea bargain is contingent upon his cooperation. The car is wired but the cops don’t have visual contact and when Savino directs them to a dark neighborhood, Daniels’ squad does not know where they are. Savino takes Orlando’s money and says he’ll be back, but instead, shooters appear and fire into the car, killing Orlando and injuring Greggs badly. Daniels and his team hear the violence over the radio, but lose precious minutes locating them. McNulty performs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Greggs to keep her alive until an ambulance arrives.
  11. August 18, 2002: The Hunt:
    Greggs is in the hospital unconscious from gunshot wounds in her neck. At the crime scene, Bunk discovers that her gun, which she’d hidden under the seat of the car in which she was shot, had slid away and she was unable to retrieve it to defend herself when the shooting started. Rawls finds that the street signs nearby have been tampered with, which meant Greggs was unable to radio her proper location.Wee-Bey beeps Stringer from a pay phone near the shooting. The call is traced to the pay phone later, connecting Stringer to the crime, and while there are no fingerprints on the phone, a soda can nearby yields the prints of Little Man, one of Barksdale’s crew. Wee-Bey reports to Stringer that the heist went well, but Stringer informs him that the woman they shot was a cop.Major heat will come their way, so Wee-Bey must hide out in Philly for awhile. D’Angelo is ordered to drive Wee-Bey to Philly, but he is suspicious that this may be a ruse to off him instead. They stop by Wee-Bey’s apartment, all the time Dee fearing it is a trap, but Wee-Bey just gives him instructions to care for his tropical fish.Wallace phones Poot from his Grandma’s because he’s homesick for Baltimore. Bubbles, still straight and still waiting for cash from Greggs, beeps her and is picked up by cops moments later at a pay phone. He agrees to return to the projects and observe who is missing among Barksdale’s crew. McNulty gives him $20 to get high, but Bubbles holds on to the money and stays clean, reporting later that Little Man, Savino and Wee-Bey have disappeared from the Towers.Barksdale attorney Maury Levy assures Rhonda Pearlman and McNulty that if Savino calls, Levy will advise him the police are looking for him and he should turn himself in. McNulty has heard enough lawyer double-talk and insists the hard way that Levy have Savino in police custody before day’s end. He not only insults Levy in his tirade, but Pearlman too, who backs McNulty’s threats to Levy nonetheless. Levy coughs up Savino, and when Savino is informed that he will go to prison for three years, he responds cockily: “I can do the three. Ain’t no thing.”Burrell is on the warpath again, and tells Daniels the police commissioner wants citywide raids on every known suspect in the case. “We want dope on the table for the six o’clock news.” Daniels tells his squad the news, but says they will not raid the Pimlico drug house that is Barksdale’s main supplier, since to do so would compromise their case. Burrell however learns of this scheme and warns Daniels that he’d better include the Pimlico house. Daniels concludes that there’s a snitch in his squad who tipped Burrell off. McNulty asks Judge Phelan to overrule Burrell’s order to include the Pimlico house, but the Judge refuses.The citywide busts go down, and although the Pimlico connection is not home, the cops find a huge supply of drugs and a large pile of cash in his house. Herc and Carver each help themselves to a stack of bills before reporting their find. After the busts, Burrell holds a press conference, and indeed the drugs are on the table.The report on Greggs is that she has swelling on the vertebrae and indications of partial paralysis, which may go away when the swelling recedes.
  12. September 1, 2002: Cleaning Up:
    Greggs’ condition has stabilized but McNulty is distraught and determined to feel guilty about her being shot. Drinking heavily, he’s been unable to bring himself to visit her in the hospital or even call. “Avon Barksdale,” he tells Daniels, “was just a way for me to show everyone how smart I was and how fucked up the department is. It was never about Avon Barksdale; it was just about me.” Daniels calls him on his self-pity and says the case will move forward with or without McNulty.Stringer arrives at the Pit and collects beepers from everyone in the operation. He gives cell phones to D’Angelo and Bodie and orders everyone else “off the air.” And when they do use a cell phone, he instructs, use it just to set up a meeting and then talk face to face.Freamon has convinced Shardene to wear a wire to work, in the hopes that he’ll pick up incriminating conversations. When she does, it’s clear she’s risking a lot with little hope of overhearing anything important. She’s frightened, too, and begs Freamon to let her off the hook, but he needs one more thing. He wants to insert a fiber-optic camera and mike in the wall of Avon’s and Stringer’s office and needs inside information on its precise location. Shardene agrees to help once more.Avon’s attorney Levy helps Stringer and Avon focus on their vulnerabilities. Together they enumerate their weak points and come up with what is essentially a hit list, which includes the security guard who lied to save D’Angelo as well as Little Man, who killed Orlando, and Wallace, who can connect them to the death of Brandon.Burrell tells Daniels the investigation is finished now that the wiretaps are useless, and he holds out the possibility of a promotion for Daniels. Daniels nevertheless resists, pointing out that the court order is for 90 days of wiretaps, and that it hasn’t yet expired.Pearlman is taken aback when her boss inquires as to why Daniels’ team is pulling campaign-finance reports on local politicians, and volunteers that he’s checked his own contributors’ list and is returning money to people he doesn’t know. “I want you to take it back to whoever’s on the hunt and make it clear they have no quarrel with me,” he tells her.When Avon and Stringer express interest in Wallace’s whereabouts, D’Angelo reassures them that Wallace is out of the game and in fact has moved away. When they persist, he tells them, “Let the boy be.” Wallace, however, is bored in the country and returns to the projects to ask for his job back. Bodie and Poot are dispatched to kill him and they do.Burrell summons Daniels to his office to meet Sen. Clay Davis, whose driver had been picked up with $20,000 in cash from the projects. “That was a mis-understanding of no concern of the police,” Davis assures Daniels. Daniels leaves after persisting in his interest in the twenty grand, and Davis is furious: “You need to put his ass on a foot post so far out in the sticks he’s gonna see the Philadelphia cops working towards you,” he tells Burrell.With a wire installed in Avon’s office, the squad can see Stringer and Avon packing things up to move. They also see Avon asking D’Angelo to make a New York City run that evening to pick up drugs. Reluctantly, D’Angelo agrees, and before he leaves, the squad attaches a tailing device to his car. He’s stopped and arrested after he makes the pickup, and is defiant when Daniels and McNulty try to flip him by showing him pictures of Wallace and the security guard Avon had murdered. “That’s how you take care of your own?” McNulty asks him. But when Stringer and Levy come to visit him in jail, he is defiant with them, too. “Where’s Wallace, String?” he asks over and over. As they leave, D’Angelo yells that he’ll get his own lawyer.D’Angelo’s mother visits her brother, Avon, angry that he’s put her son at risk. When Avon says he’s sorry, she says, “Sorry ain’t gonna get him out of jail.” Avon reminds her that he’s provided her with a car and an apartment. “We all got a lot to protect here,” he says. “You need to remind him of that.”Daniels is again on the carpet in the office of Burrell, who once more demands that the investigation end and Barksdale be arrested. Daniels protests that with the slender evidence he has, he can only put Barksdale in jail for a short time, and reminds Burrell that “these are the people responsible for dropping a police.” Burrell threatens Daniels that if he doesn’t end the case, Burrell will release a compromising FBI report that could end Daniels’ career. “You’d rather live in shit than let the world see you work a shovel,” Daniels says. “You can order warrants and I’ll serve ’em, but as long as I have days left on those dead wires, this case goes on.”Outside Orlando’s, a S.W.A.T. team readies itself for action, but when Daniels and McNulty arrive, they simply knock on the club door and enter when it’s opened. There is no drama, Daniels cuffs Avon and, leaving Stringer to ponder the future, marches Avon out.In the Detail Room, Sydnor says to Freamon, “Best work I ever did. Just feel like this ain’t finished.” At the Pit, the courtyard is empty. For the first time in a long time, no drugs are for sale.
  13. September 8, 2002: Sentencing:
    Bunk goes to the hospital to visit Greggs, who is conscious and though weak, able to name Little Man as her assailant. Pushed by Bunk to ID Wee-Bey, she refuses. “The other one was out there in the dark,” she says.The squad arrests 20 other people in the Barksdale case and Avon is quickly out of jail on a quarter-million-dollar bail. He and Stringer meet Levy in an underground garage. “It’s “the only place we can safely talk,” says Levy, who urges Avon to consider a structured plea: “That means you gotta deliver all your people-all of them-down to a man.” Later, Avon and Stringer go to the funeral parlor they own and begin setting up a new office. “We gotta be back up quick,” says Avon, “‘fore we lose the Towers.”D’Angelo is feeling talkative in jail, and McNulty, Pearlman and Bunk are all ears. He acknowledges he sold drugs for Barksdale, attended meetings and delivered money. They show him photos of five people Avon has had murdered: Gant, the security guard, Wallace, Orlando and Deidre Kresson. Shaken, D’Angelo admits to calling Stringer about Brandon’s location and implicates Wee-Bey in Deidre ‘s death, adding that Wee-Bey is hiding in Philadelphia. He also implicates Avon in the death of Wallace and is remorseful about the 16-year-old. “I should a done more,” he says. “But I didn’t. That’s on me.” Saying he was freer in jail than he was at home, D’Angelo says he wants to start over. “I just wanna go somewhere — anywhere — where I can breathe like regular folks,” he says. “Gimme that, and I’ll give you him.”Pearlman is ecstatic after the meeting, telling McNulty “The drugs! The money! It’s a career fucking case.” As McNulty awkwardly tries to apologize for the insults from the meeting with Levy, Pearlman starts to unbutton his shirt. “Like you never did it in the headquarters’ garage before.”McNulty finally gathers himself to visit Greggs in the hospital. She presses him for details on the case, but he tells her to give it a rest. Becoming emotional, McNulty tells her how sorry he is. “On a case like this, it’s always you or Sydnor or some other black cop who ends up going undercover.” She asks him for a favor, and gives him money for Bubbles. But when McNulty passes it on, it becomes clear that Bubbles is no longer clean.Through a phone company contact, Freamon and Bunk track down Wee-Bey in Philly and he is arrested. McNulty, Freamon and Daniels meet with the Feds to see if they can convince them to come in on the case. But the Feds are interested only if the case will deliver crooked politicians, and McNulty is outraged when he realizes they would try to flip Barksdale and lighten his sentence. “West Baltimore is dying and you empty suits are running around trying to pin some politicians’ pelts to the wall!” The discussion ends.Brianna visits D’Angelo in prison and, ignoring her son’s desire to join the witness protection program and start over, leans hard on him to protect Avon, not implicate him. “How you gonna start over without your peoples?” she says. And she is successful. Pearlman soon gets a call from D’Angelo’s new lawyer, Maury Levy.Levy, also representing Avon, acknowledges that Avon may get hit with one count of attempted possession. But the violence, Levy says, will land on Wee-Bey for killing Orlando and wounding Greggs. As for property assets, the cops can seize the strip club, the cash in Avon’s safe and “whatever cars and trucks you link to the drug trafficking,” Levy says. The other property assets — the funeral parlor, the copy shop and the empty storefronts are untouchable, and Stringer Bell goes free, since there’s nothing to implicate him.Wee-Bey, choosing life in prison over the death penalty, agrees to cooperate and confesses to nine murders, including ones he didn’t commit, in order to exonerate Bird and others in the Barksdale gang. As for D’Angelo, choosing to protect Avon, with two prior convictions, prosecutors are asking for 20 years.Daniels learns that Carver was his detail’s snitch. Freamon goes to work in Rawls’ unit. And McNulty is reassigned by Rawls to harbor detail-the one job he dreaded, just as Landsman predicted.Avon is in jail, and Stringer is back in business at the funeral home. Bubbles and Johnny are back on the prowl, looking to score. Omar returns to town and sticks up a dealer, saying “All in the game… all in the game.” And back at the projects, with Bodie taking over a tower and Poot the Pit, the beat goes on…

Season Two 2003

  1. June 1, 2003: Ebb Tide:
    The expertly crafted drama about law and disorder in Baltimore returns for its sophomore season. In its first year, the series, focused on a single, expansive investigation of the city’s drug trade. While much of Avon Barksdale’s illegal empire remains active with Stringer in charge, this episode also introduces a story that takes place on the waterfront, where a beleaguered union boss (Chris Bauer) looks out for his workers in a struggling economy. Elsewhere, exiled Det. McNulty toils in his new assignment on harbor patrol, but still manages to get back at his old commander.
  2. June 8, 2003: Collateral Damage:
    Rawls tries to pawn off the shipyard investigation to another jurisdiction; Wee-Bey is harassed by a prison guard; Valcheck goes after Sobotka and his union with help from above; Bunk, Freamon and Russell track a container ship to Philadelphia.
  3. June 15, 2003: Hot Shots:
    Prez sends out a distress signal for a new detail; D’Angelo wisely heeds his uncle’s advice; Nick and Ziggy find a way to supplement their meager salaries; Omar is up to his old tricks; Bunk, Freamon and Russell hit a language barrier in their investigation of the container ship.
  4. June 22, 2003: Hard Cases:
    Daniels organizes a reunion for the Barksdale detail, but one prominent party isn’t invited; Bubbles stumbles into McNulty’s search for Omar; Sobotka upbraids Nick and Ziggy for their container theft; Tilghman falls into Avon’s trap.
  5. June 29, 2003: Undertow:
    Ziggy experiences a different kind of car trouble; Russell looks up an old acquaintance for information about the docks; Rawls has disturbing news for Bunk; Bodie is held responsible for inferior merchandise.
  6. July 6, 2003: The Prologue:
    Stringer springs into action when D’Angelo wants to turn over a new leaf; Nick comes through with The Greek’s latest request; Daniels is skeptical of a connection in the union probe; McNulty abandons his quest to identify one of the murder victims.
  7. July 13, 2003: Backwash:
    Sobotka believes the port probe to be over, but the detail is just getting started; a tragedy rocks the Barksdale empire; Pearlman considers a wiretap when presented with new evidence; Rawls tries to convince Daniels to investigate the murders.
  8. July 27, 2003: Duck and Cover:
    Bunk worries about McNulty after he reverts to his old ways; Sobotka sits down with Vondas and The Greek; Bodie and Poot see a marked decline in business; Ziggy backs down from Maui.
  9. August 3, 2003: Stray Rounds:
    McNulty draws a tough undercover assignment; Ziggy and Johnny Fifty try a new scam for The Greek; Valcheck blows his top when the detail alters its target; Bodie’s business sense needs fine tuning.
  10. August 10, 2003: Storm Warnings:
    A disgusted Valcheck turns to the FBI for help with the docks; Ziggy’s bad luck continues in a deal with Double-G (Ted Feldman); Bodie has mixed emotions about a business upturn; Greggs mulls a major lifestyle change.
  11. August 17, 2003: Bad Dreams:
    Nick tries to fix a strained relationship with Vondas; Sobotka faces a difficult decision; an encounter with the detail could be trouble for the Greeks.
  12. August 24, 2003: Port in a Storm:
    After spending a season on the docks, the outstanding crime drama wraps up its sophomore season in fine fashion. Although Lt. Daniels and company came thisclose to cracking a major drug case last season, this year they set their sights on Baltimore’s waterfront. While the initial target was a corrupt union official, the investigation expanded to include international contraband, prostitution and murder. In tonight’s finale, Nick’s crimes catch up with him, Omar tries to determine who his enemies are, and McNulty and Greggs visit their old stomping grounds and discover important information on the case.

Season Three 2004

  1. 9 Sep 04: Time After Time:
    The Franklin Terrace housing project — the infamous Towers where the Barksdale drug gang operates — are razed, with a promise from Mayor Royce that low and moderate-priced housing will eventually replace them. Poot is upset, nonetheless: “I’m kinda sad. Them towers be home to me,” he tells Bodie, who derides his sentimentality. “You gonna cry over a housing project?” he asks. Poot responds that he has a lot of good memories growing up there, including losing his virginity to Chantay in 7th Grade. Bodie suggests that she gave Poot the clap — more than once. “Don’t matter how many times you get burnt,” he says. “You just keep doin’ the same.”Lieut. Daniels’ taskforce is still chasing drug dealers — notably Proposition Joe’s drug enterprise, and Detectives McNulty and Sydnor are holed up in a vacant house in East Baltimore watching Prop Joe’s soldier Cheese working the corner. Back at the Detail Office, Freamon, Prez and Officer Caroline Massey listen in as one of Cheese’s deputies — never Cheese himself — talks on his cell phone. “Three months and we’ve yet to hear his [Cheese’s] voice on a phone,” notes Freamon with resignation. After six months of taps and no real case to make, Daniels is frustrated, too, and to McNulty’s consternation, suggests they don’t renew the wiretap order when it expires in two weeks.At Barksdale funeral-home headquarters, Stringer Bell convenes his drug crew, running the meeting according to Roberts’ Rules of Order. The dilemma they face is that their prime drug territory — the Towers — no longer exists. The crew focuses on new corners they want to take over, but Bell has a bigger plan. “Game ain’t about territory no more,” he says. “It’ s about product.” Pointing out fighting over street corners means dead bodies, and bodies bring the police, Bell unveils his plan to become the drug supplier to other drug operations in town. Because he has the best product, he’s confident the idea will work.Bubbles and Johnny continue to get high. Their latest scheme — heisting a cast-iron radiator for a few bucks, goes perilously awry when the grocery cart they’re pushing the radiator in crashes into a Cadillac SUV that belongs to a crewmember of the Barksdale rival drug lord Marlo Stanfield. Marlo emerges as his soldier owner holds a gun to Johnny’s head. “Do it or don’t,” Marlo says indifferently, “but I got someplace to be.”At City Hall, the City Council, specifically Councilman Tommy Carcetti — is raking new Police Commissioner Burrell and Deputy Commissioner Rawls over the coals because crime in Baltimore is up. After the meeting, Carcetti takes Burrell to lunch and makes him an offer. If Burrell will quietly let Carcetti know when the Mayor won’t give Burrell what he needs to run the police force properly, Carcetti will deliver. “I know you can’t cross the Mayor publicly, but you come to me and I can use that subcommittee to give you what you need.” Royce is offended, turns him down and leaves, telling Carcetti as he goes that he’s loyal to his Mayor.Avon, with only short time left on his prison sentence thanks to the deal he cut after naming the prison guard he framed in the tainted heroin matter, meets with Wee-Bey and Dennis “Cutty” Wise, from the old neighborhood. Cutty is due for release after 14 years in prison, and Avon wants to recruit him. He gives Cutty a number to call for help making a reentry, and tells him he can offer employment as a soldier in his operation. When Cutty leaves, noncommittal about his intentions, Barksdale speculates that “the joint mighta broke him.”Daniels, in a meeting with Burrell, learns that the promotion Burrell promised is being held up by the Mayor. The reason: Daniels wife, from whom he is now estranged, wants to run for City Council, which means she’ll be running against a friend of the Mayor’s, Eunetta Perkins. “The Mayor,” says Burrell, “is going to want to know who his friends are before he makes a new commander.” Later, at Marla’s request, Daniels goes home to keep up appearances while she meets with State Delegate Odell Watkins and other political advisors about her impending entry into politics. Her team wants to picture Daniels in his police uniform in her campaign literature, and Daniels — distraught about his estrangement from Marla — is more than willing to cooperate. “All those years when you were all about my career, this is the least I can do,” he tells her.McNulty and Bunk take in an Orioles game at Camden Yard, where he’s meeting his ex-wife Elena so she can pass the kids to him. He also sees her new boyfriend and is none too happy. Soon, Bunk’s cell phone rings and he’s called in to work on his day off because a raft of new cases has come in.At City Hall, Carcetti repays Burrell for his rebuff by ripping the Commissioner for wasting money. In a meeting later with the Mayor and his Chief of Staff, they share their disdain for Carcetti. “If the man came off any whiter, he’d be see through,” says Mayor Royce. Burrell wants the Mayor to speak to Carcetti, to try and call him off, but the Chief of Staff explains that Carcetti is “old First District. Not a lot of favors we can call in over that side of town.” The Mayor does suggest that if Burrell can get the murder and felony rate down, that will take the wind out of Carcetti’s sails.At Comstat, Rawls and Burrell go on the warpath, ripping their commanders for their inability to stem the rising tide of crime. Rawls orders that felony cases must drop by 5 percent for the year, and murders must be kept under 275. “Here’s a fun fact,” Rawls tells his commanders. “If Baltimore had New York’s population, we’d be clocking four thousand murders a year at this rate. So there is no excuse I want to hear. I don’t care how you do it, just fucking do it.” Major Bunny Colvin, 30 years on the force and six months from retirement, questions the wisdom of the new mandate: “You can reclassify an agg assault and you can unfound a robbery. But how do you make a body disappear?” Rawls and Burrell are infuriated, and Burrell warns Colvin: “Anyone who can’t bring the numbers we need will be replaced by someone who can.”Still chafing over the fact that the Detail never laid a glove on Stringer Bell, McNulty is unhappy, too, and clashes with Daniels over his unwillingness to authorize more wiretaps to go after Bell. Obsessed with the case, he pulls out the two year old Barksdale records and looks through them for new leads. When Massey observes the mess he’s made, she asks him what in hell he’s doing. “You don’t look at what you did before, you do the same shit all over,” he replies.

    Cutty, having made a half-hearted attempt to go straight after prison, calls the number Avon gave him and asks for help. Instead of cash, however, Avon’s soldier gives him a package of heroin ready for sale. Cutty is nervous, and cuts a deal with a Marlo Stanfield soldier named Fruit to sell for the dope for him. But when Cutty comes back to collect his share of the proceeds, Fruit pulls a gun on him and tells him to get lost.

    Major Colvin decides to “ride the district” and heads out in his car to take the temperature of the city. What he sees is not reassuring. Stopped at a red light, Colvin is incredulous when a young dealer pops his head in the car window and offers to sell the Major some heroin.

  2. 26 Sep 04: All Due Respect:
    Omar makes a dramatic reappearance, disguised as an old man in a wheelchair just out of the V.A. hospital. With friend and partner in crime Kimmy, the two con their way into a Barksdale stash house, and in a heist that’s almost too easy, make off with the drugs and the cash.Stringer Bell visits Avon in jail, updating him on the neighborhood news. Avon is philosophical when he learns that the Towers are gone. “All that battlin’ we did to take them Towers and now we out in the street with the rest of ’em we beat.” Stringer details his plan to deploy the troops across a variety of drug corners, with instructions to make their high-quality heroin available to other dealers at advantageous prices. “You know, lay it out there like it’s their lucky day. No threats. No flexin’,” explains Bell. Indeed, when Barksdale’s drug crews fan out to new territory, pitching their scheme, they encounter a fair amount of skepticism from mid-level dealers.Bodie, having appropriated a spot in the middle of the dealer Marlo’s territory, seeks Marlo out to offer him good prices on better product, but runs into a stone wall. When Marlo finally shows up and Bodie approaches him, Marlo brushes him off. “I need you to walk back there and pack up your people,” Marlo warns him. “I’m being a gentleman about it for the moment,” he tells Bodie without once bothering to look at him.Not convinced that D’Angelo Barksdale’s death in prison was in fact a suicide, McNulty probes the case further, with his focus still on bringing Stringer Bell to justice. In a visit with Doc Frazier of the Medical Examiner’s office, the two of them examine autopsy photos of D’Angelo. What they see is not convincing, and McNulty suspects D’Angelo was murdered. Later, he pays a visit to Donette, fishing for clues as to who might have taken D’Angelo out. Donette is openly hostile to him.Carcetti, having failed in his effort to enlist Police Commissioner Burrell as an inside source in the Mayor’s office and having humiliated him publicly as a consequence, leans on Major Valchek to broker a second meeting with the Commissioner, in the hopes that Burrell is finally ready to deal. “I should tell him what?” Valchek says to Carcetti. “Make nice or invest heavily in petroleum jelly?” Sure enough, when Carcetti and Burrell meet for a second time, Burrell gets the picture: he must cooperate with Carcetti or face further public flogging in Carcetti’s committee hearings. Giving in, Burrell tells Carcetti he’s having trouble getting out-of-service squad cars back on the street, which means beats on every shift go uncovered.Sure enough, when the two meet again, an impressed Burrell reports that that 20 squad cars will be back in service by the end of the week. Burrell reveals to the Councilman that in spite of the fact that 70 cops are retiring by year’s end, the Mayor has cancelled the Academy Class in which new recruits are inducted. Driving a wedge, Carcetti tells him bluntly: “The Mayor fucked you. Cause I know that money was in the budget.” Carcetti again suggests he can help.In a vacant West Baltimore warehouse, a collection of local dealers including Prop Joe, Cheese and others gather for an evening of dogfights. Confident that his pit bull will win the match with a dog owned by the dealer Dazz, Cheese’s cocky demeanor turns to shock as his dog goes down quickly. Cheese then shoots his dog rather than give him medical help, and grows even angrier when another dealer, Triage, points out a red rag on the floor that Dazz rubbed down his dog with before the match. Implying that some chemical may have been on the rag, Triage suggests that Cheese was gamed. A few days later, in response, Triage walks up to Dazz’s soldier Jelly and with only one word, “Woof,” blows his brains out.In the Detail Room, Greggs, Freamon, Prez and Caroline, listening in on the wire, overhear discussion of the two killings — Cheese’s dog and Jelly — and draw the wrong conclusion. When they hear Cheese acknowledge that he “ain’t sleep since I capped his ass,” they assume he’s committed a murder. Greggs notes with excitement: “Cheese is only a level below Proposition Joe. All of a sudden, this case has legs.”Because Rawls’ pressure on his commanders is unrelenting, Daniels decides to make some arrests based on information from their wiretap. McNulty argues that the arrests will force them to reveal the tap’s existence, and pushes Daniels to be patient to see what else the wire will bring. Cheese is arrested, nevertheless, and when Bunk and McNulty sweat him for details, their error finally becomes apparent. The only thing Cheese has killed is his dog. Bunk and McNulty are appalled at the mistake. “We’re charging his ass,” says Bunk sarcastically. “Improper disposal of an animal. Discharging a firearm in city limits,” adds McNulty. “Animal cruelty, if we wanna run wild with it,” adds Bunk. And sure enough, the wire soon goes silent, and gloom overtakes the Detail.Nursing their wounded pride over drinks later, McNulty tries to get Pearlman to go home with him. She ignores him, and after he leaves, Pearlman goes home with Daniels instead.Relations are strained between Kima and Cheryl, who resents Gregg’s long hours and her lack of nurturing instincts towards their new baby. One night when Greggs comes in late, the house is a wreck and Cheryl is asleep on their bed with the baby. Greggs heads back out into the night, visiting a lesbian bar.

    A drug bust arranged by Carver’s squad goes bad and Dozerman is shot and seriously wounded. Colvin sits bolt upright when he learns the news in the middle of the night. Carver, who sent Dozerman out solo, is wracked with guilt. “Fucking solo cars. I shoulda teamed him. I fucked up.” He is especially upset to learn that Dozerman’s gun is missing, scooped up by one of the criminals who shot him. After Colvin visits the crime scene, he unburdens himself over a cup of coffee with a deacon from his church. “Tonight is a good night. Why? Because my shot cop didn’t die. And it hit me… This is what makes a good night on my watch: absence of a negative.”

    Later, as he addresses his troops, Colvin foreshadows the new scheme he’s cooking up to contain the city’s drug trafficking. Explaining that after the City Council years ago passed a law forbidding the consumption of alcohol in public places, cops spent an inordinate amount of time arresting men on street corners, since “the corner is, was and always will be the poor man’s lounge… But somewhere back in the ’50s, there was a small moment of goddamn genius by some nameless smokehound who comes out of a cut-rate one day and on his way to the corner, slips that just-bought pint of elderberry into a paper bag. A great moment of civic compromise. That small wrinkled-ass paper bag allowed the corner boys to drink in peace while giving us permission to go do police work.

    “Dozerman got shot last night trying to buy three vials,” Colvin continues. “There’s never been a paper bag for drugs. Until now.” Herc and Carver hear him but don’t yet understand the point he’s making, and are irritated at his ambiguity.

  3. 3 Oct 04: Dead Soldiers:
    The brutality at Police Headquarters continues as Rawls and Commissioner Burrell terrorize Department Commanders over their failure to reign in the city’s crime stats. After being raked over the coals in front of his peers, Major Marvin Taylor, the Eastern District Commander, is further humiliated as Burrell publicly relieves him of his duties and names Taylor’s second in command to replace him.Omar, along with his soldiers Dante, Tosha and Kimmy, case another Barksdale stash house, making plans to take it out. But when they return later to pull off the heist, things go terribly wrong. Barksdale soldiers in another part of the house are alerted to the robbery and open fire. In the fierce shootout that follows, Tosha is shot in the head and killed, accidentally by Dante, and one of Barksdale’s team is killed. Bell is furious when he learns that Omar is still intent on pursuing revenge. Speaking of Tosha, he says, “We’re gonna cover that girl’s wake, her funeral, everything.” Back home, Omar apologizes to his soldiers, who are depressed and angry. “Don’t do nothing for me,” Kimmy tells him sullenly.The drug dealer who shot Officer Dozerman while doing a buy-and-bust is apprehended and-beaten by the police-makes a full confession. He also reveals that he sold Dozerman’s gun to a street punk named Peanut. Sgt. Landsman orders Bunk to recover the gun, as a matter of principle. McNulty, overhearing Bunk’s assignment, says: “In one of the most heavily armed cities in the known, gun-loving world, what do these ignorant motherfuckers care about one got-dam semiauto, more of less?”Proposition Joe summons Stringer Bell to a meeting and tells him that the cops have screwed up. He explains to Bell that the cops believed Cheese was talking about killing a person when in fact he was talking about having killed his dog. “They had the phones tapped?” Bell asks. “Don’t matter to me none if they did,” Prop Joe replies. “Me and the people I keep close, we don’t talk on the phone no how.” The point is, however, that the cops are still listening.Carcetti meets with a reporter from the Baltimore Sun and tells him that the Mayor, in a misguided attempt to save money, does not intend to fund a police academy class this year. Carcetti then calls Burrell to let him know he’ll be getting a call from the reporter, and Burrell is furious. Calming the Commissioner down, Carcetti urges Burrell simply to inform the Mayor that someone has leaked the information to the press. Later, when Burrell meets with Mayor Royce, the Mayor is indeed annoyed about the leak and tells Burrell that he must take the heat when the story goes public. “Tell the newspaper the academy class was delayed for some reason-lack of recruits, problems in your personnel division, whatever. Just keep it in your shop,” Royce says to Burrell. That way the Mayor can step in and announce that there will in fact be an academy class, and he’ll look like the hero. Burrell is none too happy about this, but in the end, as Carcetti reminds him, the goal of reinstating the academy class, is in fact, achieved.In a meeting at the Mayor’s office, Burrell blames the State’s Attorney for the high crime rate, arguing that the police bring him cases that go nowhere. “The cases are thin,” the State’s Attorney shoots back, and soon they bicker loudly, until the Mayor orders them to stop, warning that they’d both better shape up if they want to hold on to their jobs. The tension is thick until the Mayor’s chief of staff observes: “I don’t think any of us wants to get a real job.” When Burrell leaves, State Delegate Watkins urges the Mayor to fire Burrell, but Royce refuses, reminding Watkins that he believes in loyalty.With their wire dead, Daniels reassigns his detail to a drug dealer named Kintel Williamson who is thought to be responsible for three killings in the last four months. Greggs complains loudly that all the work they’ve put in on Bell and Prop Joe will go to waste, but Daniels is firm. The biggest priority is bringing down the murder rate. McNulty misses this meeting because he’s visiting the prison crime scene where D’Angelo’s “suicide” took place. At the prison, McNulty puts the belt around his neck that D’Angelo used, but finds it won’t tighten properly when he simulates the suicide, proving to him that D’Angelo was murdered.When McNulty reports this news to Freamon, Greggs and Pearlman, however, they are angry with him for not sticking with the Daniels’ plan. “Man took you off a boat, Jimmy,” says Freamon. “He wants to peel his unit off — his unit, Jimmy — and go after the target of his choice, it’s his call.”Later, Greggs and McNulty go drinking at the railroad tracks, and Kima complains about her relationship with Cheryl. “They know you’re police when they hook up with you. And they know you’re police when they move in. And they know you’re police when they decide to start a family with you. And all that shit is just fine until one day it ain’t no more. One day, it’s ‘You should have a regular job.’ and ‘You need to be home at five o’clock.'”The next day, McNulty learns that Homicide Detective Ray Cole has died while working out at the gym on a Stairmaster.The other Police Commanders are busy minimizing crime stats by reclassifying their incident reports, but Major Colvin interrupts Mello and the Community Relations sergeant and orders them not to follow suit. When they warn him that Rawls will rip Colvin, he replies, “Five months to my thirty, right? Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.” In fact, they cannot take a joke, and Rawls and Burrell are enraged when Colvin shows up at the next meeting with the only departmental felony report to show an increase in numbers. “Sometimes the gods are uncooperative,” Colvin offers by way of explanation. Burrell’s response: “If the gods are fucking you, you find a way to fuck them back. It’s Baltimore gentlemen, the gods will not save you.” After the meeting, when the other Commanders ask Colvin what he’s going to do to get Rawls the stats he wants, Colvin again foreshadows the scheme he’s hatching and replies slyly: “I thought I might legalize drugs.”

    Marlo meets with his soldier Fruit and asks why his drug revenue is down so much. Fruit explains that the Barksdale dealers have taken up residence on his block and are stealing customers. Marlo tells him to do something about it. “Take the young guns with you, give ’em a workout.” Shortly thereafter, Fruit and his gang show up with bats and inflict serious damage on the Barksdale gang.

    Cutty locates his old girlfriend Grace, who has gotten her act together and moved out of the neighborhood. She’s married, drives a nice car and teaches school in another part of town. She is less than thrilled to see Cutty, a face from her past, but she is civil to him and even offers to introduce him to a friend who might help Cutty find a decent job.

    In a meeting with the cops in his command, Colvin at last reveals the plan he’s been hatching, a plan to take back the streets from the drug dealers. The idea is to warn the street level dealers that they can continue to sell drugs, but they must limit their activities to one of three areas of the city full of abandoned buildings. As long as they confine their dealing to these areas, the cops will let them be. But if they don’t get with the program, they will be arrested and rearrested until they get the picture. The cops are outraged by the proposal, which in effect sanctions the illegal activity. But Colvin explains further: “You need to take the long view here. Once we have them all comfortable, and all rounded up, once they’ve been there a bit and get used to putting their feet up, playing with the remote, then we move. Then we go back to being police. Look at it this way, gentlemen: would you rather shoot at fish in the ocean? Or gather ’em all up in a few small barrels and start emptying your clips then?”

    Carcetti, with his wife and kids, attends a Democrat fundraiser at the Knights of Columbus catering hall. Spotting an attractive woman, he sends his family home and makes a move, later ending up in the woman’s room.

    Meanwhile, at Kavanagh’s Irish Pub, friends and fellow cops of the late Ray Cole gather to uphold a Baltimore police tradition: a final drink with their deceased friend. With Cole lying in state on a pool table, amidst much revelry and maudlin toasts, the cops bid him farewell. “We’re police,” says Landsman, “so no lies between us: He wasn’t the greatest detective and he wasn’t the worst. He put down some good cases and he dogged a few bad ones. But the motherfucker had his moments. Yes, he fucking did.”

    At another wake across town, Tosha’s body awaits burial at a funeral home. The place is crawling with Barksdale soldiers, hoping Omar shows his face. Omar mourns from across the street, hidden in the shadows, smoking a cigarette.

  4. 10 Oct 04: Amsterdam:
    Cops and City Council members meet with angry residents of Baltimore’s West Side to reassure them that the police are on top of the drug war in their neighborhoods. The cops also encourage the residents to report drug activity, but the West Siders are having none of it. “My cousin Billy Gant cooperated,” one resident reports. “Went downtown and testified. He deader than Tupac today.” Jumping into the fray, Major Colvin takes over the podium and tells the gathering there are no easy answers to the drug problem. “Truth is, I can’t promise you it’s gonna get better,” he says. “We can’t lock up the thousands that are out on those corners. There’s no place to put them if we could… This here is the world we’ve got, and it’s time that all of us had the good sense to at least admit that much.” When asked what the answer is, Colvin responds: “I’m not sure. But whatever it is, it can’t be a lie.” As Colvin leaves, the room erupts into angry chaos.Greggs and McNulty press Bubbles back into duty to gather street intelligence on the Barksdale gang, which has lost its prime territory, the Towers. Bubbles discovers that some of the city’s best turf — downtown near the lunchtime crowd looking to score — is now controlled by “a young boy name Marlo.” He also offers up the tag number of the Marlo’s SUV. Looking into Marlo’s background, Greggs discovers that he was a murder suspect until a witness who’d agreed to testify against him was found dead — two bullets in the chest and one in the mouth — and Marlo went free.Cutty goes to work with a crew of Hispanic laborers but soon finds that even in doing menial yard work, he’s in over his head. Confronted with a temperamental lawn mower, Cutty is unable to get it started until the foreman teaches him how to prime an engine. Realizing that his foreman is an ex-con himself, Cutty hears counsel that is not heartening: “Yeah it’s hot. Every day. And you gonna be riding in the back of that hard truck, bouncin’ around, every day. And your back gonna be yellin’ at you, every day… I’m just sayin’: You wanna stay on the straight, ain’t gonna be no big reward to it. This is it right here.”Face to face with the hard reality of the straight life, Cutty seeks out the Barksdale gang, contacting Slim Charles and asking for work. Cutty’s reputation has preceded him, and Slim Charles tells Cutty the first thing they need to do is get him a gun. Cutty is amazed to find himself the new owner of a 14-round .45 automatic pistol. “Game done changed,” he tells Slim Charles. “Game’s the same,” Slim replies. “Just got more fierce.”Bunk — under pressure to find Dozerman’s gun — rousts a group of West Side dealers and offers them a “get-out-of-jail” card if they can lead him to it. Herc and Carver are skeptical of his approach, but Bunk is unapologetic: “Well, shit, I gotta do something,” he says.At the Detail Room, Freamon and McNulty clash bitterly over McNulty’s continued defiance of Daniels’ authority. Freamon again points out that the Lieutenant has directed the Detail to nail Kintel Williamson, suspected of drug dealing and murder, but McNulty’s continued pursuit of Stringer Bell rankles Freamon. Daniels, Freamon says, has “earned some loyalty.” McNulty’s response: “Fuck loyalty. And fuck you, Lester. I never thought I’d hear that chain-of-command horseshit outta your mouth.”Colvin lunches with Johns Hopkins officials to discuss his transition out of the police force and into a university job as No. 2 security man, for $80,000 a year.Daniels and Pearlman learn that Avon Barksdale, having cut a prison deal, is due for a parole hearing soon. Daniels is worried he’ll be released, but Pearlman reads a letter she’s written to the parole board, pointing out that Barksdale is a major, violent offender. “Parole Commission’s not gonna walk him on his first trip to the plate. Not after a letter like that,” she reassures Daniels.McNulty sees ex-wife Elena at his son Michael’s science fair and she reminds him that he’s behind on his alimony. McNulty tells her that after the $2,000 in child support every month he doesn’t have anything left for alimony. “You signed a separation agreement that gives me another thousand in alimony,” Elena reminds him. “I signed the fucking thing ’cause I thought we’d be together,” McNulty responds. “You look at how much I make, and I’m not close to being able to pay that much every month.”Colvin’s cops spread the word among the street dealers that they must move to the Free Zone in order to avoid harassment by the cops. The dealers are incredulous — uncomprehending — at the new world order. Carver explains it again: “This corner’s indicted. We’re coming back tomorrow and when we do, everybody wears bracelets — unless you people move your shit down to Vincent Street, down where the houses are all vacant. You do that and we don’t give a shit.” “Vincent Street is like Switzerland. Or Amsterdam,” explains another cop. “The fuck is that?” asks one of the dealers. Marlo’s man Fruit still doesn’t get it. “Look: We grind, and y’all try to stop it. That’s how we do. Why you got to go and fuck with the program?”On a hunch, McNulty visits the registrar at Baltimore Community College and learns that Stringer Bell is in fact a student there. He gets Bell’s cell phone number and wanders the halls until he sees Bell in his economics class. Waiting outside the school, McNulty watches Bell emerge and can’t resist calling his cell to make sure he’s really scored what he thinks he has. Bell answers but McNulty is silent. Later, McNulty trails Bell to a meeting with an architect, a real estate developer and State Senator Clayton Davis. The subject is the Barksdale organization’s vast property holdings in West Baltimore. Binoculars trained, McNulty wonders if Bell has really gone straight.

    When McNulty returns to the Detail Room, gloating over having scored Bell’s cell number, Freamon is quick to take the wind out of his sails. He informs McNulty that he already knows Bell’s cell phone number. “I had Prez pull the B-and-B property assessments and the land transfers from circuit court,” Freamon says. “Some of the paperwork asked for a contact number.” A step ahead of McNulty, Freamon knows Bell is using the line exclusively for legit business. “From the looks of things,” Freamon adds, “Stringer Bell’s worse than a drug dealer.” “He’s a developer,” chimes in Prez.

    In a bar in Little Italy, Carcetti drinks with a group of old friends, informing them of his intention to run for Mayor of Baltimore. About that time, he sees an old friend arrive — the beautiful Theresa D’Agostino. Carcetti bets his friends that he can convince her to let him buy her a drink. And so he does, while he flatters her with pleas to manage his campaign. D’Agostino is skeptical, telling Carcetti that a white man could never get elected Mayor of Baltimore. Finally, one of Carcetti’s buddies recognizes D’Agostino and sees that they’ve been gamed. He tells the others: “She’s down in D.C. now with the National Party. A campaign fixer.”

    Frustrated over the slow progress his clean-streets program is making, Colvin orders his troops to round up the dealers and bring them to a city high school so the police can again pound home the message. Bodie, Poot and other Barksdale soldiers are there, as well as Fruit, Jamal and Boo from Marlo’s crew. It’s a rowdy bunch, and Colvin finds it impossible to get their attention, much less respect, until the arrival of the Vice Principal, a tough, tiny Black woman who knows the boys and provokes respect if not fear among them. She brings quiet to the room for the moment, but the chaos returns the second she leaves.

    Saying he’s sorry, Stringer Bell shows up at Donette’s house, whose calls he’s been ignoring for weeks. “Sorry don’t warm my bed at night,” she tells him. She also lets him know McNulty has been poking around looking for information on who might have killed D’Angelo. Bell reassures her that no one would kill D’Angelo, since that would invite the wrath of D’Angelo’s uncle Avon. Kissing her, he promises that he’s going to be a bigger presence in her life from now on.

    McNulty and Bunk knock back a few, and later, dead drunk, McNulty shows up at Pearlman’s house, hoping for a roll in the hay. He leaves when she won’t answer the door, but is not so drunk that he doesn’t recognize Daniels’ car parked outside her apartment.

    Across town, Cutty attends a house party with the Barksdale gang, where drugs, music, and booze — not to mention a variety of available women — are in plentiful supply. Bodie has two young women in particular in mind for Cutty, and, taking it all in, Cutty realizes that he’s back in the game for real.

  5. 17 Oct 04: Straight and True:
    Johnny pressures Bubbles to stop snitching for the Detail. “We getting by with the capers, ain’t we?” he asks. “Oh yeah,” responds Bubbles. “We getting by. Out here every damn day, rippin’ and runnin’ and ain’t got shit to show for it.” As if on cue, Johnny spots a ladder with a man atop — working on a house — and persuades Bubbles, who is fed up with it all, once more to enact their sure-fire scam — a two-act drama in which Bubbles shakes the ladder, threatening to topple it, until Johnny and races in to the “rescue,” shooing Bubbles away. The victim — grateful, naturally — coughs up a tenner for Johnny, but when he sets out to meet up with Bubbles afterward, his friend is nowhere to be found.Cutty, hung over from serious partying the night before, is rousted from bed by his grandmother, Mee-maw, who tells him he smells like Newports. He lies to her and says he’s working nights now, in a bar. She also tells him that Grace, his ex- girlfriend, called once again, to remind of his appointment at the church. “She say there’s a job in it, if you still lookin’,” says Mee-maw.As Stringer Bell departs Baltimore Community College and heads for his car, McNulty is there to observe him. Later, sitting in front of Bell’s copy shop, McNulty is bored to death, so bored that he decides to pays Bell a visit and speak to him directly. “Ain’t seen you round the way,” he tells Bell, who responds that he’s not “around the way no more,” that he’s doing real estate instead, and in fact, if McNulty is interested in a condo downtown, Bell would be only too glad to help him out.Later, at the Detail Office, McNulty tells Freamon and Prez of his face-to-face with Bell. Freamon ventures that Bell is essentially untouchable now that he’s gone legit: “He won’t go near the street. He is insulated from the day-to-day operations on the corners. The money that comes back is laundered through enough straight business investments that there’s no way to trace it back. A player gets to that point, there’s no way for working police to tie a can to his tail.” Resigned, McNulty faces the futility of his obsession with Barksdale and Bell and turns his attention to nailing Kintel Williamson.At Omar’s house, the air is tense as Kimmy and Omar clean their hardware in preparation for another strike. Dante and Kimmy argue over Dante’s role in their next heist, and Omar is forced to intercede before a sullen peace takes hold. “This time we do it right,” Omar says heading out the door.At the Western District stationhouse, Carver and Mello attempt to persuade Colvin that his plan isn’t working: “Fuckin’ hoodleheads won’t listen to reason,” says Carver. “Y’all some lying sacks of shit,” responds Colvin, calling their bluff. Rather than abandon his scheme, Colvin visits Daniels and retrieves the names of midlevel drug dealers, reasoning that these are the people with the power to move their street dealers into Colvin’s free zone. Soon, his cops are rounding up the names on Daniels’ list.Some of them, anyhow. As Carver and Herc attempt to bring Marlo to meet Colvin, his soldiers tense, ready to do battle. Carver pulls rank on Herc, who’s ready to go to the mat with Marlo, and tells him to back off. The cops leave without Marlo.Elsewhere, however, the cops have better luck, and a crowd of mid-level dealers — stunned and suspicious — suddenly find themselves in a downtrodden, alien neighborhood — Colvin’s free zone — facing a big problem. No customers. An unhappy Bodie asks what happens if the dealers refuse to play ball, and Colvin is very explicit: “I swear to God, I have over 200 sworn personnel and I will free them all up to brutalize every one of you they can. If you’re on a corner in my district, it will not be just a humble or a loitering charge. It will be some Biblical shit that happens to you on the way into that jail wagon. You understand? We will not be playing by any rules that you recognize.”As Colvin talks, an elderly lady emerges from one of the decrepit houses, and the Major is dismayed. “We musta missed her,” says Mello. “One more thing to do, then,” replies his boss.Carcetti is outraged when he reads in the paper that a state’s witness in a major drug case has been murdered. “You let a witness get killed in a high-profile case like this, it says the city’s broke and can’t be fixed,” he tells his pal Councilman Gray. When Gray chides him for having found an issue he can use to go after the Mayor, Carcetti protests. Rising above politics, he tells Gray that it’s a serious problem and he’s going to fix it. “You want your cape and the little red underpants?” chides Gray. “Or do you stash that shit in the phone booth? I always wondered about that.” Visiting Mayor Royce, Carcetti threatens to go to the press if the cops don’t make the murder a priority. The Mayor, furious but spooked, agrees to “light a fire.”Convinced that a Barksdale street dealer who’s short-changing the syndicate is in fact spending his money on his girlfriend, Cutty stakes her out with two other Barksdale soldiers. He puts them in charge as he leaves to keep his church appointment Grace has arranged to discuss a job. When he gets there, Cutty discovers that not only is Grace not coming to the appointment — his only real interest — but that the church has no job for him. What is offered is a chance to study for a GED, but Cutty has already been drawn back to the criminal world. He says no thanks and leaves, retrieving his gun from a trash pile outside the church.

    Cutty finds Barksdale’s men snorting coke, but declines when he’s offered a hit. He must take a urine test in the morning, he says. “You worried about that? Shit, nigger, go ‘head,” says one of the soldiers. “We got that covered.” Later, they buy clean urine from a dealer — he says it comes from a daycare center — and Cutty takes his test.

    Eventually Cutty and the soldiers find the girl — Uniqua. She resists their efforts to converse, and Cutty slaps her hard across the face. “We gonna talk,” he tells her. And they do. The result is a beating of her boyfriend so violent that even Cutty is repulsed. Cutty cautions: “You know the man works for us. Keep goin’ at him like that, there won’t be enough left to make right what he owes,” but he’s ignored. The soldiers persist in their punishment.

    Bunk, splitting his time between recovering Dozerman’s gun and trying to figure out who was present for the shootout that killed Tosha, determines through an eyewitness that Omar was indeed involved. Before he can take the witness downtown and prep him for grand jury testimony, Sgt. Landsman arrives in a squad car and orders Bunk back to the Dozerman case.

    In a hotel conference room, Stringer Bell again chairs a meeting, this time with the city’s major drug dealers. Most of them anyway, since Marlo is notably absent. Bell’s mission is to convince them to set aside differences and agree to purchase their drugs collectively. “All in favor of goin’ in together so as to pull the best discount on a New York package, raise up,” he says, and the show of hands indicate he carries the day. “For a cold-ass crew of gangsters,” Proposition Joe observes, “y’all carried it like Republicans an’ shit.”

    Bell seeks out Marlo to try and persuade him to join the newly formed cartel. Greggs, who has learned from Bubbles where Marlo parks his SUV, follows Marlo to the meeting and is stunned to see Bell arrive, too. Maybe Freamon isn’t right after all. Summoning McNulty, the two are gleeful at the discovery of Bell’s continued involvement with the drug trade.

    With the dealers cooperating at last, Colvin’s cops round up the city’s junkies, turning them loose from the police van into the free zone — the area the dealers are now calling Hamsterdam. In short order, an open-air drug bazaar is in full swing. Stunned and paranoid, the junkies buy their bags in broad daylight, as amazed as the dealers by the cops who look on but do not interfere.

    Across town, McNulty visits a Catholic grade school for a meet-the-faculty chat. His ex-wife wants to send their kids there, but McNulty is bored by curriculum conversations and wanders off, meeting a beautiful brunette who turns out to be Carcetti’s friend, Theresa D’Agostino. Elena fumes as McNulty flirts, and he heads back to D’Agostino’s place to take her to bed.

    Avon Barksdale, emerging from prison, is met with warmth and affection by Stringer Bell and Shamrock, who brings Barksdale a high-fashion sweat suit. Later, at a downtown hotel, Bells throws a lavish welcome-home party for Barksdale, inviting not only the soldiers but his new set of friends as well — the lawyers, developers and politicians he hopes will make him rich. Barksdale’s attention is drawn to the ladies on hand, but each time he makes a move, Bell grabs him for introductions to yet another developer. Finally Bell takes Barksdale away from the party to surprise Avon with a fancy waterfront condominium he’s bought and decorated, complete with a Navigator in the basement garage. “We makin’ so much straight money,” Bell tells him, “we can carry shit like this out in the open now, in our own names.” Barksdale is impressed, and grateful, but still has only one thing on his mind. Moments after Bell leaves, in fact, there’s a knock on the door and two lovelies from the party arrive to further welcome Avon home

  6. 31 Oct 04: Homecoming:
    Major Colvin along with Mello, Carver and the other cops observe the so-called free zone they’ve created on Vincent Street in West Baltimore. They’re encouraged but not satisfied with what they see: a modestly busy open-air drug market in a deserted neighborhood, a neighborhood the dealers refer to as Hamsterdam. When Carver informs Colvin that some dealers are resistant to the free zones, Colvin urges his cops to “bang them senseless. Anything you need to do, you do. Up to a body that can’t walk itself out of an emergency room, I will back you and your men.”So instructed, the cops fan out across the West Side and, amidst howls of protest from the dealers, begin knocking heads, throwing their sneakers in the sewers, towing their cars, driving them outside of town and dumping them.Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell discover that real estate development has its own pitfalls. The price of steel has doubled, and changes they’ve requested trigger the need for new permits, which means higher costs. Later they learn that it’s going to be weeks — not days — before the new permits are issued. Unless of course Bell is prepared to bribe the contractor’s “consultant,” a politically connected employee who fixes things. “He goes downtown and does for us what we can’t do for ourselves,” the contractor explains. “Democracy in action, Mr. Bell.” Bell takes the bait and visits the consultant, who turns out to be Senator Clay Davis. The cost to speed up the permits: $25,000. “Twenty gets you the permits,” explains Davis. “Five is to me for bribin’ these downtown motherfuckers. I mean, I’m the one got to risk walkin’ up to these thieving’ bitches with cash in hand, right?”McNulty and Greggs appeal once more to Daniels to let them dog Bell and Barksdale, arguing that if they don’t get them now, the pair will soon be so insulated from the drug trade that they’ll be untouchable behind the façade of their legitimate businesses. “It’s now or never, Lieutenant,” says Greggs. Daniels, however is unmoved. “Stringer Bell is quiet,” he says. “And if he’s quiet, I don’t give a fuck if we come back a year from now and find out he’s on the Greater Baltimore Committee. This unit is about the bodies.”Barksdale, unaware that Bell has made a peace offering to Marlo and invited him into his New Day Co-op, is unhappy over Marlo’s prime drug-dealing real estate. Bell hesitates to tell Barksdale of his peace overtures.Bunk Moreland, trying to flush Omar out, calls on Tosha’s family to inform them she was not an innocent bystander when she was killed. In fact, he says, she may have been killed by Omar’s gang, albeit accidentally. Bunk wants to talk with Omar and tells the family: “Y’all need to get word to the right people.” His plan works: Omar learns of Bunk’s visit through Kimmy. Omar’s response: “You tell ’em she caught one from the boys she tried to take off. Tell ’em there ain’t no need to involve no police in any of it.”McNulty and Greggs try to persuade a State’s Attorney to change D’Angelo’s cause of death from suicide to homicide. She’s having none of it, especially when she learns the cops don’t even have a suspect. “Look,” she says, “I don’t know how you city guys do it. But down here in Annapolis, we try to duck a punch or two. Not lean into every last one.”Cedric Daniels attends a cocktail party for his estranged wife, Marla, decked out in his dress blues and putting on a convincing show of marital solidarity. After the party, a grateful Marla seems to suggest that she and Daniels have another go at their relationship. But Cedric, now involved with Rhonda Pearlman, is noncommittal.Barksdale and Bell have a serious conversation about the future of their partnership. Barksdale, upset that Marlo has gone unchallenged on his prime street corners, is not consoled by Bell’s argument that they’re making so much money they don’t need any more turf wars. “How many corners do we need?” he asks. “More than a nigger can spend,” replies Barksdale. “And we ain’t gonna be around to spend what we don’t got,” points out Bell. He tells Barksdale that they can take the cash they have, invest in more real estate “and we in a money game where nary a motherfucker goes to jail. We could be past the run-and-gun, Avon. We could finance the packages and never touch nothing but cash. No corners, no territory, nothing but making like a got-damn bank. We let the younguns worry about how to wholesale, where to retail. I mean, who give a fuck who standing on what corner, when we pulling our cut off the top and putting that money to good use?” “We businessmen, huh?” Barksdale says. Bell asks Barksdale to give him time to reason with Marlo. “I think I can talk some sense in his head.” But Barksdale, still not getting it, is unmoved: “Ain’t no shirt-wearin’ suit like you. Just a gangster, I suppose. And I want my corners.”In Hamsterdam, meanwhile, Major Colvin pays a call on Mrs. Hazel, an elderly black woman who still lives in the free zone, and who has until now been overlooked by the cops. His attempts to convince her to move — he even shows her a photo of a house she can have — are met with skepticism. “Officer, this is the only home I know. All I have. You say you got a program to move me somewhere’s else. But you ain’t got no program for what’s outside my door?” she asks.Alerted by Bodie, Bell pays a visit to Hamsterdam and is amazed to find the scene just as Bodie described. Bell is impressed, but skeptical, too. “Tell you what. Put some of our people down here. Not too many. Just some of the younguns. Keep the package real small, in case this is a trap.”

    An impatient Barksdale orders his soldiers to “put a hurt to this Marlo. I want my corners.” Cutty lays out the plan to take back corners from Marlo’s crew, but trouble erupts when a Barksdale soldier Chipper ignores Cutty’s orders. Rushing into the action, Chipper and another solider are shot and killed. Cutty corners Fruit with his gun, but as he stares Fruit in the face, Cutty finds he can’t pull the trigger — and Fruit escapes.

    On a handball court, the two Councilmen Carcetti and Gray go at it, pausing between games to gossip. Carcetti is surprised to learn that State Delegate Odell Watkins has been speaking ill of the Mayor in public. Unaware that Carcetti is entertaining the idea of replacing the Mayor, Gray harbors his own fantasies about giving it a run.

    Bubbles tips off Greggs that Marlo and Barksdale are involved in a war, but Greggs, under orders to stop pursuing Barksdale, is uninterested. At least until she learns that Marlo’s gang has just killed two Barksdale players. In the war that is sure to follow, Bubbles says, “Westside gonna be all Baghdad an’ shit.” Armed with this new evidence, Greggs and McNulty plead with Daniels yet again to let them pursue their old foes, especially now that Barksdale and Bell are dropping bodies. Daniels is infuriated by their continued refusal to take no for an answer, and suggesting they’re being insubordinate, throws them out of his office. Later they conspire to get him to change his mind. “Maybe if the word came down from on high,” suggests Greggs. “I mean, if your old friend Bunny Colvin’s up to his ass in bodies, I’d bet he’d take all the help he can get. Not that you’d ever go behind anyone’s back or anything like that, right?” But, in a familiar fashion, that’s just what McNulty does, telling Colvin what’s going on and asking him to “keep my name out of it.”

    When Bell and Barksdale learn that the assault on Marlo went bad, they again take opposite sides. Bell wants to lay back, wait till the streets cool down and the cops get back to business as usual. Barksdale wants action: “Ain’t got no more motherfuckin’ time now. When word of this get out that the boy, Marlo, punked me, what am I gonna look like?” Bell cautions that Barksdale needs to cool it, warning that if his name comes up around such a crime, he’ll go back to jail in a minute. Barksdale tells Cutty and Slim Charles to take care of Marlo themselves.

    Donette tells Brianna that McNulty paid her a visit and suggested that perhaps D’Angelo was murdered. Brianna, who had never considered that possibility, is all ears.

    Omar arranges a sitdown with Bunk, but any hopes the detective harbors that Omar wants to cooperate are quickly dashed. “Ain’t nobody gonna talk to you,” Omar declares. “I just come down here to make that clear.” When Bunk mentions that there’s an eyewitness, Omar says he has that covered as well. “He had a change of heart to that story,” Omar says of the witness. Bunk is enraged, and reminding Omar that they grew up together, tells him they once had neighbors who cared: “Rough as that neighborhood could be, we had us a community. Wasn’t nobody, no victim, who didn’t matter. Now all we got is bodies, and predatory motherfuckers like you.”

    Carcetti again leans on Therese D’Agostino, imploring her to handle his mayoral campaign.” Crime is outta fucking control,” he argues. She wants to know how he’s going to fix it. “The great white father rides to the rescue against a black incumbent mayor, in a city that’s sixty-five percent black?” she asks. Carcetti has a ready response: “Black, white, green — people are pissed off.”

    Mayor Royce is angry as the bodies pile up, and he and his Chief of Staff sweat Burrell: “You’re at 280 and you promised me 275 or under,” says Royce. “Three hundred before the new year and I’m not sure I can justify a full term for you.”

    Cutty, feeling badly that he allowed Fruit to escape, confesses the truth to Barksdale: that he couldn’t pull the trigger. Why not, Barksdale demands. “Whatever it is in you that lets you flow like you flow, it ain’t in me no more. Barksdale points out there are other things Cutty can do for him, but Cutty cuts him off: “I guess I ain’t made myself clear. The game ain’t in me no more. None of it.”

    Daniels is summoned to Burrell’s office, and when he arrives, he finds Colvin, Burrell and Rawls waiting to read him the riot act. McNulty’s backdoor approach has had its desired effect.

  7. 7 Nov 04: Back Burners:
    Avon Barksdale, out of prison and on the prowl, rides the West Side with Slim Charles, who shows him how the cops are out in force on the drug corners. “Likely ’cause we been dropping bodies,” explains Charles. He also tells Avon that Marlo — following Barksdale’s attempted hit on it — has closed up shop and is working as a drug wholesaler instead a retailer. Barksdale is amazed at Marlo’s hasty retreat: “An’ I was just beginning to respect the motherfucker for showin’ heart.” Herc, on duty in the free zone, is amazed when he spots Avon Barksdale, riding by in an SUV.Cutty, foreswearing the gangster life, has gone back to work with the yard crew and his eagerness to do a good job impresses his supervisor. “You walked through them old doors, didn’t you,” he asks Cutty. “Tried to,” Cutty admits, and then confides in him that things haven’t been going so well.At the Detail Office, Lt. Daniels summons his crew, and informs them they’re no longer pursuing Kintel Williamson. McNulty and Greggs share a guilty look when Daniels announces that their new targets are Stringer Bell and Marlo Stanfield. Their backdoor plot through Bunny Colvin has worked, but Daniels then calls McNulty into his office and asks him point blank if he went to Colvin behind Daniels’ back. When McNulty admits he did, Daniels is furious: “When the cuffs go on Stringer,” he says, “you need to find a new home. You’re done in this unit.”Omar, through his advisor Butchie, arranges to purchase Dozerman’s missing service revolver — the same gun Bunk has been pursuing. The gun appears after Omar puts the word out on the street, but Omar is reluctant to pay the gangster who supplied it until Omar is sure it’s authentic. “Tell him I’ll pay when it proves itself,” Omar says to Butchie. “Told him that already,” responds Butchie. “He say you can make it $1,500 for his trouble.” Then Butchie adds: “Conscience do cost.” Through Butchie, the gun is returned to Bunk.Barksdale soldier Bernard delivers to Shamrock a fresh load of burners — cell phones the Barksdale gang uses and discards after their minutes are used up — so the gang is always a step ahead of the wire. Shamrock tells him they’ll need 60 more in a few days. As Bernard heads out to purchase them the next day, a few at a time at a variety of convenience stores so as not to arouse suspicion, his smart-mouthed girlfriend Squeak chides him for not making quick work of the job by purchasing all the phones from a few stores. She wants to go to the movies.Colvin and Mello go over the latest crime statistics for Colvin’s district and learn that shootings and aggravated assaults are down five percent in almost every neighborhood except the free zone. Mello wants to know if Colvin’s going to let his bosses know that his experiment is working. “Too soon to take any credit,” says Colvin. “Might just be a, what do you call it, statistical aberration.”Councilman Carcetti tracks down Police Commissioner Burrell outside City Hall and then learns that Mayor Royce never even called Burrell, as he’d promised, to deal with the matter of beefing up the city’s witness protection program. An angry Carcetti is determined to exploit the recently murdered drug witness who was in police custody by using it against Royce. “You’re not gonna fuck me on this?” Burrell demands to know. “As it is, I’ve got the Mayor’s teeth in my ass on this,” he says. Carcetti promises that he won’t but later meets with Theresa D’Agostino at his house to plot strategy. She advises him not to confront the Mayor now by going to the press. “No one’s gonna remember your dead witness a year from now,” she tells him. “Wait for another witness to be killed, closer to the election,” she says.Freamon explains to McNulty and Greggs what he’s gleaned from the cell phone of Marlo’s soldier Fruit, which Bubbles retrieved and gave to Greggs. The data, which shows calls made to a network of now-defunct cell phone numbers, isn’t worth much by itself. “It’s all historical,” says Freamon. “We can find the network no problem, but when we do it’s a week old and they’ve dumped their phones. How we get a wire up — that part I haven’t figured out yet.” He adds. “Get us one good phone and we can do the whole network.”Donette, over dinner at her apartment, enrages Stringer Bell when she tells him that she shared with Brianna — D’Angelo’s mother — that the police are no longer convinced that D’Angelo’s death while in prison was a suicide. “It’s her son,” Donette says defensively. “Ain’t she got a right to know?”Bubbles, selling tunic-length white T-shirts out of a grocery cart, visits Hamsterdam at night. What he sees is a nightmare orgy of drug users shooting up, smoking crack; prostitutes at work; fighting and general chaos, complete with lots of young boys standing around idly, no longer needed by the drug lords as runners and lookouts. Amidst the inferno, Bubbles spots Johnny in a crack house, badly strung out and looking seriously ill.There’s trouble at Greggs’ house when she returns home after a late night at a bar. Cheryl is furious and lays in to Greggs. Greggs says she’s disappointed at the way their life has changed. “I miss us,” Greggs says. You wanted the baby, she tells Cheryl, “and I didn’t want to disappoint you on it. I didn’t wanna lose you.” Cheryl’s response: “I don’t think I could be more disappointed than I am right now.” Angry and hurt, she asks Greggs to leave.

    In Hamsterdam, Carver angrily confronts a dealer who’s cut loose the kids who worked for him as runners and lookouts on the city’s street corners. “So here you are making money hand over first and you’re too damn greedy to take care of your work force.” Carver tells the dealer that in the future, he and the other dealers must each cough up a hundred dollars a week as a kind of tax, simply for the right to do business in Hamsterdam.

    When the dealer comes back later and gives Carver the money he’s requested, Carver hands it back to him and tells him to pay the young boys with it, whether they do work or not. “Shit is like unemployment insurance,” Carver explains. “Every employer got to pay in. And if I find anyone holding out, he’s out of here, and back on the street getting’ his head busted.” Herc, observing the scene, asks Carver: “What are you, a fucking communist?”

    Having learned that Mayor Royce lied to him about shoring up the city’s witness protection system, Carcetti goes back to the Mayor’s office to pressure him into action. “Mr. Mayor, we’re probably only talking a few hundred thousand dollars that’s not already spoken for,” Carcetti prods. The Mayor, irate, responds: “Where would you have me begin, Councilman? Should I divert the money budgeted for snow removal in the first district this winter? How ’bout I reduce trash pickup citywide to once and week and put up witnesses at the Hyatt Inner Harbor?” The Mayor’s point: With the city in sorry financial shape, he can’t do any better. Carcetti takes this in without a response, but considering his own course of action.

    Staking out a drug corner, Greggs, Sydnor and McNulty observe Bodie and his crew suddenly jump in their SUV and drive away. Suspecting they have drugs with them, the detectives radio ahead and have the car stopped. Bodie and his company are outraged, especially since they are holding a sizeable quantity of drugs. They maintain they were heading for Hamsterdam to sell the drugs that have been seized, and are thus untouchable. “Yo, Officer, we got immunity from y’all. We goin’ to the free zone.” McNulty and his fellow detectives have no idea what the dealers are talking about and the scene grows increasingly tense until Major Colvin shows up.

    When Colvin arrives shortly thereafter, he pleads with McNulty and his fellow cops to let the matter slide, and not to take news of the free zone downtown. “I know it hurts your heads to think about it, but before you decide to lose your minds over this, you might take a moment and ride past some of my drug corners,” Colvin says. “Empty. All of them. And district-wide, my crime is down five percent.” Greggs is incredulous: “You legalized drugs and you didn’t tell the bosses.” Colvin explains that he’s “just trying to save what’s left of my district if I can. And the longer I have before I have to brief the bosses about this…”

    McNulty explains that they got what they wanted from the car bust anyway, which was a live cell phone with minutes left on it, and which Freamon can now use to trace the Barksdale network. Besides, McNulty owes Colvin a big favor for leaning on Rawls to redirect the Daniels detail once more towards McNulty’s favorite target: Stringer Bell. McNulty assures Colvin that his secret is safe, and then delivers Bodie’s cell phone to Freamon, who is pleased in the extreme.

    Bell meets with his attorney, Maurice Levy, angry that Levy didn’t stop Brianna from going to the police to see if she can learn whether her boy D’Angelo was in fact murdered. “It was her son,” says Levy. “How was I going to stop her? There’s no harm done if she keeps her mouth shut and just listens.” Levy also suggests that Avon should know what’s going on. Bell, brooding darkly, says he’ll handle that matter.

    McNulty tracks Theresa D’Agostino to a DNC fundraiser in Washington, and talks his way into the event, intent on seeing her again. Finding her deep in conversation, he starts to leave when she catches up to him, presses her room key into his hand and tells him to wait for her, that she’ll be free by 11 p.m.

    Cutty visits Grace’s friend the deacon at church, and explains that he’s now serious about changing his life. “I had this feelin’ for a long time now like I’m outside of myself, watching me do things I don’t wanna do, you know?”

    At a ceremony at police headquarters, Burrell and Mayor Royce grandstand for the press over the return of Dozerman’s service revolver. “Officer Dozerman,” the Mayor says, “our citizens want you to have this back and to thank you for your service in defense of our city.” Carcetti, watching the press conference on TV, is deflated by the good publicity for the Mayor.

    The throwaway cell phone confiscated from Bodie is a potential breakthrough in the Detail’s case against Bell and Barksdale. “Check it out,” says Freamon, who has quickly managed to track all the calls placed to and from the phone. This is the pattern of a closed communication network. Something that you would expect from a drug organization. This particular one so far involves fifteen distinct burners.” The bad news is, even if they get a wiretap approved, it’ll take so long that the other throwaway phones the dealers are using will have been discarded by the time the approval comes through. But Freamon says it would be helpful to corroborate his theory if the Detail could collect more throwaways from Barksdale corners.

    Marlo, still smarting from Barksdale’s attack on him and his gang, responds by ordering one of his female soldiers, Snoop, to take revenge. In short order, she shoots at Barksdale’s gang members Poot and Rico. Rico is killed but Poot escapes, shaken but unharmed.

    Herc stuns McNulty by telling him that Avon Barksdale is on the loose again, that Herc saw him riding in an SUV. Greggs doesn’t believe it either: “Jesus, Herc. He’s at Jessup, down for four or five at least. What, we all look alike to you?” At the Detail Office later, McNulty is incredulous when he checks Barksdale’s status at the prison and learns that in fact, Avon has been released. Daniels, Freamon, Prez, Sydnor, and Greggs gather around McNulty’s computer, disbelieving and disheartened. Avon Barksdale has beaten the system

  8. 14 Nov 04:Moral Midgetry
    The open-air drug market at Hamsterdam appears to be flourishing. Prostitution thrives, dealers sell, junkies overdose and coeds make buys as drug paraphernalia sellers ply their trade and common criminals are drawn to the action. One gang lures dealers into an abandoned rowhouse with the promise of gold jewelry at bargain-basement prices, only to rob them when they step inside to survey the wares.Carver spots one of the dealers, bound and gagged, crawling on his belly down the stairs from the rowhouse, but by then, the thieves have fled and the dealers are outraged. “Can’t you ever get a motherfucking police ’round here when you need one?” shouts one. Believing the cops have reneged on their word to keep the place safe, they are furious. “You say it’s gonna be like the Valley of Eden up in here,” says one.Major Bunny Colvin proudly shows off a cleaned-up street corner in his district to the Deacon—the same church man who offered help to Cutty Wise—and the Deacon wants to know how Colvin has managed this miracle. So Colvin takes him to the free zone. There, he learns of the robbery and acknowledges that the dealers have a point about police protection. “We tell ’em they have to come down here without the guns, then we fall down on providing protection,” he says to Carver. When Carver points out that an even bigger issue is the fifty to sixty kids who are hanging out in Hamsterdam, no longer employed by the dealers, Colvin suggests Carver hire them as perimeter patrols, to keep an eye out for predators. Taking it all in, the Deacon is as appalled as he is mystified: “What in God’s name did you do here?”At the Detail Office, Prez’s latest investigation is an impressive bit of handiwork. He has tracked the disposable cell phone—the burner—the police took from Bodie and traced every step of its existence, from manufacturer through middlemen to the Mondo Mart in Falls Church, Va., where it was sold to a Barksdale soldier. Prez has also traced the numbers on the phone’s speed dial to Bodie’s grandmother and to six other disposable phones. He has discovered the location—all of them along Interstate 95—where each of the other Barksdale phones was purchased. Freamon, marveling at the care with which Barksdale’s gang is operating, notes: “They’re driving two hundred miles every couple weeks out of sheer caution. They’re dumping phones every two weeks or so and still they’re worried about catching a wiretap.”Avon Barksdale visits the West Baltimore funeral home where Rico, the soldier killed by Marlo, lies in a casket. “This motherfucker Marlo? Time to go deep on this nigger,” Barksdale says.As McNulty and Greggs hit I-95 in search of a surveillance tape at one of the convenience stores where the burners were purchased, McNulty gets a call from Brianna Barksdale who wants to talk with him about her son.Stringer Bell is angry with State Sen. Clay Davis, because the construction documents Bell bribed Davis to provide have not yet come through. “Feels like ain’t shit changed except for a growing lightness in my wallet,” says Bell, but Davis reassures him that it will all happen in a few days. And, Davis adds, he’s also hooked Bell up to be the minority light bulb contractor to the Baltimore Board of Education, which will involve no work and bring Bell $5,000 a month. Davis reassures Bell that he’ll help induct him into the netherworld of governmental procurement, but that Bell must be patient. When Bell protests that he’s ready now, Davis tells him he’s still “showing a bit of the street mentality—buggin’ about every dime you spend. Three years,” counsels Davis. “Crawl, walk, then run.”The Deacon rips Colvin for creating Hamsterdam, calling it “a great village of pain,” and insisting that Colvin also provide needle exchange, condom distribution and drug-treatment intake for the denizens of the free zone.Cutty, revisting the Deacon in a different frame of mind, reaffirms his commitment to changing. “I just need to be in control of my life,” Cutty says. The Deacon asks: “What would you say if I told you there’s a certain liberation not in command or self control but in surrender?”With Theresa D’Agostino looking on, Carcetti chairs a meeting of his Public Safety Subcommittee and questions Rawls and Burrell about why reduced crime in the Western District alone—Colvin’s territory—accounts for half of the city’s crime drop. Burrell explains it as a statistical aberration and says he’ll scrutinize it next month if it’s repeated. Then Carcetti rips the cops once again for their failure to provide adequate witness protection. As he reaches a peak of self-righteous posturing, he notices D’Agostino departing the hearing room. Later, he’s crushed when she explains to him that politics is about more than winning arguments, that he needs to temper his ambition and sharp tongue and work on being more likeable.Herc, Carver, Colicchio and other cops gather outside after work to share a beer and debate the merits both of Hamsterdam and of its creator—their boss—Bunny Colvin. “It’s moral midgetry,” says an outraged Colicchio. “Let’s turn the fuckin’ world upside down. Let’s treat these braindead corner yo’s like princelings.” Carver defends his boss: “You see how clean the corners are? In every sector, the traffic is half what it was.” Colicchio is unmoved: “He’s gotta know what a heartbreaker it is to suit up every morning for this shit.” Carver continues in Colvin’s defense, “The man’s trying something. It might be hard to stomach, but it’s working. After 30 years, don’t you think he’s earned the right to some elbow room on this?”

    Greggs and McNulty spend the night in a cheap motel room awaiting access to a convenience-store surveillance tape that they hope will enable them to track the Barksdale soldier who purchases the burners. McNulty learns that Greggs has moved back in with her lover, but can’t resist making a pass anyway. “Hey, you know me,” he says by way of explanation when he’s rebuffed. Later, they meet FBI Special Agent Terrance Fitzhugh at the Detail Office and, thanks to a computer program he’s brought along, bingo: they zoom in on the Barksdale soldier who buys the burners and manage to extract a license number.

    At a meeting of police commanders at headquarters, Bunny Colvin struggles to justify the Western District’s crime drop while holding on to his secret: “Through the effective use of resources, an increased police presence and an intensive reach out into the community we’ve been able to have a significant impact on those areas to the effect of a 12 percent decrease overall.” Rawls is skeptical: “Seriously Bunny. I already got the City Council asking questions about the 8 percent. We want to please the mayor, not go to jail behind this shit.” Colvin’s reply: “Sometimes, the gods listen, sir.”

    D’Angelo Barksdale’s mother Brianna presses McNulty for details of her son’s death. “D’Angelo hung himself,” she declares. “Not with the belt they found around his neck,” McNulty tells her. “Not with that distance between the doorknob and the floor.” “No,” replies Brianna, disbelieving. “Nobody would have dared. My brother, his uncle… This is just you talking, right?” “Just me,” McNulty responds. “No one else cares. Look, I’m sorry I brought you into the whole mess up to begin with because frankly nobody’s gonna do shit about it anyhow. Whoever killed him wanted it to come off as a suicide, and the cops are only too happy to have one less murder to investigate. On top of that, the Anne Arundel State’s Attorney doesn’t give a fuck, I’m not supposed to give a fuck…” When Brianna asks why McNulty went to Donette and not to her with his suspicions, he plays the guilt card hard and fast: “Honestly? I was looking for someone who cared about the kid. I mean, like I said, you told him to take the years.” Brianna, overcome with guilt, begins to weep.

    Over a game of pool, the Deacon describes Hamsterdam as “a five-acre Petri dish” and again presses Colvin to recognize the unique opportunity he has and begin implementing public health and social programs. “All kinds of liberal-assed projects never got off the page they was written on,” replies a skeptical Colvin. When Colvin resists further, Deacon plays his trump card, threatening to blow the whistle on Hamsterdam: “Move it or lose it, boss.”

    Carcetti consults a media trainer and watches a video of his performance at the last Council Subcommittee meeting. “Use open, warm phrases. Nothing sharp, nothing that bites,” advises the consultant. “Where’s the fun in that?” Carcetti wants to know.

    Brianna calls on her brother Avon but Bell runs interference, telling her Avon is tied up. When she brings up McNulty and the message he is spreading, Bell warns her that McNulty is “just trying to drive a wedge up in here.”

    Barksdale activates a plot to track down Omar’s family with the help of a social worker whom he figures must have provided welfare to Omar’s family at some point. Greggs and McNulty visit the car rental office where they’ve traced the Barksdale soldier who buys the burners. Clayton Davis introduces Stringer Bell to the man who can make him even richer, a white executive who gives Bell a piece of the Board of Ed light bulb action.

    Barksdale sends a girl, Devonne, to bait Marlo. Marlo picks her up in a club, and after enjoying her company, agrees to meet her later at a restaurant, the Lake Trout. When the Barksdale gang learns of the planned rendezvous, they stake out the Lake Trout prior to the meeting, but are observed by Marlo’s scouts, who shoot into the Barksdale car, wounding Avon. Later, as he’s sewn up by a veterinarian with Bell looking on, Avon is angry over Bell’s apparent obsession with money. “You know the difference between me and you,” Barksdale asks bitterly. “I’m bleedin’ red and you bleedin’ green. I look at you these days, String, you know what I see? I see a man without a country. Not hard enough for this right here and maybe, just maybe, not smart enough for them out there…”

    Thus provoked, Bell reveals to Avon that it was he who had Avon’s nephew D’Angelo killed. Avon is enraged by this news, and throws himself on Bell, wounded shoulder and all. After a brief struggle, Bell subdues Avon and tells him: “I took that shit off you and put it on me, because that motherfucker was out of pocket, with 20 years above his fucking head. He flips, they have you, me, Brianna. No fucking way.” Knowing the truth of Bell’s statement, Avon accepts in reluctantly. “Let me up,” he says resignedly to Bell. “String, let me up.” Moral Midgetry:

  9. 21 Nov 04: Slapstick:
    McNulty is awaked from a dead sleep sometime before dawn by Theresa D’Agostino, who has checked into a Baltimore hotel and wants the detective’s company. He awakens Sean, his oldest boy, and tells him his cell number is on the table, and that he’ll be back later, and heads into the night for a tryst with his lover. Returning home, he tries to interest himself in the talking heads on TV, ruminating about politics, but it’s just too boring, and watches an old movie instead.The Deacon visits “Cutty” Wise, now known as Dennis since he’s renounced the street life. Wise is clearing out the space where he hopes to launch a gym to work with kids. Deacon points out that once it’s clean, “all you gonna need is the permits.” Wise doesn’t have a clue what he means.Two Barksdale soldiers — Gerard and Sapper — observe Omar get out of a cab outside his grandma’s house and disappear inside. Frantically, they phone their lieutenant, Slim Charles, to see if they should defy the ghetto’s traditional Sunday morning truce and make a hit on Omar. With Slim Charles unavailable, they call Shamrock. He’s with Stringer Bell, in the midst of a tense meeting with syndicate members, who are unhappy about Barksdale’s ongoing war with the Marlo. When Bell gives them the go-ahead, they fire at Omar and his grandma as they emerge from her house on their way to church. Spotting them coming, however, Omar shoves his grandma in a cab and they speed off as the window glass shatters.At the syndicate meeting, the members press Bell over Avon’s refusal to give up his old territorial ways and live with the new reality: cooperation. “Your man needs to reconcile himself to this new way of thinking,” Proposition Joe says to Bell.Bunny Colvin brags to the Deacon that the West Side of Baltimore has experienced a 14 percent decrease in felonies since Hamsterdam was born. “But God knows,” the Deacon observes, “what happens when you let go of your secret.” Colvin’s response: “Whatever happens, happens. They can keep my little experiment going, or they can go back to business as usual. That’s on them. Me? I’m gone, either way.”Omar is enraged at the Sunday morning attempt on his life, even more so by the fact that he was with his grandma, who was cut by flying glass. “Barksdale gotta be got,” Omar says. “Stringer, too. This thing gotta end.” Kimmy tells him to count her out if that’s what he intends to do, but Dante says he’s with Omar all the way. Omar refuses hs offer, telling them both, “This one about me. Ain’t about no one else.”At the Detail Office, Daniels tells his troops they’re nearly ready to run some new wires on the throwaway phones the Barksdale gang is using. But when State’s Attorney Pearlman calls on a VP of the wireless company, he resists cooperating with the police. Only when Pearlman resorts to threats does he begin to get the picture. “How about this,” Pearlman says to him. “How about the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City calls a press conference on the courthouse steps to declare that Bay Wireless is in league with the most violent drug traffickers in the city, preventing their arrest and apprehension by law enforcement.”At the Baltimore municipal offices, a bewildered Dennis Wise encounters City Hall red tape at its stickiest, and learns that he needs a slew of permits from a variety of city agencies before he can even contemplate opening a gym. Later, when he shares his frustration with Reverend Reid, a friend of the Deacon, Reid asks Cutty if he happened to “use my name.” Hearing no for an answer, Reid has his assistant phone State Delegate Odell Watkins.Barksdale soldier Bernard, with his girlfriend Squeak, rents a car to make the next I-70 run to purchase a bag full of disposable phones — burners — but this time he’s followed by Detective Sydnor, who tracks each purchase. Greggs and McNulty meanwhile press Bubbles back into service, wiring him to record his drug purchase in Hamsterdam from Barksdale dealer Bodie. He’s instructed to wait until Bodie is low on product and then make a large enough purchase that Bodie has to phone for a replenished supply. Bubbles follows orders, and sure enough, Bodie cranks up his burner to order up a new supply of heroin.At the Detail Office, McNulty is busy typing up a transcript of Bubble’s conversation with Bodie when the cops decide to order Chinese food. Sitting in their car after picking up the food, McNulty and Prez hear a radio call alerting them to an officer in need of assistance a few blocks from where they sit. They screech off, McNulty jumping out of the car when they arrive, and Prez Prez driving on to look for the source of the gunshots they hear. More shots are fired and a short while later, McNulty comes upon Prez, kneeling over the body of a dead cop, Patrolman Derrick Waggoner, whom Prez has mistaken for a criminal and killed.Barksdale, still mired in the old days, reassures Bell that things are going to be okay. “We gonna be back where we was, String. I can smell it, man. Just gotta get this boy Marlo and then spread out like we do.” Bell tells Barksdale that the co-op is not happy about the ongoing violence over Marlo, to which Barksdale responds, “Fuck them niggers.” Bell realizes that trying to convince Barksdale that he’s wrong, and that the rules have changed, is hopeless. Barksdale quizzes Bell about whether Bell in fact gave the go-ahead to shoot Omar on a Sunday morning. “Sunday truce been there as long as the game itself,” Barksdale says. “I mean, you can do some shit and say what the fuck, but hey, never on no Sunday.” Changing the subject, Bell suggests that they add a few more crews in Hamsterdam. “Take what profit we can,” Bell says. “You trust that shit?” Barksdale wants to know. “So far,” Bell responds. “An’ if they runnin’ a game, ain’t be no one above a crew chief who take a charge, right?”

    Pearlman and Daniels pay a call on FBI Special Agent Fitzhugh, to try and convince him to lean on the cellular company that makes the disposable cell phones, and see if he can’t convince them to be even more cooperative with the police. “They’re only half scared of us,” Pearlman says, “but a visit from the feds? You all have a profile enough to push them.” Fitzhugh however tells them that “the bureau’s a little busy with counterterrorism, and our U.S. Attorney here only touches himself at the mention of political corruption.”

    Proposition Joe goes to see Marlo’s ally Vinson, offering to mediate the peace between Marlo and Barksdale. “Tell the boy he can come in with the co-op,” Prop Joe says. “If he takes our package, which by the way is better than the best he putting out there now, he’ll keep his corners. Guaranteed.” Vinson replies that Marlo might listen, except that he thinks Avon is weak right now. Prop Joe reminds him: “You ever know Avon Barksdale to back down from anything?”

    Daniels visits Prez at Police Headquarters. Prez is in shock over what he’s done, and Daniels gently coaches him about what he needs to say to take care of himself. Among other things, he urges Prez to get a lawyer but Prez refuses. “No, sir. I’m done.” Departing, Daniels tells Sgt. Landsman that he wants someone to go home with Prez. “For tonight at least, he’s a suicide watch.”

    In the wiretap room at the Detail Office, Freamon says that he’s now got taps on eight of the burners. What they’re looking for, Freamon explains, “is for one of these phones to show a signature for our man Bodie. Calls to his girlfriend, his grandmother — the numbers we pulled off his burner. We see that, we know it’s his phone. We know it’s his phone, we know that he uses it to sell drugs. We know all that — we get a tap and pray like hell he doesn’t throw it away anytime soon.”

    Dennis Wise meets with State Delegate Odell Watkins, who offers his help in cutting through the bureaucratic red tape that’s entangled Wise. An unhappy Bell meanwhile meets with State Senator Clay Davis, showing him a letter he just received from HUD saying that Bell is not yet certified as a developer. “I give you a quarter million dollars to have them tell me my paperwork is insufficient to certify me as a developer in the empowerment zone?” Davis says he’ll straighten things out, but that Bell needs to understand that real estate is a different line of work: “It ain’t like no drug deal, String. You don’t put your money on the street and have it come right back. It don’t work like that. Patience, my man. Patience.”

    At Carcetti’s office, Councilman Anthony Gray surprises Carcetti by showing him a new “Gray for Mayor” bumper sticker he’s had made up. “Nice colors,” Carcetti says. “You got a platform?” Unaware somehow of Carcetti’s own ambitions, Gray invites Carcetti to run with him on his ticket, for Council President. “Me at the top of the ticket,” says Gray. “an emerging black leader, handsome, well-spoken — you the Great White Hope, the new voice of civic reform. We’d give Royce a run, boy.” Carcetti’s response: “What makes you think I’m interested in council president?” “What the hell else you got going,” Gray wants to know, underestimating his friend.

    In Hamsterdam, a young black teenager turns up dead, and Colvin’s creation is suddenly threatened. Carver tries to convince Herc to help him move the body a few blocks, out of Hamsterdam, so the detectives assigned to the case won’t start asking around Hamsterdam. Herc is outraged and refuses to help. In fact, he’s so upset with the way things are going that he phones the Baltimore Sun, presumably with the idea that he’ll blow the whistle on Colvin and Hamsterdam. When Colvin arrives on the scene and realizes that Carver moved the body, he insists to Carver that he’ll take the rap for tampering with the scene of the crime. And he also pulls together a group of dealers from Hamsterdam and reads them the riot act: “What I’m sayin’ is, come tomorrow, if I don’t have a shooter in bracelets, the Hamsterdam thing is over, finished. It’s back to the corners for all of us and fuck y’all any way we can. You hear me? It was good while it lasted. For y’all it was cash on the barrel and no one needs no bail money. For me, I had clean corners damn near everywhere I looked. But that’s all gone tomorrow unless y’all bring me my shooter.”

    At the Funeral Home, Brianna Barksdale finally gets her sit-down with her brother Avon and Stringer. The two of them stonewall her on the subject of her son, pointing out that McNulty is a liar and that there’s no evidence that D’Angelo was murdered. “Dee did not roll on us,” Brianna says. “He came to the edge, but he turned around and walked away.” Feeling cornered by her accusations and her pleas to understand what really happened with D’Angelo, Barksdale grows angry: “The fuck you even thinking? That I had something to do with it? That I could do that to my own kin? Is that what you think? The fuck is in your head Brie? I ain’t do nothing to Dee. I ain’t have shit to do with it.” “To do with what?” Brianna wants to know.

    McNulty, slightly intimidated, has dinner with Theresa D’Agostino in a fancy D.C. restaurant. The more she learns about him — that he only has a year of college under his belt, that he is essentially an apolitical being who doesn’t know the difference between a red state and a blue state and who didn’t even bother to vote in the presidential election — the less interested she is in him. When McNulty takes her home, she doesn’t invite him in.

    When Bell learns about Colvin’s edict that Hamsterdam will be shut down if no one turns himself in, he asks one of his soldiers who the shooter was. “Some young boy in Tuckie’s crew,” he learns. When Bell asks why he used the gun, his soldier tells him: “Some nigger in one-a Ghost Kane’s crews laughed at his shoes.” “Do it,” Bell replies, and sure enough, a bit later, a young black man turns himself in at the Western District headquarters.

  10. 28 Nov 04: Reformation
    New York enforcer Brother Mouzone and Lamar arrive at the scene of the demolished towers. With Lamar questioning the disappearance of the buildings, Mouzone explains it simply, “Reform, Lamar. Reform.” But with revenge on his mind Mouzone immediately sets about finding Omar. On the streets of the West Side, the war between Marlo and Barksdale continues to draw blood. Fruit muscles through the spectators of a crime scene to find one of his men dead. A few blocks away, Justin and Jamal finds Latroy shot to death moments earlier beside the driver’s side of Marlo’s Denali. Minutes later, Slim Charles and crew report in to Avon that two more are gone.At the Detail Room, Freamon manages to connect a burner to Bodie after he uses it to call his grandmother. Daniels and Pearlman visit Judge Phelan, pleading with him to speed up the process by which the Detail is able to tap into the burners. By the time the cops have figured out the numbers on the burners, the cell phones are trashed a few days later. Phelan, always playful with Pearlman, is in a cooperative mood: “Best I can do for you is this: you give me a boilerplate affidavit with the [probable cause] from the court report. And as you get fresh numbers for new disposables, you call me any time, day or night, to jump phones.”Afterwards, Daniels asks Pearlman about Phelan’s flirtatous behavior towards her. Beneficial as it is to their case, Daniels is only curious to know how long its been going on. Pearlman explains that Phelan has been like this since the first time she stepped into his courtroom. “Bet you won all your motions,” Daniels observes.Bunny Colvin meets with Carver to thank him for having moved the dead body away from Hamsterdam. He appreciates Carver’s loyalty, he says, but adds that Carver “ain’t shit when it comes to policin’.” Colvin’s primary criticism is that while Carver has good instincts as a cop, he has failed to develop any confidential sources on the street to tell him what’s really going on, and that failure inhibits his effectiveness. He is interrupted, however, with bad news from Lt. Mello, who tells him a local reporter is on to Colvin’s scheme. “He’s been to the free zones — all three of ’em,” Mello says. “Now he’s callin’ around for quotes.”Colvin quickly arranges to meet the reporter at Hamsterdam and when he’s asked who knows about this at headquarters, Colvin lies to him: “Command is well aware of the situation.” In a desperate bid to keep the lid on Hamsterdam, Colvin convinces the reporter that prosecution of the dealers will begin soon, and implores him to sit on the story for a couple of weeks. “Bottom line is that if you start throwing calls right now, everyone is gonna shit blue thinking we got a leak. They might come up on the case early, not get all they could out of the work we did down here.” The reporter agrees to give Colvin a week in exchange for the exclusive.Dennis “Cutty” Wise, having pulled his gym together, goes to Hamsterdam to round up young boys he can work with. Carver, supervising a basketball game among the kids of Hamsterdam, urges them to check out Wise’s place. When they do show up, however, they are so unruly and disrespectful that Wise loses his temper and runs them off. Later, determined to stick with his plan of helping some of the young dealers get back on the right path, Wise returns to Hamsterdam and apologizes to the boys he pushed away. “I’m new at this coachin’ thing,” he says. “I got us off on the wrong foot. Didn’t wanna leave it between us, you thinkin’ I gave up on y’all.”Brother Mouzone, making discreet inquiries into the whereabouts of the man who shot him the last time he was in Baltimore, learns that his name is Omar, that he’s not part of Barksdale’s gang and that he is gay. For his part, Omar asks his counselor Butchie to put the word out that Omar will pay cash money to get at the Barksdale gang. Butchie says that isn’t necessary, and tells him what Omar wanted to know all along: the funeral home location of Barksdale’s headquarters.Theresa D’Agostino, having agreed to be a campaign consultant for Tommy Carcetti, meets with the candidate and his friends, advising him that he needs more black faces behind him in order to get elected Mayor of Baltimore. She points out that the only way Carcetti can win is to ensure that his good friend Anthony Gray mounts a viable candidacy, drawing votes away from Mayor Royce. “Splitting the black vote is the only way to make the math work,” she says. Carcetti is stricken with a rare bout of conscience as he considers that Gray, one of his closest friends, will be reduced to playing a supporting role in Carcetti’s political rise. “It isn’t personal,” advises D’Agostino. “It’s politics. Live with it or lose.”At his headquarters, Stringer Bell arrives to discover three new bodyguards, two of which shadow him when he departs, much to his dismay. Arriving at a West Baltimore liquor store, he orders the bodyguards to stay in the car while he goes inside. There, he meets members of the drug syndicate — Proposition Joe, Fatface Rick and Phil Boy — who are angry about the ongoing feud between Barksdale and Marlo. They inform Bell that if the matter isn’t settled quickly, the Barksdale gang will be cut off. “The boys don’t want to extend that good shit if it keeps you and your people out on them corners bangin’,” says Prop Joe. He also tells Stringer that he won’t be leading the syndicate any longer either if Avon doesn’t chill out: “The feeling is it ain’t right for you to be at the head of our table, when you can’t call off your dog. Call it a crisis of leadership.”Marlo, also intent on revenge, waits outside the house of Devonne, the girl who seduced him at the behest of Barksdale, and lured him to the Lake Trout Lounge. As she emerges from her home, Marlo shoots her twice in the chest and puts a final bullet in her mouth.Carrying the syndicate’s message back to Avon, Stringer focuses on the positive: “I just came from Prop Joe,” he tells Avon. “He say we can still work this out.” But he also tells Barksdale the bad news: “Prop Joe and them niggers, they took a vote. We ain’t have the good dope, so even if we win, we lose, ’cause we ain’t gonna have the product to put it on the fucking corners.” Bell further accuses Avon of “shooting dope without a fucking needle, getting’ high on a power trip, playin’ soldier.” Bell pleads hard with Barksdale to drop the feud with Marlo, pointing out that the stakes are much higher than a few corners, but their talk is interrupted with news that Marlo has killed Devonne. “You still want to talk truce, String,” Avon wants to know. Later, Bell makes a call to the Baltimore police department.

    At the Detail Room, McNulty and Greggs return to discover that the Barksdale gang has ditched their burners much faster than usual, and so the Detail no longer has any phones tapped. “We just spent $9,000 and change for 18 intercepts,” Daniels says, “five of them non-pertinent. That’s close to $700 per drug call.” In desperation, they hatch a plan — which they carry to Judge Phelan — to try and sell burners to the Barksdale gang. “Let me understand,” says Phelan. “You want to sell drug traffickers a series of cell phones that are pre-approved for telephonic intercepts. And you want me to sign off on court-ordered taps on a bunch of phones that — at the time I am signing the order — have not been used for any illegal activity whatsoever.” Phelan then agrees to the plan.

    Greggs and McNulty press Bubbles into service once again. Bubbles is an acquaintance of Squeak, girlfriend of Bernard, whose job it is to make the periodic run to convenience stores and purchase the burners for the Barksdale gang. Intercepting Squeak as if by accident, Bubbles makes her an offer she finds difficult to refuse. He’ll sell her the same kind of cell phone her boyfriend is purchasing but at a seriously discounted rate. Later, Squeak brings Bernard to meet Freamon, posing as a hustler. Bernard is skeptical but Freamon plays his role well and Bernard takes the bait: “We can do business,” he says.

    Colvin finally faces the music at his Comstat meeting. He shows a variety of photographs of former drug corners, now clean and empty of vice. Plowing ahead, he explains step by step the creation of Hamsterdam, and how the result was a dramatic drop in felony incidents in his district. Rawls gets it even as his incredulous colleagues in the department do not: “Don’t you see what he’ s done. He legalized drugs!”

    Colvin is careful to explain that it is he, not his men, who are guilty: “What I did, I did knowingly and on my own. My men had nothin’ to do with it. They thought it was all part of an elaborate trap. So if you need me to fall on that sword, I’m good with that.” Rawls, as furious as he is, is also grudgingly impressed with Colvin’s outrageous scheme. “Bunny, you cocksucker, I got to give it to you, a brilliant idea. Insane and illegal, but stone fuckin’ brilliant nonetheless. After all my puttin’ my foot up people’s asses to get the numbers down, he comes along and in one stroke, gets a 14 fuckin’ percent decrease. Fuckin’ shame it’s gonna end our careers, but still.” As a parting shot, Colvin hands Commissioner Burrell a stack of letters from community associations, ministers, business people, citizens. “All positive,” Colvin says. “Happy the dealers aren’t on their corners anymore.” Oh, and one more thing he adds as he exits: “A Sun reporter is aware of my deployments. I told him a major investigation was pending and he agreed to delay his article.”

    Later, Burrell reports to an incredulous Mayor Royce what Colvin has been up to. “He did it without our knowledge,” Burrell is quick to reassure. He tries to convince the Mayor that they can make it disappear, explain it away as “some sort of new initiative to trap high end drug dealers,” but Royce is having none of it. “I trusted you, Erv,” he says to Burrell. You let me down. This goes wrong, no tellin’ the damage. On this, you walk point.”

    Brother Mouzone sends his soldier Lamar into a low-end gay bar to see if he can scare up Omar. When Omar isn’t in evidence, they try another gay bar, and while Omar isn’t around, we do spot Major Rawls, sitting at the bar, off duty and on the prowl. Lamar returns to the first bar, still looking for Omar, and roughs up a customer who irritates him before departing. Omar’s man Dante, taking all of this in, follows Lamar to the parking lot and asks if he can help him. Brother Mouzone flattens Dante with a punching, saying to him: “I don’t doubt it for a minute.”

  11. 12 Dec 04: Middle Ground
    Brother Mouzone confronts Omar on a dark West Side street, and after a tense standoff, reveals what’s on his mind: How can he get to Stringer Bell?In the Detail Office, Freamon, McNulty and Officer Caroline Massey begin reaping the fruits of their scheme to sell burners to the Barksdale gang. Soon, however, they’re frustrated again when they realize that Stringer Bell is still out of reach. He has his own cell phone, and doesn’t use a burner like his soldiers do. McNulty, remembering an FBI device that plucked a phone number off a cell tower during the waterfront investigation, visits his old pal Agent Fitzhugh and asks if he can borrow it. He’s stunned to learn that his own department has three such devices, provided by Homeland Security. Sure enough, he finds them unopened, in the department’s storage room.Police Commissioner Burrell debates with Rawls and other ranking officers what to do about Hamsterdam, but the decision ultimately belongs to Mayor Royce. The Mayor is involved in his own internal debate, with political advisors on the one hand urging him to shut it down immediately and public health officials on the other arguing that Hamsterdam has given them rare access to an at-risk population. For his part, the Mayor is intrigued by the drop in violent crime and is inclined to explore ways to extend the experiment without spending political capital. “A 14% decline in felonies citywide and I might be untouchable on this. We need to see if there’s some way to keep this thing going without calling it what it is.”Dennis Wise continues to work with the boys at his West Side gym, but it’s a makeshift affair and as he teaches them to box, he worries that one of them may be injured because his equipment is second rate. In desperation, he pleads his case to Avon Barksdale, who, to Wise’s amazement, gives him $15,000 to fix up the gym, $5000 more than Wise has asked.Stringer Bell, angry that the $250,000 he gave State Senator Clay Davis has produced none of the promised results, adds a new term to his vocabulary: “rainmade.” Maurice Levy, Bell’s lawyer, explains: “A guy says if you pay him, he can make it rain. You pay him. If and when it rains, he takes the credit. If and when it doesn’t, he comes up with reasons for you to pay more. Clay Davis rainmade you.” Observing Bell’s angry response, he adds: “It’s an old game in this town, and Clay Davis? That goniff was born with his hand in someone’s pocket. I just wish you’d have run all this by me earlier.”Burrell, not understanding the Mayor’s reluctance to shut Hamsterdam down, fears that he’s being set up and goes to Councilman Carcetti with the story, hoping Carcetti will use it against the Mayor. “I spin Royce before he spins me,” Burrell tells Carcetti. Soon, Carcetti shares the news with Theresa D’Agostino, who advises him to get in touch with Colvin and hear his side of the story firsthand.Having worked himself into a full-fledged rage, Bell arrives drunk at Avon’s safehouse, demanding to see his partner. While he’s waiting, Bell tells Slim Charles that he has a job for him: killing Clay Davis. Slim Charles is taken aback by the request: “Shit, murder ain’t no thing, but this here is some assassination shit,” he tells Bell. Barksdale arrives at the same moment, amused by Bell’s state, and tells him that “Slim gonna have to sit this one out.” When Bell protests, Avon reminds him that to take out a state senator will bring a world of cops down on them. Besides, Avon chides, “You a fuckin’ businessman. You don’t wanna get all gangsta wild and shit.”Once the cellphone tracking device is up and running, Freamon plucks Bell’s private cell number out of the ozone in no time, and is puzzled when he observes Bell calling Major Bunny Colvin. Later, unknown to the Detail, Bell meets Colvin in a graveyard at night, and betrays his partner Avon, who is thwarting Bell’s ambitions to expand their empire. Not only does Avon insist on prolonging the feud with Marlo but he won’t let Bell order a hit on Davis. So Bell tells Colvin the location of the safehouse where Avon hides out, and that the police will find an arsenal of weapons there. Bell expresses hope that Colvin will limit Avon’s fall to five years or less in jail. “If you hit the joint, his people are gonna try to take any weight, say all that firepower is theirs. So all you gotta do is hit him with the parole back-up.” Colvin responds that Avon will do at least a nickel, and says to Bell, “He musta done something to you.” Bell’s response: “It’s only business.”Avon has the same response — it’s all about business — when Brother Mouzone interrupts Avon’s haircut in a West Baltimore barber shop. Mouzone recounts his near-death experience the previous year at the hands of Omar, making it clear he knows Omar was set up to kill him, and that it was Stringer Bell who set the plot in motion. Barksdale asks if money will fix the problem, but Mouzone says only one course of action will resolve the matter: “What you got here is your word and your reputation. With that alone, you’ve still got an open line to New York. Without it, you’re done.” In other words, Stringer Bell must pay for his sins. Cornered, Barksdale sees no option but to cooperate.Later, he and Bell reminisce over a bottle of Johnnie Walker at Avon’s harborside condo, but their hearts aren’t in it. Recalling the days when their worst crime was stealing a badminton set from a toy store — “We ain’t even have no yard,” Avon laughs — Bell is thinking other thoughts: “If I had the money then I have today, I coulda bought half the property round the waterfront.” Avon urges him to forget about all that for awhile. “Dream with me,” he says. Stringer’s response: “We don’t need to dream no more. We got real estate, man, real shit we can touch.” When Stringer says he has a meeting at their condo development site the next day, he’s struck by Avon’s response: “What time you meetin’?” When Bell answers — “round noon” — there’s no turning back.Theresa D’Agostino has called McNulty, and like an obedient puppy, he shows up to meet her at a hotel bar in downtown Baltimore. She says she’s missed him, and he’s inclined to believe her until she mentions a rumor she’s heard: that a police commander named Bunny Colvin has legalized drugs in his district. That’s the moment McNulty realizes he’s being played, and he departs quickly, leaving D’Agostino to contemplate her misjudgment.

    Carcetti, having learned of Hamsterdam from Burrell, confronts Colvin, who takes him on a tour of his neighborhoods, now alive with routine city life. Carcetti also visits the station house, where cops — freed from drug interdiction — are involved in standard police investigations: church burglaries and the like. Colvin also brings Carcetti to a community meeting, where the residents cautiously applaud the fact that they’ve taken back the streets in their neighborhood. Carcetti is impressed at first, but appalled when Colvin takes him to Hamsterdam to witness the ugly side of Colvin’s clean neighborhoods.

    In the Detail Room, McNulty, Freamon, Greggs and Pearlman celebrate when they hear Bell incriminate himself over their wiretap. Their relief is premature, however. Omar meets Mouzone outside Bell’s development site, and when Bell arrives, they follow him inside. After shooting his bodyguard, they pursue Stringer up the stairs until he’s trapped. Omar tells Bell that Avon has given him up. Then he and Mouzone unload their weapons into Bell, who falls dead to the floor of the condominium he hoped to create

  12. 19 Dec 04: Mission Accomplished:
    Bunk investigates the murder of Stringer Bell, determining that two shooters were involved. But when he asks the only eye witness—Bell’s contractor Andy Krawczyk — what he saw, Krawczyk responds: “I told you I saw only the one. I know he was black. Big, I thought. With a large weapon.” “BNBG,” responds Bunk, dredging up an old detective adage: Big Negro, Big Gun.McNulty is distraught over Bell’s demise, “like Stringer was kin” is the way Greggs puts it. Pursuing the drug dealer has been his obsession for two years, and the timing — soon after he’d overheard Bell incriminate himself on a wiretap — is especially hard to stomach. Had Stringer lived, McNulty would have taken far greater pleasure in arresting Bell in the near future.Carcetti and his campaign advisor Theresa D’Agotino disagree over Hamsterdam. In spite of his designs on the Mayor’s office, Carcetti is reluctant to exploit Hamsterdam for political gain, having seen the impact of legalized drugs on the city’s crime rate. D’Agostino, who views the scandal as the opening her client has been waiting for, can’t fathom Carcetti’s hesitation: “C’mon, Tommy. They dealt you a winning hand and you’re acting like you forgot how to play.”In spite of his role in Stringer’s death, Avon genuinely grieves the loss of his lifelong friend and partner. Slim Charles, seeking to reassure, tells Avon the crew is ready to bounce back on Marlo, but is stunned when Avon tells him that Marlo didn’t kill Bell, that other business did Bell in. “But I couldn’t fix it,” Avon says, finally realizing that Stringer was right all along about turf wars. “Fuck Marlo,” he says. “And fuck this fucking war. All this beefin’ over a couple of fuckin’ corners.” In response, Slim Charles articulates the gangster’s dead-end moral imperative: “It don’t matter who did what to whom. Fact is, we went to war an’ now there ain’t no goin’ back… If it’s a lie, then we fight on the lie. But we gotta fight.”At the Mayor’s office, the administration continues to fret over how to spin Hamsterdam now that it will soon be exposed. The State’s Attorney tells Mayor Royce that if it’s labeled “legalization,” his office won’t stand for it. The term “harm reduction” is discussed. “What if we were able to suggest that by limiting our street-level enforcement, we’re concentrating our resources on high-level trafficking?” the Mayor wonders.In the Detail Room, the wiretaps are buzzing with speculation about who offed Stringer, and Marlo is the prime suspect. Colvin gives McNulty a key bit of information gleaned from Stringer Bell before he was shot: the address of the safe house where Avon is holed up. “That right there might be the last bit of police work in a long and storied career,” observes Colvin.Omar meets Brother Mouzone at a motel and discovers Dante: incarcerated, bruised and beaten, ashamed that he’s revealed Omar’s whereabouts to the murderous Mouzone. Omar is glad simply to see Dante alive. On the way out, Mouzone, heading back to New York, gives Omar his gun for disposal: “It being your town, I trust you to do it proper.”Dennis “Cutty” Wise carries the torch for Grace still, and while she’s kind to him when he waits outside her school — even offering “I’m proud of you. Dennis” — she’s very clear with Cutty that their moment has passed.Gregg’s cell phone rings and, noting that it’s Cheryl calling, she doesn’t take the call. She’s in bed with another woman. Cheryl calls McNulty next to find out Greggs’ whereabouts, but McNulty, a seasoned philanderer himself, quickly realizes what’s up and covers for Greggs.Prez and Freamon discuss the charges Prez may face for having shot a fellow cop. Prez is distraught to learn that the State’s Attorney is referring the matter to a grand jury, but Freamon hastens to reassure him: “It’s an administrative charge. You can fight it and win, if you want.” Prez says he isn’t sure he was meant to be a police officer, and when Freamon asks what exactly he was supposed to be, Prez has no answer.Daniels, learning via McNulty’s tip that his Detail can very possibly nail Barksdale, orders them to sit on the safehouse till Avon shows up.

    At the Mayor’s office, Burrell is told that he must take the rap for Hamsterdam. Ready with his own plan, however, he fights back: “Not necessarily,” he says. “Not if I talk about how we were under pressure to keep the crime down, to juke the stats district-by-district, about how Colvin, under pressure, lost his way, about how I came to you weeks ago to tell you what he’d done and to assure you that we were on top of the situation, that Colvin would be relieved and his plan aborted, but you heard about the drop in Colvin’s felony rate and you sent me packing. Brought your liberal-ass do-gooders in here to seriously consider this horseshit while Colvin’s mistake grew and grew. My hands were tied, Mr. Mayor.”

    It’s up to the Mayor, Burrell makes clear, if Burrell will say that on the record. The other option, he says, is that “I put what I can on crazy-ass Bunny Colvin and I take the hit. And if Carcetti or Gray holds hearings, I’m a wall between them and you. In which case, I’m your commissioner for a full five-year term.”

    At last the cops descend on Hamsterdam, and everyone scatters: dopers, dealers, debutantes in the family sedan, with the police in hot pursuit. In the aftermath, Johnny’s body turns up, alone and abandoned except for the rats.

    Colvin learns that Burrell has personally intervened with the provost at Johns Hopkins to trash Colvin’s name. The university security job that Colvin expected to retire to suddenly evaporates, and worse is yet to come.

    Carcetti and D’Agostino watch TV transfixed as the bust goes down in Hamsterdam, plotting their next move. As Carcetti types notes in his computer, D’Agotino advises him how to position Gray so he’s most effective at splitting the vote in the coming Mayor’s race: “Save the best questions for Tony Gray,” is her cynical assessment. “He needs to shine even more than you.”

    Slim Charles and another Barksdale soldier alert Avon that Marlo is a sitting duck at the rim shop. As Avon arrives at the safe house to suit up for battle, he’s observed by Daniels’ crew, who have been waiting for this moment. Shortly, the cops make their presence known to Barksdale and his soldiers, who first seek an exit route and, finding all of them blocked, wait with resignation for their fate. Surveying the arsenal they’ve gathered, Barksdale feeds the soldiers their next line as the cops arrive: “Y’all ask me, you ugly-ass gangsters shouldn’t be messin’ with all these guns y’all brought up in here.”

    Once the cops are inside, the solider Perry indeed claims the guns are his, but McNulty isn’t buying: “You fall on the parole violation,” he tells Avon. “No matter what else happens, you do every day of what’s left of your seven without ever seeing a jury.” The weapons, McNulty adds, “we take federal. See if we can’t get you some more years.” Avon pulls out the old jailbird saw in response: “Shit, you only do two days no how. Day you go in…” The soldier Sapper finishes the sentence: “…and the day you come out.” Handing Avon the search-and-seizure warrant, McNulty tells Avon to read it slowly, and as he does, Avon is stunned to see the source of the information that led the cops to him: Stringer Bell. “In between them two days, something for you to think on,” McNulty adds.

    Colvin, called on the carpet by Rawls and Burrell, learns that his little experiment in social engineering has dire consequences. Not only has he lost his post-retirement job, but he’s being busted to lieutenant and will not retire with a Major’s pension. And, Rawls, adds, “You bend over for us, or I swear to God, I will spend what’s left of my career shitting on every last supervisor in your district, from the shift commanders down to the sector sergeants. Not a one of them will have a career if we hear so much as a bark out of you.”

    With Avon back in jail and Hamsterdam razed by bulldozers, Marlo sends his soldiers back to the street to sling drugs. The consequences for Dennis Wise are swift. His kids, just starting to learn discipline and respect, are suddenly back in the drug business, and as the streets fill up with dealers, his boxing gym remains deserted.

    In the aftermath, the Mayor refuses to fire Burrell, but he does cut loose Eunetta Perkins, his loyalist councilwoman, who is Marla Daniels’ biggest rival. That clears the way for Lieutenant Daniels’ long-awaited promotion to Major.

    It further clears the way for Pearlman and Daniels to go public with their relationship. Pearlman professes her confusion upon dining with Daniels in a restaurant: “But your wife… You and me, in public.” “She wins without me,” Daniels explains. “On the mayor’s ticket, she wins.”

    McNulty, lonely and disconnected, visits Beadie Russell, his friend from the longshoreman’s case, who’s surprised to see him. “I was at my old district tonight, where I think I used to feel pretty good. I wasn’t so angry, anyway, when I was there. And someone said something, I guess…” McNulty realizes that the way he’s been living his life has only worked for closing a case. Looking at Beadie, he tries to forge a new way.

    At City Hall, Carcetti and Gray do hold hearings, but Burrell and Rawls stonewall them when they dig into the details of Hamsterdam. “What we have here, I’m afraid, is nothing more complicated than a solitary police commander who, under great pressure, proved himself amoral, incompetent and unfit for command,” Rawls says. Carcetti has heard enough and interrupts the Commissioner: “We can forgive Major Colvin, who in his frustration and despair, found himself condoning something which can’t possibly be condoned. But, gentlemen, what we can’t forgive — what I can’t forgive, ever — is how, we — you, me, this administration, all of us, have turned away from those streets in West Baltimore. The poor, the sick, the swollen underclass of our city, trapped in the wreckage of neighborhoods that were once so prized, communities that we failed to defend, that we surrendered to the horrors of the drug trade.”

    Daniels offers McNulty another chance with his detail but McNulty turns it down, opting instead to return to the life of a patrolman in the Western division. The dealers are back on the streets, the cops after them once again; Gray begins his campaign for Mayor and so does Carcetti; Hamsterdam is a pile of brick and rubble; Stringer Bell’s girlfriend Donette weeps in her apartment, having lost a second man; Omar tosses the shotgun that killed Bell into the Baltimore harbor; Daniels, Greggs, Freamon and Sydnor dismantle the detail office; and Barksdale goes to court to face the music. In the back of the room, his sister Brianna sits stone-faced, refusing to look at him, but Marlo is there, to take in Avon’s fall, and he nods a warrior’s respect to Barksdale.

Season Four 2006

  1. 10 Sep 06 Boys of SummerSnoop pores over nail guns at a suburban home improvement superstore, and is quickly educated by a middle-aged sales assistant as to the finer points of the power tools. Despite some cultural differences, she emerges from the store with the Cadillac of nail guns (“He mean Lexus, but he ain’t know it,” Snoop later assures Chris Partlow) having tipped the salesman generously for giving her a proper schooling. Waiting in the parking lot, Chris gets the report from his number two: “F**k jus’ nailin’ up boards,” Snoop tells him. “We could kill a coupla mutha f**kers with this right here.”Meanwhile, in the Clinton Street offsite detail office, detectives Lester Freamon and Kima Greggs meet with Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman to review the members of the Marlo Stanfield organization who’ve been caught on the wire – most of them street level dealers who aren’t dumping cell phones more often than every month, dealers that include Fruit among others. Freamon, for his part, is mildly disappointed in their target: Marlo Stanfield hasn’t turned out to be as sharp or as fierce as they thought – no bodies that would suggest violence can be traced to the drug organization, and the group’s liberal use of cellphones means that eventually, it will be relatively simple to build a conspiracy case. Marlo, Freamon reasons, is no Avon Barksdale. Nonetheless, they want another 30 days on the taps, as well as subpoenas for documents – the latter not for Stanfield, but to follow up on the Barksdale money trail. Why now, Pearlman wonders? Freamon tells her he couldn’t back to researching the Barksdale finances because other casework intervened. She is put out by the timing: “Four weeks before the Baltimore City primary you hand me a stack of drug money subpoenas that hit a dozen key political figures,” Pearlman fumes. Freamon assures her the Lieutenant approves and feigns indifference to the coming election.In the stretch run of that campaign, Councilman Tom Carcetti breakfasts with a former mayor and political mentor, who credits him with having gains some political profile by running citywide, but doubts that any white candidate can be elected mayor in the majority black city. Deputy campaign manager Norman Wilson cuts them off – Carcetti’s behind schedule once again.Greggs heads into Lt. Asher’s office with a stack of mundane paperwork for his signature, burying the drug money subpoenas between a fan requisition and vehicle logs. Distracted by blueprints for his beach house, Asher signs them, no problem. Greggs delivers the signed stack to Freamon: “Cake.”

    Bodie and Lex discuss Lex’s troubles with his baby’s mother while they supervise a corner crew of young slingers, including a young runner, Namond Brice, who’s reading Don Diva magazine while on the job. As Lex carries on about his girl, Patrice, taking up with one of Marlo’s guys – Fruit – Slim Charles pulls up, checking in on why things are so slow. Bodie complains that he has been forced off the Fayette Street because Marlo wanted that real estate and the new corner isn’t prime. He is angry at being pushed off his old strip and would like to beef with Marlo’s crew, but Slim Charles cautions him. “Ain’t like the old days,” he says to Bodie. “Nary a Barksdale left, so you on your own out here.”

    At City Hall, Herc and a fellow member of the mayor’s security detail arrive with the mayoral SUV. Royce fields messages from his secretary as they head out, putting off a donor – developer Andy Krawcyzk, it seems – and playing games with Carcetti’s people, who are demanding two debates. Royce sighs, “That lost-ball-in-high-grass motherfucker Carcetti needs to get used to life in the wilderness.” Meanwhile, Carcetti speaks to a listless crowd at a senior center, whereas Royce holds forth at a media-laden podium at a new harbor-front development site, after which he learns that the developer is being pressed to donate more to his campaign in exchange for some street access right-of-ways.

    Back on the corner, Namond’s friends – Randy, Michael and “Dukie” – try to lure Namond away to hunt pigeons. When Namond asks Bodie if he can cut out early for “back-to-school stuff,” Bodie tells him he shouldn’t bother as he isn’t much of a student. Nonetheless, with business slow, Bodie relents and pays Namond for a half day. He complains to Lex about Namond’s work ethic, saying he only employs the boy out of respect for his father. He tells Namond to come early tomorrow: “It ain’t always gonna be this slow. Least I hope it ain’t.”

    In a vacant, stripped rowhouse, Snoop and Chris – using a handgun with a silencer – shoot a begging man to death, promising him only that they will keep his death quick and clean. Snoop pours quicklime on the body which is then wrapped in a shower curtain. They exit with their box of tools.

    While hunting pigeons, Randy explains to Namond that a white bird in particular might be a homer and worth as much as $400. As they try to catch the bird, Dukie throws a bug bomb – a bottle with bugs trapped inside – and the sound scares away the quarry. Namond and Dukie trade insults and then a few blows before Michael interposes. The boys all walk away from Dukie – save for Randy, to whom Dukie confides to Randy that the pigeon wasn’t a homer – it didn’t have a metal tag. Nemo’s been letting Dukie clean out the coop. “He’s schoolin’ me.”

    At the Middle School, assistant principal Marcia Donnelly is reviewing the teacher shortage with principal Claudell Withers when a newly assigned math teacher, Roland Pryzbylewski, arrives suited up and briefcase in hand, to claim his new profession. He hasn’t received his certification yet, but staff shortages in the system mean he will be getting classes nonetheless. They are dubious about his qualifications until he tells them he used to be a city police. That, at least, bodes well in their minds.

    Similarly, Major Cedric Daniels, now in command of the Western District, is going over staffing reports with Lt. Dennis Mello, when patrolman Jimmy McNulty knocks and is urged – not for the first time – to get out of a radio car and return to investigative duties, for which there is a desperate need in the district. McNulty declines, and Mello tells Daniels that McNulty is in the wrong place. For us, yes, Daniels concedes. But for McNulty, maybe not.

    Back at Bodie’s corner, plainclothes D.E.U. Sergeant Ellis Carver and Off. Anthony Colicchio pull up. Carver gives Bodie and the others a light teasing for not greeting him properly – and demonstrates his intimate knowledge of their activities – when McNulty arrives on the scene, greeting Bodie as “Mr. Entrapment.” “You know how he beat the wiretap a year ago?” McNulty tells the other police. “Claimed entrapment because he was clocking in Bunny Colvin’s Hamsterdam. I s**t you not.” On his way back to his car, McNulty orders Bodie to shut down his operation and be gone in an hour. Carver waits for Bodie to say a proper farewell. “A good evening to you, Sergeant Carver.” When Colicchio, asks what that was all about, Carver teaches him: “You bust every head, who you gonna talk to when the s**t happens?”

    Back at Carcetti’s campaign headquarters, Tommy’s staff rakes him for being behind on his schedule for the day, including his latest agenda item: dialing for dollars calls. He launches into a fake call, “I don’t give a flying f**k about what you think, or what your concerns are. Though I do care about what your cute little blonde wife thinks about so many things…” His strategist, Teresa D’Agostino, waits him out before giving it to him straight: “You need thirty thousand dollars in the next three hours. No bulls**t, Tommy, you hit your number or die in this room.” But Carcetti spends more time doodling and playing darts than making calls, sick as he is with having to ask supporters for money all the time. Eventually, and with reluctance, he begins to make the calls.

    Outside a nightclub, Lex watches in darkness as Patrice, his baby’s mother, gets cozy with her new man, Fruit. He surprises them as they leave, shoots Fruit in the head, then greets Patrice, who flees horrified. Lex saunters away, leaving Fruit dead on the pavement.

    In the wiretap room, Caroline and Freamon hear the buzz about Fruit’s murder and note that Fruit’s phone has been inactive for the last couple hours. When Freamon joins homicide detectives Bunk Moreland and Ed Norris to review the details of the shooting, Norris asks him if this hurts Freamon’s investigation, losing a guy they had wired. But Freamon notes they’ve got several wires at the street level and with or without Fruit, they are progressing. Bunk gives Freamon Fruit’s cellphone as a consolation prize – he can pull other numbers off it – and they discuss the fact that Marlo, who seems to be the new power in West Baltimore, has been so quiet. Freamon finds it strange that Fruit is the first body to hit the pavement in months, “and it’s Marlo’s boy who falls.” Bunk agrees that it’s suprising that someone holding as much real estate as Marlo wouldn’t generate bodies.

    When Marlo gets wind of the killing, he wants to know who the f**k Lex is. Tote and Chris tell him that he’s working “some rag-tag corner over Hilltop now,” but that Fruit wasn’t killed over drugs or turf, but over a girl. Disappointed in the bluster and lack of logic shown by some of his lieutenants, Marlo shares a look with Chris before rejecting their offer to kill everyone on Bodie’s corner in retaliation. Why stack bodies when no one was actually trying to war with them, Marlo asks, adding: “Just the boy Lex. He did one of ours, so he need to fall.”

    Once again pursuing the pigeons, Namond and Randy spy Dukie, who’s been beat up by a rival gang, the Terrace Boys. Namond wants to hit back, but harder, and Randy gets an idea. It starts with Michael stealing a bike off a Terrace kid, setting the gang off after him, until they turn a corner and are ambushed by our boys – all of whom have armed themselves with balloons filled with their own urine. For a moment, it seems perfect until Namond wets himself with his own balloon and the rest of the boys panic, dumping their balloons and fleeing. As the Terrace boys give chase, Randy, Namond, Dukie and Michael do not come out on top.

    En route to a meet-and-greet with an eastside community group, Carcetti gets news that Royce just made a $300,000 buy of television advertisements, then throws a fit listening to his weak radio spots. He can barely contain himself by the time he meets with local activist Victorine Simmons, but once he calms down and takes a tour of her drug-addled community, Carcetti is moved to actually help – even though Royce has instructed city agencies not to take constituent service calls from his challenger. Nonetheless, Carcetti – calling bureaucrats at him and pulling favors – finds a way to get it done. Later, on the campaign trail, Carcetti encounters his fellow Councilman and one-time friend, Tony Gray, who he tacetly allowed to challenge Royce before revealing his own intention to run, thereby using Gray to split the city’s black vote. Carcetti tries to placate his old friend, but Gray bitterly tells him: “F**k you, Tommy.”

    At an orientation session for the coming year, the Tilghman faculty revolt against the useless lessons of whatever theory-of-the-moment is being pushed by the school system for the coming year, just as the Western District officers, in similar fashion, interrupt their own useless lesson on terrorism response training with their own complaints: “…if them terrorists do f**k-up the Western, could anybody even tell?” Prez takes in the bitter cynicism of the veteran teachers, wondering what his future holds. McNulty, laughing at the roll-call room rebellion, is accosted by Bunk, who tries to squeeze McNulty for info on Lex – and plan a boy’s night out with Jameson’s and Glen Livet. Instead McNulty directs Bunk to Carver, who he says has learned the job, and offers an invite to dinner with Beadie and the kids, much to Bunk’s dismay.

    Carcetti grills Wilson on whether he can really get the black vote. “Black folk been voting white for a long time,” Wilson assures him. “It’s y’all that don’t never vote black.” But personally, he tells his boss in a ball-busting moment, he won’t be voting for Carcetti. The deputy campaign manager admits he’ll be voting for “one of them bruthas.” Carcetti manages to laugh.

    Prez gets his new classroom: a battered room with desks and papers strewn everywhere. He loves it. Or perhaps, the idea of what he will soon make it.

    Another slinger in Bodie’s crew, Little Kevin, approaches Randy, asking him to run down to Bodie’s corner with a message for Lex: “Patrice say he should come up the playground after nine.” For a few dollars, Randy is willing to run the errand.

    When Lex shows up to see Patrice, he encounters Snoop, tries to flee, then turns to see Chris, gun pulled. Meanwhile, Carver and Bunk stake out Bodie’s corner a short distance away, looking for Lex, but see no sign of him and Carver assures Bunk he will come back tomorrow to jack Lex when he returns to the corner. A short time later, Little Kevin tells a stunned Randy what his message to Lex triggered: “Chris and Snoop, pow!” then hands him another bill, telling him to “just be cool.”

    D’Agostino delivers the latest poll numbers to her boss: “Royce 35, you 26, Gray 20, 19 percent undecided.” Carcetti starts yelling – he needs to be at thirty percent of the vote by this point, and he needs Tony Gray – his former friend on the council and the third man in the mayoral race – to be taking a larger bite out of Royce’s lead by splitting the black vote. Convinced he can’t win, he storms out.

    Late night, Snoop and Chris use their new nail gun to secure an ad hoc mausoleum in a back alley. Contemplating his future, Carcetti gets a warning from a cop for drinking in Federal Hill park after curfew. And, as a siren goes by, Randy sitting up late on his front stoop, worried about Little Kevin’s words, is ordered back inside by a foster mother who seems to parent him closely.

  2. 17 Sep 06 Soft EyesConfused about the morning schedule for the Mayor, officer Thomas “Herc” Hauk waits by the truck, loses patience and goes looking for Lieutenant Hoskins, who heads the security detail. Opening doors in his search for his supervisor, Herc is surprised to encounter Mayor Clarence Royce on the receiving end of a robust act of fellatio, courtesy of his secretary. Stunned like a cow with a sledgehammer, Herc stares at the sight for a moment before slamming shut the door. In that moment, the Mayor sees him.Meanwhile, Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman meets with Detectives Lester Freamon and Leander Sydnor about the stack of Barksdale money-trail subpoenas to politically sensitive targets. Sydnor is having second thoughts about whether their pursuit of the money will blow back on them by antagonizing the powerful and politically connected elements in the city. Pearlman, too, is wishing she had run the subpoenas by her front office, alerting her bosses to the coming controversy and thereby protecting herself from retribution. Freamon quickly realizes that Pearlman has not forwarded signed subpoenas for two notable targets –developer Andrew Kracyzk and State Sen. Clay Davis. Pearlman responds that she is holding those until after the primary election. Freamon gets angry and points out that now — with the election in play — is the only window they have for seeing this pursuit of the Barksdale money trail through. Months ago, the powers that be would have taken down the unit and stifled the investigation. Months from now, with the election in the bag, they will do the same. But now, with the election ongoing and politicians being scrutinized, those in power will not dare to impede the subpeonas of the investigation itself. And that includes Pearlman’s boss, State’s Attorney Demper, who is among those running for reelection on the Democratic ticket. Pearlman recalls Freamon’s earlier claim that he only recently was able to get back to the Barksdale money trail because other cases intervened, and she realizes that he lied to her. Freamon has timed this carefully.In the Carcetti living room, Norman Wilson grows impatient making small talk with Jennifer Carcetti while waiting for Tommy, who is late to begin another campaigning day, and goes to fetch him. But Tommy’s playing Battleship with his daughter and refuses to be rushed, insisting that since there’s no way he can win the election, he may as well enjoy some quality time with his child.The Edward J. Tilghman middle-school classroom Prez inherited is now unrecognizable: clean and orderly. Unfazed by hacking at dried bubblegum and scrubbing ink-stained desks, Prez has whipped his room into Prez-like obsessive-compulsive order. Meanwhile, it’s visiting day at The Cut in Jessup, and Namond Brice and his mother, De’Londa, visit his father, Wee-Bey. Incarcerated on multiple life sentences for his role as an enforcer in the now-fallen Barksdale organization, Wee-Bey asks his son how his job is going with Bodie Broadus, and De’Londa jumps in, reporting that Namond skips work and wastes the money he does make. Wee-Bey presses Namond to be patient with his runner duties, but echoes Bodie’s warning about his pony tail: “Even the white police lookin’ out from three blocks away gonna be able to spot you from every nigga out there.”

    Back in West Baltimore, Marlo Stanfield and Chris Partlow watch with pride as Marlo’s lieutenant, Monk, hands out back-to-school-supply cash to a group of ecstatic kids to build goodwill for Marlo. “Your name gonna ring out, man,” says Monk, while out in the suburbs, as he unloads lawn mowing equipment at a job, Cutty talks trash Spanish with some of his coworkers. Their truck’s driver, impressed, notes that Cutty could run his own crew and suggests they team up, but Cutty demurs, saying he has other obligations that matter more.

    Returning to Bodie’s corner, Namond tries to talk Bodie into hiring his friend Michael Lee. When Bodie resists, Namond suggests Michael assume Namond’s position until he earns enough to pay for school stuff for himself and his little brother. Bodie agrees just as Bunk and Carver approach, looking for Lex. Eeluctant to talk to police, Bodie says nothing about what he knows about the murder of Fruit by Lex, or Lex’s subsequent disappearance, but merely reports he hasn’t seen Lex, and promises to call Carver if he does.

    Driving Royce, Herc catches the Mayor’s eye in the rear view, certain now he’s doomed for what he witnessed, while Bubbles rattles across the streets and alleys of the westside, doing business with his store on wheels, “Bubble Depo” breaking in his young intern, Sherrod, as he makes a sale. When Sherrod miscalculates the total price of a sale, Bubbles is distressed. Later, he chastises Sherrod about his weak math skills and demands that he return to school to improve himself this fall.

    Trying to convince Lex’s mother that her son is in trouble, Bunk pleads for her cooperation, but she stonewalls him, while at the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) lodge, the police union president explains to Carcetti that he’d be their guy, except that Royce is ahead in the polls. “We endorse you now, we’re out in the cold.” Carcetti understands the tough position he’s in, but suggests perhaps his officers don’t need to get too aggressive with extracurricular campaigning for anyone. The FOP president agrees. Norman gives Carcetti the rest of the night off to prep for the debate, but Carcetti is still convinced nothing matters at this point.

    Spider’s mother approaches Cutty at the gym to thank him for the interest he’s taken in her son, coaching his boxing. She offers to cook him dinner (“I throw down in the kitchen. Among other places.”) but Cutty begs off, insisting that he needs time to train his fighters for upcoming bouts, and asking if she might just bring by a plate instead.

    At Pearlman’s, Rhonda and Daniels do paperwork in bed as she complains about how Lester manipulated her with his subpoena ploy. But Daniels just finds it funny. “I’m just glad to see Lester doing it to somebody other than me.” Pearlman is beside herself with worry over her standing in the state’s attorney’s office, but Daniels can’t hold back his amusement and their candor with each other, which turns playful, indicates that their relationship has grown deeper.

    Namond, Michael, Randy and their friends debate about which girls will have gotten phat over the summer and who’ll they try to tap — the usual adolescent bragging that ends when Monk approaches and starts peeling off $100s for back-to-school clothes, telling the boys to thank Marlo, who stands a distance away, enjoying his moment as streetcorner patron. Only Michael refuses the cash and Marlo crosses to ask Michael why he won’t take his money. As Marlo shows some belligerence and turns insulting, Michael just stares him down. “Ain’t no thing shorty. We cool,” Marlo says in response.

    Herc seeks out Carver to get advice on how to handle his embarrassing situation with the Mayor, convinced he’ll never make rank now. “This is way beyond my pay grade,” says Carver, thinking about who to consult.

    On the eve of the mayoral candidates’ debate, Wilson and Theresa D’Agostino try to lead a distracted Carcetti through debate prep, but he’s more concerned about minor personal matters. When they press him to focus, he reels off his strategy for when Royce comes at him on themes of race and crime, impressing them. “Tomorrow night, I will kick his ass. But the next morning, I still wake up white in a city that ain’t,” Tommy says.

    Namond asks Michael why he wouldn’t take Marlo’s money. “Owin’ niggas for s**t. It ain’t me,” Michael responds. They’re interrupted by Donut, their sixth-grade companion, barely visible above the wheel of the stolen Cadillac Escalade he’s attempting to drive. But as they’re all debating where to take it, Carver and Herc drive by and, spotting the stolen car, begin a pursuit. The boys bail from the SUV and bolt into the alleys. Carver calls in the bailout and starts to give chase, then thinks the better of it; he knows most of the kids, Herc’s overdressed, and they need to see Carver’s contact about Herc’s situation. Meanwhile, the Western District’s Officer Walker catches Randy in an alley, and when the boy plays dumb about the stolen car, he confiscates the $200 cash Randy claims his foster mom gave him for school clothes. “Tell her to come down to the Western [District] and I’ll give it back to her.”

    Back at the Clinton Street detail office, as he fingers the signed subpoenas, Lester offers to serve them himself if Detectives Shakima Greggs and Sydnor don’t want to catch any heat. But Greggs will not be cowed and Sydnor reluctantly follows. Gregg’s first stop is Andrew Krawczyk at his waterfront development office; he asks for her name and unit and she gives him both, unwavering. Sydnor hits Clay Davis, and tries to defuse the situation by pretending to admire his office trophies and awards as Davis, outraged, demands his name. In for a penny, in for a pound: Sydnor refuses to back down from the moment and hands over his card. “Major Crimes? Sheeeet,” drawls the state senator.

    While overseeing semi-automatic target practice for some young apprentices, Snoop, Monk and Marlo field a business call on Monk’s cell phone from “Andre,” who, though impatient for a re-up, is put in his place by Marlo, who gets on Monk’s cellphone to do so.

    Meanwhile, Sherrod has been mulling it over and suggests to Bubbles he could go back to school to learn some math skills, just as Herc gets advice from the politically connected and astute Major Stanislaus Valchek, who has a different take on Herc’s predicament. The Major would like to be in Herc’s shoes: “Kid, careers have been launched on a helluva lot less. Just shut up and play dumb.”

    Davis rants to the Mayor about his subpoena and the money laundering probe that is now apparently targeting him. “You think I have time to ask a man why he givin’ me money or where he gets his money come from?” Royce says he doesn’t want to know, and Davis asserts that he has been doing yeoman’s work funding Royce and his ticket, and he warns him he needs to get his police department to back off. He storms out as Parker enters, announcing a similar complaining call from Krawczyk. Before he takes the call, Royce asks about Herc. He’s mulling over whether to let him go or keep him close.

    Finding the boys in their hangout behind a vacant factory, Carver warns Namond, Randy, Dukie and the boys that if any of them “smile at a motor vehicle again,” he’ll be settling with them in the alleys, not at a JV hearing, and in doing so demonstrates his knowledge of their identities and activities.

    Back in the homicide unit, Bunk tells Detectives Holley and Norris that in the confrontation with Lex’s mother, he sensed a weird vibe from the woman, noting that it “wasn’t the usual way a mama lies.” A call comes in and they debate who will take it. Holley, worried about his bad luck, demurs and Norris takes the call “a body found in the street, no suspect and no witnesses.” Holley and Bunk hi-five for not catching that case.

    At the gym, yet another woman brings Cutty peach cobbler–even though she has no sons, she just appreciates what he’s doing. Clearly, Cutty — as a law-abiding single man working with youth — is a fresh prize among the ladies of West Baltimore.

    In the wiretap room of the detail office, Freamon, Greggs and Massey listen to the recording of Monk talking to Andre, intrigued. They make him as Old Face Andre, a mid-level dealer supplied by the Stanfield organization. They are also fascinated by the notion that they are listening to Marlo getting on Monk’s phone to berate Andre — indicating that he is less cautious about using cellphones himself and therefore vulnerable. They also wonder about the barrage of gunshots heard in the background — notable given the lack of violence seen from Marlo’s organization.

    Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell and Deputy Commissioner for Operations William Rawls discuss the Mayor’s angry response to the subpoenas, which has clearly rolled downhill at them. The Mayor wants no more surprises in this election season. Rawls guesses the subpoenas came from Lester Freamon; they can’t shut his unit down now, due to how it would look if such a move became public, but Rawls suggests the unit get some “proper supervision.”

    Meanwhile, Norris discovers that his seeming drug murder actually involves the death of a witness in a pending drug prosecution, meaning that the case has some priority and will result in overtime and a major investigation for Norris. But Landsman tells him to bury the witness angle in his initial reports because it’s an election year then calls Major Valchek to report these developments. Valchek, in turn, shows up at Carcetti’s with news of a murdered witness — which Carcetti had apparently told him to keep a close watch for, should such a thing occur.

    At school, Prez gets a briefing from the other teachers in his team, who agree on class rules double space papers, never assume, use the same headings on lab work, keep the windows closed to keep them drowsy, and for the troublemakers, call home. In the front office, Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly asks a student to take a box of new school clothes to Dukie as a cleaned-up Bubbles shows up, claiming to be Sherrod’s uncle so as to enroll him in class. As they pass in the office, Prez and Bubbles exchange an awkward glance of confused recognition.

    Hitting a bag at the gym, Namond and Michael watch as yet another mother — this one more attractive than the previous two — brings Cutty some dinner and receives some attention in kind. Cutty’s now-veteran fighters, Justin and Spider, interrupt to pick a fight over the use of the bag, and Cutty breaks up the scuffle. Cutty uses the opportunity to try to lure Michael into being officially trained, and though he seems intrigued, Michael stubbornly refuses.

    During the Mayoral debate, Carcetti challenges the Mayor’s claim that crime is down in Baltimore and reveals his bombshell: That a recent homicide victim was a key witness in a drug case. He blames the Mayor for refusing to spend the witness protection money that Carcetti himself secured from the Feds, reminding Royce that he wrote to the mayor last year, expressing his disappointment over the matter in a signed letter. As the Mayor responds haltingly, his aides, as well as Burrell and Rawls, watch grimly, while Carcetti’s crowd beams. Rawls reminds Burrell that the Mayor wanted no more suprises coming out of the police department — presumably that included news that a state’s witness had been murdered.

    Namond arrives home to find De’Londa has laid out a full array of new school clothes. He turns on the TV in his room. The debate is still on and some politician — Tony Gray, as it happens — is talking about schools and the relevance of education; Namond switches on his X-Box, and starts firing away

  3. 24 Sep 06 Home RoomsOmar Little awakes to the sound of a garbage truck outside his window. Annoyed to discover there’s no cereal, he blames his newest protégé Renaldo, still asleep, for letting the Honey Nut Cheerios box go light. In his silk pajamas, unarmed because the big gun won’ stay in his waist, he heads out to the local grocery, then stops under a row house window on his way back, only to light a smoke, as cries of “Omar comin”” ring throughout the neighborhood. As Omar lights a Newport, a bag of vialed, ready-to-sling cocaine drops to his feet. Back at home, he dumps the bag on the breakfast table, then laments that he doesn’t even want it. “It ain’t what you takin’, it’s who you takin’ it from,” he explains to Renaldo. “How you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sportin’ with puppies?”The Deacon drops by Howard “Bunny” Colvin’s to feel him out about a job at University of Maryland’s school of social work, which has landed a good-sized grant to look at repeat violent offenders. The Deacon has already sold the UM faculty on employing his friend, who carries some gravitas with the academics as the police commander who tried to legalize drugs in West Baltimore. But Colvin notes that the academics were the only ones who liked the idea and he says he’s had his fill of do-gooders. Colvin insists he’s happy at a hotel security job, making “52, good bennies” and getting a take home car.Marlo Stanfield, Chris Partlow and Felecia “Snoop” Pearson pull up to Preseton “Bodie” Broadus’s corner, where Bodie, Little Kevin, Michael Lee and others are working Bodie’s package. It’s clear that Bodie has made a little something out of the formerly moribund strip. Bodie tenses as they approach, but Chris assures him they are there to parley only. Marlo tells him he needs the corner now that it’s developed. “Two choices, you start takin’ our package or you can step off.” Marlo also has his eye on Michael, who earlier wouldn’t take Marlo’s handout of back-to-school money, but is now working a drug corner. “He got some good signs on him,” Marlo tells Chris.Mayor Royce meets with State Delegate Watkins, his chief of staff, Coleman Parker, Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell and State’s Attorney Demper to discuss the dead witness issue that Carcetti so effectively used in the campaign debate. Upset about Carcetti’s eight point bump in the wake of that ambush, Royce takes the gloves off, telling his team to begin playing hardball, tearing up campaign signs and towing Carcetti’s vehicles and telling campaign donors that they can’t ride the fence and give to both him and his opponents. Then he tells Burrell and Demper to “talk down that witness angle” on the recent murder, and, if necessary, to get out in front and take the heat for the case. Most important, the mayor tells them, they need to prevent any further revelations on the case “which reflects poorly on Royce’s ability to protect state’s witnesses and gives Carcetti a strong issue” from coming out before the primary vote. Demper protests about having to take any blame at first. “I’m running dead even with Bond right now,” he says of his own re-election effort. “How you gonna be running if I drop you from the ticket?” Royce fires back. After Demper and Burrell exit, Watkins points out that Carcetti has a point about the Royce administration failing to claim matching funds that Carcetti had Watkins secure a year earlier during the previous legislative session in Annapolis. Royce explains that he will claim those funds after the primary, for the next fiscal year. To do so prior would have given Carcetti a campaign highlight.

    Back on the corner, Michael doesn’t rattle when some buyers try to scam him on some heroin sales and backs the older heads down. Bodie, impressed, tries to get Michael to work the after school rush hours, but Michael wants to quit now that he’s repaid the money he needed for back-to-school supplies for himself and his younger brother. Besides, school’s starting.

    Kima Greggs surveys the street outside Old Face Andre’s store, as Omar and Renaldo -unnoticed – survey her. Renaldo asks if Greggs is federal and Omar replies that she is city police and that he knows and likes her – up to a point. A school girl goes in the store, all dressed up and carrying a backpack – on the day before school starts – raising Omar’s suspicions. He assumes that Greggs would notice such a detail as well. After the girl leaves – minus her backpack – Greggs heads into the store to buy some gum and check it out. She notices better security cameras outside the store than inside, as well as reinforced doors – indicative of a stash house rather than a viable grocery. As she drives away, Omar notes she needs more patience. But Greggs is off to report what she saw at Old Face Andre’s to Freamon, who has been doing wiretap work ever since they picked up the call from Andre to Monk, a Stanfield lieutenant, a week prior – the one in which an irate Stanfield grabbed his lieutenant’s phone and told Andre not to harry him. They consult the wiretap chart, trying to link Andre into the higher rungs of the Stanfield organization. “We’re getting close,” says Greggs. Lt. Asher then leaves his office, saying he’s been called downtown by Deputy Commissioner of Operations William Rawls. “You guys aren’t into any s**t are you?” he asks on his way out. They deny it, of course.

    At Police Headquarters, Deputy Commissioner Rawls Lt. briefs Charles Marimow on his new job – making sure he gets the Major Crimes unit back on the street where it belongs. No more movement on the subpoenas, which will not be answered until after the primary in any event. Asher arrives for his meeting with Rawls and is relieved of command of Major Crimes, transferred to the Telephone Reporting unit, and told he has done a fine job. Just fine.

    It’s the picture of domestic bliss at Beadie Russell’s house, as Bunk arrives for dinner and McNulty introduces him to Beadie’s kids, who are studying from the homeland security binders that McNulty liberated earlier at the Western. Afterward, Bunk lures McNulty out for drink at their old haunt of the railroad track, but McNulty nurses a single beer, much to Bunk’s disappointment. Bunk presses him on whether he’s really comfortable in his new life. “Sometimes it is what it is,” McNulty explains.

    Bodie complains to Slim Charles about Marlo’s latest pressure, noting that he could only make a go of the new strip because he was selling Slim’s package of high-quality narcotics. On Marlo’s weaker package, his profits will fall. Bodie wants to fight back, but he is alone now. Slim explains that the people he is working with now – Prop Joe and the New Day Co-op, of course – they aren’t going to battle for any territory. Later back in a discount hotel meeting room, the Co-op crew, including Proposition Joe, Slim Charles and Fat-face Rick and others, meet to discuss how to handle Marlo’s hegemony and that of the New York Boys on the eastside. Marlo is running off some of the independents supplied by the Co-op on the Westside, or forcing them to take their package. But the bigger problem is the recent emigrants from Brooklyn and the Bronx, setting up shop in East Baltimore and running various local crews off. The Co-op finds consensus: If they are going to bump with the New Yorkers, they need to stand together and Marlo, as young and violent as he is, would be an asset in that regard. It’s noted that Marlo can “make an inconvenient n***** disappear,” and there is some discussion of how Marlo is hiding the bodies his organization drops. Proposition suggests its time to talk to Marlo again, to get him to cooperate, but Slim is skeptical he’ll listen.

    At his hotel security job, Colvin gets summoned to a room where a hotel patron has beaten a prostitute who lifted cash from his wallet. Colvin wants to arrest the assailant for assault, but the manager doesn’t want any trouble for a customer who is instrumental in booking conventions into Baltimore. When Colvin cuffs him regardless, the manager has to remind him he’s no longer a police officer: “You work for us.” Colvin relents and, ashamed to be doing what he is doing, leaves. The next day he tracks down Deacon to see about the social work grant he dismissed earlier.

    The first day of school, Randy, Michael and Dukie head over to pick up Namond, with Michael keeping his younger brother, Bug, in tow and Randy giving his lunch to Dukie on the way. De’Londa Brice allows Michael and Randy into her home to collect Namond, but shuts the door in Dukie’s face.

    At morning roll call, Charles Marimow addresses his new unit, demanding to know where Officer Massey, who manned the wiretap overnight, is and why she is not present for the meeting. When the reason is given, it is insufficient. Marimow asserts his leadership and says he wants to be briefed on every action by the unit. Freamon, Greggs and Sydnor are not thrilled with the new boss.

    At Tilghman Middle School, the first day begins in a rush of activity. Prez struggles to control his homeroom class. But the kids ignore his seating chart, steal his bus and hall passes and disrespect his authority. Fellow teacher Grace Sampson has to step in to restore order.

    The Mayor calls a private meeting with Herc, inquiring about his career goals. Briefed about this very outcome by Major Valchek earlier, Herc feigns surprise as, Royce, after establishing Herc’s loyalty, offers to make a call to push Herc’s name to the top of the sergeant’s list and then move him off the mayoral detail and back into another assignment. Herc expresses gratitude “Don’t mention it,” Royce intones precisely.

    In Prez’s math class he attempts to lead them through a word problem but the kids knowingly interrupt and effectively destroy the lesson. One girl, Chiquan, refuses to sit near Dukie, complaining that he smells. Humiliated, Dukie says nothing. Chiquan provokes another girl, flashing the sun with a piece of jewelry to shine in the other girl’s face. The teased girl goes for Chiquan, Prez tries to break it up and chaos breaks out until Grace arrives once again to help restore order.

    Marimow comes down on the unit for all the time they’re spending on Marlo Stanfield when there’s no body count connected with the Stanfield organization. He lays down the law – no more long-term wire taps, no more subpoenas. He declares the Barksdale case closed immediately and says that when the fledgling Stanfield wiretaps come up for renewal, they will be terminated as well. Freamon argues it’s up to a judge to decide when a wiretap comes down, but Marimow informs him the Deputy Commissioner for Operations will be talking to him about that very subject.

    After using the disturbance to sneak out of class, Randy uses a string of different colored uniform shirts to mingle with different grades in the school cafeteria. He works the crowd, pitching his product: a backpack full of candy. Dukie watches with amusement, while he plays with a plastic battery-operated mini fan he’s found inoperative in the street on the way to school.

    Omar and Renaldo catch the next re-up at Old Face Andre’s grocery, holding him up for the backpack the girl delivered. To distract Andre, Omar sent Renaldo into the store with a small-caliber handgun, knowing that Andre would be confident in the depth of his plexiglass. But while Andre is preparing to counter Renaldo, Omar slips past the security camera, enters the store and fires a shot high, through the plexiglass, using a large-caliber semi-auto. Renaldo gives up the package, and Omar to rub it in buys a pack of Newports and demands his change. As they leave, he references the look on Andre’s face to Renaldo, saying, “That’s why we get up in the morning.”

    At the social work college on UM’s Baltimore city campus, The Deacon brings Colvin to talk Professor David Parenti about a job as a field researcher – going out in the hood to find some corner boys to talk to for his study. He’s looking for 18-to-21 year olds. Colvin thinks 18-21 a too late to be trying to influence behavior; by that time they are already lost to the game. “So show him,” says Deacon.

    Carcetti shows up at the wake for the dead witness he used so effectively against Royce in the debate, checking with Wilson on his way in about the invited press. Clearly, they are planning to use the wake as a campaign event. He enters the funeral home, pays his respects to the boy’s mother, launching into a speech before stopping himself. “I’m just sorry for your loss.” Seeing Watkins and Marla Daniels in the back of the room, he greets them both, then wishes Daniels luck with her race. “The council sure could use you.” Outside, he refuses to talk to reporters, much to Wilson’s annoyance. But Carcetti considers appearances and implies that the real audience at this moment might be Watkins. Better to appear sincere at this moment, rather than calculating – he calculates.

    Colvin gets Sgt. Carver to let him and the professor talk to an 18-year-old kid, Shawn, in the interview room. Shawn nearly attacks the professor for writing while he’s talking, and after a tough few minutes in which Colvin quickly provokes the young man’s rage, the professor has to concede that “18-to-21 might be too seasoned.” Carver suggests they try the local high school, but Colvin suggests they need to go even younger. He takes the professor to Tilghman Middle School and on encountering the 6th-to-8th graders, they sense that they are in the correct place to undertake their research.

    Meanwhile, the exodus from the Major Crimes Unit is now on. Kima meets with her old mentor, Major Cedric Daniels, looking to get back under his new command in the Western District, but he says she’s too good to go back to a district and that she needs to move laterally at worst. He offers to talk to people on her behalf. In the meantime, Freamon visits the Deputy Ops and is told by Rawls that he is a hell of an investigator – Rawls seems sincere in his praise – but that his investigation is at an end. Sending the subpoenas to politically sensitive targets has made it so; they can’t stop the subpoenas, but they can get the unit that sent them by sending in “my Trojan horse” Charlie Marimow. Rawls anticipates that Freamon might go to the city judge who signed the wiretap order, seeking protection. Rawls references the fact that an earlier Deputy Ops once had to bury Freamon years ago for a similar action: “You have a gift for martyrdom,” Rawls tells him. “But I wonder, are your disciples as keen for the cross?” To protect his comrades, Freamon concedes defeat. Rawls then offers to let him land softly, transferring him back to C.I.D. homicide and telling Freamon that while it is hard to think it so now, he should consider this a favor.

    Following this, Daniels approaches Rawls to plead for a Homicide assignment for Greggs. The only open spot was just filled, Rawls reports dryly, but, he adds, looking at the Homicide roster, “Lemme see who I don’t love no more.”

    Prez tries to get the class to tackle another math word problem, as the kids inject their jokes and commentary. Chiquan acts out a bit and the other girl, still angry at the earlier teasing, leaps up and slashes Chiquan across the face with a razor. As blood gushes from a screaming Chiquan, chaos erupts in the classroom. Prez is momentarily paralyzed with shock, but Grace Sampson arrives to disarm the angry girl and call for an ambulance. As Ms. Sampson tends to Chiquan, Dukie softly approaches the angry girl, producing his mini-fan, which he has repaired. He turns it on, blows it gently toward the girl, then leaves it on the floor for her. She ignores him, her eyes glazed and hands bloodstained, as Dukie watches her

  4. 1 Oct 06 RefugeesAt an underground, all-night poker game at a westside skin joint, Marlo Stanfield is getting schooled by some old heads who know the game better than he does. Heading out into the early morning sunlight, he calls Chris Partlow before stopping at a corner grocery, where he buys a water and – upon being coldly eyed by the security guard — brazenly pockets some lollipops and glares at the guard. The working man waits for Marlo’s exit before confronting him outside. “You think I dream of coming to work up in this s**t on a Sunday mornin’?…” As Marlo ignores him, the guard gets more riled. “I know what you are. And I ain’t stepping to, but I am a man. And you just clip that s**t and act like you don’t even know I’m there.” “I don’t,’ Marlo says, before going eyeball to eyeball with him. “You want it to be one way…but it’s the other way,” he says coolly, before driving away with Chris.At Dennis “Cutty” Wise’s gym, the boys are talking about the bloody attack at school. Dukie Weems heard that the girl who wielded the razor in Prez’s class had a father who killed three police and that her mother boils cats and serves ’em. Namond Brice mocks Dukie for such nonsense. Randy Wagstaff finally sets them straight: she’s from a group home off Edmondson Avenue, and in those places, he tells them knowingly, you don’t need to eat boiled cat to make you crazy.Tipped off by The Deacon to a better paying job opportunity than his landscaping, Cutty shows up at Tilghman Middle School to see about a custodial job, only to learn from Assistant Principal Donnelly that what they really need is for him to mop up truants. Baltimore city can no longer afford actual truant officers or a anti-truancy program, so Donnelley has learned to keep a couple custodial positions unfilled at the beginning of the year for this contingency.Still shaken by the attack in his classroom and believing that his students must be deeply shaken as well, Prez prepares a talk for the kids to help them come to terms with what happened. His wife tries to get him out of the house to take his mind off of events, but he’s too wound.

    Her first day in homicide, Shakima “Kima” Greggs runs into her fellow refugee from the Major Crimes Unit, Det. Lester Freamon, and her new boss Sgt. Jay Landsman assures her she’ll get time to learn the basics, working nothing as a primary investigator for a few weeks. She gets a tour and stops to see William “The Bunk” Moreland in an interrogation room; he’s lined up a witness to Fruit’s murder, and the woman definitively identifies Lex as the shooter who murdered Fruit outside the downtown nightclub. Greggs picks up her first message: a call to a Mr. Lyon about something known as the methane probe protocols. Landsman and Freamon suggest she get right on it, then hang around and wait as she dials. An employee from the city zoo picks up, and when Greggs asks for “Mr. Lyon,” she chastises her: “You sound a little old for this.” The guys try to contain themselves: The hazing has begun.

    At the rim shop, Old Face Andre is trying to buy time from Marlo, calling Omar a terrorist who “blow up s**t just to,” and carrying on about the government cutting Delta and the insurance companies and NASDAQ some slack in the wake of similar terrorist attacks because they know “ain’t nothing they could do.” Marlo takes a shine to Andre’s ring, and makes him hand it over before responding: “Omar ain’t no terrorist. He’s just another nigger with a gun. And you ain’t no Delta Airlines neither…So bring me what you owe and talk that global economy mess somewhere else.”

    After Andre leaves, Marlo tells Chris he needs a hundred and a half for another card game. “Learnin’ their ways require some patience.” He assures Chris he’s gonna take the old heads soon enough. “Else maybe I get bored and send you to take ’em.”

    Looking thin and wan, clearly quite ill, C.I.D. commander Col. Ray Foerster meets with Commissioner Ervin I. Burrell and Deputy Commissioner William A. Rawls about the murdered state’s witness, and finds himself suddenly defending veteran homicide Det. Ed Norris’s ability to work the case. Burrell has another idea: give it to the “fresh eyes” of the rookie, Kima Greggs. When Foerster realizes what’s really going on – that Burrell is trying to slow and impede a politically sensitive investigation, he asks to keep Norris on the probe but promises to prevent any more press leaks prior to the primary election. “I resent the implication,” Burrell responds, and Rawls gives Foerster a quick, subtle headshake: No argument on this. Foerster makes his appeal to Rawls later: “This gets out, who do you think it’s gonna land on? I got two years to make forty and a pension bump.” Rawls concedes it’s a bad call, but says it’s the Commissioner’s decision to make. “He’s the one over City Hall every day getting his ass chewed.”

    When Bubbles finds out Sherrod has been skipping the first days of school, he gives him an ultimatum: “School or out the business.” Given that Sherrod last attended the fifth grade, Bubbles asks Assistant Principal Donnelly to consider returning him to that level where he might be able to do the work. Donnelly explains that because of thin resources, Sherrod has to be “socially promoted” to eighth grade. Besides, she explains, putting older kids with the young ones isn’t fair to the teachers – all the harder to maintain order.

    Prez tries to talk to his class about the bloody attack, but they appear indifferent, cynical and disrespectful as always. Moreover, someone got wind that he was once a cop, and they want to know if he ever shot anyone, and what kind of gun he carried. He finally caves to their questions, admits he was once police, but insists the job wasn’t about carrying a gun, “it was about working with the community.” The kids laugh, then mime popping off rounds. Chaos ensues. Prez tries to walk the aisles to get control, but Randy grabs his bag and slips out, followed by Sherrod, who has only moments before been dumped into Prez’s class. Changing his shirt to the sixth grade color and using a stolen hall pass, Randy heads to the lower-grade lunch with a bookbag of snacks, ready to make sales. His classroom still in chaos, Prez tosses the notes from his speech, and catches sight of Sherrod outside, picking up discarded books from the blacktop.

    Chris and Felicia “Snoop” Pearson do surveillance on the grocery store security guard, checking his hours. “What he do again?” Snoop asks. “Talked back,” says Chris. They then head to Hilltop and Bodie’s corner to put the heat on Preston “Bodie” Broadus, and realizing he has no choice, Bodie agrees to take their package. When they ask about young Michael Lee’s whereabouts, he tells them he’s not a regular, just a kid working the corner long enough to pay off a debt. “Why you asking?” Bodie inquires. “Never mind why,” says Chris, letting Bodie know his low standing in the Stanfield organization. “Why ain’t in your repetoire no more.”

    Back in the sixth-grade lunch period, Randy’s former teacher spots him and drags him back to the main office, where Donnelly accuses him of using hall passes to spray paint walls during classes. “You know I don’t.” Randy protests. “Then who is?” she presses. He won’t give, until she threatens to call his foster mom, Miss Anna. Randy caves as Cutty, watching from across the office while filling out paperwork, shakes his head sadly at the snitching.

    Meanwhile, Howard “Bunny” Colvin pairs up with UM Sociology Professor David Parenti to pitch the pilot program to the school bureaucracy. Meeting with an area superintendent, Mrs. Conway, they find that she bristles defensively at first, worried that their program implies a negative critique of the school system. “This isn’t about the system,” they assure her. They’re just trying to get to the troubled kids who are about to fall out of the system altogether. She’ll allow it, but with a caveat: “Nothing that gets anyone upset…there’s an election going on and we don’t want to put our schools in the middle of that mess.” Colvin, of all people, knows this score. “No indeed,” he replies.

    Dets. Leander Sydnor and Off. Caroline Massey shut down the wire room, as Lt. Charlie Marimow, now firmly in control of the Major Case Squad and quite satisfied with himself, watches them head back on the street to pursue low-level arrests.

    Armed with an arrest warrant, Bunk and Freamon wait for three marked units to answer their call for backup to search Lex’s mother’s house. They light up when they see one arriving officer is McNulty, who in turn, teases Freamon about having reached too far with his wiretap unit. Freamon explains that he tried to follow the money and McNulty shakes his head knowingly. When he offers to take the back, Freamon reminds him the man who takes the back buys the rounds.

    Back or front, they come up empty except for Lex’s distraught-looking mother, who’s lit a shrine of candles on her mantle of photos. Noting this, Bunk presses her on whether her son is still alive, threatening to return often if she doesn’t give up an answer. “I don’t know where my son is,” she says through watery eyes. She is not only grieving; she is frightened as well.

    At Marlo’s pigeon coop, Proposition Joe makes a case for him to join the New Day Co-op – the consortium of citywide dealers. He lays out the benefits of “standing together”: good quality drugs always available at the best wholesale prices, lawyer and bondsmen on hand, shared information…and “no one f**ks with you.” “No one f**ks with me now,” Marlo shoots back, before thanking Joe for his time and sending him away.

    At City Hall, mayoral Chief of Staff Coleman arker is pushing Royce to rally his base, concerned about the mayor’s thinning lead in the primary race. He shows him campaign posters in African nationalist colors emblazoned with the slogan that the mayor “makes US proud.” Royce frowns: “You want me to start wearing dashikis? Go all Marion Barry and sh**t?” Parker says he also wants to put another $75,000 on the street in “walk-around money” on primary day. The Mayor tells him to call another game.

    Running against Royce, Councilman Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti wants to meet with Royce’s “base” as well – in the form of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance — despite the fact that he hasn’t been invited to their endorsement interviews with candidates and he’ll never get their vote. His team thinks it’s a waste of time, except Wilson, who agrees with the councilman that, done right, they’ll respect him for it and, given that respect, they might be less than aggressive for Royce even after endorsing him. “And if they don’t, then at the least they get to see a beggin’ ass white man on his knees. Always a feel-good moment for the folks.”

    At a community meeting in West Baltimore, Marla Daniels and her opponent in the 11th District council race, incumbent Councilwoman Eunetta Perkins, take questions from the residents, along with other district candidates. One complaint involves a halfway house for recovering addicts going up on one man’s block. “Not if I have anything to say about it,” says Perkins. Daniels tries to point out the bigger picture: that the city’s thousands of addicts need to live somewhere. “Though not in white neighborhoods,” Perkins interjects. Marla, suddenly on the defensive and showing her political inexperience, concedes her point, but adds, “These are people – our brothers and sisters, our children, our friends, who are trying to change their lives…” Meanwhile, watching from the sidelines, State Delegate Odell Watkins – Daniels’ mentor and a power behind Royce, fumes as he spots a pamphlet: Mayor Royce ticketed up with Perkins, not Daniels – despite promises he made to Watkins earlier.

    At a hotel suite downtown, Andy Krawczyk and six or seven other fat-cat developers join Mayor Royce in a card game, the second of the month. Privately, Krawcyzk commiserates with a colleague about how hard it is to feign losing hand after hand to the mayor when Royce plays cards so poorly. “Texas Hold ‘Em,” the Mayor says, smiling as he deals. “I begin to understand the popularity of this game… No limit.”

    Over drinks with Bunk, Freamon tries to put the pieces together on Marlo’s missing bodies and the missing Lex, speculating about dumping grounds and the means of disposing of bodies, but Bunk is only interested in bodies of another sort: hitting on the women across the bar. As Freamon drones on about police work, a tanked-up Bunk watches the women walk out and begins bellowing for his old partner: “Jimmy!”

    Snoop and Chris survey Michael’s battered rowhouse, an old rummy sitting on the front stoop. They watch as Michael exits with Bug for school, and Snoop speculates they are just going to school so as to get out of their house every day. “Make a good run at that boy, he’ll be on a corner, no problem,” Snoop says.

    Bunk and Greggs arrive at a crime scene — a body in a field. “Soft eyes,’ Bunk advises her, echoing the same advice given to Prez in a teacher’s meeting a couple weeks earlier. “You got soft eyes you can see the whole thing. You got hard eyes, you staring at the same tree, missing the forest.” Greggs isn’t impressed with his zen, but watches as they measure, order tests, use obscure technical terms – and fails to notice as Bunk slips a note inside the dead man’s hand. When she takes her turn examining the corpse, she spots it, and they hand over tweezers. She unscrolls the paper: “Tater killed me.” The guys crack up. Burned again.

    Colvin gets started on his research, observing classrooms that range from out of control to sternly subdued to genuinely attentive. He’s almost plowed down by a kid rolling through the hall on a chair. “You can tell the days by their faces,” Grace Sampson explains to him later. “The best day is Wednesday. That’s the farthest they get from home, whatever’s going on in the streets.”

    Out on his truancy rounds, Cutty learns what his job is really about. The school is only interested in having the kids show up for one day a month in September and October – the minimum attendance that assures each school will be funded for the fullest enrollment. Cutty is incredulous. “Naw, naw man. School is school,” he says to deaf ears. “Which one of y’all still needs your September day?” his round-up partner asks the kids in an abandoned lot. Cutty is disgusted.

    At Blind Butchie’s bar, Proposition Joe Stewart tries to clear the air with Omar, insisting he wasn’t involved with Stringer Bell and Brother Mouzone in their play against him – he was merely the messanger. To set things right, he offers him a cut of a high-stakes card game on the west side. Omar suggests that Joe is trying to set him up and Joe denies it. Omar says he will watch the game and see if it is a legitimate target; if not, he promises to come back on Joe.

    Marimow’s stripped-down Major Crimes Unit gets two fresh new recruits: Off. Dozerman, now transferred to C.I.D. after being wounded in the line of duty last year, and the newly-minted Sergeant Thomas “Herc” Hauk. “I see you just made sergeant after driving the Mayor around for less than three months…you must be a helluva driver,” Marimow says to Herc dryly, before letting them both know that like Sydnor and Massey, they’ll be on the street doing rip n’ runs.

    At the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Carcetti makes his appeal to the all-black group. He voted for Royce twice but now he’s disappointed and angry – mostly at the crime. “Wherever I go, people want the same things, they need the same things, but they’re just not getting them. I’m going to change that.” He tells them he’s not going to ask for their vote now, but that when he’s mayor, “my door is open to you, regardless of who you endorse.” The ministers pointedly thank him for coming.

    Sgt. Landsman, having gotten the order from Colonel Foerster, assigns Greggs her first case: primary on the investigation of the slain witness. Norris is being pulled off the politically controversial case. Greggs is as surprised as everyone else, thinking at first that this is more hazing.

    On the way home from school, Namond says he heard someone’s snitching on the wall taggers. “Bam, bam,” he says, giving a one-two punch, “do that to whoever be snitching’.” Randy keeps his head down. Michael takes Bug home and sits him down to do his homework, ignoring the rambling comments of his obviously drugged mother. Seeing that Bug is cared for, he leaves to go to Cutty’s gym.

    After school at Tilghman, school police deliver the latest on the slashed girl, Chiquan, to Prez and Donnelly: more than two hundred stitches, and the muscles in her face don’t move right. As for her attacker, Laetitia, she’ll go to a juvenile facility, “only a little worse than her group home,” Donnelly says. Chiquan wasn’t HIV positive though, she tells a stunned Prez, who never even thought to worry about such a thing, “if you’re looking for a silver lining and all.”

    After using their nail gun to board up another vacant-rowhouse mausoleum, Snoop pulls out a rent-a-cop badge and shows Chris, smiling. “Souvenir” she explains, as he takes it from her and tosses it into a trash pile. The trouble with disappearing people is that nobody knows, she tells him, implying that this is doing nothing for her reputation. Chris shakes his head.

    Bubbles waxes on about his lost innocence to Sherrod: “Everything changes. You know. One minute the ice cream truck be the only thing you wanna hear…next thing, them touts callin’ out the her-ron be the only thing you can hear.” He notices Sherrod pretending to study an algebra text, telling Bubbles that the dictionary he has is a workbook to use with the text. “It ain’t no thing,” Sherrod shrugs. Bubbles takes in the lie – and Sherrod’s illiteracy — and replies, “I see that.”

    Cutty takes Michael and Justin to the armory fights, and as the boys admire the boxers, he offers tips about the skills of the men in the ring – and the discipline they’ve needed to get into fighting form. Michael seems ill at ease with Cutty and was quick to make sure that Justin would be attending as well before agreeing to even come to the fights. Now he offers an off-point comment to Justin about one of the fighters: ‘Bet his woman’s fine.” Cutty is weary at the lack of attention to the sport itself.

    Back at the underground card game with the old timers, Marlo is trumping Fowl George when Omar and Renaldo enter with the guard as hostage, armed for bear. “That’s my money,” Marlo says, as the banker rounds it up for the stickup crew. “Money ain’t got no owners, only spenders,” Omar tells him, admiring the ring Marlo took from Andre. It takes a pistol under his chin for Marlo to hand it over, but he finally does, with a threat: “This ain’t over.” Omar, holding the trigger, reminds him, “I can find your people a whole lot easier than they can find me.” Marlo nods at the ring. “Wear it in health.”

    After the fights, Cutty drops off Justin, then turns to Michael to get his address. Michael bolts out of the van with sudden urgency, passing on a ride home. Hiding behind a corner until Cutty drives away, Michael makes his own way down the street, walking home in the Baltimore night

  5. 8 Oct 06 AlliancesLate at night, outside an abandoned factory in West Baltimore, the young crew all sit together, contemplating mysteries: Michael Lee, Randy Wagstaff, Duquan “Dukie” Weems, Namond Brice, Donut and little Kenard. They’ve heard talk of the bodies in the vacant rowhouses and they’ve heard about who puts the bodies there: “There’s dead, then there special dead,” intones Donut. Gunshots are heard in the neighborhood, followed by police sirens, but that’s merely ordinary and the boys pay little heed. Instead, gravitating back to ghost stories, Namond floats a theory that Chris is turning the disappeared into zombies. “Chris got the power. He tell ’em to come and they gotta come.” Michael plays along with the gothic storytelling, adding that Marlo is probably using the undead for his own purposes: “Prob’ly spies, man. Can’t figure any other way Marlo knows so much.” Scaring themselves with their musings, the boys – like the children they still are – spook themselves and flee in panic at the sudden sound of a kicked bottle and the stumbling arrival of a stray dope fiend.Major Stanislaus Valchek tips off his First District political patron Tommy Carcetti on what’s happening with the Braddock case – the one involving a slain state’s witness, which was used so effectively by Carcetti against Royce in the mayoral debate. Detective Norris, a veteran, has been pulled from the investigation and replaced by a rookie detective. Along with his handlers, Theresa D’Agostino and Norman Wilson, Carcetti contemplates the crude attempt to slow the murder probe. Too crude, they reason, for Royce. “This one has Ervin Burrell written all over it,” agrees Tommy, reasoning that Burrell is doing what he thinks he ought to for his political patron. Having already slapped Royce once with the Braddock case, Carcetti worries that going public a second time with the new revelation will backfire on Carcetti, or seem more of the same to the media. Instead, Wilson suggests they feed it to Tony Gray, which will not only keep them out of the line of fire, but will boost Gray’s campaign at the expense of the Mayor’s base. “I’m a devious mother-f**ker once I get going,” Wilson smiles.At the Western District, Major Cedric Daniels meets with Lt. Charles Marimow and Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman to go over what’s become of the prolonged wiretap efforts against Marlo Stanfield’s organization – a handful of search warrants and planned street sweeps of various corners. Pearlman points out they’re wasting a wiretap on street-level arrests but Marimow insists if the raids go right, they could catch Marlo or one of his people “with dope on the table.” Daniels and Pearlman doubt this and Pearlman tells Marimow she isn’t about to litigate an entire wiretap for street-level arrests. Marimow is indifferent and leaves. Pearlman blames Freamon for their case being gutted – he overreached with his subpoenas probing the Barksdale money trail, bringing Marimow down on the unit.Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski tries to take control of his class with a new rule system – doing classwork and homework earns stickers and ultimately prizes, misbehaving earns detention. He illustrates his system by assigning Namond, who interrupts his explanation, to detention. When Namond objects that he didn’t yet know the rules, Prez agrees to his logic and removes his name – quickly adding another student’s name Zenobia when she acts out moments later.

    Over in the teacher’s lounge, Howard “Bunny” Colvin and Professor David Parenti review with Grace Sampson how to proceed with their grant-funded pilot program. As Colvin sees it, there are two kinds of kids: stoop kids (who hang out near home and obey their parents) and corner kids (who don’t and go down to the corners). When he suggests separating the groups so the stoop kids have a better chance at learning without disruptions, Grace and Parenti warn that “tracking” can suggest reduced expectations for certain students and is looked upon with disfavor by the school system and by the public. Bunny argues that by not separating the kids, everyone suffers. Grace agrees to the separation if he thinks it will truly help the corner kids, rather than merely warehousing them in a separate class.

    Prez tries to help Michael in class but he just sits there, staring at his page blank, forcing Prez to give him detention. Suddenly Namond jumps up to watch Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly overseeing a shakedown of bushes outside. When Prez can’t reign in Namond with detention, he orders him to leave. Their argument escalates until Namond shouts at him: “Get your police stick out the desk and beat me. You know you f**kin’ want to.” Storming out, the boy walks straight into Sampson, Colvin and Parenti; Colvin tags him as one of the corner kids for the program.

    At Marlo Standfield’s outdoor lair, Marlo and Chris Partlow talk about what to do about Omar. Marlo wants to put a price on his head and go on the hunt, but Chris urges him to find another way, without bounties. “Barksdale turned this town upside down huntin’ him and all he ended up lookin’ was weak.” Marlo comes around, admiring his lieutenant’s logic.

    Working a corner, Sherrod is trying to fend off a drug addict who is short money and insisting on a discount when Bubbles comes up asking why Sherrod’s not in school. Before that question can be answered, the addict beats up Bubbles, looking for the extra $4 he needs for his purchase. He rips off Bubbles’ shoe and finds a vial, which he takes instead. “Don’ need the four now, son,” the addict says to Sherrod as he runs off, leaving Bubbles humiliated and bloody in the street.

    If he’s done nothing else, Carcetti and his insurgent campaign forces Mayor Clarence Royce to shave – exuding a more youthful, hungry appearance. But out on the campaign trail, Carcetti’s the one showing real hunger, pressing the flesh in both black and white neighborhoods when Wilson gets a call to meet with Tony Gray’s team in 20 minutes. At the closed-door meeting between Wilson, Councilman Gray and his campaign manager, Tony – still bitter over being used by Carcetti to split the black vote – shows that he sees that Carcetti hopes to use him now to slam Royce with the revelation about the obstruction of the Braddock case. So Wilson lays out the facts: Tony’s not going to win, but if he uses the leak to bring his numbers up, he’s in a better position for the next round of elections, if he wants to run for the state legislature or maybe try a congressional run. Gray sees his logic.

    Prez presides over a packed classroom of detention detainees – indeed, it seems like his entire roll is staying after school, well-behaved for the first time all day, as he calls roll. They shower him with pleas to leave and promises of better behavior. He agrees to make an exception this one time and as they file out, Namond, Randy and Dukie enter. Namond apologizes and Prez accepts, urging him to work harder tomorrow, but Namond says he’s been suspended by Mrs. Donnelly. Prez asks to see Dukie alone, but Dukie says Randy can stay as the teacher hands Dukie a bag of clean clothes and toiletries. Randy and Dukie then explain that Michael can’t come to detention because he has to pick up his little brother, Bug, because their mother is “on that stuff.” Prez walks the kids out, asking them what they want to be when they grow up. The usual clichés about the NBA or NFL are quickly put aside and Randy explains he wants to own a store. Prez points out he’ll need to know a lot of math to do that. When Prez realizes he’s locked his keys in his car, the boys call Donut over. “Donut’s crazy with cars, he can open anything,” explains Randy as Donut works his slim jim into their teacher’s car and pops the lock.

    Sherrod comes home to the squatter’s pad and finds Bubbles recuperating from his beating in bed. As a token offering, Sherrod leaves vials by the bedside. His mentor chastises him for still working the corners, warning him that it’ll use him up. He points out that the corners provide for no dignity, adding that if it was Sherrod being beat, there would have been little that Bubbles could have done. He tells him he can stay the night, but if Sherrod doesn’t go back to school tomorrow “this partnership need to be done.” Looking over at the vials, Bubbles feels only shame.

    Parker barges into an election strategy season in Royce’s office and turns on the TV: Councilman Gray is talking about the “unconscionable” intervention of high-ranking police officials in the murder investigation of the witness. Meanwhile at Homicide, Dets. Norris and Greggs watch the same news reports with Gray bemoaning the replacement of a “highly decorated veteran” (Norris) for a rookie (Greggs). “The f**k I ever do to him?” asks Greggs, humiliated.

    At their abandoned factory hangout, Namond, Randy, Michael and Dukie are killing time when Chris and Snoop appear – their very ghost story come to life – and asks Michael to take a walk. When he demurs, Chris orders the others to get lost. They do so, but not before Namond is quick to call both Chris and Snoop by name – a subtle indication that they are known to the boys in case they are thinking about hurting Michael. Namond and Dukie guide a scared Randy down the alley and they duck around a corner to keep watch. Chris tells Michael they’ve heard good things about him and are always in the market for a soldier, someone to make family. Michael begs off, saying he’s got family already. “We be around if you need something,” says Chris, slapping a wad of cash in his hand. When Michael rejoins the guys, thanking Namond for “good looking out,” Randy babbles his fear, certain Chris is after him. He says nothing about his role in the death of Lex earlier, and Michael, amused at Randy’s paranoia, teases him before assuring that “it weren’t even about you, Randy.”

    Royce rips Police Commissioner Ervin H. Burrell as Deputy Commissioner for Operations William Rawls and Mayoral Chief of Staff Coleman Parker watch, demanding to know how he could have screwed up so much: Hamsterdam, the politically charged subpoenas, then the leak about the witness murder and now the attempted scuttling of that investigation. Burrell defends himself saying the Mayor specifically asked him to slow down the investigation. Out of Burrell’s eyeline, Rawls shakes his head tellingly – a gesture noticed by Royce and Parker both. Disgusted, Royce orders Burrell out and turns to Rawls, who assures Royce he tried to warn Burrell that his plan was a bad one – though in fact, he issued no such warning — but he didn’t warn City Hall because he’s “a loyal subordinate.” Royce tells Rawls “I need you to make this go away, Bill. I won’t forget. Believe me.” Rawls nods agreeably.

    Chris tells Marlo that Slim Charles sent word that Proposition Joe wants a sit down. “Slim says the fat man knew the card game was gonna get took.” Hearing this, Marlo tells Chris to set it up. They’re interrupted by Old Face Andre, who has clearly been summoned to Marlo’s lair. Marlo tells Andre they have a plan: They’re going to stage a robbery in his store, and he’s to call the police and file a report fingering Omar for the crime. Andre doesn’t like the plan – Omar will get right out and come back at him. “He won’t get out,” assures Marlo. When Andre leaves, Chris questions him: “A man can make bail on a robbery.” Marlo has a solution: “Make it no bail.” Sensing his meaning, Chris laughs.

    Lunchtime in Prez’s classroom, and many of the kids choose to hang out in the new teacher’s classroom rather than the cafeteria. Prez talks to Michael, telling him he needs to come to him with problems like not being able to come to detention. He excuses him and calls Dukie to his desk offering him some of his lunch and sending him to the cafeteria to get a drink to wash down the sandwich. When he leaves, Prez asks Crystal why Duquan isn’t wearing any of his new wardrobes. “His people take his clothes, sell it on the corners,” she explains, adding that Dukie’s situation is common knowledge at the school.

    Meanwhile, Colvin and Parenti meet with Principal Withers and Donnelly to discuss their proposal: “Different kids, different approaches.” Withers gets called away to deal with a situation, but tells them if they want to jump in and help, that’s all the OK they need. He dismisses the school system hierarchy and tells them thank you, as it’s the only time they’ll hear it said. Donnelly then emphasizes to Colvin and Parenti that they need protect Withers — if anyone has a problem with their plan, he’ll get the blame. They agree and get down to business. Of the 256 eighth graders, she guesses about 40 are hardcore corner kids and when they find that number an acceptable one, she dissuades them: Start with 10, she warns. Colvin is pleased to hear that one of them is Namond Brice.

    Dets. Lester Freamon and William “Bunk” Moreland stroll Leakin Park, famed dumping ground of West Baltimore, looking for some of the bodies that Freamon believes Marlo ought to be dropping. But come up empty.

    At the Western District, Marimow briefs his detail on the impending raids as Daniels and Pearlman listen in. Pearlman whispers that the addresses are a week old, so the raid will be a certain bust. As they’re dismissed, Sgt. Ellis Carver complains to Sgt. Thomas “Herc” Hauk, who is subordinate to Marimow in the Major Crimes Unit, that “warrants are one thing, but street sweeps of Marlo Stanfield’s crews? Are you guys serious?” Herc defends the raids and Carver shrugs it off, but asks why he’s not out campaigning for his man Royce. “He gets another four years, you’re liable to be wearing the gold braid,” Carver points out. Herc takes in this profundity. And back in the major’s office, Pearlman laments the last crusade of the once-vaunted Major Crimes Unit, going out with a whimper. She’s frustrated with this poor quality of casework, weary of the drug war itself. She tells Daniels that that she is ready for something new – that is, if Demper wins and forgives her for the untimely political subpoenas.

    In homicide, Sgt. Jay Landsman breaks the news to Greggs that Norris is back on the dead witness case by order of Deputy Ops and she has to get the new story straight: Norris has been the primary all along and she’s merely been assisting him. “F**k you, fat man,” she tells him, letting him know she’s fed up with their games and humiliations. He shuts the door and lets her know what they’re up against, then tells her to prepare for the further deceit of a press conference.

    Randy confides to Dukie his fears about Chris taking him to the vacants like he took Lex and so many others and confides his role in Lex’s disappearance. Dukie sets him straight that Chris isn’t “changing” anyone into zombies in the vacants, he’s killing them. Dukie confesses he saw Chris walk a boy into a house over on Calhoun, but begs Randy not to tell anyone. Secrets shared, they sit, fretful.

    The police raids descend on various addresses and corners in search of the Stanfield organization. They come up with goose eggs on the warrants and minor arrests on the corners. Marimow, enraged, is convinced that Stanfield’s people were tipped. He wants blood and demands to know where Marlo hangs out. Herc is clueless but Carver offers the outdoor lair he’s seen him in: “So no one can drop a microphone on him.” Marimow asks Herc what they can do with that.

    Royce tells State Delegate Odell Watkins that keeping Burrell was his biggest mistake, but Watkins points out that Royce did indeed tell the police commissioner to slow the Braddock investigation. Moreover, Watkins confronts the Mayor with two versions of Royce campaign literature – one pairing him with Eunetta Perkins in precincts where Perkins is strong, the other with Marla Daniels in other precincts. Royce promised Watkins he’d go with Marla. Royce pleads ignorance in the ruse, but Watkins doesn’t buy it. He also knows about the mayor’s fundraising card games with every developer and city contractor worth shaking down, and he’s had it. “I’m gonna sit what’s left of this one out,” he says, passing Parker on his way out. Parker tells Royce he better go after him; they can’t afford to lose Watkins and his political organization so close to election day. When Royce, prideful and angry, won’t give chase, Parker does. Lt. Hoskins, who heads the mayoral security detail, witnesses the dust up and places a call to Deputy Commissioner Rawls.

    Herc and his running buddy, Officer Dozerman, pull up near Marlo’s outdoor hang out in an undercover van and position a camera, with Det. Leandor Sydnor’s assistance. As soon as they leave, a young hopper appears, checks out the camera and pulls a cell phone to report the news.

    In the visiting room at M.C.I. Jessup, or “The Cut” as it’s known in Maryland, DeLonda leaves for the ladies room so Wee-Bey and Namond can have some father-son time. Namond doesn’t want to be lectured about school when Wee-Bey dropped out at 6th grade, so Wee-Bay backs off from such hypocrisy, though he urges his son to tread lightly if only to appease his mother. But when Namond scoffs at how Bodie buckled to Marlo’s pressure, Wee-Bey warns that while Namond’s spit and fire is admirable, it’s a different world out there today. Loyalty is no longer prized and the old codes are being lost. Bodie had no choice.

    As Snoop stands watch, Chris heads into Old Face Andre’s store, shoots a delivery woman dead and pistol whips Andre ordering him: “Say Omar.”

    Herc and Sydnor watch the camera feed as Marlo chats with his crew. Herc is excited by the set up, but ducks out leaving Sydnor to watch alone. Marlo then joins Chris in their SUV, telling him he hasn’t decided how to handle the camera just yet. They head off to Marlo’s sit-down with Proposition Joe.

    Randy is approached by eighth-grader Monnel with an offer to earn some real money $5 to stand watch while he and his friend Paul get it on with a girl, Tiffanie, in the bathroom. That’s a lot of candy sales, so Randy obliges.

    At Royce campaign headquarters, Herc works the phone bank, making the hard sell for Royce votes as best he can – the political process being new to him.

    In a Homicide interrogation room, a bloodied Andre fingers Omar for the murder. Meanwhile, having checked the sewers for bodies unsuccessfully, Freamon and The Bunk return to the unit and Bunk urges Lester to focus his mighty intellect on some real murders, giving up on the hypothetical ones.

    While Carcetti and Wilson are going door-to-door pressing flesh in a rough section of East Baltimore, Rawls pulls up, surprising them. He announces that Watkins is breaking with Royce, and claims he’s sided with the Mayor because he had to as a loyal subordinate. But he’d be happy to see some fresh blood in the city, and he’d like to have the chance to do some good in the police department. Carcetti and Wilson wait until he drives away, then race to their truck to speed off to see Watkins. “And f**k them red lights, man!” orders Wilson.

    Proposition Joe Stewart and Marlo sit across from each other in a Christian Science reading room as Chris and Slim Charles stand by. Joe makes it clear he has a way of hearing about things before they come down – like the card game and a set of imminent grand jury indictments he shows Marlo, naming drug kingpin Charlie Burman and others. He might warn Burman what’s coming; he might not – Burman is not a member of the New Day Co-op. Marlo asks if he’s heard anything about the video camera aimed at him. “Had no incentive to listen,” says the fat man. “You do now,” replies Marlo, reaching out a hand to shake on it and embrace the collective.

    Carcetti makes a case to Watkins for jumping to his side. Right now both Royce and Carcetti may need Watkins, but after the election, Carcetti will need him more. “I’m a white mayor in a majority black city,” he explains. “If you support me, you will have a voice within my administration simply because I’m gonna need it.” Watkins says he’s heard Royce is ahead by seven points. Carcetti denies it, saying his latest poll shows him within four. Watkins takes this in, impressed with the opportunity.

    Late night in a rear alley, Dukie leads Michael and Randy to the vacant house he spied Chris escorting one of his victims. Prying the plywood off the door, they creep inside, making their way to the decaying bodies in the back of the house. “He dead,” Dukie says, pulling away the plastic cover. “They all is.” As they file out, Dukie proves his point to Randy, who, still childlike in many ways, seems relieved to know that they are not, at least, zombie spies ready to haunt his dreams. “There ain’t no special dead,” says Dukie. “There’s just dead.”

  6. 15 Oct 06 Margin Of ErrorOn the Sunday before the primary, the mayoral candidates attend their church of choice with their families and entourages. Mayor Clarence Royce heads to a black Baptist Church in East Baltimore, Councilman Tony Gray to St. Bernadine’s Catholic Church in Edmondson Village, while Councilman Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti use the opportunity to travel to the church of a politically influential minister in West Baltimore, where an A.W.E. gospel choir is tearing it up. Randy Wagstaff and his foster mother, Miss Anna, head into a storefront Pentecostal church, while Bodie’s boys, including Kevin, sling on the corner across the way. The Reverend Reid Franklin holds forth with an election day homily, preaching to his flock and Carcetti in particular about Moses as law-giver, and “men of truth who fear God and hate covetousness.” He asks the congregation to keep those standards in mind when they choose their city’s leaders.After services, Carcetti tells Reverend Franklin he hopes state Delegate Odell Watkins – now firmly in the Carcetti camp — won’t be the only one to break with the incumbent mayor. “You’re holding me to a high standard,” he chides. “Moses? I mean, Jesus, Reverend…” Jennifer Carcetti winces at the small blasphemy. Unperturbed, the Reverend promises to keep an open mind – a sign that Carcetti is indeed making inroads among black voters – and shoots back: “Moses will do for now. We’ll save Jesus for your second term.”Across town in a surveillance van, Sgt. Thomas “Herc” Hauk watches for Marlo Stanfield and his lieutenants, spying through the camera hidden by the Major Crimes Unit in Marlo’s outdoor lair. No signs of life. Hauk tells Detective Leandor Sydnor to call him when someone shows up, and departs.Carcetti and aide-de-camp Norman Wilson work the crowd outside Baltimore’s new African-American History Museum when Watkins, pressing the flesh for Carcetti, arrives with an attack flyer he has just been handed by a voter. The flyer screams: “Carcetti Defended Notorious Slumlord.” A last-minute smear campaign depicts the candidate getting a loathed local landlord off the hook during his days as a private sector lawyer. Tommy claims he never met the guy, much less represented him. “They photo-shopped me.” He isn’t appeased by Bennett and Wilson’s assurances that they have time to knock the false allegation down.

    At their lair, Marlo and Chris arrive and stage a phone call for the hidden cameras, of which they are well aware. Monk takes a call and hands it to Marlo, who asks what time he can pick up “the skinny girl from New York,” insisting he’s gonna take care of it himself. As Herc and Sydnor watch from the van, a lip reader translates. Herc decodes: The skinny girl is cocaine. Sydnor can’t believe Marlo would go near a package himself, but Herc feels vindicated in his view of Marlo as a mope.

    Back in the Carcetti war room, the team reviews the fake flyer and how to debunk it. Tommy is beside himself, convinced this will destroy his chances. His campaign staff assure him they’ll take care of it.

    Namond and De’Londa, dressed in their Sunday best, meet with Brianna Barksdale, who breaks the news there will be no more money coming their way on Wee-Bey’s behalf. Outraged, De’Londa threatens Brianna, noting that Bey could get to speaking about her brother Avon – exposing Avon to even more prison time. “I don’t give a shit what happens to Avon,” Brianna fires back, before telling Namond that she invited him to the meet for a specific purpose – to make it clear that his mother’s been paid enough that he should have enough money going forward. Namond doesn’t know what to believe.

    Working the weekend shift two days before the primary election, Norris fills Greggs in on a message from a jailhouse snitch who wants to make a deal for the information they need to make the dead witness case. Norris wants to push it through before the election to shake things up – not knowing or caring whether it hurts the Mayor or Carcetti. “I don’t even vote. But it’ll be fun to f**k with all them downtown suits.” Not to mention the fact that an arrest in the controversial case could land Greggs on the 11 o’clock news, payback for what the politicians put her through.

    At home, the Carcettis watch the late night news, exhausted by the campaign and wishing it was over. Even though they found the original photo in the local newspaper’s morgue files and were able to prove that it was doctored, some damage has been done. And officially, the Royce campaign claims to know nothing about claiming the smear tactic or the origin of the slanderous fliers. Tommy Carcetti confides to his wife that he’d have been okay losing by fifteen points, but now that he has a shot, he can’t take the idea of losing by two.

    Back at home, De’Londa Brice tells Namond Brice he’s now going to have to step up. He can’t quit school, but he has to go ask Bodie for his own package. Namond asks his mother what Brianna meant about her being paid enough money. “She’s a lying bitch,” De’Londa claims, as she calls Wee-Bey to break the news. Wee-Bey seems decidedly non-commital as De’Londa rails her outrage, indicating he has no plans to snitch on the Barksdales.

    At roll call in the Western District, Lt. Dennis Mello announces the new arrests warrant for murder and a weapons charge for Omar Little. The cops know him well; they’re glad someone finally got paper on him. But Off. Jimmy McNulty finds something strange. “You ever know Omar to do a citizen?” he asks Officer Tony Colicchio.

    Early that same morning, Wilson finds Carcetti at campaign headquarters, where he’s been poring over data trying to figure where he should go door-to-door in the waning hours of the campaign to pick up more votes. Wilson drags him off to do his radio shows, insisting he leave the campaign planning to the experts.

    As the Tilghman Middle School students arrive for the day, Roland “Prez” Pryzkylewski intercepts Duquan “Dukie” Weems and takes him to the gym locker room, where he presents him with a locker, clean clothes, soap and a laundry bag. If Duquan gets to school early, he can shower and change and Prez will take the dirty clothes and wash them.

    Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls pays a visit to Homicide, surprising Sgt. Jay Landsman. He’s heard about Norris making a move on the Braddock case to writ out a jail witness for an interview, and he’s not happy with the “let the chips fall where they may” approach, given that a determination over whether the murder resulted from Braddock’s witness status could risk either Royce or Carcetti holding a grudge if they win. And it turns out that city polling places still need to be covered by more uniformed officers. He tells Landsman to order Greggs and Norris to report for poll duty. “They can pick up their writ and talk to their snitch on Wednesday,” Rawls says.

    As Grace Sampson hands out the list of the ten students being pulled for the University of Maryland study, the teachers are genuinely relieved to lose a few of their knuckleheads. Prez is trying to explain fractions to his math class when he’s interrupted by Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly, who pulls Namond, Darnell and Zenobia from class with no explanation, leading to lots of speculation about what kind of trouble they’re in. Donnelly and Sampson round up the remaining students from other classes. As they are walked to their new classroom, Tiffany – now subjected to teasing over her bathroom trysts with the boys – is talking animatedly in the front office.

    With Carcetti still wound up about the flyer, Wilson reports that state Senator Clay Davis wants to meet, likely to throw in with Carcetti. But of course, Davis won’t come cheap. Tommy is dubious about Davis squeezing him and not coming through, but Wilson and Theresa D’Agostino convince him the money is worth the gamble.

    Settling into seats at a nice restaurant, Davis explains to Wilson and Carcetti that he can’t offer a public endorsement so late in the game, but he can see to a push in a few of his organization’s key precincts, and split some of his tickets and walk-around money between the Royce and Carcetti camps. He slips Carcetti a piece of paper with a figure on it and Tommy nods. Carcetti and Wilson beg off the sit down lunch – they’re due on the campaign trail — and Davis jokes they should just leave enough for his tab.

    When RandyWagstaff is called to Donnelly’s office, he at first denies he knows anything about Tiffany being in the bathroom with two boys, Monnel and Paul. But when he hears she claimed they raped her, he quickly and truthfully insists he was just a lookout — and she went willingly. Donnelly warns him there will be an investigation and likely suspension, if not explusion. Maybe even criminal charges. As she dials Randy’s foster mother, Randy begs her, offering all of the valuable information he has about other activities at Tilghman Middle – tagging, thieving, slashed tires. As nothing stops her, he makes a last ditch effort. “I know about a murder,” he says softly, recluctantly, finally getting her attention.

    Grace Sampson and Howard “Bunny” Colvin explain the mandatory program to the ten chosen students, who are none too pleased to hear about it – Namond, well versed in the terminology of incarceration by his father, immediately declares the new class to be solitary. They’ve been removed from gen-pop and sent to the hole. Colvin agrees with the assessment. From Donnelly, Prez learns about Randy’s situation, and pleads with the assistant principal to let him call someone he trusts at the police department. “I don’t want to see him get chewed up by the system.” He pays a visit to Major Cedric Daniels, who suggests passing it to Sgt. Ellis Carver. Prez is dubious, but Daniels assures him Carver’s come a long way.

    At the Amtrak station, Herc stakes out the arriving New York train. When he spots Marlo approach a woman arriving on a southbound Metroliner – who Marlo clearly does not know and who is clearly confused – Herc sends the Amtrak police supervisor to make the collar so he can surprise him at the interview. He grabs both her and Marlo, confiscating her bag in the process. Marlo smiles to himself as he’s dragged away. Herc looks on, proud. But minutes later, when the supervisor reports they’e both clean, Herc has no choice but to cut Marlo and the woman loose.

    Brought into the school case, Carver pays a visit to Randy’shome to talk to Miss Anna, and as Randy listens from the other room, he explains to the foster mom that the boy was just an unwitting go-between on the possible homicide case. If he keeps his mouth shut and cooperates, they can keep him out of it. Miss Anna is distraught at the danger he could be in, not to mention his bad judgment in that matter, as well as the incident at school. Carver agrees, but assures her that “rom what I can tell, he’s not a bad kid.”

    When Election Day finally arrives, Dennis “Cutty” Wise gets up early and heads out for a jog, evading his latest conquest’s questions about when he’s coming back. As he runs through the poster-festooned streets, campaign workers herd people to the polls, and candidates cast their votes for the cameras. At Tilghman Middle, now a polling precinct, Miss Anna heads in to vote while Randy waits outside. Spider, handing out Carcetti ballots for pay, quickly bolts when he sees Cutty – who has been searching for him for weeks. The Precinct Captain then hires Randy to take Spider’s place, giving him a crate of flyers and $50 to put one in every doorway in a Westside neighborhood. Miss Anna okays it, but orders him to come straight home after. So Randy sets out with the flyers, rounding up Dukie, Donut and Kenard to help, while Michael begs off to head to the gym.

    Meanwhile, Greggs gives Norris hell for getting her stuck on polling detail, thanks to his plan to jerk around the politicians and get them both on the 11 o’clock news. Carcetti is meeting and greeting his public in his home district when he’s accosted by an older supporter who says he knew his father, then starts in on what’s happened to the city starting in on what’s happened to the city since “the moolies” took over city government. In the wake of the racial epithet, Norman Wilson offers Carcetti a bitter smile. Carcetti is speechless as the man walks off.

    De’Londa drags Namond to see Bodie Broadus, humiliating her son as she demands he be given his own package. Bodie can’t say no. Meanwhile, Namond’s friends are not far away, growing tired of their own new gig papering row houses with campaign literature, but Randy threatens not to pay them if they quit. When they realize he’s already been paid and is holding their money, they demand instant gratification. Randy pays out the cash, but continues to finish the job on his own.

    At the gym, Michael Lee works a bag as Cutty works yet another lady, showing her some moves. Namond comes in looking for the gang. He tells Michael he’s got his own package from Bodie, and asks if Michael wants to go in on it. Michael refuses. He goes back to shadow boxing, as Cutty tries to engage him in conversation, asking why Spider hasn’t been around. “Why don’t you ask his moms,” he says, nodding towards the lady Cutty’s been putting moves on. Clearly, Cutty also made time with Spider’s mother. “Ahh, I ain’t no angel,” Cutty says, smiling at his latest. “No you ain’t that,” Michael responds, his distrust of Cutty on full display.

    At Carcetti headquarters, they watch the TV as Clay Davis stands at a podium with Royce, fully endorsing the incumbent. They surmise that he probably shook the Mayor down for even more than the $20,000 they paid him. Wilson insists it was worth a shot, but Carcetti – wondering if Davis knows who the winner is likely to be and has backed Royce accordingly – shows that nerves are getting the better of him.

    In a grocery, Omar Little spots a radio car outside. Cautious, he goes back to the beer refrigerator and slips his gun behind the forties. As soon as he exits, Officer Walker orders him against the wall and spotting his ring, pockets it. When Omar accuses him of not playing by the rules, Walker throws him to the pavement, just as McNulty, Colicchio and other cars pull up. The charge is robbery murder, McNulty tells him. Omar shows his surprise then tells McNulty he needs to make a quick call. McNulty looks to Walker – who has the collar – and Walker shrugs indifferently. McNulty dials the number that Omar offers then holds the phone for Omar to tell the voice on the other end that he’s been arrested and is on the way to Central Booking. “I’m on it,” Butchie responds. Omar nods a quick thanks as he’s tossed in the wagon. Something doesn’t add up for McNulty.

    As the early returns come in, the candidates watch from their respective hotel suites. Namond heads home with Bodie’s package, telling his mother it’s a piece of cake. In the privacy of his bedroom, he stares at the vialed coke package as if it’s a bomb.

    Omar’s brought into the bullpen at Central Booking on Eager Street downtown, to the jeers of inmates – many having been robbed by him. For the first time in a long while, he looks genuinely fearful.

    Tense with anticipation, Tommy and Jennifer Carcetti take a break and walk along the harbor boardwalk. He speaks about what could happen if Baltimore found the strength to turn itself around, to solve its problems. When his cell phone rings, Jennifer urges him to answer. He hangs up before giving her the news: “Royce is conceding…we won.” “Are we happy about that,” she asks wryly. Carcetti allows that he thinks so.

    An hour later, still incredulous, Carcetti takes the podium at his campaign’s hotel ballroom, thanking his team as he points out they still have a general election to win. “Is there a Republican candidate for mayor in Baltimore?” he asks to laughter, Baltimore being almost exclusively Democratic in voter registration. As Jennifer begs off the celebration to go home, Wilson approaches with an unrepentant, shameless Davis. “Shouldn’t you be dead to me?” Carcetti asks Davis. “You got off cheap,” the senator laughs.

    In his holding cell, Omar readies for a fight as the guard lets in two hulking new inmates. One of them pulls out a shank, as if ready to fight, before muttering, with a half-smile, “Butchie sent us.” Omar sighs relief, taking the weapon.

    As the celebration winds down at the Carcetti suite, Theresa D’Agostino and the victorious candidate are the last ones left. Pouring one more for the road, D’Agostino – an old flame from their law school days — goes in for her “win bonus,” kissing Carcetti deeply. He starts to respond, then pulls back. “You suddenly feeling mayoral?” she needles him. She’s not convinced he’s changed, she says, telling Carcetti that Wilson routinely saw him ogling women on the campaign trail. She tries again and he gives in, momentarily, then he stops them. “Maybe you have learned something,” D’Agostino says on her way out. “Write me a check.” The episode closes on Carcetti, with his future suddenly unwritten.

  7. 29 Oct 06 Unto OthersComing off his seeming breakthrough teaching gambling probabilities, Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski is once again attempting a word problem in his math class at Tilghman Middle School, as the class largely ignores him. One boy, Taye, is telling Randy Wagstaff a joke, so Prez puts him on the spot for the answer. Taye illustrates his test smarts by calling out the correct response, then offers to demonstrate how he knew as he strides to the blackboard. “Easy…five got the dinks,” pointing out how Prez left multiple “dinks” of his chalk beside the right answer when he did the problem for the earlier class. Prez is dumbfounded as Taye returns to his seat, triumphant.Sgt. Jay Landsman briefs his Homicide Unit shift that Mayor-nominee Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti will be “fact-finding” in the department. He also gives an impromptu eulogy for C.I.D. commander Raymond Foerster, who has lost his bout with cancer: “The man served 39 years, obtaining the rank of colonel without leaving a trail of bitterness or betrayal. In this department, that’s not a career – it’s a miracle.” Later, when detectives Shakima “Kima” Greggs and Michael Crutchfield observe Carcetti pouring himself the last of the coffee, Greggs – still smarting at having her rookie status mocked in the mayoral debate — takes it upon herself to reprimand him. “F**k that, you finish a pot, you make the next one.” Carcetti sheepishly obliges.As Dets. Thomas “Herc” Hauk and his boon companion Dozerman peruse an electronics catalogue, contemplating the high costs of most surveillance cameras, Lt. Charlie Marimow – the Major Crimes Unit commander — confronts Herc for the bad train station roust of Marlo Stanfield and the innocent woman, who’s now filing a harassment claim. Herc defends himself, saying the information was from a reliable informant. Marimow wants a name and when Herc balks, Marimow insists. “Fuzzy Dunlop’ Herc blurts, assuring Marimow that the guy’s never been off. Marimow isn’t pleased with Herc involving another agency and bringing discredit to his unit through the complaint, and threatens to bury him with his own report if anything comes of the gaffe. Marimow wonders if the newly-minted sergeant followed the election results: “Your rabbi has left the building.”In Howard “Bunny’ Colvin and Professor David Parenti’s project class, the students have settled down, finally realizing their tantrums won’t get them suspended. The teacher asks if they feel like winners, since the word around school is that they’ve beat the system by having themselves removed from regular classes. Namond Brice responds they’re “players.” “Kingpins?’ she asks. They tell her that’s two or threeyears away; now, they’re corner boys. She asks their dreams -where do they see themselves 10 years? Several give the rote answer of the NBA; one says pediatric neurosurgeon, like that guy at Hopkins – a reference to noted African-American surgeon Ben Carson, whose name resounds throughout the city school system. When she asks how many wrote “dead,” Namond and three others raise their hands. Namond laughs, caught in another inner-city cliché: “You saw that coming, huh?” She chastises him for reading a magazine and he denies it’s his, claiming someone left it in front of him. Colvin busts out laughing, suddenly seeing things clearly: The school’s the system and the teachers are the cops, the corner boys just use school to practice getting over. He asks the kids to help them understand how they can teach them something useful, then gets them talking about what makes a good corner boy. Suddenly, the group comes alive with opinions: This is the world, after all, that they are learning for.

    Staring up at the The Board at the homicide unit, Det. William “Bunk” Moreland points to the name of the dead delivery woman at Andre’s store, trying to talk fellow detectives Crutchfield and Vernon Holley into revisiting Omar Little as the killer — or at least revisiting the crime scene. When Carcetti approaches, trying to make small talk about the number of names on the board, Bunk steers the detectives off to an interrogation room to talk privately. Crutchfield angrily argues that even if Omar didn’t do this one, his name pops up on lots of other cases, that an eyeball witness has identified Omar as the shooter – and further, that Bunk is out of line interposing in their casework. But once his partner’s out of the room, Holley is pressed by Bunk to at least take another look.

    Meanwhile, Carcetti continues to put a damper on the day’s activities, despite assurances that he’s “not the hall monitor or anything.” When he urges the detectives to do what they normally do, Greggs snipes: “I wouldn’t know what we normally do around her. I’m new and inexperienced.” This prompts Carcetti to realize she’s the rookie who was assigned to the Braddock case and who he mocked in the debate. He swallos that and tells them to do as they normally would. So Greggs reclines, Lester Freamon goes back to working his dollhouse miniatures, and Landsman flips open his skin magazine. “This is your day?” asks Carcetti. “When we catch a body, it’s different,” explains Freamon.

    Herc and Dozerman pull over Marlo Stanfield, asking for the camera back. Marlo asks for Herc’s card and peers at it: “City, huh?” Herc makes him an offer: “You do me one, I’ll do you one.” Marlo says he’ll keep an ear out for the camera, but you know how camera’s are, like pigeons in the wind – a twist of knife knowing that Herc was probably staring at images of pigeons for a time after the camera disappeared and was dumped in a coop. Marlo drives off, leaving Herc to contemplate the moment. Dozerman then tries to convince Herc to come clean with Marimow about the camera, but Herc refuses. If he tells the truth now, he’ll lose his stripes.

    Walking home from school, Michael Lee quizzes Randy on how he got off so easy on the rape charge at school. The girl dropped it, Randy tells him, as Michael advises him that things go away if you keep your mouth shut. Randy complains Miss Anna has him on a short leash now. ‘Shit, at least you got a leash,” Michael laments.

    At Kavanaugh’s, Colonel Foerster’s detectives wake is in full swing, pints poured as a packed crowd of police, prosecutors and law enforcement officials belts out the choruses of The Pogue’s “Body of An American” while Foerster lays in repose on the pool table nearby. Already drunk, Bunk bolts outside to puke in the gutter, then nods acknowledgment to the waiting funeral home attendants. When he comes back, he finds McNulty drinking a club soda and lime. Bunk is disappointed that McNulty will not join him in his excesses.

    In a homegoing of a different kind, late at night in East Baltimore, Chris and Snoop lay out some more New York boys another row house mausoleum – chasing the out-of-towners off the Monument Street corners as Marlo agreed to do for Proposition Joe Stewart and the New Day Co-op. Snoop says a few words about the departed having wandered too far south.

    In Prez’s class the following day, he tries to enforce quiet during a quiz, but one of the girls blows up and storms out and Prez begins to sense that whatever advances he makes by teaching lessons informally don’t necessarily translate to the regular curriculum. Meanwhile, Chris and Snoop lead some young soldiers through their own schooling on shooting — when to take a head shot, and when to aim for the belly and below the belt to get around the vest. In these lessons for the world they know as real, the children of West Baltimore are adept, competent and confident.

    At Prop Joe’s second-hand appliance store, Marlo hands over Herc’s card to Proposition Joe and Slim Charles. Proposition promises to check him out but in return, they ask Marlo to consider not losing the New York bodies in the vacants — it defeats the purpose of sending a message if they just disappear. A little bit amused, Marlo tells them he’ll get word to his people.

    Suited up in a Kevlar vest, Carcetti spends his next day with the drug enforcement squads in the Eastern District, observing low-level buy-and-busts and other street-level arrests – up to and including an occasional entrapment or two.

    In the project class, Colvin quizzes the kids about corner logic. They talk over each other, excited to explain and debate something they know about. When Colvin tries to quiet the din of voices, asking for one at a time, Namond tells Darnell to speak for them. Colvin and the teachers are impressed with the newfound focus and self-regulation.

    Bunk and Holley visit Old Face Andre’s store to review how the robbery-murder went down. As Andre warily recounts his story, once again implicating Omar, Bunk takes in the empty shelves, the steel reinforced rear door, the heavy-duty bullet proof glass cage, the fact that there is a high-end security camera at the store entrance pointed on the street outside, but the security camera inside the store is broken and defunct – a definite drug front. Andre tells his story and the Bunk finds the holes. He asks Andre to come downtown and clear a few things up and Andre refuses. After buying a bottle of Mylanta for his hangover, Bunk reiterates to an already converted Holley the holes in Andre’s story.

    After school, Namond brags about his new class to an incredulous Michael and Randy – it’s like the kids are schooling the teachers, talking about “bidness.” Namond blows off going to the gym with Michael; he has to vial up the rest of his package so he can sell it off and re-up.

    Proposition Joe calls the police department from a payphone to track down Herc, entertaining himself by using fake voices and names as he follows the trail with increasing surprise: from narcotics to the Mayor’s office, and then to Major Crimes, where he’s told Sgt. Hauk is on the street.

    Chris Partlow comes up with a way to suss out the New York boys on the street – ask them a Baltimore question about local Baltimore club music. “They don’t know s**t ’bout that in New York,” he explains. Turns out Felecia “Snoop” Pearson isn’t much of a music person; she doesn’t follow that “Ninety-Two-Q s**t” either, but she’s willing to give it a try. She asks a corner kid who his favorite is on the local hip-hop station’s Big Phat Morning show. When he says a name Chris hadn’t mentioned, she puts a gun to his head. But Chris waves her back at the point of killing the man. The deejay mentioned is also on the show.

    Carcetti complains to Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls and Carcetti aide Norman Wilson about what he saw on his ride-along – entrapment for twenty dollars worth of drugs, and lots of manpower for a haul of three vials of coke. Rawls agrees, but says his hands are tied. He blames affirmative action, explaining it’s a numbers game – a 20-percent hike in black officers to match the city’s demographic which, due to affirmative action, has to be matched up the chain. Inexperienced people get promoted and are put in charge, he tells him. “And he who owes his good fortune to the numbers? Abides in them.” To show arrests are up, they have to make arrests – even those of a lesser quality. Implicitly, he is criticizing Burrell. Those are the orders currently, Rawls explains, but he suggests he’d be interested in having the opportunity to change things.

    Walking in on Namond thinning out his remaining vials, stretching them for additional sales, De’Londa Brice lets him have it for bringing his work home. His father never brought it home; it’s too dangerous if the cops come. “That’s what you have a lieutenant for,” she chastises him.

    After their meeting, Carcetti and Wilson tells Carcetti remark on Rawls’ naked appeal to racial solidarity and willingness to use affirmative action as a scapegoat for the department’s problems. Carcetti asks about Major Daniels, but Wilson doesn’t know much, only that Daniels is black and doesn’t have any obvious political sponsors.

    Michael comes home to find empty kitchen cupboards — his mother has sold off their food. When she tells him she has to go out, he only gives her $10 to score. She tries to hold the “DSS card” over his head, threatening to take it back, but he isn’t swayed: “Next time, don’t go selling the food outta our mouths.” He shouts as she departs.

    Back in the project class the following day, Namond is holding forth arrogantly, rationalizing the drug trade by noting societal disconnects. They are told not to hustle, lie, cheat, steal, he declares. But they’re just doing the same thing as the government – “Amron,” steroids, booze and cigarettes, the real killers. It’s hypocritical, Namond insists, and Colvin doesn’t argue back. An argument is not the point. The fact that these adolescents are now fully involved in discussing their life, their society and their place in it – this is what matters to Colvin, Parenti and the class teacher. Colvin asks them to sit down and write the laws to being a corner boy, challenging them to do it together, as a group.

    In the teacher’s lounge, Prez vents about having to stick to the dry, No-Child-Left-Behind, test-based curriculum — the kids aren’t learning it. The teachers insist he has to; if their students don’t pass the test in April, the school gets taken over by the state. “Maybe they should,” he replies. The teachers tell him to teach the test, not math: “North Avenue is all about the ‘leave no child behind’ stuff getting spoon-fed.” Grace suggests a middle ground: some of the state stuff, and some of his own methods. An older teacher finally speaks up: “The first year isn’t about the kids, it’s about you surviving.” Prez takes it all in and wonders how to proceed.

    Herc, Dozerman and Western District D.E.U. plainclothesmen Tony Colicchio and “Truck” Carrick bust in on Marlo and his guys, who are just hanging out in Marlo’s open-air lair. They toss the area as Marlo and his crew remain unfazed. “Every day,” Herc warns, until his camera comes home.

    Pearlman enters Daniels’ office in the Western District at the tail end of a phone call from Carcetti, who wants to meet Daniels to have a conversation about what works and what doesn’t in the police department. “You have the Mayor’s ear now?” she says, proudly. He wonders how honest he should be. He doesn’t know the incoming mayor at all. What if Daniels criticizes Burrell and Rawls and then is hung out to dry? Pearlman acknowledges the risk, but urges him to fire away, both barrels.

    At night on the street, Chris and Snoop use their Baltimore music litmus test to I.D. a transplant from New York City. They shoot him in the head, leaving him where he falls.

    Michael comes home to find an excited Bug: his dad came home. He glares at his mother, then turns away in disgust as his younger brother’s father brushes his face. “You’ve grown,” his stepfather tells him. Later, Michael confronts his mother — she promised he’d never come back. He was paroled early from his 12 years on a drug charge, she tells him, and he’s changed. She tells Michael to give up the D.S.S. card. “He gonna take care of all that for us.”

    Bunk and Holley show up at Old Face Andre’s store with a summons for the Grand Jury.

    Carcetti and Wilson meet with an emissary from the national Democratic Party and more transition team members. They discuss the future. It’s acknowledged that they need to quickly produce something they can herald as a “Baltimore Miracle.” The D.N.C. official suggests a double-digit percent drop in crime and a downtown building project – something tangible that Carcetti can put his name to. When education is brought up, Wilson is adamant they stay away from the schools: “Our last four administrations left us with an inner city system with inner city problems. We get involved, start talking s**t? It becomes our mess.” Still, Carcetti is told, if he gets the crime down,builds something nice, those things and keeps his boyish good looks, he may be running for governor in ’08, taking back the statehouse from the Republican incumbent.

    Prez tries to talk to a brooding Michael in class. When the boy won’t open up, Prez offers to send him to see a school social worker and Michael pauses, thinking, but ultimately decides against it.

    Colvin, Parenti and the project class teacher debate whether the kids’ focus can be brought to bear on regular learning. The teacher points out they’re not just dealing with corner issues, but problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, maybe even borderline psychosis in once case. These kids have suffered a lot of damage in life. They decide to let things play out for now, before forcing any other learning.

    Namond applies some of the corner boy rules he and his classmates have been articulating to Kenard, the youngest kid in the Fayette Street crew. In the basement of Kenard’s rowhouse, he hands over his remaining vials for his new lieutenant to store. Being under 13, Kenard is safe from a serious charge – safe from anyone but Namond or Marlo should he mess up, Namond says, falsely claiming Marlo as his patron. “All’s I get is ten extra dollars?” asks Kenard. Namond promises they can talk about that if Kenard performs well.

    Bunk and Holley wait with Old Face Andre before his grand jury testimony, warning him about the time he can get for a perjury charge. Andre claims he was put on medication that made him groggy, and worked over by Holley when he was first interrogated – he didn’t know what he was saying. As Andre shuffles off to the washroom – a witness who has now thoroughly impeached himself — Holley angrily denounces Andre as a liar. Bunk dryly feigns surprise: “You think?”

    Chris and Snoop are pulled over by Herc and Dozerman. They search the car, failing to discover the dashboard trap that holds their weapons, spotting only some lyme and the nail gun in the back of the truck. No weapon, no drugs. Nothing that they can use for a criminal charge. With the gangsters seated on a curb, Herc fires a nail from the gun into the asphalt near Snoop’s leg. “I want my f**king camera,” he threatens, before tossing the gun back and leaving them.

    Daniels and Carcetti meet over lunch and Daniels, upon hearing about Carcetti’s day with the Eastern drug squads, guesses Carcetti found the street -level busts a waste of time, money, energy and, sometimes, talent. Carcetti reveals that Rawls claims he’ll change all that if he’s in command. Daniels shows his surprise for a moment, but refuses to “go up the chain” with his opinions, but does tell the mayor-to be that there was one unit doing good work: Major Crimes. Carcetti asks what happened to that unit, and Daniels replies: “A good question.” Carcetti asks if he’d object to replacing Foerster as C.I.D. commander under Rawls. When Daniels questions the “under Rawls” part of the formula, Carcetti affirms that he is not ready to do away with the current No. 2 in the department: “He is the Deputy Ops, is he not?” Daniels considers him, “How for real are you?” Carcetti tells the new Colonel they’ll find that out together.

    Dozerman tries to talk Herc into the two of them and Det. Leandor Sydnor kicking in for another camera, but Herc notes that a new camera would not have the same serial number as the one they lost. Desperate, Herc remembers that Randy told them a kid named Little Kevin was the one who told him to tell Lex to go up the alley, and then later told him that Lex had been killed. Maybe Little Kevin saw something.

    De’Londa counts Namond’s profits, and it comes up short in her opinion. When she finds out that Namond has been slinging on a weak strip, she storms out to set Bodie straight, over her son’s embarrassed objections.

    Police Commissioner Ervin I. Burrell comes to Rawls, unhappy with how Carcetti’s running around, talking to people out of school within the department. He suggests to Rawls that they need to regroup. Rawls interrupts him to say that he’s talked to Carcetti already. Burrell gets the picture: “You’re making your move.” Rawls cannot deny it.

    Michael shows up to retrieve Bug at the after school rec-center, but is told by Miss Ella Thompson, the rec center director, that Bug went home with his father. Michael bolts in a panic.

    Landsman is handed a report by Holley as Bunk looks on. He yells at them both for unsolving a murder.

    Michael runs home to find Bug doing math homework with his father, and orders the boy to come to him right away. Bug obliges, confused, and Michael eyes his stepfather with rage.

    Snoop and Chris toss their guns into the harbor below the Hanover Street Bridge. To be safe, as an afterthought to Herc’s car stop, Chris tosses the nail gun into the water too. Snoop can barely watch. Telling Chris that she owes him eight hundred for the tool.

  8. 5 Nov 06 Corner BoysComing off his seeming breakthrough teaching gambling probabilities, Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski is once again attempting a word problem in his math class at Tilghman Middle School, as the class largely ignores him. One boy, Taye, is telling Randy Wagstaff a joke, so Prez puts him on the spot for the answer. Taye illustrates his test smarts by calling out the correct response, then offers to demonstrate how he knew as he strides to the blackboard. “Easy…five got the dinks,” pointing out how Prez left multiple “dinks” of his chalk beside the right answer when he did the problem for the earlier class. Prez is dumbfounded as Taye returns to his seat, triumphant.Sgt. Jay Landsman briefs his Homicide Unit shift that Mayor-nominee Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti will be “fact-finding” in the department. He also gives an impromptu eulogy for C.I.D. commander Raymond Foerster, who has lost his bout with cancer: “The man served 39 years, obtaining the rank of colonel without leaving a trail of bitterness or betrayal. In this department, that’s not a career – it’s a miracle.” Later, when detectives Shakima “Kima” Greggs and Michael Crutchfield observe Carcetti pouring himself the last of the coffee, Greggs – still smarting at having her rookie status mocked in the mayoral debate — takes it upon herself to reprimand him. “F**k that, you finish a pot, you make the next one.” Carcetti sheepishly obliges.As Dets. Thomas “Herc” Hauk and his boon companion Dozerman peruse an electronics catalogue, contemplating the high costs of most surveillance cameras, Lt. Charlie Marimow – the Major Crimes Unit commander — confronts Herc for the bad train station roust of Marlo Stanfield and the innocent woman, who’s now filing a harassment claim. Herc defends himself, saying the information was from a reliable informant. Marimow wants a name and when Herc balks, Marimow insists. “Fuzzy Dunlop’ Herc blurts, assuring Marimow that the guy’s never been off. Marimow isn’t pleased with Herc involving another agency and bringing discredit to his unit through the complaint, and threatens to bury him with his own report if anything comes of the gaffe. Marimow wonders if the newly-minted sergeant followed the election results: “Your rabbi has left the building.”In Howard “Bunny’ Colvin and Professor David Parenti’s project class, the students have settled down, finally realizing their tantrums won’t get them suspended. The teacher asks if they feel like winners, since the word around school is that they’ve beat the system by having themselves removed from regular classes. Namond Brice responds they’re “players.” “Kingpins?’ she asks. They tell her that’s two or three years away; now, they’re corner boys. She asks their dreams -where do they see themselves in 10 years? Several give the rote answer of the NBA; one says pediatric neurosurgeon, like that guy at Hopkins – a reference to noted African-American surgeon Ben Carson, whose name resounds throughout the city school system. When she asks how many wrote “dead,” Namond and three others raise their hands. Namond laughs, caught in another inner-city cliché: “You saw that coming, huh?” She chastises him for reading a magazine and he denies it’s his, claiming someone left it in front of him. Colvin busts out laughing, suddenly seeing things clearly: The school’s the system and the teachers are the cops, the corner boys just use school to practice getting over. He asks the kids to help them understand how they can teach them something useful, then gets them talking about what makes a good corner boy. Suddenly, the group comes alive with opinions: This is the world, after all, that they are learning for.

    Staring up at the The Board at the homicide unit, Det. William “Bunk” Moreland points to the name of the dead delivery woman at Andre’s store, trying to talk fellow detectives Crutchfield and Vernon Holley into revisiting Omar Little as the killer — or at least revisiting the crime scene. When Carcetti approaches, trying to make small talk about the number of names on the board, Bunk steers the detectives off to an interrogation room to talk privately. Crutchfield angrily argues that even if Omar didn’t do this one, his name pops up on lots of other cases, that an eyeball witness has identified Omar as the shooter – and further, that Bunk is out of line interposing in their casework. But once his partner’s out of the room, Holley is pressed by Bunk to at least take another look.

    Meanwhile, Carcetti continues to put a damper on the day’s activities, despite assurances that he’s “not the hall monitor or anything.” When he urges the detectives to do what they normally do, Greggs snipes: “I wouldn’t know what we normally do around her. I’m new and inexperienced.” This prompts Carcetti to realize she’s the rookie who was assigned to the Braddock case and who he mocked in the debate. He swallos that and tells them to do as they normally would. So Greggs reclines, Lester Freamon goes back to working his dollhouse miniatures, and Landsman flips open his skin magazine. “This is your day?” asks Carcetti. “When we catch a body, it’s different,” explains Freamon.

    Herc and Dozerman pull over Marlo Stanfield, asking for the camera back. Marlo asks for Herc’s card and peers at it: “City, huh?” Herc makes him an offer: “You do me one, I’ll do you.” Marlo says he’ll keep an ear out for the camera, but you know how camera’s are, like pigeons in the wind – a twist of knife knowing that Herc was probably staring at images of pigeons for a time after the camera disappeared and was dumped in a coop. Marlo drives off, leaving Herc to contemplate the moment. Dozerman then tries to convince Herc to come clean with Marimow about the camera, but Herc refuses. If he tells the truth now, he’ll lose his stripes.

    Walking home from school, Michael Lee quizzes Randy on how he got off so easy on the rape charge at school. The girl dropped it, Randy tells him, as Michael advises him that things go away if you keep your mouth shut. Randy complains Miss Anna has him on a short leash now. ‘Shit, at least you got a leash,” Michael laments.

    At Kavanaugh’s, Colonel Foerster’s detectives wake is in full swing, pints poured as a packed crowd of police, prosecutors and law enforcement officials belts out the choruses of The Pogue’s “Body of An American” while Foerster lays in repose on the pool table nearby. Already drunk, Bunk bolts outside to puke in the gutter, then nods acknowledgment to the waiting funeral home attendants. When he comes back, he finds McNulty drinking a club soda and lime. Bunk is disappointed that McNulty will not join him in his excesses.

    In a homegoing of a different kind, late at night in East Baltimore, Chris and Snoop lay out some more New York boys in another row house mausoleum – chasing the out-of-towners off the Monument Street corners as Marlo agreed to do for Proposition Joe Stewart and the New Day Co-op. Snoop says a few words about the departed having wandered too far south.

    In Prez’s class the following day, he tries to enforce quiet during a quiz, but one of the girls blows up and storms out and Prez begins to sense that whatever advances he makes by teaching lessons informally don’t necessarily translate to the regular curriculum. Meanwhile, Chris and Snoop lead some young soldiers through their own schooling on shooting — when to take a head shot, and when to aim for the belly and below the belt to get around the vest. In these lessons for the world they know as real, the children of West Baltimore are adept, competent and confident.

    At Prop Joe’s second-hand appliance store, Marlo hands over Herc’s card to Proposition Joe and Slim Charles. Proposition promises to check him out but in return, they ask Marlo to consider not losing the New York bodies in the vacants — it defeats the purpose of sending a message if they just disappear. A little bit amused, Marlo tells them he’ll get word to his people.

    Suited up in a Kevlar vest, Carcetti spends his next day with the drug enforcement squads in the Eastern District, observing low-level buy-and-busts and other street-level arrests – up to and including an occasional entrapment or two.

    In the project class, Colvin quizzes the kids about corner logic. They talk over each other, excited to explain and debate something they know about. When Colvin tries to quiet the din of voices, asking for one at a time, Namond tells Darnell to speak for them. Colvin and the teachers are impressed with the newfound focus and self-regulation.

    Bunk and Holley visit Old Face Andre’s store to review how the robbery-murder went down. As Andre warily recounts his story, once again implicating Omar, Bunk takes in the empty shelves, the steel reinforced rear door, the heavy-duty bullet proof glass cage, the fact that there is a high-end security camera at the store entrance pointed on the street outside, but the security camera inside the store is broken and defunct – a definite drug front. Andre tells his story and the Bunk finds the holes. He asks Andre to come downtown and clear a few things up and Andre refuses. After buying a bottle of Mylanta for his hangover, Bunk reiterates to an already converted Holley the holes in Andre’s story.

    After school, Namond brags about his new class to an incredulous Michael and Randy – it’s like the kids are schooling the teachers, talking about “bidness.” Namond blows off going to the gym with Michael; he has to vial up the rest of his package so he can sell it off and re-up.

    Proposition Joe calls the police department from a payphone to track down Herc, entertaining himself by using fake voices and names as he follows the trail with increasing surprise: from narcotics to the Mayor’s office, and then to Major Crimes, where he’s told Sgt. Hauk is on the street.

    Chris Partlow comes up with a way to suss out the New York boys on the street – ask them a Baltimore question about local Baltimore club music. “They don’t know s**t ’bout that in New York,” he explains. Turns out Felicia “Snoop” Pearson isn’t much of a music person; she doesn’t follow that “Ninety-Two-Q s**t” either, but she’s willing to give it a try. She asks a corner kid who his favorite is on the local hip-hop station’s Big Phat Morning show. When he says a name Chris hadn’t mentioned, she puts a gun to his head. But Chris waves her back at the point of killing the man. The deejay mentioned is also on the show.

    Carcetti complains to Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls and Carcetti aide Norman Wilson about what he saw on his ride-along – entrapment for twenty dollars worth of drugs, and lots of manpower for a haul of three vials of coke. Rawls agrees, but says his hands are tied. He blames affirmative action, explaining it’s a numbers game – a 20-percent hike in black officers to match the city’s demographic which, due to affirmative action, has to be matched up the chain. Inexperienced people get promoted and are put in charge, he tells him. “And he who owes his good fortune to the numbers? Abides in them.” To show arrests are up, they have to make arrests – even those of a lesser quality. Implicitly, he is criticizing Burrell. Those are the orders currently, Rawls explains, but he suggests he’d be interested in having the opportunity to change things.

    Walking in on Namond thinning out his remaining vials, stretching them for additional sales, De’Londa Brice lets him have it for bringing his work home. His father never brought it home; it’s too dangerous if the cops come. “That’s what you have a lieutenant for,” she chastises him.

    After their meeting, Carcetti and Wilson tells Carcetti remark on Rawls’ naked appeal to racial solidarity and willingness to use affirmative action as a scapegoat for the department’s problems. Carcetti asks about Major Daniels, but Wilson doesn’t know much, only that Daniels is black and doesn’t have any obvious political sponsors.

    Michael comes home to find empty kitchen cupboards — his mother has sold off their food. When she tells him she has to go out, he only gives her $10 to score. She tries to hold the “D.S.S. card” over his head, threatening to take it back, but he isn’t swayed: “Next time, don’t go selling the food outta our mouths,” he shouts as she departs.

    Back in the project class the following day, Namond is holding forth arrogantly, rationalizing the drug trade by noting societal disconnects. They are told not to hustle, lie, cheat, steal, he declares. But they’re just doing the same thing as the government – “Amron,” steroids, booze and cigarettes, the real killers. It’s hypocritical, Namond insists, and Colvin doesn’t argue back. An argument is not the point. The fact that these adolescents are now fully involved in discussing their life, their society and their place in it – this is what matters to Colvin, Parenti and the class teacher. Colvin asks them to sit down and write the laws to being a corner boy, challenging them to do it together, as a group.

    In the teacher’s lounge, Prez vents about having to stick to the dry, No-Child-Left-Behind, test-based curriculum — the kids aren’t learning it. The teachers insist he has to; if their students don’t pass the test in April, the school gets taken over by the state. “Maybe they should,” he replies. The teachers tell him to teach the test, not math: “North Avenue is all about the ‘leave no child behind’ stuff getting spoon-fed.” Grace suggests a middle ground: some of the state stuff, and some of his own methods. An older teacher finally speaks up: “The first year isn’t about the kids, it’s about you surviving.” Prez takes it all in and wonders how to proceed.

    Herc, Dozerman and Western District D.E.U. plainclothesmen Tony Colicchio and “Truck” Carrick bust in on Marlo and his guys, who are just hanging out in Marlo’s open-air lair. They toss the area as Marlo and his crew remain unfazed. “Every day,” Herc warns, until his camera comes home.

    Pearlman enters Daniels’ office in the Western District at the tail end of a phone call from Carcetti, who wants to meet Daniels to have a conversation about what works and what doesn’t in the police department. “You have the Mayor’s ear now?” she says, proudly. He wonders how honest he should be. He doesn’t know the incoming mayor at all. What if Daniels criticizes Burrell and Rawls and then is hung out to dry? Pearlman acknowledges the risk, but urges him to fire away, both barrels.

    At night on the street, Chris and Snoop use their Baltimore music litmus test to I.D. a transplant from New York City. They shoot him in the head, leaving him where he falls.

    Michael comes home to find an excited Bug: his dad came home. He glares at his mother, then turns away in disgust as his younger brother’s father brushes his face. “Damn, You grew,” his stepfather tells him. Later, Michael confronts his mother — she promised he’d never come back. He was paroled early from his 12 years on a drug charge, she tells him, and he’s changed. She tells Michael to give up the D.S.S. card. “He gonna take care of all that for us.”

    Bunk and Holley show up at Old Face Andre’s store with a summons for the Grand Jury.

    Carcetti and Wilson meet with an emissary from the national Democratic Party and more transition team members. They discuss the future. It’s acknowledged that they need to quickly produce something they can herald as a “Baltimore Miracle.” The D.N.C. official suggests a double-digit percent drop in crime and a downtown building project – something tangible that Carcetti can put his name to. When education is brought up, Wilson is adamant they stay away from the schools: “Our last four administrations left us with an inner city system with inner city problems. We get involved, start talking s**t, It becomes our mess.” Still, Carcetti is told, if he gets the crime down builds something nice, and keeps his boyish good looks, he may be running for governor in ’08, taking back the statehouse from the Republican incumbent.

    Prez tries to talk to a brooding Michael in class. When the boy won’t open up, Prez offers to send him to see a school social worker and Michael pauses, thinking, but ultimately decides against it.

    Colvin, Parenti and the project class teacher debate whether the kids’ focus can be brought to bear on regular learning. The teacher points out they’re not just dealing with corner issues, but problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, maybe even borderline psychosis in one case. These kids have suffered a lot of damage in life. They decide to let things play out for now, before forcing any other learning.

    Namond applies some of the corner boy rules he and his classmates have been articulating to Kenard, the youngest kid in the Fayette Street crew. In the basement of Kenard’s rowhouse, he hands over his remaining vials for his new lieutenant to store. Being under 13, Kenard is safe from a serious charge – safe from anyone but Namond or Marlo should he mess up, Namond says, falsely claiming Marlo as his patron. “All’s I get is a extra ten dollars?” asks Kenard. Namond promises they can talk about that if Kenard performs well.

    Bunk and Holley wait with Old Face Andre before his grand jury testimony, warning him about the time he can get for a perjury charge. Andre claims he was put on medication that made him groggy, and worked over by Holley when he was first interrogated – he didn’t know what he was saying. As Andre shuffles off to the washroom – a witness who has now thoroughly impeached himself — Holley angrily denounces Andre as a liar. Bunk dryly feigns surprise: “You think?”

    Chris and Snoop are pulled over by Herc and Dozerman. They search the car, failing to discover the dashboard trap that holds their weapons, spotting only some lyme and the nail gun in the back of the truck. No weapon, no drugs. Nothing that they can use for a criminal charge. With the gangsters seated on a curb, Herc fires a nail from the gun into the asphalt near Snoop’s leg. “I want my f**king camera,” he threatens, before tossing the gun back and leaving them.

    Daniels and Carcetti meet over lunch and Daniels, upon hearing about Carcetti’s day with the Eastern drug squads, guesses Carcetti found the street -level busts a waste of time, money, energy and, sometimes, talent. Carcetti reveals that Rawls claims he’ll change all that if he’s in command. Daniels shows his surprise for a moment, but refuses to “go up the chain” with his opinions, but does tell the mayor-to be that there was one unit doing good work: Major Crimes. Carcetti asks what happened to that unit, and Daniels replies: “A good question.” Carcetti asks if he’d object to replacing Foerster as C.I.D. commander under Rawls. When Daniels questions the “under Rawls” part of the formula, Carcetti affirms that he is not ready to do away with the current No. 2 in the department: “He is the Deputy Ops, is he not?” Daniels considers him, “How for real are you?” Carcetti tells the new Colonel they’ll find that out together.

    Dozerman tries to talk Herc into the two of them and Det. Leandor Sydnor kicking in for another camera, but Herc notes that a new camera would not have the same serial number as the one they lost. Desperate, Herc remembers that Randy told them a kid named Little Kevin was the one who told him to tell Lex to go up the alley, and then later told him that Lex had been killed. Maybe Little Kevin saw something.

    De’Londa counts Namond’s profits, and it comes up short in her opinion. When she finds out that Namond has been slinging on a weak strip, she storms out to set Bodie straight, over her son’s embarrassed objections.

    Police Commissioner Ervin I. Burrell comes to Rawls, unhappy with how Carcetti’s running around, talking to people out of school within the department. He suggests to Rawls that they need to regroup. Rawls interrupts him to say that he’s talked to Carcetti already. Burrell gets the picture: “You’re making your move.” Rawls cannot deny it.

    Michael shows up to retrieve Bug at the after school rec-center, but is told by Miss Ella Thompson, the rec center director, that Bug went home with his father. Michael bolts in a panic.

    Landsman is handed a report by Holley as Bunk looks on. He yells at them both for unsolving a murder.

    Michael runs home to find Bug doing math homework with his father, and orders the boy to come to him right away. Bug obliges, confused, and Michael eyes his stepfather with rage.

    Snoop and Chris toss their guns into the harbor below the Hanover Street Bridge. To be safe, as an afterthought to Herc’s car stop, Chris tosses the nail gun into the water too. Snoop can barely watch. Telling Chris that he owes her eight hundred for the tool.

  9. 12 Nov 06 Know Your PlaceOn his corner, Bodie Broadus listens to Little Kevin talking with other lookouts, touts and runners about Sponge Bob, and chides them for watching too many cartoons. But Bodie breaks into a smile when he sees Poot approaching, having been paroled after 15 months on his four-year sentence. Bodie updates him on the new boss, Marlo Stanfield. As they joke about Poot’s penchant for chasing girls, Sgt. Thomas R. “Herc” Hauk and Det. Kenneth Dozerman pull up, forcing the crew to hit the bricks. Herc’s looking for “Little Kevin,” but no one gives him up, so he orders the four smallest guys into the car and takes them downtown. Kevin, Poot and Bodie remain. “These police out here knew how to flip it even just a little, my s**t’d be in handcuffs,” says not-so-little Kevin.Det. William “Bunk” Moreland greets Omar, who – with the murder of the delivery woman no longer charged to him – is released from custody in the Harford County Detention Center, north of Baltimore. But as Omar tries to figure who did do the murder, Bunk gets in his face, ordering him, “No more f**kin bodies from you. No comebacks or get-evens on this. No more killing.” Omar gives his word, but when Bunk suggests he get out of the city, offering to put him on a northbound Amtrak, Omar won’t go for it. “Baltimore all I know. Man gotta live what he know.”Mayor-Elect Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti heads a discussion with City Council President Nerese Campbell, his aide Norman Wilson, newly elected State’s Attorney Rupert Bond and other city officials about his plans, and it quickly becomes clear that his goal of attacking crime with a new police commissioner will face some major hurdles from the budget process – and council president Campbell.When the students arrive for class, Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski has rearranged the desks into small groups and placed the kids in new seats; they grumble but acquiesce.

    Proposition Joe Stewart pulls up to Marlo and Chris Partlow’s car to report that Herc (whose business card Marlo provided) is assigned to Major Crimes – the guys responsible for bugging Barksdale and Stringer Bell. When Marlo says he changes his phone every two weeks, Prop Joe hands over a wire tap report that named Stringer, who was changing his phones every day. Marlo nods and Chris immediately tosses a cellphone out the SUV window.

    In class, Prez has the students doing practical math exercises: measuring height and arm span to learn fractions, and Duquan “Dukie” Weems shows kids how to search the Internet. Typing in “candy,” Randy Wagstaff discovers he can get a better wholesale price on his products online, but Dukie points out the obstacle: the need for a credit card.

    Carcetti’s meetings continue with a presentation from the Baltimore Development Corp. President on waterfront development options. Tommy is lukewarm about the idea of a promenade with his name on it, but lights up at the idea of casinos and all the possible revenue that might result. He quickly backpeddles when Campbell objects to “sucking paychecks out of my community.” Tommy adjourns the meeting to meet in private with Campbell to press her on her opposition. She accuses him and Councilman Anthony “Tony” Gray of having “jumped the line” – she had a deal with Mayor Royce that he’d back her for mayor when the time came. He urges her to work with him; after all, in ’08 he may be governor and as council president, she’d end up appointed to the mayoralty “without so much as a campaign speech.”

    Bubbles has tracked down Det. Shakima “Kima” Greggs for some help busting the fiend who’s continuing to beat him up for drugs and money. She tells him she’s homicide now, not looking for drug information, but she grudgingly agrees to drive Bubbles around to try to find his nemesis.

    Carcetti, Wilson and State Del. Odell Watkins review their options for getting rid of Police Commissioner Ervin H. Burrell in light of Campbell’s opposition, since they won’t be able to recruit a top-level black candidate to replace him without her agreeing to at least a $50,000 bump in the commissioner’s salary. Wilson suggests they get Burrell to quit; if he leaves on his own, Campbell can’t say anything.

    Randy and Dukie try to talk Prez into using his credit card number to buy candy. He reluctantly agrees, but only if they give him cash up front. More important, he tells them he doesn’t want them on the corner to get it. When a teacher realizes her car’s been stolen, Prez shoots the boys a look; they shrug ignorance.

    Meanwhile, Donut pulls up to Namond Brice’s corner in a car with a Tilghman faculty bumper sticker. Bodie and Poot, who have their own corner adjacent, are instructing Namond on where to place his lookouts. Before handing over the package, Bodie warns Namond not to be sending his mother to speak for him. Embarrassed, Namond tries to explain he had nothing to do with that.

    At Marlo’s outdoor lair, Chris reports there’s been no sign of Old Face Andre – his store’s locked and he hasn’t called for a re-up. Marlo worries that Omar may have been sprung, which means Andre could be backing up on his story to the police – and possibly implicating Chris in the murder of the delivery woman. Chris reports they’ve dropped five New York bodies; Marlo thinks that’s enough to serve the Co-op’s interest in driving the out-of-towners off Monument Street, and so, he gives him his marching orders: “This s**t with Andre? Job one.”

    Having no luck in their search for the fiend, Greggs promises Bubbles she’ll hook him up with Herc or Det. Leander Sydnor at Major Crimes and get him working their drug stuff in exchange for their help.

    Renaldo and Omar stake out Andre’s gated store. He may have promised Bunk not to kill a man, but Omar says he can still put a gun in Andre’s face. “That man got some explainin’ to do.”

    Randy, accompanied by Dukie, buys his way into a dice game. He leaves later that night with a wad of cash, protected by a player who let him in, and then followed him on his every pass and made money, and who wants to know the boy’s system. Randy explains it’s all about the math and probabilities. “Where you learn your game?” asks the player. “Edward Tilghman Middle,” says Randy, with no small amount of pride.

    Herc and Dozerman get reacquainted with Bubbles, and ask him about Little Kevin, who Bubbles confirms is Bodie’s boy. Bubbles offers to give Kevin a new hat the next afternoon so they can ID their suspect, and Herc promises they’ll take care of the fiend oppressing Bubbles as soon as they have Kevin.

    Bug shows his brother Michael Lee his baking soda volcano project, but when Bug’s father hovers, Michael sends Bug up to bed. “Ain’t got a forgiveness to your soul,” the man says to Michael. “F**k you!” Michael fires back. His stepfather gives him a warning, “You’re big, but not big enough,” before pressing him for the D.S.S. account card. Michael tells him there’s nothing left from this month’s check. “Before the first of the month then,” his stepfather says.

    Greggs shows up at ex-girlfriend Cheryl’s apartment and hands over an envelope of cash. With her homicide overtime, she can catch up on back monthly payments for Elijah. As she watches the boy playing in the living room, they’re interrupted by a guest, a woman who announces she’s “home.” Cheryl’s new partner apologizes for the mess, and Cheryl explains they’re expecting company, a celebration for her new roommate having passing the bar. Kima excuses herself, making an awkward exit.

    Chris and Snoop bust into Andre’s woman’s bedroom, and fire a shot right beside her head. Terrified, she swears she doesn’t know where Andre is. They believe her.

    Presenting a wad of cash to Prez to pay for his candy order, Randy reports that the teacher’s schoolings earned him the money. “You shouldn’t gamble,” Prez says. “I’m just saying, the math be right, Mr. P,” he says proudly, ignoring the admonishment.

    Crammed into a deli booth, Carcetti meets with Burrell to ask the police commissioner to resign. But Burrell shrewdly refuses: “If you want me to go, you gonna have to s**tcan me.”

    In the project class, the kids are instructed to pick one of three tables, each with a scale model erector set. Whichever team puts its model together first wins dinner at a downtown restaurant of their choice. The instructions have been removed to make it more interesting. “Yeah, it ain’t like we follow the instructions anywhere else, right?” quips Namond.

    Old Face Andre looks for help from Proposition Joe, hoping that in exchange for the deed to his store, Joe could front him some cash to get out of town. Out of options, Andre is forced to accept the low ball offer: $2,000 and a safe ride north.

    In the project class, Howard “Bunny” Colvin and the team observe the groups arguing over how to assemble their projects. But Namond manages to lead his team to a fairly successful Eiffel Tower – pocketing just a few extra parts before presenting the finished product to the teacher. When she questions him on the extra parts, he denies their existence. “So who cook a good steak ’round here?” he asks.

    Carcetti and Wilson meet with Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls to lay out how things will work once Carcetti takes office. Having refused to quit, Burrell will have to clear any new initiative through Rawls and all day-to-day administration goes through the Deputy Ops as well. Tommy confides he has to make Maj. Stanislaus Valchek the Deputy Commissioner of Administration as a political pay back, but asks him to make sure Valchek does no harm. And finally, he wants to bump Maj. Cedric Daniels up to colonel, giving him C.I.D. and “carte blanche to fix the investigative units.” Rawls balks a bit at Daniels’ “independent streak” but agrees to all points. He does have one question for Carcetti and Wilson: Why keep Burrell as a puppet commissioner instead of firing him? They offer no answer.

    Michael uses his mother’s D.S.S. to make an ATM withdrawal – securing the last of this month’s money – before joining Randy and Dukie. He asks Randy whether he’s ever called social services on his mother, because he’s thinking about it. Randy advises him against it, warning that once social services gets involved, they’ll separate Michael and Bug, put them in group homes. Dukie suggests he talk to Prezbo, and Michael admits the teacher did suggest the school social worker. But Randy rules him out, declaring the school social worker to be an alcoholic. Dukie asks about Cutty but this sets Michael off : “He’s too friendly…like he some type of faggot or something…Everybody just too motherf**kin friendly!” Dukie and Randy are surprised; Cutty doesn’t seem to be remotely gay. But Michael storms off, leaving Dukie and Randy confused.

    Herc and Dozerman watch a heavyset Little Kevin sporting his new red hat and realize they didn’t get the joke about his nickname. “They flipped it,” Herc says, belatedly.

    At a Tilghman Middle School staff meeting, Donnelly informs the teachers they all have to focus on teaching language arts test questions to prepare for the state exam. Prez can’t believe the pointlessness of teaching test questions, and wonders how it will ever assess how much the kids are learning. Grace explains they’re not really assessing the kids – if the scores go up, the school administration can say the schools are improving. Prez realizes he’s been here before; they’re “juking” stats, just like in the police department. “Making robberies into larcenies. Making rapes disappear. You juke the stats and majors become colonels.”

    Sgt. Ellis Carver and plainclothes Off. Anthony Colicchio make a move on Namond’s corner. As the boys scatter, they grab little Kenard. But Carver won’t give chase to the others or book the eight-year-old. “He isn’t even bait,” he says as he destroys the vials of drugs found in a nearby ground stash. Colicchio doesn’t get the point of it all. “I like to think that until the handcuffs actually fit, there’s still talking to be done,” Carver explains.

    Colvin takes Namond’s winning team for their steak dinner to Ruth’s Chris in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor – Zenobia Dawson, with her 3-hour hairdo, Darnell Tyson and Namond. They arrive open to the idea of a new experience, then proceed to argue about what “rare” means when it comes to ordering steak.

    A jittery Bubbles stakes out his persecutor and makes his payphone call to Herc, leaving a message that he’s holding fiend for the five minutes Herc promised it would take him to get to Riggs and Calhoun. Meanwhile, Herc is questioning Little Kevin about the murder of Lex, and when Dozerman gives him Bubbles’ message, Herc says he’ll deal with it tomorrow. Sydnor leaves the interrogation, disgusted – they have no leverage, no body, just the name Lex. Herc makes the mistake of asserting to Kevin that they have a witness to his involvement, and when Kevin invokes Randy’s name, Herc compounds the mistake by failing to feign curiosity about the name. Meanwhile, Bubbles, seeing an unmarked car with a flashing light, assumes the cavalry has arrived, and taunts the fiend, only to have the car race past to some other call. The fiend beats him with a metal pipe, leaving Bubbles bloody in the street.

    At the fancy steak house, Darnell , Zenobia and Namond are out of their element, having never experienced coat checks, recited specials or what to do with their napkins. After dinner, they’re demoralized. Zenobia doesn’t want to take a photo of the restaurant anymore, Darnell wants to go to Mickey D’s for a real meal and Namond blasts hip-hop on the radio, no longer interested in the Billie Holiday that was on Colvin’s car radio earlier. Colvin drives off, the kids arguing. Chaos again.

    On the eve of his promotion, Daniels enjoys leftovers and wine at ASA Rhonda Pearlman’s house, as they toast their good fortune. “Funny how it works,” Daniels says. After all the years he tried to climb the ladder “kissing ass, covering ass and doing what I’m told,” he finally gets the big promotion when he says what he really thinks, while the subpoenas end up getting her promoted. “Maybe we’re turning a corner here,” Daniels adds, hopeful, “and it’s not gonna be so unbelievably f**ked up anymore.”

    Prez leads his now-indifferent class through sample test questions. All enjoyment from learning – and teaching – effectively squashed, he spoon feeds them the verbatims of what they need to write on their No Child Left Behind mandated tests.

    Marlo and Chris hand over payment for a package to Proposition Joe and Slim Charles, but Proposition notes they are $25,000 short. Marlo figures the New York bodies are $5,000 per head, the going rate for a professional hit, but Proposition reminds him that the spirit of the co-op means they all watch out for each other, and the price he gave included consideration for the N.Y. bodies. “On the other hand,” Slim Charles points out, “we got something that you want an’ it’s coming back to you, free of charge.”

    “It’s a proud day for the Baltimore Police Department,” Commissioner Burrell says from the podium before a seated crowd of colleagues and family, including a proud Pearlman, as he announces the promotions of Valchek and Daniels and several other newly minted police supervisors. The Commissioner pulls Rawls aside after, not realizing his Deputy Ops was prepped on Carcetti’s promotions: “Valchek we coulda guessed, but Daniels?”

    Colvin reports to Professor David Parenti about what the restaurant trip revealed, describing how the outing plummeting the kids from masters of the universe into fear and humiliation, without any awareness on their part. Parenti suggests maybe they were aware, but didn’t want to acknowledge it. “How do you get them to believe in themselves when they can’t admit their feelings about who they are and what they’re doing in this world?” asks Colvin.

    Prez, frustrated with the student evaluations and sample tests, comes to a decision. “To hell with Donnelly and to hell with their statewide test scores,” he says to Grace Sampson. “I came here to teach, right?” Grace looks at him, offering the trace of a smile.

    Carver shows up at the gym to do some talking. He gives Namond, Kenard and Donut a warning: “I see you out there a second time and everyone takes a beating and goes to Cheltenham.” Dennis “Cutty” Wise fills Carver in on Namond’s lineage, surprising Carver, who years ago locked up his father, Wee-Bey. “Same blood, but not the same heart,” says Cutty.

    Thinking he’s headed north, Old Face Andre is introduced to his real escorts: Chris and Snoop. He begs them not to do him in the vacants; his people won’t know. But Chris just assures him, “I got your back,” as they lead him off to his death.

    Staking out Marlo’s lair from a nearby row house, Renaldo and Omar identify Marlo for the first time, and realize he’s the dealer they robbed at the players’ poker game. “No wonder he don’t like me,” says Omar, amused.

    Michael comes to Marlo looking for Chris: :”I got a problem I can’t bring to no one else.” Marlo and Snoop sit and listen to Michael’s dilemma as Omar watches, dismissing Michael as no one he need be concerned with: “He’s just a kid,” he sighs.

  10. 19 Nov 06 MisgivingsWith bass booming and eyes barely clearing the wheel, Donut drives another stolen SUV right past Officer Eddie Walker, giving the cop a double take. Within seconds, he’s got the siren and lights on him, as the boy guns it around a corner and careens into several parked cars. Donut makes a run for it, sending Walker after him. But as the kid turns a corner, he finds his boys and trades his retro jacket for a sweatshirt and ballcap, throwing his pursuer off the trail – briefly. Walker eventually catches up to the boy, even more enraged and determined. “You know what kinda f**king paperwork I got now?” he says, breaking a few of the boys fingers, insisting it’s time for Donut to feel his pain.Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell vents to state Sen. R. Clayton “Clay” Davis about the box into which he’s been forced, required under the new administration to run everything through his deputy. He even heard Mayor-Elect Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti put out feelers to a black deputy chief in Pittsburgh, promising him “pie in the sky.” Davis tells him he just needs to give the Mayor-elect a little something to see him in a new light, “some kinda police s**t…something that looks good to Carcetti.” Burrell is without ideas, but Davis promises to lobby the new mayor on behalf of his old ally.At Tilghman Middle School, Grace Sampson explains to Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski why the heat in the classrooms is suddenly being set so high – it’s intentional. With statewide exams coming up, the only way to get the kids to sit through the 90-minute prep classes is to make them drowsy. “From now ’til they’re done, everything’s about the tests,” Sampson tells him.Covering their corner, Poot assures Preston “Bodie” Broadus that the winter won’t be too cold this year – global warming. Then why are we cold right now, asks Bodie. “We’re getting older,” Poot explains to his friend’s amusement. When Little Kevin shows, looking sheepish after missing time on the job, Bodie presses him on why the police picked him up. Some murder, he tells him, but “I didn’t say s**t to them bitches,” he assures. “I ain’t the one you need to convince,” Bodie tells him, implying that being out of pocket for a few days after the “po-po” come looking will surely get back to Marlo Stanfield. Bodie and Poot agree that Kevin should tell the boss of the police encounter before anyone starts to suspect Kevin’s got something to hide.

    As the corner kids in the experimental class role-play behavioral skills at a restaurant, Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly sticks her head in to summon Howard “Bunny” Colvin and Professor David Parenti. She’s getting heat to push every class to prep for the tests, no exceptions, with 90 minute blocks of math and language. Parenti protests: they can’t sit 30 minutes. And Colvin thought they were the exception – the whole point of the project. He asks if they can talk to anyone. In fact, he’s told, the Area Superintendent wants to meet with them.

    Renaldo, keeping surveillance on Marlo and his crew, asks Omar Little whether he knew the kingpin when they robbed his card game. “Boy was just barely a name to me,” Omar responds, implying that while he knew Marlo was an up-and-coming westside dealer with a fierce rep, he had not yet laid eyes on the young man. Renaldo wants to know if he would’ve still gone through with it – knowing who they were dealing with. “Woulda enjoyed it that much more.” Omar tells him.

    Sgt. Thomas R. “Herc” Hauk brings a peace offering – chicken wings from Tyrone’s up on North Avenue – to an angry Bubbles, who is all banged up from the beating he took from his oppressor, the dope fiend who has been shaking him down almost daily. Herc tells him how bad he feels, expressing surprise when Bubbles tells him that he drove right by the beating. Knowing he never even left the office, Herc explains dismissively that they had a “communication problem.” He then buys his informant a disposable cell phone, telling him to call direct next time he’s in trouble. He just needs him to get word out about a missing police camera, and a $500 bounty for its return. “Five hunnert for a camera and a chicken box for Bubs, huh?” Herc offers him a $100 cut, but Bubbles reminds him it’s not about the money for him – the fiend is terrorizing him and messing with his livelihood.

    Little Kevin pays his pre-emptive visit to Marlo, explaining what the police wanted and pinning the blame on Randy Wagstaff for talking to them. “Who the f**k is Randy?” Marlo asks. Kevin explains he was the young messenger he chose to “put some distance ‘tween me an’ Lex.” Marlo asks if he told the boy what happened to Lex. “No, swear,” Kevin says and waits. As he starts to leave, two henchmen escort him, then shove him into the back of an SUV. He stares at Marlo pleadingly. Chris Partlow asks if they should target Randy next. “He can’t hurt us,” Marlo explains, and it’s true: the most the boy could have in the way of information is heresay. But, he adds, put the word out that he’s a snitch.

    As Omar watches them all from his row house hideout, he’s surprised to see a former Barksdale lieutenant, Slim Charles, arrive to witness the abduction of Little Kevin and discuss the coming re-up with Marlo. “Don’t add up,” he tells Renaldo. “Interesting though.”

    Donut returns to the corner to display his finger splints. As Namond Brice talks about f**king up the evil Officer Walker, two police cars pull up and the kids scatter, but not before Sgt. Ellis Carver corners Namond. “Gave you fair warning, didn’t I?” he says, as his sidekick, Off. Bobby Brown, finds the boy’s dropped stash of drugs. Carver snaps on the cuffs.

    Now that Carcetti is the Mayor-elect (he won the general election by 82 percent in predominantly Democratic Baltimore), Clay Davis pays him a visit at his interim City Hall office, claiming he wants to clear the air. “You gonna give the money back?” Norman Wilson asks. Davis laughs and cuts to the chase. Burrell has the ministers and the council president on his side. They’ll see the wisdom of new leadership when they find a suitable candidate, Wilson tells him. Davis offers to help them secure what he knows they need: pay raise approval for the new candidate from Nerese Campbell, the council president, and a green light from the ministers. Carcetti asks what they owe him in return. “I’m in Annapolis,” Davis says, and he’s hearing Carcetti might be there too in a few years. “We may find ourselves working together closely.”

    “Jesus Christ,” Carcetti says after he leaves. Wilson is impressed. “He’s slick. Apologizes for the short con, and in the next breath, setting us up for the long. He and Burrell are thick as thieves.” Carcetti asks his deputy if he knows what the long con is. “Least we know he’s running one,” is Wilson’s response.

    Carver is holding Namond at the Drug Enforcement Unit office of the Western District, but the boy can’t reach his mother. She’s in Atlantic City, then headed to New York for shopping and a show. Carver preps him for what’s ahead: if they can’t reach a guardian, they have to send him to baby booking, where he’ll spend the night. Namond looks scared – he heard East side and West side don’t get along in there, and guys get raped. The only other guardian Namond can come up with is an aunt, but he can’t get her on the phone either. Carver plays tough at first, determined to teach the boy a lesson, but seeing Namond’s genuine fear, he gives in and lets him spend the night on the bench in the DEU, with oversight from a midnight shift officer.

    Chris and Snoop watch as Michael Lee points out Bug’s father, who’s buying drugs off a dealer, most likely for his mother, he tells them. “I just want him gone. Away from me an’ Bug,” Michael tells them. “The f**k he do to you?” Snoop asks. Michael can’t answer. But Chris gets it: “We take care of it, boss.”

    In the roll call room of the Western District, the troops get their marching orders for the day. Notable on the shift commander’s briefing sheet are a rash of church burglaries they need to get on – one of them was on Off. James “Jimmy” McNulty’s post – and the word from on high is to double arrests over the next month, with a focus on minor quality-of-life violations – disorderly conduct, open containers, public indecency. More of New York’s ‘broken windows’ theory. Some of the Western officers protest, but Lt. Dennis Mello explains the Commissioner himself wants to spike arrests.

    Colvin and Parenti meet with the Area Superintendent, who questions them about the restaurant field trip. They try to explain why their kids can’t be put through 90-minute test prep classes. “So we’re writing them off?” the Superintendent asks. Colvin tries to explain: they’re learning for their world, and every one of them knows they’re going to the corners. “They’re not fools, these kids…Jesus, they see right through us.” Parenti reminds her he made it clear at the beginning: they’d be addressing kids who needed to be socialized before they could be educated. “We can’t lie – not to them, not to ourselves,” Colvin adds. The area superintendent seems to withhold final judgment.

    After spending the night on the Drug unit’s bench, Namond still can’t get his mom or aunt on the phone. Carver asks him to think of someone else – any other adult who could come get him. Namond has only one idea: Mr. Colvin. Carver is amused at the mention of the name of his old boss, the former commander of the Western.

    Herc still can’t find the camera, and Det. Leander Sydnor tells him it’s time to come clean with Lt. Charles Marimow. He refuses at first, certain the man will take his stripes, but eventually heads into the boss’s office, just as Bubbles finds his persecutor again. As Herc begins to explain about his sloppy paperwork, he gets the call from Bubbles, and tries to tell his boss he needs to take it. “I don’t care who it is, turn that f**king thing off,” Marimow insists, before launching into a tirade about the train station incident, accusing Herc of making up his informant, then assailing him for failing to bring in a single worthy case – otherwise he might have some reason to let a few things slide. Herc backs down from telling the truth about the camera.

    In the halls between classes, Randy gets shouldered by a kid coming the other way. “Snitch bitch,” the kid says. When Michael asks what it’s about, Randy just shrugs, trying not to look shaken.

    The patrolmen begin their street sweeps; McNulty, Off. Anthony Colicchio and the other young officers start round ups for open containers outside a bar. “I know you think its bulls**t,” Officer Baker tells McNulty, writing up a ticket on a double-parked car, “but I spend my shift where they tell me.” McNulty lets him in on a “little secret.” “The patrolling officer on his beat is the only true dictatorship in America,” he says, rattling off their liberties, like locking up a guy on a humble and getting drunk on shift. “No one – I mean no one – tells us how to waste our shift.” Besides, McNulty boasts, he has some bigger fish to fry – he’s figured out a pattern on the church burglaries. They’re interrupted by angry bar patrons who are furious at the tickets on their cars, the sudden police onslaught. A punch is thrown and a melee is in the making. “This could get outta hand,” Baker says to McNulty. “Isn’t that what we want, right?” McNulty says, heading towards his cruiser. “More arrests?”

    Carver brings Namond to Tilghman Middle to greet Colvin, explaining that the boy “invoked your name with a measure of respect.” Colvin recalls his disrespect from a few weeks earlier. “Mr. Colvin, Sir: F**k. You.” Namond at least wants credit for saying “Mr,” but Colvin suggests a ride on the juvenile services bus might do him some good. The boy pleads with him. Colvin agrees to call his wife.

    Over dinner, Namond puts on his best manners for Mrs. Colvin, who says she was expecting “more of an adventure” as her husband suggested. “Don’t be fooled,” Colvin says, smiling. “This is his Eddie Haskell act.” When Namond hears his wife call him Bunny, the former cop warns him not to spill it. “I’ll cut your balls off,” he says, convincingly. But inside, Colvin is a bit charmed.

    At the booking desk, McNulty brings in a felony burglary arrest on another church robbery – in stark contrast to all the misdemeanor arrests that are clogging the Western. Meanwhile, over in Col. Cedric Daniels’ new office downtown, Mello complains about all the weak charges for loitering and disorderly conduct. “Neighborhood people, sometimes they appreciate quality-of-life arrests,” Daniels says diplomatically. “Except we’re locking up the neighborhood people,” Mello responds. As for morale among the officers, it’s split – the officers who love stats are happy, but Mello was hoping a new mayor would put an end to juked numbers, not ramp it up.

    Bodie and Poot get a visit from Slim Charles, who spills the news about Little Kevin. “Chris and Snoop walked him down an alley. He in a vacant now.” Bodie stares, dumbstruck.

    With the Area Superintendent visiting Prez’s class, he focuses on sample exam questions. As soon as she leaves, he lets the kids decide what they want to do with the remainder of the 90-minute test-prep block. The boys go back to their dice and probabilities. None of the boys will pair off with Randy, but Michael steps up and joins him.

    Renaldo’s at the wheel of a borrowed taxi, with Omar sitting in back, as the two of them continue their surveillance – this time on Slim Charles, who they have followed away from his meet with Marlo.

    In the pilot project classroom, Zenobia Dawson and Chandra act out another simulation exercise, this time as a case worker and applicant at Social Services. As Principal Claudell Withers enters with the Area Superintendent, Zenobia takes her part a little too seriously, insisting she’s just trying to make it realistic. The hostility ratchets up until Chandra slaps her, then shoves the social worker who tries to contain her. Colvin has to intervene. “Typical day?” the superintendent asks Withers. “I wouldn’t know – my first day…. Mrs. Donnelly oversees this project.”

    In a front office meeting later that day with Withers and Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly, the superintendent is harsh. “What I saw today wasn’t education as I understand the term. And they didn’t seem very socialized either.” The teacher tries to explain it wasn’t their best day, as Parenti argues that, on the whole, they’ve actually made progress. Colvin adds that the outbursts are fewer, and they’re more engaged. But when pressed as to how many could return to a regular classroom, the teacher offers only three names: Namond, Darnell and Zenobia. Donnelly calls it “a tremendous achievement,” and the principal – deciding to back his subordinates – concurs. Then the social worker weighs in: “Many of these kids are profoundly damaged… any gain or progress is temporary. I think this project may be flawed.”

    Daniels goes to Carcetti to let him know that Burrell bypassed Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls to double street arrests and juke the stats – the chief is reasserting control of the department and making a play for the Mayor to keep him. “Why did you come to me?” Carcetti wants to know. He explains his logic: if Rawls already came to Carcetti with it and he let it happen anyways, that’s a problem for Daniels – because Carcetti’s claim that he wants to reform the department is dubious. If Rawls didn’t tell him, then the Deputy is okay with Burrell’s tactics, or he’s letting the chief screw up so he will get fired. Either way, Daniels needs to know where Carcetti stands. “I gave you my word,” the Mayor says. “Thanks for going outside the chain of command,” he adds. Daniels assures him it won’t be a regular practice.

    Bubbles rattles his cart past a Baptist church, asks two churchgoers if they can help him get something to eat, and gets no reaction. He spots a black minister in a suit making his way to his car, and calls Herc using the cellphone that the plainclothesman purchased for him. Herc casually apologizes for not taking his call when he was in a meeting, and Bubbles responds by giving him the license plate of the minister’s car – and telling him Marlo’s people have a bag in the trunk, getting ready to make drops. Herc jumps on the tip with Off.. Kenneth Dozerman, and Bubbles, his working relationship with Herc over, tries to sell off the cell phone.

    Within minutes Herc, Dozerman and a chopper are on the minister’s car – siren blaring, lights flashing, as Herc orders the man out of the car, hands up, and spins him onto the hood to search him, then forcing him to sit on the sidewalk. They pop his trunk then search the car, as Herc confidently grabs his briefcase, taunting him knowingly as if it’s the motherload. When he opens it, all he finds is a Bible. Herc has come up empty again. Bubbles set him up. “I’m damn sure gonna have your name and badge number,” the minister tells Herc.

    Clay Davis meets with City Council President Nerese Campbell, urging her to give Carcetti $25,000 for a salary bump for the police commissioner job, to buy time for Burrelll. Davis explains that the money won’t be enough to lure serious candidates from the outside, but it will be enough movement so that the new mayor will believe that he will eventually get what he needs from the council. Then, Davis beautifully plays the middle between Carcetti and Burrell, calling the Mayor and leaves a message that he got him the money for a new police chief. “Tell him, ‘Senator Davis has his interests at heart.'”

    Colvin drops Namond off at his house, and he gets a peak into his home life when the boy introduces him to his mother, explaining that Colvin took him in after the cops picked him up. “Leave my son the f**k alone,” De’Londa says to Colvin, before chastising her son for being afraid to go to baby booking.

    McNulty and Det. William “Bunk” Moreland get their sons together at a restaurant, and Bunk asks the young McNultys if they plan to follow in their dad’s footsteps. One wants to be a video game designer, the other a rock star. As for Bunk’s kids, the older one wants to be chief of police, the other a pediatric neurosurgeon. McNulty’s ex, Elena, arrives to pick up the kids, and sees that he’s not drinking. They get some alone time, and ask about each other’s new partners. “We’re close, we’re not…” Elena says of hers. “If I’d known you were gonna grow up to be a grown up…” she says smiling fondly at him. McNulty is clearly gratified by this belated endorsement.

    Bodie is still upset about Little Kevin, especially as he’s the one who told him “do the right thing, go talk to the man.” Poot tries to get him to see it from Marlo’s point of view, invoking their own murder of Wallace years earlier, but Bodie thinks the logic is flawed – Kevin didn’t snitch. Marlo’s just a “cold motherf**ker.” “It’s a cold world, Bodie,” Poot tells him. “Thought you said it was getting warmer,” he responds. “The world goin’ one way, people another,” Poot says.

    As Michael’s mother heads out to look for Bug’s dad, he stops her. “He ain’t coming back,” he says, staring her down. A few blocks away, the man leaves a grocery store to face Snoop and Chris, who follow him, Chris drilling him on whether he likes f**king boys. He tells them he’s living with a woman now. “She got kids.” Snoop says. “I ain’t touch them kids. Who told you that?” he demands. Chris plays friendly. “When you inside, ain’t no p**sy.” “Well, yeah, s**t,” he responds. “You been inside. Man gotta bust his nut, know what I’m sayin’?” “I do,” Chris says, as he pulls a gun and pistol whips the man, kicking and pummeling him bloody, only stopping when he’s unrecognizable – and still. Snoop looks stunned at the ferocity of the beating, so much more emotional than any other violence in which Chris has been involved. “Damn, you didn’t even wait to get the motherf**ker inside.”

    Back at home, Michael watches as his mother, agitated and waiting for her fix, glares at him. He smiles knowingly, once again the man of the house

  11. 26 Nov 06 A New DayAt a Korean-run carryout joint, Namond Brice flashes his wad of cash as he treats Michael Lee, Duquan “Dukie” Weems and Randy Wagstaff. When Dukie orders “yakame with turkey grease” Namond and Michael crack up and a defensive Dukie wants to know what’s so funny – it’s what his mom always orders. Michael gently explains that turkey grease “makes the drunks, you know, throw up all that liquor they was drinkin’ so they can get back to swilling that shit.” As the boys, joined by Donut, chow down on Namond’s largesse on some steps on the commercial strip, they discuss Little Kevin, and Randy is frightened to hear the word is he’s dead, up in the vacants. Officer Eddie Walker walks by and runs the boys off of “his Avenue,” telling them to get back to where they belong. Fed up, the kids brainstorm how to send Walker a message, and when Michael gets confirmation from Donut that Walker goes to the club on Stockton – the after-hours joint that the Western police favor – he assures him he’s “got this one.”Concerned about Sgt. Thomas R. “Herc” Hauk’s bad stop-and-search of the politically connected Minister, Reverend Frank Reid and the Minister himself pay a visit to Mayor Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti to lean on him about supporting a civilian review board for the police department – otherwise how can they trust any investigation of any complaint? Mayoral aide Norman Wilson points out to the men of the cloth that the Police Department has a black Commissioner and I.I.D. director, but Rev. Reid counters that they’ve heard Burrell’s authority is being limited. Carcetti assures him he takes the problem seriously and asks them to trust the process. When they leave, Wilson and Carcetti ponder the rock and hard spot he’s between: Even Royce – a black mayor – did not risk a rebellion among the rank-and-file by implementing civilian review. And on a smaller scale, if Carcetti moves overtly to have Sgt. Hauk fired, he pisses off the rank and file; if he doesn’t, he pisses off the black political infrastructure.At Edward Tilghman Middle School, Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski continues to fight the good fight, overseeing practical math problems as he struggles to explain the area of a circle to Charlene Young and watches as a boy, Perry, is knocked in the testicles by a comrade using the tape measure. In the project class, Ms. Duquette quizzes the group on what takes courage outside of being on a corner. To illustrate bravery, she asks Namond to stand on a box and do a trust fall, relying on his classmates to catch him. Namond balks, but Howard “Bunny” Colvin eyes him and he reluctantly climbs up, warning: “Y’all drop me, we gonna have more than words.” He’s exhilarated by the exercise, but when other volunteers are solicited, Albert bolts from the room with a string of profanity and a concerned Colvin follows on his heels. Later, in the lunchroom, Randy is shunned as he tries to ply his candy on the usually receptive kids. Word has even seeped to the lower grades of Tilghman is out that Randy’s a snitch.Parked at an intersection in a yellow cab, Omar and Renaldo debate whether they’ve lost Slim Charles’ trail. It was at this same intersection where they lost the man on a previous run. Just as Renaldo is fed up with the tedium of their stake out, Slim’s SUV drives by and they follow. They follow him back to Proposition Joe Stewart’s appliance store, much to their surprise. Says Omar, “on this caper, the more we learn, the less we know.” When Renaldo begs for a bathroom break, Omar just hands him a roll of toilet paper and orders him to squat in the alley.

    Colvin and Mrs. Rennert, a new social worker – the previous one has left the project in the wake of her expressed doubts about its merit – talk to a crying Albert, urging him to unburden himself. Finally he comes clean: “I went home yesterday. My ma’s on the couch, she dead.” His grandmother made him come to school. Heartbroken, Colvin understands – the boy just wanted to be with his mother. The profound emotional neglect on some of these kids is stunning.

    Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman and Col. Cedric Daniels address the homicide unit in their new capacities as head of the courthouse Violent Crimes Unit and the department’s Criminal Investigation Division, respectively. Emphasizing they have a mandate for change under the new administration, the pair asks for feedback on how to improve things. They’re bombarded with suggestions, from “better witness protection” and “more proactive investigation” to “more scotch,” “loose women” and above all, “pay hike.” Laughing at the spirit of optimism, Det. Shakima “Kima” Greggs notes to Sgt. Jay Landsman, “Sounds like a new day, don’t it? Department’s finally gonna get what it needs. State’s Attorney’s office too.” Landsman is non-committal, saying only that Daniels and Pearlman make a nice couple.

    Meanwhile, Wilson hands over a decree from the Mayor to Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls, ordering all police commanders to avoid mass arrests and emphasizing community-based and higher-end law enforcement. When Rawls asks hungrily why they don’t just fire Commissioner Ervin Burrell, Wilson explains they don’t have the political capital to do that just yet, using it as a segue to explain the delicate situation with Sgt. Hauk and the ministers. Rawls suggests that they let Col. Daniels handle it, since the sergeant is under his command now, and the ministers might be more inclined to accept the decision of a black commander.

    The corner has taken its toll and Sherrod stumbles into Bubbles’ garage late at night, admitting to having messed up the count on a package, and asking to be taken back in. Bubbles, pleased to have him, feeds him hotdogs and promises they’ll find a way together to pay back the “cheddar” that Jo-Jo is claiming Sherrod owes.

    Heading out on the payback caper that Michael has masterminded, Dukie, Namond and Randy are having second thoughts about taking on a police officer, but Michael is determined that they go through with the tasks they’ve drawn straws for. When Walker emerges from the club, Randy signals Dukie, who provokes Walker by keying his car. When Walker gives chase, Dukie leads him into an alley, where a masked Michael aims a gun at him: “You the police like to f**k with a nigga,” he says, firing a warning shot to impress Walker as to the seriousness of the moment. Just as Namond’s about to toss a can of yellow paint on the officer, Michael spots a ring on Walker’s finger – the same ring that Walker took off of Omar and Omar stole from Marlo Stanfield, who, in turn, took it from Old Face Andre. Risking exposure should Walker turn around, Michael pulls down his mask for a better look as he orders the man to hand the ring over. Walker does, and Namond finally tosses the paint: “Payback,” says Michael.

    Daniels reviews the complaint against Sgt. Hauk, asking Rawls what’s expected of him, given that he sees “a lot of smoke, but I’m not feeling much in the way of fire.” With no witnesses and no indication of racial or religious undertones or serious brutality, his punishment options are limited. Rawls tells him City Hall just wants him to “do the right thing.” Daniels – and even Rawls – are amused at the rarity of such a moment.

    The next morning, Carcetti starts his day with a series of visits to city agencies. He reports an abandoned car that needs towing to Public Works, a leaking hydrant to Wastewater Management and a playground that needs cleaning up to Parks and Recreation – but gives no locations, forcing the agencies to spring into action citywide.

    Meanwhile, as they enjoy a round of late fall golf, Commissioner Burrell and State Sen. R. Clayton “Clay” Davis discuss Daniels’ decision on the Minister’s complaint against Sgt. Hauk: sensitivity counseling and two weeks extra duty. Davis explains how and why the decision was put off onto Daniels, but tells Burrell it won’t be enough for the ministers – something Burrell already knows. Burrell sees an opening for himself.

    At Western District, Walker, in plainclothes, riles up some young cops with his report that he was attacked by three “Bloods” with shotguns: “the paint supposed to be some kind of declaration of war…it’s us against them.” Ofc. James “Jimmy” McNulty, overhearing, gives Walker a doubtful glare: “Yellow paint, a declaration of war?”

    At Tilghman, Colvin praises Namond’s progress, suggesting he’s doing so well he could go back to regular class. But this doesn’t strike Namond as progress. “The s**t they be teaching be deadly.” More notably, Namond teases Colvin about his nickname and Colvin, too, responds playfully. A bond is forming between the two.

    The Mayor meets with Wilson and the Budget Director, insisting he needs to find the funds for a 5 percent police raise. The Budget Director warns against using the rainy day fund because the national bond houses want at least 5 percent of the budget in reserve, but Wilson and Carcetti think it looks like rain.

    Outside of school, some thugs confront Randy, who’s walking home with Michael and Dukie, and accuse him of talking to the police. Randy denies it and they challenge Michael for standing with a snitch. Michael throws the first punch and Prez has to break up a serious melee that leaves Randy stunned and bloody on the ground.

    The reunited team of Bubbles and Sherrod are having a banner day with the Bubble Depo, making sales and coming across a toppled lamppost, which Bubs figures will get them an easy $100 for the scrap aluminum.

    At a westside subshopt, McNulty spots Bodie, taking cover from the cops who are shaking down the corners hard. McNulty explains that the response is due to Walker getting jumped. Bodie is amused at what happened to Walker. “Walker’s an asshole,” McNulty admits, to Bodie’s surprise. McNulty gets a call and has to rush out, but he leaves Bodie with a strange feeling of camaraderie between himself and this police.

    As Prez attends to Randy’s wounds, with Michael and Dukie standing by, Randy swears he only told the police what everybody knows that Lex went to the playground behind Fulton and everyone says he got killed, and that he heard about it from Lil Kevin. He asks Michael if he’s a snitch for doing that much, and Michael responds that because Randy didn’t give up any of his friends, he is not. But, Michael cautions, you shouldn’t talk to police in general. Dukie reports that now people say Kevin’s in the vacants with Lex. Prez tells Randy that Michael is right: If anyone tries to talk to him again, he’s to say nothing.

    At Police Headquarters, Deputy Commissioner Rawls hands out Carcetti’s memo ordering quality police work over making stats to the department heads, including Daniels and Maj. Stanislaus Valchek. When the Chief of Patrol moans about how difficult it will be (“Our people were raised on stats.”), Rawls suggests he can replace him if he can’t bend Patrol to the mission. As the meeting breaks, Daniels asks Rawls for permission to reconstitute Major Crimes, bring it under the Homicide umbrella, and shake up the personnel – as that unit was all about the high-end. Rawls tells him to go for it. When Daniels leaves, Valchek, who’s heard the exchange, commends Rawls for approving an idea from the “anointed fella.” Seeing the look on Rawls’ face, Valchek realizes with shock that this is the first time Rawls has been tipped to the idea that Daniel — not Rawls — is being seriously groomed for Commissioner. Now the delay in firing Burrell makes sense to Rawls. “Jesus, Bill, it’s Baltimore. You ain’t one of the natives, are ya?” Valchek reminds him.

    Staking out the Holiday Inn, Renaldo reports that Slim Charles went in a big room with a sign that said New Day Co-op with Joe, Fat Face Rick and eight or nine others – at least one of whom Omar and Renaldo have robbed. Just then they spy Marlo arriving as well. Omar is excited: “If it’s what I think it is, our little clutch of chickens might be putting all their eggs up in one basket.” Omar has, through much surveillance, figured out the connection between Proposition Joe, Marlo and many other Baltimore narcotics traffickers. He sees the outline of the Co-op.

    As Michael and Namond check out gold chains, Namond warns his friend against wearing Walker’s ring around his neck where the officer can spot it. He asks what’s up with Michael, taking risks like that, especially pulling off the mask in Walker’s presence, and starting the fight to defend Randy. Michael asks him back: Wouldn’t you have stood tall for a friend? “It’s not that you do s**t, it’s how you do it,” worries Namond.

    Daniels reports the good news about Major Crimes to Det. Lester Freamon, giving him carte blanche to pick his squad and supervisor. “It’s morning in Baltimore, Lester. Wake up and smell the coffee.”

    Prez intercepts Sgt. Ellis Carver on the Western District backlot, in a rage over how he handled Randy: “I trusted you, trusted Daniels. My f**kin’ mistake, huh?” Carver gets him to explain what happened and angers when he hears Randy was beaten – he put the kid onto Det. William “Bunk” Moreland and Herc. He offers to put a plainclothes unit on Randy’s house. Prez thinks that will only make things worse, but Carver assures him they’ll be discreet and convinces Prez to accompany him while he gets to the bottom of what happened.

    Late night, Freamon lets himself into the wiretap room at the Clinton Street detail office, frustrated by the signs that there’s been no progress since he left – that the machines themselves have been removed or shut down. Curious, he goes into Lt. Charles Marimow’s office and finds a box marked “Barksdale Subpoena Returns.” He goes through the folders, spotting Ed Bowers, Andrew Krawcyk, and Maurice Webber. Meanwhile, Mayor Carcetti attends a fundraiser for the Ella Thompson Fund, a part of the Parks and People Foundation of Baltimore that helps sponsor inner-city recreation programming, where he meets and greets these very men – who are rushing to ingratiate themselves to the new city administration. Freamon’s pursuit of the Barksdale money has been renewed, and Marimow’s days as commander of the MCU are numbered.

    At home, Namond contemplates cutting off his ponytail, as De’Londa warns him she’ll do it for him. It’s why the police can target him so easily. But he’s not yet willing to make the sacrifice.

    As Freamon packs up his desk in the Homicide Unit, Bunk and Greggs heckle him about leaving so soon to return to the wiretap unit. Carver interrupts, looking for Bunk, asking what happened with Randy. But Bunk doesn’t know anything about any kid witness in Lex’s case. Carver, frustrated and embarrassed, tells him Herc was supposed to bring the kid to Bunk. Freamon can see something’s wrong and asks what happened to the boy.

    Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly delivers the good news to five eighth graders, including Dukie, that they’ll be promoted to ninth grade at the end of the marking period – an upward promotion of at-risk kids that helps the system’s matriculation rates even if it dislocates students in the middle of an academic year. Dukie clearly doesn’t view this as good news. Next she delivers a blow to Colvin: “They pulled the pin on your program.”

    Mayor Carcetti addresses the Western District roll call, announcing the five percent salary bump he’s scraped together, and his mandate to abandon quotas and stats in favor of quality police work. McNulty challenges him that they’ve heard empty promises before, and without educating the community and the bosses, who’s to say they won’t be back to juking stats as soon as the neighborhoods start complaining. “If the old dogs can’t handle the job, I’ll find new ones who can,” Carcetti vows. A good many of the troops are won over, but McNulty’s not so sure. The FOP President warns Carcetti that his new popularity may be short lived if he doesn’t handle the Sgt. Hauk situation just right.

    Bunk and Freamon interrogate Herc in the wiretap room, as Bunk – playing the bad cop – lets him have it for not bringing Randy directly to him – and putting his paws in a murder case. He storms out, leaving Freamon to play good cop. Herc lays out his story from the beginning, including his search of Chris Partlow’s and Snoop’s Chevy Tahoe, and the nail gun he found which meant nothing to Herc, but is taken down – as all details are – by Freamon.

    The Mayor grudgingly agrees to see Commissioner Burrell, who admits that overall policing strategies may not be his strong suit. But he does know that Col. Daniels’ recommendation on how to handle Sgt. Hauk will not fly with the ministers, while conceding that Carcetti can’t fire a white cop for stopping a black minister without losing the rank and file. His solution: Herc worked narcotics for six years, “and in narcotics, there are no virgins.” He hands over a hefty binder that contains the department’s General Orders; there’s sure to be grounds for firing a saint in there. Carcetti begins to see why Burrell has survived and thrived for so long.

    Bubbles and Sherrod get attacked once again by the predatory fiend and their renewed teamwork doesn’t help the situation and they both end up beaten and defeated.

    Omar and Renaldo pay a visit to the appliance store, beating the outside lookout down, then holding a semi-automatic and a .50 caliber on Proposition Joe and his lieutenants, Cheese and Slim Charles. Omar reveals he knows about the New Day Co-op and Marlo’s involvement, then makes his demand: he wants Marlo: Not to kill him, but to take what’s his. Joe agrees to have his nephew Cheese make the drop on Marlo’s next package and they’ll alert Omar to the spot in advance. Omar agrees, but warns that if Prop Joe tries to put a twist in the plan, he’ll make sure to tell Marlo he’s the one who put Omar up to the card game heist. Before leaving, Omar asks for a service ticket for the antique clock he’s dropping off for repair. In disbelief, Joe writes one up and they leave. Cheese can’t believe Joe’s really going to do this, but Proposition tells him it’s the only way out. Omar knows too much and will only keep his secrets if he gets what he wants. Outside, while Slim Charles berates the beaten lookout in the background, Omar tells Renaldo he trusts Proposition Joe’s fear, but now they’re going to follow Cheese day and night.

    Bunk and Freamon pay a visit to Prez’s class to complain that Randy’s foster mother won’t let him talk, per his math teacher’s advice. “I’m siding with my kids,” Prez insists when they press him. Lester sees the ethic involved andagrees to back off, but as they’re leaving, Bunk asks for just a “little something.” Prez gives in, telling him only the address of the playground where Randy told Lex to meet a girl. “That’s all he did,” Prez insists.

    On the corner, Michael’s mother approaches, asking for a price break on a fix and indicating that she is short the money. Namond relents and gives her drugs at a discount, knowing that in doing so there will be more money in Michael and Bug’s house and that she is sure to cop somewhere in any event. Namond authorizes the charity, only to have little Kenard chastises him for his weakness. He doesn’t see Michael’s mother; he sees only a dope fiend.

    Running late to an update from city bureaucrats, Carcetti is pleased with the reports: vehicles have been towed, new playground equipment installed, all hydrants fully capped, and 32 tons of waste pulled from alleys. But when the Budget Director remains to give his update, the news isn’t so cheery: a $54 million deficit for the school system. Carcetti can’t believe there’s been no warning of this mess Royce left. “How the f**k do we deal with that?” asks the Mayor. So far, no one has any ideas. This could wreck their agenda.

    Colvin, Professor David Parenti and Donnelly make an appeal for the project class before the Superintendent and Area Superintendents. Attendance is excellent and there have been no suspensions, plus they’ve helped the other classes function better by pulling the troublemakers and they hope to expand and cover the whole eighth grade in January. The Superintendent can see the benefits, but with the new administration and the sudden budget deficit, they’re under too much scrutiny. “If City Hall were to sign off on this, we could go forward,” says the Area Superintendent. “But now is not the time to rock any boats.”

    Back at his lair, Marlo remarks that he heard Chris took care of his puppy Michael’s problem. But Marlo mentions that Michael stood tall for a snitching boy. Chris takes this in.

    At the abandoned playground that Prez mentioned, Bunk and Lester look for clues. Using soft eyes, Freamon sees the large number of vacant houses that surround the playground on three sides. Freamon heads toward the rear of one vacant, examines the plywood that boards it up, so loosely affixed that he can pry it off with his hands. Bunk questions what he’s doing but Lester plows on, down the row, noting that another plywood door is secured with machine-driven nails that will require a crowbar. “This a tomb. Lex is in there,” he explains to a dumbfounded Bunk, who steps back and finally sees it as well.

  12. 3 Dec 06 That’s Got His OwnMichael Lee runs down a back alley, looking over his shoulder, stumbling and regaining himself as he searches for an open door, somewhere to hide. Two shadowy figures chase him, pistols drawn, as he turns a corner, grabbing a rag so he can break a window, open a derelict warehouse door. The figures gain on him, and closer up they become clear – Felicia ‘Snoop’ Pearson and Chris Partlow. Inside the vacant and trashed warehouse, Michael tries to look for an exit on the other side. Trapped, he tries for a hiding spot instead. Chris and Snoop find the warehouse and catch up to him. Realizing there’s only one place he can be, they corner him and take aim – firing several shots at the first sound. Michael ducks out and fires back, as Chris falls against a wall, holding his abdomen, red seeping out from his hand. Snoop screams a banshee wail as she drops to the ground next, also seemingly shot.Michael steps over to Chris, who’s drenched in sweat and bleeding red. “What’s next?” Chris asks, breathing heavy. “One to the head. I keep it quick,” his protege responds. “Not yet, motherf**ker,” Snoop says, back up and smiling. “You shoot live rounds like paint, boy, you gon’ be the shit,” she tells him. Michael smiles back – he’s earned his stripes.In one of Marlo Stanfield’s mausoleums, Det. Lester Freamon stares at a badly decomposed body of Lex as crime lab technicians work the scene. He steps outside and motions to Det. William “Bunk” Moreland to examine the plywood of the house next door, then starts pulling at it, explaining his detective work to the arriving Sgt. Jay Landsman: the nails on the mausoleum came from a nail gun; every other house on the block has the ordinary screws that Baltimore’s housing department uses. They keep looking for the unique nails and they’ll find more bodies. Landsman gets sarcastic. “Do you see a tool belt on me?… Three weeks left in the year, our unit clearance rate is under 50 percent. We do not go looking for bodies, especially moldering John Does. We don’t put red up on the board voluntarily.” Freamon explains the bodies are Marlo’s. “Then they belong to him,” Landsman responds, before pulling rank and giving him an order: “You will not pull down any more f**king wood.” Landsman stalks off and Freamon shows his frustration.At an informal budget meeting, Mayor Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti goes ballistic over the $54 million school deficit. City Council President Nerese Campbell shifts the blame to the school board, while the Mayor’s new chief of staff reminds her that the Council has oversight. As they argue over who is to blame for the disaster, and whether the cause is waste or fraud or embezzlement, the School Superintendent steps in, conceding that her system’s accounting practices are a problem, but “we’re gonna find that most of the money was properly spent on programming.” They debate their next move — raising property taxes, cutting services, scaling back budgets, denying pay hikes to police and firefighters. “How?” Carcetti asks, his voice rising. “I just ran a clean-up-the-streets campaign…and I just got done promising the world to every cop in the city.” Campbell has the inevitable answer: “Annapolis,” she says, referring to the Governor’s office and the possibility of a state bailout. “You go beg his Republican ass.”

    Omar Little and Renaldo are now following Cheese, one of Proposition Joe Stewart’s lieutenants, having gotten onto him after the earlier confrontation at Prop Joe’s second-hand electronics store. Cheese has led them to a meet with Marlo and Marlo’s lieutenants at their outdoor lair. Renaldo wonders if this is their big drug drop. Omar hopes not, because they haven’t called him yet with the tip-off — as promised — “and that would make me feel bad toward Prop Joe.”

    Marlo and his lieutenants greet Cheese as a runner hands him a book bag full of cash: 25 back to Joe for what they were short before – their claim to payment for their hired killings of the New York Boys having been denied — and 150 to up their order to six, Marlo tells him. Cheese doesn’t know if they’ll have extra coming off the boat for six. “Short someone else then,” Marlo says bluntly. Cheese throws him a disposable cellphone. Marlo affirms he no longer uses cellphones. Cheese tells him they don’t either and that he should merely look for a call from an eastside exchange, toss the phone and go for the meet. Watching the transaction from the row house, Omar decides to continue to follow Cheese.

    Freamon and his new unit, including Sgt. Thomas R. “Herc” Hauk, Det. Leander Sydnor, and Det. Kenneth Dozerman, watch smugly as Lt. Charles F. Marimow packs his things – a victim of the same petty and political machinations that Marimow so often employed. The second the door shuts behind him, they bust out laughing. “Sometimes,” Freamon says, “life gives you a moment.” “He’s gonna do me and instead he gets done,” Herc adds. “I’m dipped in s**t here. I’m the luckiest motherf**ker you know.” Freamon gets down to business and delivers the plan: Marlo is still the target. The bosses might not let Freamon go after the murders but they can’t stop him from chasing the drugs. He assigns the team their orders – Sydnor on surveillance, Dozerman on the paper trail, Herc on the paper work to get the wiretap back up. As for Freamon, he’s off to the missing persons unit downtown. Herc pulls Freamon aside and asks that he give the orders; Herc, after all, is the sergeant. Freamon stares at him for a moment before walking off.

    Namond Brice is getting his hair braided on a corner – his ponytail replaced by less conspicuous cornrows – when little Kenard pays a visit to tell him their package was taken from Kenard’s basement when the police kicked in his door. Namond wants to know how they knew where his stash was. “Some snitch-ass bitch,” Kenard tells him, claiming he’s gonna find the informant.

    Howard “Bunny” Colvin and the Deacon share a Polish sausage at one of Baltimore’s last remaining Polack Johnny’s restaurants, as Colvin unloads about the pilot program being denied approval to continue. They went all the way to the School Superintendent, who’s too scared – given all the budget problems – to take any fresh complication to the Mayor. The Deacon mentions State Del. Odell Watkins. “I was hoping you’d say that name,” Colvin says, acknowledging that Watkins, having supported Carcetti in the election, has the new mayor’s ear.

    Bubbles meets with some old-time street sages at an A-rabbers’ stable on the westside and gets a few tips on ridding Fiend from his life. One of them eventually recommends he lace his drugs with sodium cyanide, easy enough to get hold of if you know where to look. They caution him not to go overboard – one vial could kill every horse in the stable. “That all there is to it?” Bubbles asks. “Ain’t no thing to kill a nigger if he’s already ’bout the business of killin’ hisself,” one of the men tells him. “Police, they ain’t gonna pay no never mind. You’re the one that’s got to live with it, is all.”

    In the Missing Person Unit, Freamon sifts through photos, mug shots and family shots of all the young black males – more than he expected. He pulls out Lex’s photo and Little Kevin’s mugshot as well, as the M.P.U. detective explains why he hasn’t done any street work on any of them: They cut his department down to one detective five years ago. “I barely keep up the paperwork.” Freamon leaves with the photos and reports.

    When Michael hears that Kenard’s stash is gone, and asks a few follow-up questions, he realizes the scam and tells Namond the kid took it himself. “And now you gotta step to him, put somethin’ real behind them words.”

    Omar pays a visit to Blind Butchie’s bar, explaining that he’s rounding up soldiers, and Butchie offers up his own confederates – the very players who saved Omar when he was alone in the city detention center on his murder charge. Omar acknowledges Big Donnie, remarking that his 2255 federal post-conviction appeal must have worked out. Donnie affirms that this is so. Omar says, however, that he’s planning to go “subtle” in his approach, and as if on cue, he gets a visit from an old friend, Kimmy, who he has called back into town for a chance at a big score.

    Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski stops by Randy Wagstaff’s house to drop off his homework assignments – Randy is still not attending class for fear of being targeted and beaten as a snitch – and Miss Anna tells him she’s thinking of moving the boy to another school for the next semester. Prez hopes it’s not necessary. He leaves, but as he does, spots the plainclothes surveillance car on the way out, and realizes that if he can spot the protection detail, it’s likely that the neighborhood can as well.

    Carcetti and Wilson pay a visit to the State House, where they’re made to wait an hour to meet with the Governor. An aide surfaces to say it will be longer, as the Mayor – humiliated – explains he has appointments. Wilson reads his boss a quote from the Washington Post, from the governor himself, about Baltimore’s “latest fiscal emergency” calling into question not only the school system but “local oversight of the system.” “Motherf**ker,” Carcetti says. “He’s playing to the D.C. suburbs. The governor sees Tommy running against him in two years and is going to use any school bailout to damage Carcetti politically with voters statewide. Wilson agrees with Carcetti’s assessment, saying of the governor: “He ain’t no fool.”

    At the Major Crimes Unit off-site office on Clinton Street, a confused Lieutenant Asher returns with his things, interrupting Herc and Freamon at work. The Lieutenant asks Freamon what the hell’s going on, given that he’s been transferred from Major Crimes to the Telephone Reporting Unit and back again – all in a few months time. Freamon just smiles and asks, “How’s the beach house?” as the lieutenant heads to his office. Herc inquires as to Asher’s identity and Freamon identifies the passive, do-nothing lieuenant as one of the department’s most effective supervisors.

    Prez makes an appeal to Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly on behalf of Duquan “Dukie” Weems. Dukie’s mid-year promotion to the ninth-grade may be helping the school system juke its matriculation rates, but it is disruptive to the child. Dukie is finally thriving where he is. Donnelly acknowledges that she is aware of all the extra attention Prez has given the boy. She guesses that Prez and his wife don’t have kids. “Have them,” she advises him. “For better or worse, they’ll be yours for life.” There’s plenty of other kids coming up behind Dukie who will also need his help, she adds knowingly.

    In the project classroom, the teacher, Ms. Duquette, tries to get the kids to focus on the upcoming statewide tests – as the system demands of all classes, but they don’t see the point. “You need to take the test so you can move on to the next level,” Ms. Duquette explains. “I ain’t movin’ nowhere but out this motherf**ker,” Darnell Tyson responds. Namond thinks they got schemed, because now their class is just like the ones down the hall. Colvin leans into Parenti and concedes that the boy is right. “The test material doesn’t exactly speak to their world,” Parenti affirms. “Don’t speak too loud to mine, either,” says Colvin.

    As Prez tries to teach math and percentages, the kids press him about why he got married. “To build a life together,” he says, “family…to have intimacy.” They razz him about “getting some,” and he gets flustered. “Not just that. Intimacy can be a quiet conversation. Or fun. Like when you tickle your partner.” “Yo, tickle my nuts,” one boy responds. Prez turns to face the blackboard and manages to suppress a laugh. Even in their effrontery, these kids have charmed him.

    Ignoring Landsman’s order, Det. Freamon pays a visit to Col. Cedric Daniels and Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman, the respective chiefs of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Violent Crimes Unit of the prosecutor’s office. They are shocked to hear about the bodies – Freamon learns that Landsman has made no mention of the matter – and Daniels and Pearlman express further dismay at Freamon’s estimate of how many they might find: a couple dozen, perhaps. Daniels questions whether they’re likely to deploy half of Public Works to open thousands of vacant houses, only to raise the city’s murder rate by 10 percent. Pearlman asks any direct links between these presumed bodies in vacant rowhouses and Marlo, and Freamon points to Lex as a known victim whose murder can be linked to the drug trafficker. Moreover, two missing persons can also be tied to Stanfield’s organization through the earlier wiretaps that Freamon had up. Pearlman says the decision to begin opening up vacant houses is not for her office to make; prosecutors won’t care until they see case files. Daniels agrees to run it upstairs and see what comes.

    After an inordinate amount of time, Carcetti tells the Governor’s aide he gets the point and leaves. “I’m the mayor of a major American city for chrissakes,” he says to Wilson on the way out. “How much s**t do I have to eat from this guy?” He scoffs as he re-reads a Washington Post quote the man delivered, “‘because those are my children in Baltimore too.’ He’s gonna bleed me for that money.” On their way out of the State House, Carcetti gets the word from a state trooper at the security checkpoint – portrayed, notably, by Maryland’s actual governor, Robert Ehrlich – that the governor is now ready to see him. Wilson takes a line from the Christmas carol playing through the halls to nudge Carcetti back up the stairs to the governor’s suite: “We won’t go until we get some…”

    Bubbles is hard at work in his garage, a mad scientist dicing up powdery substances and loading three small vials, which he tucks in his coat’s front pocket, same as always. When he catches up with Sherrod later, he sends the boy off into a different quadrant of the city with his own inventory for the first time, as he heads elsewhere to seek out the predatory dope fiend who has so tormented them.

    Prez sits with a depressed Dukie by the computer, and tries to convince him he’s ready for his promotion to Southwestern High School, adding that he can come back and use the computer and the showers and give him laundry any time. Dukie tries to show Prez how to use the computer, realizing he won’t be back. After school, he catches up with Michael and Namond and tells them that Randy’s foster mother is talking about taking their friend out of Tilghman, re-enrolling him elsewhere. When Dukie gets back to his own house, its contents are out on the street, an eviction notice on the door. Not again, Dukie says. Michael invites him to stay at his new home with Bug – the first suggestion that Michael and his brother are no longer living with their mother.

    Daniels goes to Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls with Freamon’s theory about the bodies and the missing persons, and the suggestion that City Hall might look more kindly on the discovery if the bodies are brought in before the year’s end – so that the bump in the murder rate will fall on Royce’s watch, rather than in the first full year of Carcetti’s new administration. “I see you’ve thought this through – politically, I mean,” he says. “I’m learning as I go,” Daniels responds. “I bet you f**king are…” says Rawls dryly, now conscious of Daniels’ prospects for political advancement. Keep this conversation close, he orders Daniels. “That’s a direct order.”

    When Namond tells his mother Kenard took the drug stash, De’Londa goes off on him, angry he didn’t make the kid “feel pain.” She belittles him for not measuring up to his father, and when Namond reminds her that the man is locked up, she smacks him. Shaken, he leaves the house, despite her protests.

    Over beers, Freamon talks to Bunk and Off. James “Jimmy” McNulty about the bodies, how wrong it is to just let them lie there. McNulty suggests going over Landsman’s head, and Bunk, not knowing Freamon already has, explains that his colleague “don’t fancy boats,” referring to McNulty’s harbor re-assignment after he ignored the chain of command two years prior. With a few beers in him, Freamon eyes the nail he saved and bets them ten bucks they can go find bodies at any boarded-up rowhouse with a similar one. Bunk takes the bet, if only to play with Freamon.

    Namond takes Michael along to confront Kenard on his lie – Kenard’s front door showed no sign of having been kicked in by police, and Namond wants to know where the package is. “Package up my ass, Gump,” the kid says. Namond hesitates a moment and Michael takes over, punching the little kid bloody with a fierceness Namond hadn’t seen before. “Go ‘head Namond, get your package off this bitch and let’s go.” Namond looks sickened by the site of the battered Kenard. “I ain’t want it,” he says, running off, leaving Michael with his victim.

    In another vacant rowhouse, Freamon collects on his bet as he, Bunk and McNulty look over another decomposing body. They debate whether to call the crime lab, but Freamon says no bitterly; there are no bodies until the bosses say there are. There is talk that eventually, this will become a helluva case. McNulty warns that they should expect the inevitable: the brass will mess it up. “Maybe not this time,” Freamon says. “Daniels is C.I.D. It’s a new day downtown.”

    Having no luck scaring up his nemesis, the predatory fiend, Bubbles returns home to the garage. He sees Sherrod cocooned in his covers, and smiles proudly when he sees the cash the boy left for him.

    When Sgt. Ellis Carver visits Randy Wagstaff at home, Miss Anna says they’re going to wait a little longer before he returns to school. It’ll blow over in a week or so, Carver assures them. Until then, he’s got the plainclothes unit protecting the house, and Randy can call him any time. Randy now seems wary of Carver, but Miss Anna insists Carver stay for breakfast.

    Bubbles awakes in the morning with a new idea – they made so much money hauling that felled aluminum lightpost two weeks ago that maybe they can go all Paul Bunyan and start knocking a few more streetlights down themselves – and he starts laying out a plan to Sherrod. When he gets no response, he finally looks around to see the boy’s empty bedroll, then finds him lying on the floor, next to Bubbles’ coat. Suddenly frantic, Bubbles kneels next to him and reaches for his hand, finding an empty vial. “No, no, no, what’d you do, Sherrod?” he pleads, shaking the boy and pumping his chest, tears pouring out of him.

    In the Major Crimes Unit, the team is reporting to Freamon on their Marlo findings – no more cellphones; even the Stanfield organization lieutenants who were using burners months ago are now taking only face-to-face meets. Two Internal Investigation Division detectives interrupt, looking for a Sergeant Hauk and citing a missing surveillance camera – as well as some paperwork on a couple of informants. They also want to see Sydnor and Dozerman. “Paperwork is all mine,” Herc tells them. “On the camera. On the informants. Me alone.” Herc stands up manfully to take the weight for his mistakes. He departs with the I.I.D. men.

    Rawls breaks the news to Carcetti about the bodies and recommends they pull them out now, so they’re not on his watch, but can be credited instead to the previous mayor. “Thoughtful,” Carcetti says, before getting pissed. “I don’t want any more stat games from your department…If there are bodies in there, they need to come out!” Rawls looks chastened, until Carcetti puts a hand to his shoulder. “But do it now. I don’t wanna be finding more bodies come January.” Clearly, Carcetti, while staking out some moral high ground, sees the political logic as well.

    After his meeting with the Governor, the Mayor heads into another meeting with city officials where Wilson lays out their latest predicament: they can take state money for the school deficit crisis and avoid teacher layoffs and program cuts, but the state wants more control which will mean messing with teachers’ contracts and tenure, and turning the powerful city teachers’ union against Carcetti. If they don’t take the money, they’ll look like they’re shorting the kids. Politically astute, Council President Campbell points out that the Governor is setting up the Mayor for a fight in two years – the D.C. suburbs aren’t going to like that he used their money to bail out his city schools. As for what she’d do? Don’t look at me, Campbell insists: “If you take it, you’re selling out the teachers, and that’s my base. If you don’t take it, you’re selling out the kids. Either way, I’ll probably rip you, and half the council will, too.” She pauses for a beat. “Just glad I’m not the mayor.” Carcetti is almost amused.

    Col. Daniels summons Freamon to tell him word from down the chain is to open up the houses. They discuss adding manpower to the unit, and he offers Freamon any two bodies he wants from C.I.D.. If he gets the wire back up, Freamon can have additional manpower beyond that. On his way out, Freamon stops by to visit Det. Shakima “Kima” Greggs, who’s got her feet up on the desk, talking about a hot woman at a bar and clearly enjoying her new digs. “How’re you liking homicide?” he asks. “Love it. Why?” Freamon shrugs and walks off, one of his choices already made.

    At the appliance store, Slim Charles enters to tell Prop Joe the delivery is on its way. Joe picks up a cell phone to make his promised call to Omar. Watching from his cab, already well aware that Cheese is now on the move, Omar puts in a call to his own people.

    Over at Dennis “Cutty” Wise’s gym, Namond tries to talk to Michael, who is working a bag, but gets ignored. Aware of his lowered standing, he makes a show of his bravado, taunting Dukie by calling him names, using one of the same insults that Kenard hurled at him: “Gump…dogs**t smellin’ ass nigga.” This gets Michael’s attention: he turns and grabs Namond, throws him against a wall and begins smacking him. Cutty throws Michael out. Namond is left in tears. When the gym clears, Carver shows and he and Cutty both try to talk to Namond. “I can’t go home,” he tells Carver. His mother expects him to be his father, and, he concedes now, “that ain’t in me.” As for Michael, Namond references the brutal beating of Kenard and notes: “He ‘ain’t Mike no more.” Cutty tells Carver privately that Namond certainly can’t stay at the gym. Moreover, he regrets shutting Michael out at the very point when that boy might need help the most. He goes looking for Michael, leaving Carver to contemplate Namond.

    By a row of industrial buildings, Omar and Renaldo suit up in armor and load their guns, as Kimmy, the woman from Butchie’s bar, arrives in a torn housedress and imitation fur coat ready for action. Omar is amused at her get-up, though Kimmy is less so. Not far away, Cheese and his driver walk towards a small warehouse, and watch as a two-ton truck pulls in slowly. Kimmy appears, walking unsteadily and waving to the driver of the truck. As two warehouse security guards step out, Cheese and the driver standing alongside, Kimmy walks boldly up to them, looking high and singing, and plying her trade. “I’ll suck your dick for fifteen,” she says to one of the guards. They are dismissive and begin haggling with her, demanding that she leave.

    Omar and Renaldo prepare their own side-winding approach as Kimmy keeps on it, and a van pulls in and parks – blocking the two-ton truck. Two Hispanic men get out, wearing coveralls and claiming they’re painters, as Cheese and his people scream at them to leave. They play dumb and fumble with things behind the rear doors of the van. As Kimmy hikes her dress for the warehouse guards, Omar surprises one guard with a shotgun, Kimmy surprises the other with a holstered automatic from her thigh, and the Mexican painters emerge from the back of the with guns drawn, and Renaldo whistles from the roof, covering all of them with his weapon. Outmaneuvered, Cheese drops his pistol. When no one responds to Omar’s request to open the truck, Kimmy shoots a guard in the ass. The Russian driver, cursing his confederates as “amateurs,” opens the rear of the truck.

    Back downtown, the Deacon pays a visit to Odell Watkins, asking him if he remembers Bunny Colvin. “Rogue police commander, tried to legalize drugs,” Watkins says, as Colvin listens outside. Though Watkins seems reluctant to help such a man, The Deacon brings Colvin in to talk about “another bright idea,” as Colvin himself puts it.

    Cutty goes looking for Michael and finds only his mother, who tells him Michael left and got his “own spot,” took his little brother with him, too. “You find that boy, you let him know I need some help around here,” she says bitterly as Cutty leaves.

    Namond is back in Carver’s office, waiting for Colvin to pick him up. Carver pulls the former cop aside to tell him what the boy’s mother said when he called her about her son’s status: “‘Put that bitch in baby booking…let him learn something.’ She hung up before I could tell her there was no charge.”

    Up the block from Randy’s house, a young thug from Tilghman calls 911 from a payphone and reports a cop being beaten and shot at a store elsewhere in West Baltimore. As the plainclothes car races off in response, two boys run by Randy’s house and throw Molotov cocktails through the windows. Within seconds, the house fills with flames.

    Prop Joe gets a visit from Cheese, who tells him about Omar’s raid, his “commando squads” and how they cleaned them out, the entire shipment. Incredulous, Prop Joe asks about why no one fought back. Cheese insists it happened too quickly, noting that one of Omar’s people pulled a weapon from her genitals. “S*** was unseemly,” he remarks. Prop Joe acknowledges that while he was willing to let Omar take off that portion of the shipment destined for Marlo, he didn’t see Omar’s larger play coming. The two worry what they’re going to tell the CO-OP — everyone’s screwed out of this one. “I say we go find this faggot,” Cheese says. “First thing they’re gonna wonder about is us,” Prop Joe tells him, worrying about how they’ll prove to the co-op as a whole that they weren’t in on it.

    Cutty finds Michael on a corner hanging with Marlo’s boys, including Monk. He tries to address the boy, but Michael brushes him off. “This here ain’t you,” Cutty tells him. Monk warns the coach to step away, and Cutty regards him dismissively. Monk pulls a gun and shoots Cutty in the thigh, dropping him, then points it at Cutty’s head. Michael steps in and gently pushes Monk’s arm away, until Monk and the others step off. Michael tells Cutty he’ll wait for the ambulance, as a Korean storeowner comes out. “Go with your people,” Cutty tells him, realizing that Michael has made his decision already. Michael pauses for a moment, then walks off into the night, leaving Cutty in the street bleeding.

    Carver visits the University of Maryland hospital, where he checks in on the status of Miss Anna on a Burn Unit board: critical/stable condition, with second/third degree burns. He finds Randy in a family counseling room, tear tracks down his face, covered in cuts and minor burns. “I’m sorry, son,” Carver says. “I’m gonna talk to social services. We’ll get you some help.” Randy refuses to look at him. When Carver turns to leave to begin making calls, Randy yells after him. “You gonna help, huh? You gonna look out for me?” He repeats himself, yelling louder, tears streaming, as a tormented Carver keeps walking

  13. 10 Dec 06 Final GradesIt’s the holiday season and Sgt. Jay Landsman arrives at the Homicide unit whistling Christmas carols, stopping short when he sees some unseasonable red-new names, including John Does, being added to the board. Det. Edward Norris informs him it’s all from Det. Lester Freamon, up early, rooting through vacants. Furious about Freamon’s crusade to “make murders,” Landsman turns his attention to a new case: Norris has a “sack in the box” – a guy who turned himself in for a murder, a guy claiming to have killed a fellow IV drug shooter with a “hot shot.” When Landsman joins Norris in the interrogation room, he finds Bubbles, sober but getting sick from withdrawal, begging to be locked up for poisoning Sherrod with cyanide. As they question him, Bubbles vomits all over both detectives. Landsman heads off to wipe the spew from his Christmas tie and shirt. When he and Norris return from cleaning up, they find Bubbles, hanging from his belt. They race to get him down; he’s still alive.In an alley outside of some vacants, a sign on the plywood door reads: “If animal trapped call 844-6286.” But these empty rowhouses are now swarming with cops, crime scene investigators and public works crews. Det. Shakima “Kima” Greggs and Freamon wonder how far the mausoleums stretch. “Only one way to find out,” says Freamon, dialing his cell. He reaches the C.I.D. commander, Col. Cedric Daniels, who’s with Deputy Commissioner for Operations William A. Rawls, Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell and Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman at the staging area for the body bags – a gymnasium of a nearby empty and unused middle school. Rawls moans that it will take the labs a year to sift through the vaccumed and bagged dirt in the vacants in a search for trace evidence. When Daniels reports the prevailing suspicion is that the deaths are all related to the rise of Westside drug trafficker Marlo Stanfield, Burrell wants to know what his police department has on the target. Looking pointedly at Rawls, Daniels notes that they had wiretaps on Stanfield earlier, but they came down on those. Now it it may be too late — Marlo may have changed his pattern by now. Rawls quietly eats the implied criticism of his political interference in the Major Crimes Unit and its casework. Seeing his opportunity, Daniels asks for manpower to search the thousands of vacant rowhouses in the city. Getting the okay, Daniels sets off to phone word to Freamon. Rawls warns Burrell that they’re going to look bad with this case, and Daniels will be closer to “the throne” if he brings in the case. But Burrell’s seemingly not worried. “He’s a long way from my chair. As are you.” He chastises his deputy for making his showing his own ambition and disloyalty, noting that Rawls made his move too soon, warning, “Don’t you ever cross me like that again.”Landsman questions Bubbles as the paramedics, satisfied that all vital signs are normal, leave. Through fits and starts, Bubs explains that the tainted vial was for a guy who’d been beating on him, but Sherrod was dipping, something he knew even if it was unspoken. He blames himself for trying to help the kid, for taking him in and pretending to play at parenting: “Like I ain’t know who I am, right? Like I pretendin’ I ain’t been a dope fiend my whole damn life.” He begs to be locked up, but Landsman, hearing how it went down, thinks it over, walks out into the squadroom, and tells Norris he wants to throw this one back. Norris warns Bubbles might go off a roof if they cut him loose, so Landsman suggests D-Ward at Bayview. “Something with soft walls.”A quorum from the New Day Co-op confronts Proposition Joe Stewart and Slim Charles, as Marlo Stanfield and Chris Paltrow also look on. They don’t want to pay twice for the same package, and they’ve decided Joe – being responsible for handling the shipment from the Greeks – needs to make this right. Joe explains that’s not the nature of a Co-op: “Share in the good, share in the bad.” When the other dealers show their reluctance, Joe agrees to pay for the replacement shipment, but after that, he threatens, the drug connection will be his alone and they can find new suppliers if they won’t stand together now. That wins the argument. Still, Marlo wants to “talk” to who was in charge of the stash, but Joe says it was his nephew – and he won’t give up Cheese. Instead he offers his drug connection, whose people were also there when the shipment was stolen, so Marlo can hear from him directly how it went down. Marlo seems mollified by the offer.

    Meanwhile, Omar Little and Renaldo have been dividing up the shipment they hijacked from the New Day Co-op, but even after splitting it with their accomplices, Kimmy and Mexican boys, they tell Butchie they have “26 raw” left. Omar’s not a drug dealer, he points out; he’s not set up to put this on the street. Butchie jokes that Omar can sell it back to Proposition Joe for 20 cents on the dollar, cracking himself up at the affront that would be. But Omar realizes it’s not such a bad idea; in fact, the effrontery of it gives him some certain pleasure.

    Sgt. Ellis Carver gets on the phone with the state Department of Social Services’ child custody workers, trying to find a spot for Randy Wagstaff in foster care, as the boy waits nearby on his bench, slowly hiding some cash inside the binding of one of his schoolbooks. Social services tells him the boy’s only option is a group home, since his foster mother’s in the hospital indefinitely and there’s a wait list for foster care.

    Freamon sends Greggs to round up Sgt. Thomas R. “Herc” Hauk, who’s suspended without pay. He was the one who found the nail gun in his search of Chris and Snoop’s SUV, and they need his help on that point, as they try to recover the nail he fired during the car stop – as ballistics can match it to the others at the crime scenes, even if they don’t recover the actual nail gun. But obsessed with his own problems, Herc won’t stop talking, trying to figure why he’s getting jammed up by I.I.D. when Daniels gave him a slap on the wrist earlier. He shows Greggs and Det. William “Bunk” Moreland the spot where he pulled over Chris Paltrow and Felicia “Snoop” Pearson to search their car and fired the nail gun into the asphalt by Snoop’s leg. As Herc keeps talking, not helping, Greggs and Bunk search the road hoping to find the nail. But all they find is an empty hole, the nail long gone. Finally, in response to Herc’s rant, Bunk asks what he did, exactly. When Herc explains about the camera and the lies told in which probable cause was attributed to a made-up informant, Bunk and Greggs shake their heads in disbelief. “Son, they gonna beat on your white ass like it’s a rented mule,” Bunk tells him. Meanwhile, the patrol shifts in every Baltimore district mobilize to search every vacant displaying the kind of nails utilized by the bail gun, as the body count rises.

    At the hospital, Dennis “Cutty” Wise is laid up with a fractured leg. The nurse, having looked at his past hospital records and knowing he has no insurance, assumes he’s a gangster and – as a weary veteran of the drug wars herself – gives him hell for relying on the hospital to put him back together free of charge. Howard “Bunny” Colvin shows up and introduces himself — Sgt. Carver suggested Cutty might be able to help him with Namond Brice. Cutty wants to know why Colvin cares, and Colvin admits that he has come to care about the youth.

    Back by the vacants, a crowd has gathered as L’il Kevin’s body is pulled from one of them, Bodie and Poot among those watching. Bodie starts to lose it, yelling about how wrong Marlo is to do all these killings. Poot tries to calm him down, but Bodie throws a fit, kicking and punching in the windows on a parked radio car. Det. James “Jimmy” McNulty sees Bodie go off, trying to explain to his fellow cops, “That’s his friend in the bag.” But Bodie’s gone too far. He’s cuffed and dragged toward a jail wagon.

    Mayor Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti and mayoral aide Norman Wilson watch the national TV news reports of the bodies being found. The only good news is that it’s knocked the disastrous school deficit off the front pages. Both problems should be on former Mayor Royce, Carcetti complains, but it’s the new administration that is going to have to deal with the fallout. They review his options on the school problem with his new Chief of Staff: if he takes the money from the Governor, then the D.C. suburbs won’t vote for him for governor in two years because he took money from suburban taxpayers to pay for city schools. But if he doesn’t take the money and makes it to Annapolis, he could help Baltimore then, his Chief of Staff points out. Wilson says the schools can’t afford to get any worse, even if they can’t fix them, noting that Carcetti is the mayor of Baltimore right now. He urges Tommy: “Go back to Annapolis, eat his s**t.”

    Lonely for his friend, Duquan “Dukie” Weems walks by the dark shell of Miss Anna’s row house, where there’s no sign of life – including Randy.

    At the appliance store, Proposition Joe, Slim Charles and Cheese review his handling of Marlo’s suspicions. Cheese thinks he’s putting their drug supply at risk by introducing the younger, volatile dealer to their connection, but Joe says he has no choice – he needs to reassure Marlo that Joe wasn’t in on the heist. In the midst of their discussion, Omar shows up, surprising everyone with his nerve. He offers to sell them back their supply at 20 cents on the dollar. After his lieutenants threaten him, suggesting they might torture Omar and recover the drugs without paying any tribute, Omar replies by asking Joe whether he believes Omar will ever – even at the point of torture – give it up. Joe relents, realizing it’s a better offer than having to replace the shipment at cost. As he’s leaving, Omar remembers his repair slip, and Joe hands over his clock – ticking like new.

    At home in front of the family Christmas tree, Carcetti reviews his options about the school deficit with his wife. “I think you’ll do the right thing,” she says, leaving Tommy to wonder what that is.

    Dukie lets himself into Michael Lee’s new crib with his key. Following the sounds of rhythmic music, he finds Michael in his room having sex. He backs away, the few remaining shards of his childhood stripped away, and takes refuge on his bottom bunk, after tucking Bug into the top bunk.

    At the staging area of the gymnasium, as the body count builds to seventeen cases, McNulty wanders in, looking for Pearlman to put her A.S.A. signature on case he wants dropped – Bodie’s vandalism of the radio car. He’s unable to restrain his curiosity about the vacants, firing off questions as Bunk and Freamon taunt him. “If I was a police, I don’t think I could hang back on it,” Bunk says to Freamon, for McNulty’s benefit.

    Dukie arrives at his first day of Frederick Douglass High School, but as a group of bigger kids pushes by him aggressively, he loses his nerve, and turns back. Meanwhile back at Edward Tilghman Middle School, Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski presides over his class as they take the statewide test, with some students working away, others indifferent and a few angrily defeated. Ms. Duquette watches as the project class pores over their exams, exhibiting the same range of effort and ability.

    Back at the gym, Daniels and Pearlman quiz Freamon, Bunk and Greggs on their progress. They’ve identified the model of the nail gun. They also report coming up empty on finding the nail Herc fired into the street weeks earlier, though they ordered up a metal detector and searched the block. Freamon is hopeful they’ll get lucky in the trace work – hairs, fibers, maybe a blood sample – at the vacants, but all agree the next investigative move is to write search warrants and hope to catch Chris or Snoop with the offending nail gun, a murder weapon or some other evidence. Pearlman wants to know what probable cause she can use for the warrant application. The detectives cite Herc’s previous discovery of the nail gun and other tools in their SUV. There is no law against owning power tools, Pearlman notes. Bunk argues that they have a witness that links Chris and Snoop to the murders – a reference to Randy Wagstaff’s previous statements. But unwilling to cross Prez on this point, Freamon corrects him, saying they have a source, not a witness – a distinction that means they won’t ask the boy to testify in court and therefore can’t cite him as backing for the warrant. Frustrated, Bunk asks for an hour and leaves with Greggs behind him.

    Colvin pays another visit to Cutty in the hospital, who tells him he was able to get word to Namond’s father, who will talk to Colvin. On his way out, Colvin sets the nurse straight on Cutty – he’s not a gangster, he got shot trying to pull a kid off a corner.

    Greggs and Bunk pay a last visit to Lex’s mother, who’s distraught that she couldn’t even see her son’s body because it was so decayed. Bunk points out that they did the best they could with the information they had – a pointed criticism of her unwillingness to help the investigation earlier. Finally she tells them what she’s heard that Snoop and Chris killed her boy.

    At the D.S.S. child services offices, Carver pleads with a bureaucrat to find a solution for Randy that doesn’t involve a group home. In frustration, he offers to become the boy’s foster parent himself. But even that won’t work – the screening process is three-to-four months and Randt can’t be in Carver’s custody in the meantime. Randy has to go back in the system, as per the court order that put him there in the first place.

    With Chris and Snoop cuffed on the curb, Bunk, Greggs and Freamon – now armed with a good warrant – search the SUV. No nail gun or lyme is found; none of the tools that Herc saw earlier. No weapons either, but unable to believe these two would be “riding tame,” Greggs roots around under the dash and finds a wire. Connecting it to the ignition wire, a secret drop box above the glove compartment pops open to reveal a pistol. “Ain’t even our car,” says Snoop.

    Meanwhile, Spiros “Vondas” Vondopoulos sits between Marlo and Prop Joe, backing Joe and assuring Marlo that the rip off wasn’t a set up. Marlo asks Vondas how he can be sure, and Vondas says he talked to his own people – “he looked into his soul,” he says of his subordinate, indicating that he tortured the man to be sure. That settles Marlo, who accept Vondas’s word, but tells his lieutenant Monk to put a tail on Vondas – not because the supplier is a problem, but to find out more about the man. Marlo tells Joe he’ll get the $90,000 for his share to Joe in the morning and will hunt Omar once the heat from the investigation into the vacants calms down. Monk also tells him that Chris and Snoop have been popped on a gun charge and Marlo tells him to get the bail bondsman on it.

    McNulty greets Bodie as he emerges from Central Booking, telling him he was the one who got him sprung and offering him lunch. They are glimpsed by Monk, arriving with the bondsman in tow. Vaguely curious, Bodie follows McNulty to his personal car. While Chris and Snoop are required to submit to blood and hair samples, per a court order obtained by Freamon and Greggs, along with the grand jury A.S.A., Bodie and McNulty enjoy lunch in the garden’s of Northwest Baltimore’s Cylburn Arboretum. Bodie insists he’s no snitch, but McNulty gives him room to vent about the current state of his business, and being tired of being “them little bitches on the chessboard.” Bodie talks himself into stepping up to put an end to “Marlo an’ his kind.” McNulty hears him out and acknowledges Bodie’s integrity: “You’re a soldier.” Able to serve up this level informant to Freamon, McNulty will be back in the game.

    At the visiting room at Jessup, Colvin talks to Wee-Bey. After reminiscing about their old adversarial roles as corner boy and patrolman, Colvin gets to the point of his visit: he cares about Namond and thinks he has real potential, and he wants Wee-Bey to let him go so he can have the opportunity to go places and do things neither one of them could. The corners have changed; the old codes have fallen. Namond will not last on those corners nowadays. “You askin’ too much,” says Wee-Bey. “Yeah, but I’m asking,” counters Colvin.

    Monk tells Marlo and Chris that he saw Bodie getting into a car with a white guy when he got out of Central Booking. Assuming it’s police, Marlo orders Chris to have his “pup” take care of it, “get him started.” Chris objects that Michael worked for Bodie, “First time, best be someone he ain’t know.” Marlo agrees. He tells Chris that Omar, having stolen the shipment, is now selling it back to Proposition Joe at thirty cents on the dollar – indicating that, unknown to Marlo, Joe is making an additional ten cents on the dollar above Omar’s price.

    Colvin returns to Tilghman, where Miss Duquette and Professor David Parenti have been waiting with Namond. He sends Namond outside and tells his colleagues that he suspects Wee-Bey will refuse to let Namond go, but they’ll know tomorrow. Parenti informs him that tomorrow is a big day all-around: State Delegate Odell Watkins got them a half hour at the Mayor’s office.

    On his corner, Bodie’s having a slow night, along with Poot and Spider, who is now working the corner. When Poot alerts him to Chris approaching, Bodie refuses to leave. “This is my corner. I ain’ runnin’.” He fires at the cars Snoop and Chris are ducking behind, as Poot pleads with him to run. Unable to convince Bodie to flee, Poot finally runs for cover, passing a young hooded boy – O-Dog, one of Snoop and Chris’s trainees – who creeps up to Bodie and shoots him in the head. Bodie falls to the ground and is finished with a second shot to the head. He lays there dead, as O-Dog jogs off to join his mentors.

    Working late, Carver puts a jacket over Randy, who has fallen asleep on the bench reading a comic book.

    At City Hall, Colvin gets nervous waiting, having second thoughts about being in the meeting with Parenti, given his involvement in the failed drug legalization project the previous year – a project that Carcetti condemned publicly to gain attention and position himself for his mayoral run. When Colvin offers to excuse himself from the meeting, the secretary informs him the Mayor won’t be in their meeting anyway, he’s in Annapolis – the first indication that they are already being marginalized.

    Chris, Snoop and Marlo pay a visit to Michael in his new crib – which the Stanfield organization has clearly provided. Marlo suddenly recognizes the ring around Michael’s neck – the one he last saw when he relinquished it to Omar during the robbery of the card game. Marlo asks where he got it. “Took if from a nigga,” says Michael, asking if he wants it, but Marlo, amused and fascinated, tells him to keep it. Marlo informs Michael they’re giving him Bodie’s corner, and that there’s one “other thing” they have for him to do. Seeing Dukie getting Bug ready for school, Snoop asks Michael who it was they dropped for him. “Bug’s daddy,” Michael says, coolly. Bug shows no reaction.

    Carver spots McNulty in the hall at Western District, asking if he heard about Bodie – shot dead on his corner. McNulty rushes to confirm it on the 24-hour reports, as Carver gets called back into the drug enforcement unit offices by an angry Lt. Dennis Mello, the shift commander, who has discovered that despite his insistence, Randy has not yet been remanded to D.S.S. custody. Mello orders the sergeant to do so immediately, then stalks out. Citing the money he keeps in the schoolbook binding, Randy offers his $230 in cash to Carver, suggesting maybe they can pay someone for a foster spot. But Carver realizes they are out of options.

    Back at the Mayor’s office, Colvin and Parenti meet with the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and mayoral aide Jerilee Bennett, who see their project as “tracking, plain and simple” and are concerned they aren’t teaching the curriculum, thereby leaving some of the kids behind. “As it is, we’re leave ’em all behind. We just don’t admit it,” Colvin blurts out. When the meeting adjourns quickly – and it’s clear that the pilot program is now doomed – Colvin is despondent, concerned he proved himself a liability in the meeting. “Seems like every time I open my mouth in this town, I’m telling people what they don’t wanna know.” Parenti assures him it wasn’t him, it’s the process. And this time, they didn’t listen. But he’s still optimistic about the great research they did and the attention it will get from academics. “Academics? What, they gonna study your study?” Colvin asks incredulously. “When do the s**t change?”

    At Jessup, Wee-Bey meets with De’Londa to tell her he wants her to let Namond go. She balks at first, but Wee-Bey reminds her of his own status and what he can have done to her, even from prison. He then says, with some pride: “Man came down here to say my son can be anything he damn please.” “Except a soldier,” she retorts. Wee-Bey, doing life without parole, asks her to look around at the Jessup visiting room: “Who the f**k would wanna be that if they could be anything else, De’Londa?” he demands. He’ll stick with her, he tells her, but she has to let go of the boy.

    Omar meets Renaldo and Butchie in a garage with a duffel bag of cash, and pays some out to Butchie for his pains. Butchie asks if Omar was followed, but Omar tells him Joe had to play it clean – and agree to giving up the money before getting back his drugs. Joe had to admit that Omar’s word was better than his own, Omar muses. They lock up the garage with the stolen drugs inside, in the back of a van, and Omar dials, leaving word with Joe of the address. As they all depart, leaving the shipment to be picked up, Butchie warns Omar that when you steal this much, “it ain’t over.”

    Carcetti and Wilson burst into the office late night, back from Annapolis. Carcetti didn’t take the money, he couldn’t stand being made to beg for it – the Governor was going to call a press conference, showing Carcetti as a beggared supplicant. The Chief of Staff is pleased, but Wilson, thinking of the school system, is decidedly unhappy and leaves angrily.

    McNulty grabs Poot on Bodie’s corner, and making sure no one’s watching, demands to know who killed Bodie. “Y’all did,” Poot says. Word was he’d been seen talking to police. Not wanting the same fate, Poot tells McNulty to boot him off the corner and McNulty, feeling both guilty and angry, does.

    Outside Tilghman Middle, Dukie waits for Prez before school, and presents him with a gift – a desk set. When Prez asks where his book bag is, Dukie lies that he’s stopping home to get it before he goes to class. Sensing the lie, Prez tells the boy to stop by anytime, let him know how things are. In the project class, Miss Duquette informs her charges that the program is over and they’ll be returning to regular class. Zenobia doesn’t want to return, others are of mixed emotions. Colvin asks Namond how he feels. “This was alright…but maybe it’s time,” he says.

    Beatrice “Beadie” Russell awakens to find McNulty up and thinking – even though he worked a late shift. He wants in on the investigation of the bodies in the vacants, he admits. He feels that he owes it to someone. She asks who and he references a kid who got killed. One of those in the vacants? No, they shot him down in street. McNulty thinks he may be different this time, he’s changed – no more drinking and whoring. “You are different,” she confirms, as they make love.

    Feeling like a failure, Carver delivers Randy to a group home. The boy assures Carver it’s OK: “You tried.” But as he walks Randy inside and up the stairs to a room with bunk beds and older, feral looking kids, Carver feels even worse. He returns to his car and throws a tantrum born of frustration.

    McNulty assures Col. Daniels he can handle returning to Major Crimes: “I think I can do this and keep myself away from myself, if that makes sense.” Reversing the language of their first argument four years earlier, when the detail was forming to work the Barksdale case, Daniels tells him they aren’t going to get Marlo Stanfield on street rips, it’ll be “Either a wired C.I. or a Title Three.” When McNulty starts to contradict him, Daniels shuts him down, throwing McNulty’s words back at him. McNulty acquiesces: “Chain of command, Colonel.”

    Reviewing preliminary results from the state exam, Prez is in disbelief that his classes could have improved on math and reading, with a significant percentage showing themselves to be proficient with the material. Grace explains that “proficient” means at least two grades below their level, and “advanced” means at or a year below grade-level – that’s how the scoring shows they’ve made progress. Prez is embarrassed at his naivete, but Grace assures him he’s doing fine. In his class, he welcomes Zenobia, Albert and Namond back and when the returning Albert starts the day with a wisecrack, Zenobia and Namond ignore him, and Prez – with a look that no first-year teacher can manage – shames Albert into better behavior. Clearly, Prez is becoming a teacher.

    At the gym, the body count is up to twenty two. Daniels and Freamon update Pearlman: there are no ballistics matches to link the weapons seized from Chris’ truck to the murders, no prints on the weapons. They’re in for the long haul, says Freamon, already worrying about how they can get back up on a wiretap or some other proactive means of investigating the Stanfield crew. Freamon asks Daniels why he chose to stage the body recovery operation out of the Lemel Middle School gym and Daniels replied that he knew the school was in the area and not being used, having been closed earlier. Daniels remarks that he went to school here. “Got a pretty good education, now that I think on it.” He and Pearlman exit, leaving Freamon amid the bodies and a case that he will likely need months to bring home.

    Having finally heard the news about Bubbles, Greggs brings Walon, Bubs’ one-time N.A. sponsor, to Bayview Hospital to visit. He hasn’t spoken to Bubs in a couple of years – since he was last on the wagon. “But if he’s up in D-Ward, he’s clean as a motherf**k right now,” he notes. They head inside, but Greggs isn’t up for a one-on-one visit. She watches through the window as Walon enters the ward and Bubbles, ashamed and in pain, collapses in tears in his sponsor’s arms.

    Over drinks with Coleman Parker, Wilson confides he can’t believe Carcetti’s political ambition wouldn’t allow him to take the state money for the sake of the schools and the kids. Parker chastises him for being so naive: “They always disappoint,” he says of politicians, before discussing what campaign he might sign up with next.

    Walking up to a crowded drug corner, Michael takes down his first slinger with a gunshot straight to the forehead as Chris and Monk watch from the SUV. When he jumps in the car and they pull off, Chris knowingly tells him, “You can look ’em in the eye now. No matter who he is or what he done – you look ’em in the eye.”

    As Paul Weller’s version of Dr. John’s classic “Walk On Gilded Splinters” plays, the coming days and weeks and months play out. Wee Bey says goodbye to Namond in the visiting room and hands him off to Colvin. McNulty returns to Major Crimes and goes to the board to contemplate the photograph of Marlo Stanfield. Herc stoically attends his I.I.D. hearing and listens to the charges arrayed against him. Marlo and Chris stake out Vondas and Proposition Joe, beginning to learn whatever they can about the source of Baltimore’s best heroin and cocaine. A weary and disgusted Colvin leaves Professor Parenti’s well-attended research presentation early. Saddled with nearly two dozen open murders, Bunk reviews evidence with Det. Michael Crutchfield and Norris while Landsman observes the growing list of red names on the board. Ever closer to the seat of power, Pearlman and Daniels lunch with Carcetti as State Sen. Clayton “Clay” Davis and Burrell – now ever more the political outsiders – look on. Prez sits in his car, watching Dukie working a corner with Poot, as Michael – now the man in charge – drives off in an SUV. Prez himself is forced to drive away when he is offered drugs by Kenard – now also working the corner for Michael, and no doubt unlikely to cheat Michael as he did Namond, given the beating he received. At the group home, Randy returns to his room to find graffiti marking him as a snitch on his bunk, as well as the binding of his textbook ripped open, the money gone. The older boys stalk in and glare at him and Randy resolves to get in at least one good punch before being beaten. Cutty, on crutches, is back to coaching at his boxing gym – with the hospital nurse now fully charmed and by his side. Carcetti wearies of budget meetings, where – without the state bailout – the dollars do not add up. Carver lectures ever younger kids outside the abandoned factory hangout before running them off, then spots the graffiti on the wall as he leaves: Namond, Michael, Randy, Dukie, Donut, Kenard and others, with the mockingly false phrase: “Fayette Mafia Crew 4evah.” In his new crib, Michael works on homework with Bug in a quiet, placid moment as, suddenly, we return to Michael being awakened from this dream-like reverie in the back of Chris’s SUV – time to dump the gun. He hands if off to Monk, who opens the door and drops it into a storm drain before they drive off into night.

    Early morning, on the Colvins’ porch, Namond finishes both his breakfast and his homework assignment before school as Mrs. Colvin warns him he’s going to be late. He goes inside and is told to go back out and retrieve his plate. As he does, an SUV rolls by, music blaring as the driver slows. Namond nods at Donut, who nods back before accelerating down the street, nearly getting broadsided as he runs a stop sign. Namond watches the SUV roll away, leaving behind a quiet Baltimore neighorhood that is his new home, in a new life.

Season Five 2008

  1. 06 Jan 08 More With Less
    As McNulty and the detail continue staking out Marlo’s crew, recently promoted Sergeant Carver is welcomed by a cauldron of discontent from officers coping with unpaid overtime. Though he wants to keep his campaign promise to lower crime, Mayor Carcetti is strapped by his commitment to schools, and faces some tough choices. Col Cedric Daniels is forced to reallocate his resources, retaining Freamon and Sydnor for the Clay Davis probe. Meanwhile, City Editor Haynes and the staff of a local newspaper are reeling from corporate cutbacks, losing key personnel from both the metro and international divisions. Still, with the help of reporters Gutierrez, Price and Templeton, Haynes is able to break a front-page story that links a politician to a co-op drug dealer. Proposition Joe, Marlo, Fatface Rick others meet in a hotel conference room to discuss divvying up drug frontiers across East Baltimore’s county line.
  2. 13 Jan 08 Unconfirmed Reports
    Although he tells Sydnor the Davis investigation could be a “career case,” Freamon keeps a wary eye out for Marlo, who takes care of some unfinished business and strikes a business deal with Barksdale. Carcetti throws the police a bone by removing the cap on secondary employment, sending the detectives into fantasy-job reveries. With an eye on the state house, Chief of Staff Steintorf tries to find good news for the mayor while blaming the Royce administration for the Campbell revelation. Davis turns to Burrell for help with his problem, but the commissioner’s hands are tied. At the newspaper, Executive Editor Whiting outlines a Pulitzer-worthy series in broad strokes, trumping Haynes while liberating the ambitious Templeton. Fed up with broken-down cars and unsolved serial murders, McNulty decides to take matters into his own hands.
  3. 20 Jan 08 Not For Attribution
    Carcetti’s master plan for the police department is leaked to the press, sending the brass into a panic. Marlo turns to Proposition Joe to help with an enviable problem. Whiting and Klebanow drop a bombshell on the newspaper staff. Michael finds temporary respite from his life on the corner by taking Dukie and Bug on a trip. McNulty shares some inside info with Alma, but her subsequent story doesn’t cause the splash either envisioned. Undaunted, McNulty looks for a new ally in Freamon.
  4. 27 Jan 08 Transitions
    Campbell tries to smooth out the transitions in the police department. The newspaper scrambles to confirm surprising news from City Hall, but lose out to the TV media in scooping a high-profile Grand Jury appearance. As Marlo tries to win favor with the Greeks, Proposition Joe pays his last respects to a fallen colleague, and prepares to make himself scarce in anticipation of a showdown. Freamon enlists the help of a past partner to help with the investigation.
  5. 03 Feb 08 React Quotes
    Marlo forges an alliance with a drug connect, who shows him a new communications trick. McNulty’s case gets increased attention from the newspaper, in large part thanks to the addition of Templeton to the reporting team. Dukie turns to Cutty and Michael to hone his self-defense skills; Clay Davis finds a new ally; Bond raises his public profile; Levy and Herc prepare for litigation; Elena confronts McNulty about his behavior; Bubbles fears new opportunities; Greggs gets some overtime work; Omar shows patience as Marlo throws out his bait.
  6. 10 Feb 08 The Dickensian Aspect
    Mystified by Omar’s disappearance, Marlo and Chris ramp up their efforts to locate their nemesis. After attending a sparsely attended waterfront ceremony, Carcetti fires away at a larger press event–and recasts himself as a champion for the homeless. Bunk revisits some old leads in the rowhouse cases, but is frustrated in his attempts to get bloodwork from the crime lab. Templeton looks for a perfect follow-up to his latest, nationally covered story, which has replaced the city’s educational crisis on the paper’s priority list. After the detail gets more manpower, Freamon presses McNulty to get new surveillance equipment, but the resources aren’t as deep as both hoped. Pearlman discovers new clues pointing to corruption in City Hall; Marlo makes new appointments at the latest co-op meeting; McNulty takes a peculiar interest in a homeless man.
  7. 17 Feb 08 Took
    An unexpected call puts Templeton back in the spotlight–and gets McNulty more attention than he expected. Bunk bucks at Landsman when ordered to help with the force’s most recent red ball. Omar sends Marlo a message; Carcetti proves he’s still an adept fund-raiser; Carver gift-wraps a witness for Bunk; Bubbles shows a reporter the ropes; Freamon tries to crack a clock code; Greggs prepares for a visit from her son; Michael has a close call; Hayes can’t shake his suspicions about Templeton. Assisted by the top-drawer lawyer Billy Murphy, “cash and carry” Davis makes his day in court a memorable one.
  8. 24 Feb 08 Clarifications
    Baltimore’s renewed police commitment brings fresh recruits to Daniels and McNulty, starting with Carver. Facing a new political challenge, Carcetti is forced to make dangerous political deals. As the Pulitzer season winds down, Haynes approaches Templeton about his sources. Bunk returns a McNulty favor; little Kenard makes a big score; Dukie finds work; Fletcher continues his interview with Bubbles; Freamon presents his latest plan to a prosecutor; Sydnor uncovers the missing piece to a puzzle; McNulty comes clean.
  9. 02 Mar 08 Late Editions
    With Steintorf ordering Rawls to initiate “creative” remedies for the rising crime rate, Freamon’s vigilance pays off with a promising lead, sending Sydnor and the department into overdrive. Although Daniels is originally delighted, a further probe with Pearlman reveals some troubling source information. McNulty, feeling betrayed, doesn’t feel like sharing in Freamon’s celebration; Michael is suspicious about his latest assignment; Haynes gets some fresh eyes to help with fact-checking; Namond’s debating skills make Colvin proud; Davis points a finger at Levy and the courts; Bubbles recounts a recent temptation overcome.
  10. 09 Mar 08 -30-
    At his city hall office, Mayor Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti and his staff learn about the fabrication behind Baltimore’s serial killer from Deputy Commissioner for Operations Cedric Daniels, Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman and Acting Commissioner William A. Rawls. Momentarily speechless, Carcetti pieces together the lie’s effects: Essentially negating every political victory he’s scored during the election. The mayor warns Rawls and State’s Attorney Rupert Bond that they’ll have to take the hit if the fiasco goes public. Chief of Staff Michael Steintorf underscores the importance of keeping the situation secret until they can decide the best way to handle it; going public the wrong way could destroy careers, he says, looking pointedly at Pearlman.Det. Lester Freamon pays a visit to a Grand Jury Prosecutor Gary DiPasquale at the courthouse — he’s found the leak who’s selling sealed indictments. Holding evidence that the prosecutor dumped three times his salary in Atlantic City over the past two years, Freamon advises him to come clean and trust in the mercy of a courthouse full of friends. When the prosecutor agrees to cooperate, Freamon pulls a tape recorder from his bag and tells his new informant to make a call.Outside City hall, Daniels fumes over Carcetti’s desire to cover up the scandal, telling Pearlman he’s tempted to call Annapolis and blow the whistle. She blanches, saying that it would destroy her career and undo years of working her way up in the courthouse.Baltimore Sun reporter Mike Fletcher stands at a downtown intersection, selling copies of the paper for Bubbles while the recovered addict reads the unpublished story Fletcher has written about him. Questioning whether the details about his sister and Sherrod are necessary — and not sure why anyone would want to read it — Bubbles can’t decide whether he wants Fletcher to run the piece.Carcetti and Steintorf meet with Bond and Rawls at City Hall, trying to figure out a way to deal with Freamon and McNulty through back channels. Bond sees the merits of the approach, but when Rawls remains tepid, Steintorf walks the acting commissioner into the hall for a chat. Losing the façade, Steintorf admits that Rawls has some political leverage with the mayor — Carcetti can’t publicly blame Rawls without tarnishing Daniels, who the mayor has repeatedly endorsed — so Rawls figures he might barter for an extension to his ‘acting’ term. Steintorf sees the play coming, and suggests that Rawls come to Annapolis with Carcetti to work as the state police superintendent, a position more suited to his complexion. Rawls returns to the conference room, agreeing that they should keep the problem quiet.Freamon catches Pearlman in the hall at the courthouse, and the detective explains that DiPasquale has been leaking records to high-powered defense attorneys. He hands her a cassette tape holding the corrupt prosecutor’s call to Maurice Levy. Pearlman is glad to have the evidence, but she also eyeballs Freamon, dropping a pointed allusion that she knows the truth about his investigation.Duquan “Dukie” Weems, looking ragged in dirty clothes, returns to his old middle school looking for Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski. Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly barely recognizes the young man, but she agrees to let him wait outside for Prez. When the teacher emerges, Dukie asks for a few hundred dollars, selling a suspicious story that he’s trying to find a place to live and get his GED. Prez can tell the boy is lying, but promises to meet him in the parking lot to find a bank machine.At the homicide unit, Sgt. Jay Landsman lays into Det. James “Jimmy” McNulty for letting the serial killer case go cold. McNulty, trying to unload the department resources he’s been wasting, tells Landsman there just haven’t been any new leads. As the conversation ends, Freamon arrives and pulls McNulty into an interview room. Nervous, Freamon tells his accomplice that Pearlman and Daniels have figured them out. But the two detectives wonder: Why haven’t they been arrested yet?City Editor Gus Haynes settles into his desk at the Baltimore Sun, and Regional Affairs Editor Rebecca Corbett points out one of Scott Templeton’s stories about the Sun’s homeless coverage causing a policy reversal. But she and Haynes recognize it as self-congratulatory hype for the public service Pulitzer. Fletcher comes over to get Haynes’ take on his story about Bubbles, and after keeping the young reporter in suspense for a moment, Haynes dishes out compliments. But Fletcher still wants to wait for the go-ahead from his source.Sitting at the bar, McNulty and Freamon nail down the mayor’s motivation for keeping their manufactured killer under wraps. With the election and the highly publicized case against Marlo Stanfield complicating the situation, the two rogue detectives realize they have plenty to hold over their bosses’ heads.

    As Haynes edits copy, London Bureau Chief Robert Ruby walks up to deliver the research he’s done on Scott Templeton’s work. Exaggerations, fabricated quotes and sources — if someone re-reports the stories, they’ll find all the holes. Haynes takes Ruby’s file and places it in a drawer, unsure how to proceed.

    Levy meets with Marlo Stanfield at the Baltimore City Jail to tell his client that the judge won’t allow bail. More importantly, Levy says, they need to determine how the police cracked the clock code Marlo and his crew used. Knowing the police couldn’t have deciphered the puzzle so quickly, Levy smells a wire tap — but it still doesn’t add up. As Marlo leaves the meeting, he crosses paths with Cheese and tells him to hunt down Michael Lee once he gets out on bail.

    McNulty, at home with Beatrice “Beadie” Russell and her kids, catches a call from Landsman about a man in a gray van who tried to abduct a homeless man. He arrives on the scene to find Templeton, who claims to have seen it happen outside the Sun offices. When Templeton leaves to check in with his desk, another homeless man wants to speak to McNulty. It turns out the man is an undercover detective, and he tells McNulty that Templeton’s story is bogus — no man, no gray van. McNulty thanks him and goes home.

    Bubbles, trying to decide whether he’ll let Fletcher run his story, talks it over with Walon, who brings his friend some crabs from work. Walon suggests that Bubs may be afraid that people will find out he’s a good person. Still conflicted, Bubs heads home to his sister’s and gives her the crabs.

    At the Sun, Haynes demands that Managing Editor Thomas Klebanow pull Templeton’s story about the gray van. Templeton loses his temper and yells at Haynes, and Klebanow accuses the editor of letting his personal feelings cloud his judgment. As Haynes stalks out, telling Klebanow that he may win a Pulitzer with Templeton and then have to give it back, the accused reporter shouts at Haynes from across the office, swearing that all the facts are in his notes.

    At the courthouse, Levy waits for Pearlman to discuss the Stanfield case. He suspects the police of running an illegal wiretap, and he promises Pearlman that he sees the weakness in her case and won’t hesitate to exploit it in court. Leaving, he suggests they meet and talk.

    In South Baltimore, Det. Shakima “Kima” Greggs and Det. William “Bunk” Moreland get a call for the serial killer — except this is a real murder. A copycat has picked up in the place of McNulty’s lie. When McNulty arrives on the scene, Bunk guesses that the bosses will put him on the case, but McNulty surprises both of them when he says that Daniels and Pearlman know he invented the serial killer. Bunk, aghast that McNulty isn’t in jail yet, lays the blame for this murder at his friend’s feet. Across town in his office, Carcetti watches the news coverage of the murder, furious.

    McNulty returns to the homicide unit, where Rawls and Daniels corner him in an interview room. McNulty admits to his conspiracy but swears he had nothing to do with the latest body. Rawls tells him that the mayor knows the whole story and advises him to solve this murder quickly and make the whole story go away — the longer it takes, the worse the payback will be. In the squad room, McNulty finds Bunk and Kima poring over the victim’s possessions. When McNulty notices a handful of business cards, he rushes out, thinking he’s solved the case. Tracking down a deranged homeless man he remembered seeing with a box full of business cards, McNulty also finds a spool of ribbon that matches the latest victim. Surrounded by police and reporters, McNulty has solved his own manufactured case.

    At the Sun, Metro Editor Steven Luxenburg looks over Haynes’ evidence against Templeton and warns the editor that making more noise could cost him his job. When Haynes steps back into the newsroom, Alma Gutierrez pulls him aside and hands him Templeton’s notebook, which is completely empty. Haynes, taking a deep breath, accepts the notebook, grabs the research on Templeton’s stories from his desk and walks into Executive Editor James C. Whiting III’s office. As Whiting’s reaction fades from collegiality to guardedness, Klebanow joins the discussion.

    Pearlman meets Levy in his office, cutting to the chase by playing the damning tape of his conversation with the grand jury prosecutor. Both violating the law, they horse-trade their way to an agreement that Pearlman will shelve the case against him in exchange for guilty pleas from Chris Partlow and both Marlo’s lieutenants. Marlo will get to walk, but if he shows up on the street again after the elections, Pearlman promises to reopen the case against him. Levy never finds out exactly why she can’t bring her evidence to open court, but the deal proves Pearlman has something major to hide.

    Bunk and McNulty interview their homeless suspect, who rambles on, confessing to killing every victim. When McNulty leaves the room, Landsman tells the detective that Templeton is waiting for him in the sergeant’s office. McNulty walks in and closes the door behind him before losing his temper and telling Templeton that he knows about the lies because he started the whole charade himself. With that, he sends Templeton — shocked and confused — back to the Sun, knowing the reporter can’t breathe a word of it to anyone. He returns to the interview room to work the homeless man, and when Daniels and Rawls show up to check on the progress, McNulty refuses to manipulate the mentally ill man into admitting to all six murders. Rawls is furious, but Bunk finally nods in approval.

    Levy, after meeting with Marlo to explain the conditions of his release, tells Thomas R. “Herc” Hauk that the former detective has become a goldmine. Squeezing Herc on the cheek, Levy invites him to dinner at his house.

    Carcetti calls a press conference to announce the homeless killer’s arrest, and Rawls explains that he’s been charged with the last two murders, though he’s suspected of the rest. Because the suspect is mentally incapacitated and bound for a psychiatric facility, the redundant charges wouldn’t matter. As the conference ends, Carcetti credits Daniels for the arrest as well as the Stanfield case and announces that he’s promoting Daniels to commissioner.

    At the homicide unit, Pearlman delivers the verdict to Freamon and McNulty: The bosses can’t fire them without drawing unwanted attention, but she won’t allow either of them near any police work that would end up in a courtroom. The detectives lament that Marlo and Levy both escaped prosecution, but they have no one to blame but themselves.

    Steintorf visits Daniels in his office to congratulate him on his handling of the homeless debacle, but he also tells the soon-to-be commissioner that city hall needs to see a 10-percent drop in the crime stats. Daniels replies that the stats are clean and will stay clean — before and after the election. Steintorf leaves but makes his next stop at Council President Nerese Campbell’s office. Explaining that Daniels won’t play ball, Steintorf tells Campbell to find a solution if she wants Carcetti’s office.

    At the Baltimore City Jail, the remaining members of the Co-op — Fatface Rick, Slim Charles and Clinton “Shorty” Buise — discuss business with Marlo, who’s auctioning off his drug connection. When Buise asks what Marlo will do next, he replies: “Businessman.”

    At the Sun, Gutierrez walks out with Haynes after his meeting with the top editors. His speaking out has earned him a demotion to the copy desk, while Alma finds herself booted to a bureau office in Carroll County. Haynes assures her she’ll write herself out of the setback in no time, but wonders why they demoted her when he never told Klebanow about the notebook, she replies that she brought it up herself, trying to back Haynes up.

    A crowd of police gathers at Kavanaugh’s bar for McNulty and Freamon’s going-away party. With Landsman offering one of his inspired eulogies, McNulty lays on the pool table, smirking and listening. Freamon arrives, telling the crowd he’s officially retired, and Landsman continues his speech, calling out McNulty’s record for stirring up trouble, ignoring orders and generally bringing misery to the homicide unit. But he ends with a high compliment: “If I was laying there dead on some Baltimore street corner, I’d want it to be you standing over me, catching the case. Because, brother, when you were good, you were the best we had.”

    Daniels’ ex-wife, Marla, shows up at his office holding the file on his service — and apparent corruption — in the Eastern District, which Campbell delivered to her as a power play to buy Steintorf’s cooked crime stats. Daniels says that caving to the pressure now means working under Campbell’s thumb for the rest of his career. Marla asks him to resign for personal reasons, rather than taking both their careers down with him if the file emerges during his confirmation hearings.

    McNulty and Freamon stand outside Kavanaugh’s, and Greggs approaches, not sure if she’s welcome at the party. Both detectives assure her they’re not angry that she blew the whistle, and Freamon invites her inside for a drink. As they step inside, Freamon asks whether McNulty is coming, but he declines, telling them that he’s going home.

    In East Baltimore, Fatface Rick, Buise, Cheese, Slim Charles and a few others meet to talk over the finances of buying Marlo’s connection. They’re just a few hundred-thousand short of Marlo’s $10 million asking price, and Cheese jumps in to add his money to the venture. Fatface Rick chastises Cheese for putting them in this position to begin with by moving on his uncle, Prop Joe, and when Cheese protests, Slim Charles pulls out a 9mm. “You’ve done enough,” Slim tells Cheese before shooting him in the head. “For Joe.”

    Bubbles, sitting on a curb, reads a clipped copy of Fletcher’s published story from the Baltimore Sun. When he finishes, he carefully folds it and puts it in his pocket.

    As his final official act as police commissioner, Daniels promotes a handful of officers — including Sgt. Ellis Carver to lieutenant. Carver tells his mentor that he heard about the resignation on the radio and tells Daniels he wishes he could serve under him. Stepping down into the crowd, Carver finds Herc waiting to congratulate him.

    McNulty drives down to the Richmond shelter where he left the serial killer’s “disappeared” victim, Mr. Bobbles. The man has left the shelter, but McNulty asks the social worker where the homeless congregate.

    At a downtown office party, Levy introduces Marlo to the real-estate elite of Baltimore, and developer Andrew Krawczyk, among others, pitches the upstart “businessman” with a bevy of investment opportunities. Pulling Marlo away, Levy explains the developers’ power but warns the young man against dealing with them alone. “Guys like that will bleed you,” Levy tells him.

    Later, on his way home through West Baltimore, a group of hoppers try to jump Marlo, but he fights them off easily, grinning when he catches a slash on the arm… At Vinson’s rim shop, a handful of drug dealers handle their cash. Michael steps out of the darkness holding a shotgun and, blasting Vinson in the leg, grabs a bag full of cash and leaves… Det. Leandor Sydnor visits Judge Daniel Phelan in his chambers to apply back-channel pressure to an investigation, asking the judge to look into things but keep his name out of it… Freamon works at home on his miniatures… Herc buys rounds for a bar full of police… Templeton wins a Pulitzer… Dukie shoots up in a back alley with the Arabber… Carcetti wins the gubernatorial race… Fletcher takes over the Sun’s city desk… Stanislaus Valchek takes over as commissioner… Daniels puts his law degree to use… Chris meets Wee-Bey in a prison yard… Rawls heads the state police… Fatface Rick and Slim Charles meet with the Greeks… Bubbles sits down to dinner with his sister…

    McNulty drives up I-95 from Richmond with Mr. Bobbles in tow, looking to the Baltimore skyline. “Let’s go home,” says the ex-police.

Season Five 2008

  1. [b]06 Jan 08 More With Less[/b] As McNulty and the detail continue staking out Marlo’s crew, recently promoted Sergeant Carver is welcomed by a cauldron of discontent from officers coping with unpaid overtime. Though he wants to keep his campaign promise to lower crime, Mayor Carcetti is strapped by his commitment to schools, and faces some tough choices. Col Cedric Daniels is forced to reallocate his resources, retaining Freamon and Sydnor for the Clay Davis probe. Meanwhile, City Editor Haynes and the staff of a local newspaper are reeling from corporate cutbacks, losing key personnel from both the metro and international divisions. Still, with the help of reporters Gutierrez, Price and Templeton, Haynes is able to break a front-page story that links a politician to a co-op drug dealer. Proposition Joe, Marlo, Fatface Rick others meet in a hotel conference room to discuss divvying up drug frontiers across East Baltimore’s county line.
  2. [b]13 Jan 08 Unconfirmed Reports[/b] Although he tells Sydnor the Davis investigation could be a “career case,” Freamon keeps a wary eye out for Marlo, who takes care of some unfinished business and strikes a business deal with Barksdale. Carcetti throws the police a bone by removing the cap on secondary employment, sending the detectives into fantasy-job reveries. With an eye on the state house, Chief of Staff Steintorf tries to find good news for the mayor while blaming the Royce administration for the Campbell revelation. Davis turns to Burrell for help with his problem, but the commissioner’s hands are tied. At the newspaper, Executive Editor Whiting outlines a Pulitzer-worthy series in broad strokes, trumping Haynes while liberating the ambitious Templeton. Fed up with broken-down cars and unsolved serial murders, McNulty decides to take matters into his own hands.
  3. [b]20 Jan 08 Not For Attribution[/b] Carcetti’s master plan for the police department is leaked to the press, sending the brass into a panic. Marlo turns to Proposition Joe to help with an enviable problem. Whiting and Klebanow drop a bombshell on the newspaper staff. Michael finds temporary respite from his life on the corner by taking Dukie and Bug on a trip. McNulty shares some inside info with Alma, but her subsequent story doesn’t cause the splash either envisioned. Undaunted, McNulty looks for a new ally in Freamon.
  4. [b]27 Jan 08 Transitions[/b] Campbell tries to smooth out the transitions in the police department. The newspaper scrambles to confirm surprising news from City Hall, but lose out to the TV media in scooping a high-profile Grand Jury appearance. As Marlo tries to win favor with the Greeks, Proposition Joe pays his last respects to a fallen colleague, and prepares to make himself scarce in anticipation of a showdown. Freamon enlists the help of a past partner to help with the investigation.
  5. [b]03 Feb 08 React Quotes[/b] Marlo forges an alliance with a drug connect, who shows him a new communications trick. McNulty’s case gets increased attention from the newspaper, in large part thanks to the addition of Templeton to the reporting team. Dukie turns to Cutty and Michael to hone his self-defense skills; Clay Davis finds a new ally; Bond raises his public profile; Levy and Herc prepare for litigation; Elena confronts McNulty about his behavior; Bubbles fears new opportunities; Greggs gets some overtime work; Omar shows patience as Marlo throws out his bait.
  6. [b]10 Feb 08 The Dickensian Aspect[/b] Mystified by Omar’s disappearance, Marlo and Chris ramp up their efforts to locate their nemesis. After attending a sparsely attended waterfront ceremony, Carcetti fires away at a larger press event–and recasts himself as a champion for the homeless. Bunk revisits some old leads in the rowhouse cases, but is frustrated in his attempts to get bloodwork from the crime lab. Templeton looks for a perfect follow-up to his latest, nationally covered story, which has replaced the city’s educational crisis on the paper’s priority list. After the detail gets more manpower, Freamon presses McNulty to get new surveillance equipment, but the resources aren’t as deep as both hoped. Pearlman discovers new clues pointing to corruption in City Hall; Marlo makes new appointments at the latest co-op meeting; McNulty takes a peculiar interest in a homeless man.
  7. [b]17 Feb 08 Took[/b] An unexpected call puts Templeton back in the spotlight–and gets McNulty more attention than he expected. Bunk bucks at Landsman when ordered to help with the force’s most recent red ball. Omar sends Marlo a message; Carcetti proves he’s still an adept fund-raiser; Carver gift-wraps a witness for Bunk; Bubbles shows a reporter the ropes; Freamon tries to crack a clock code; Greggs prepares for a visit from her son; Michael has a close call; Hayes can’t shake his suspicions about Templeton. Assisted by the top-drawer lawyer Billy Murphy, “cash and carry” Davis makes his day in court a memorable one.
  8. [b]24 Feb 08 Clarifications[/b] Baltimore’s renewed police commitment brings fresh recruits to Daniels and McNulty, starting with Carver. Facing a new political challenge, Carcetti is forced to make dangerous political deals. As the Pulitzer season winds down, Haynes approaches Templeton about his sources. Bunk returns a McNulty favor; little Kenard makes a big score; Dukie finds work; Fletcher continues his interview with Bubbles; Freamon presents his latest plan to a prosecutor; Sydnor uncovers the missing piece to a puzzle; McNulty comes clean.
  9. [b]02 Mar 08 Late Editions[/b] With Steintorf ordering Rawls to initiate “creative” remedies for the rising crime rate, Freamon’s vigilance pays off with a promising lead, sending Sydnor and the department into overdrive. Although Daniels is originally delighted, a further probe with Pearlman reveals some troubling source information. McNulty, feeling betrayed, doesn’t feel like sharing in Freamon’s celebration; Michael is suspicious about his latest assignment; Haynes gets some fresh eyes to help with fact-checking; Namond’s debating skills make Colvin proud; Davis points a finger at Levy and the courts; Bubbles recounts a recent temptation overcome.
  10. [b]09 Mar 08 -30-[/b] At his city hall office, Mayor Thomas “Tommy” Carcetti and his staff learn about the fabrication behind Baltimore’s serial killer from Deputy Commissioner for Operations Cedric Daniels, Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Pearlman and Acting Commissioner William A. Rawls. Momentarily speechless, Carcetti pieces together the lie’s effects: Essentially negating every political victory he’s scored during the election. The mayor warns Rawls and State’s Attorney Rupert Bond that they’ll have to take the hit if the fiasco goes public. Chief of Staff Michael Steintorf underscores the importance of keeping the situation secret until they can decide the best way to handle it; going public the wrong way could destroy careers, he says, looking pointedly at Pearlman.Det. Lester Freamon pays a visit to a Grand Jury Prosecutor Gary DiPasquale at the courthouse — he’s found the leak who’s selling sealed indictments. Holding evidence that the prosecutor dumped three times his salary in Atlantic City over the past two years, Freamon advises him to come clean and trust in the mercy of a courthouse full of friends. When the prosecutor agrees to cooperate, Freamon pulls a tape recorder from his bag and tells his new informant to make a call.Outside City hall, Daniels fumes over Carcetti’s desire to cover up the scandal, telling Pearlman he’s tempted to call Annapolis and blow the whistle. She blanches, saying that it would destroy her career and undo years of working her way up in the courthouse.Baltimore Sun reporter Mike Fletcher stands at a downtown intersection, selling copies of the paper for Bubbles while the recovered addict reads the unpublished story Fletcher has written about him. Questioning whether the details about his sister and Sherrod are necessary — and not sure why anyone would want to read it — Bubbles can’t decide whether he wants Fletcher to run the piece.Carcetti and Steintorf meet with Bond and Rawls at City Hall, trying to figure out a way to deal with Freamon and McNulty through back channels. Bond sees the merits of the approach, but when Rawls remains tepid, Steintorf walks the acting commissioner into the hall for a chat. Losing the façade, Steintorf admits that Rawls has some political leverage with the mayor — Carcetti can’t publicly blame Rawls without tarnishing Daniels, who the mayor has repeatedly endorsed — so Rawls figures he might barter for an extension to his ‘acting’ term. Steintorf sees the play coming, and suggests that Rawls come to Annapolis with Carcetti to work as the state police superintendent, a position more suited to his complexion. Rawls returns to the conference room, agreeing that they should keep the problem quiet.Freamon catches Pearlman in the hall at the courthouse, and the detective explains that DiPasquale has been leaking records to high-powered defense attorneys. He hands her a cassette tape holding the corrupt prosecutor’s call to Maurice Levy. Pearlman is glad to have the evidence, but she also eyeballs Freamon, dropping a pointed allusion that she knows the truth about his investigation.Duquan “Dukie” Weems, looking ragged in dirty clothes, returns to his old middle school looking for Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski. Assistant Principal Marcia Donnelly barely recognizes the young man, but she agrees to let him wait outside for Prez. When the teacher emerges, Dukie asks for a few hundred dollars, selling a suspicious story that he’s trying to find a place to live and get his GED. Prez can tell the boy is lying, but promises to meet him in the parking lot to find a bank machine.At the homicide unit, Sgt. Jay Landsman lays into Det. James “Jimmy” McNulty for letting the serial killer case go cold. McNulty, trying to unload the department resources he’s been wasting, tells Landsman there just haven’t been any new leads. As the conversation ends, Freamon arrives and pulls McNulty into an interview room. Nervous, Freamon tells his accomplice that Pearlman and Daniels have figured them out. But the two detectives wonder: Why haven’t they been arrested yet?City Editor Gus Haynes settles into his desk at the Baltimore Sun, and Regional Affairs Editor Rebecca Corbett points out one of Scott Templeton’s stories about the Sun’s homeless coverage causing a policy reversal. But she and Haynes recognize it as self-congratulatory hype for the public service Pulitzer. Fletcher comes over to get Haynes’ take on his story about Bubbles, and after keeping the young reporter in suspense for a moment, Haynes dishes out compliments. But Fletcher still wants to wait for the go-ahead from his source.Sitting at the bar, McNulty and Freamon nail down the mayor’s motivation for keeping their manufactured killer under wraps. With the election and the highly publicized case against Marlo Stanfield complicating the situation, the two rogue detectives realize they have plenty to hold over their bosses’ heads.

    As Haynes edits copy, London Bureau Chief Robert Ruby walks up to deliver the research he’s done on Scott Templeton’s work. Exaggerations, fabricated quotes and sources — if someone re-reports the stories, they’ll find all the holes. Haynes takes Ruby’s file and places it in a drawer, unsure how to proceed.

    Levy meets with Marlo Stanfield at the Baltimore City Jail to tell his client that the judge won’t allow bail. More importantly, Levy says, they need to determine how the police cracked the clock code Marlo and his crew used. Knowing the police couldn’t have deciphered the puzzle so quickly, Levy smells a wire tap — but it still doesn’t add up. As Marlo leaves the meeting, he crosses paths with Cheese and tells him to hunt down Michael Lee once he gets out on bail.

    McNulty, at home with Beatrice “Beadie” Russell and her kids, catches a call from Landsman about a man in a gray van who tried to abduct a homeless man. He arrives on the scene to find Templeton, who claims to have seen it happen outside the Sun offices. When Templeton leaves to check in with his desk, another homeless man wants to speak to McNulty. It turns out the man is an undercover detective, and he tells McNulty that Templeton’s story is bogus — no man, no gray van. McNulty thanks him and goes home.

    Bubbles, trying to decide whether he’ll let Fletcher run his story, talks it over with Walon, who brings his friend some crabs from work. Walon suggests that Bubs may be afraid that people will find out he’s a good person. Still conflicted, Bubs heads home to his sister’s and gives her the crabs.

    At the Sun, Haynes demands that Managing Editor Thomas Klebanow pull Templeton’s story about the gray van. Templeton loses his temper and yells at Haynes, and Klebanow accuses the editor of letting his personal feelings cloud his judgment. As Haynes stalks out, telling Klebanow that he may win a Pulitzer with Templeton and then have to give it back, the accused reporter shouts at Haynes from across the office, swearing that all the facts are in his notes.

    At the courthouse, Levy waits for Pearlman to discuss the Stanfield case. He suspects the police of running an illegal wiretap, and he promises Pearlman that he sees the weakness in her case and won’t hesitate to exploit it in court. Leaving, he suggests they meet and talk.

    In South Baltimore, Det. Shakima “Kima” Greggs and Det. William “Bunk” Moreland get a call for the serial killer — except this is a real murder. A copycat has picked up in the place of McNulty’s lie. When McNulty arrives on the scene, Bunk guesses that the bosses will put him on the case, but McNulty surprises both of them when he says that Daniels and Pearlman know he invented the serial killer. Bunk, aghast that McNulty isn’t in jail yet, lays the blame for this murder at his friend’s feet. Across town in his office, Carcetti watches the news coverage of the murder, furious.

    McNulty returns to the homicide unit, where Rawls and Daniels corner him in an interview room. McNulty admits to his conspiracy but swears he had nothing to do with the latest body. Rawls tells him that the mayor knows the whole story and advises him to solve this murder quickly and make the whole story go away — the longer it takes, the worse the payback will be. In the squad room, McNulty finds Bunk and Kima poring over the victim’s possessions. When McNulty notices a handful of business cards, he rushes out, thinking he’s solved the case. Tracking down a deranged homeless man he remembered seeing with a box full of business cards, McNulty also finds a spool of ribbon that matches the latest victim. Surrounded by police and reporters, McNulty has solved his own manufactured case.

    At the Sun, Metro Editor Steven Luxenburg looks over Haynes’ evidence against Templeton and warns the editor that making more noise could cost him his job. When Haynes steps back into the newsroom, Alma Gutierrez pulls him aside and hands him Templeton’s notebook, which is completely empty. Haynes, taking a deep breath, accepts the notebook, grabs the research on Templeton’s stories from his desk and walks into Executive Editor James C. Whiting III’s office. As Whiting’s reaction fades from collegiality to guardedness, Klebanow joins the discussion.

    Pearlman meets Levy in his office, cutting to the chase by playing the damning tape of his conversation with the grand jury prosecutor. Both violating the law, they horse-trade their way to an agreement that Pearlman will shelve the case against him in exchange for guilty pleas from Chris Partlow and both Marlo’s lieutenants. Marlo will get to walk, but if he shows up on the street again after the elections, Pearlman promises to reopen the case against him. Levy never finds out exactly why she can’t bring her evidence to open court, but the deal proves Pearlman has something major to hide.

    Bunk and McNulty interview their homeless suspect, who rambles on, confessing to killing every victim. When McNulty leaves the room, Landsman tells the detective that Templeton is waiting for him in the sergeant’s office. McNulty walks in and closes the door behind him before losing his temper and telling Templeton that he knows about the lies because he started the whole charade himself. With that, he sends Templeton — shocked and confused — back to the Sun, knowing the reporter can’t breathe a word of it to anyone. He returns to the interview room to work the homeless man, and when Daniels and Rawls show up to check on the progress, McNulty refuses to manipulate the mentally ill man into admitting to all six murders. Rawls is furious, but Bunk finally nods in approval.

    Levy, after meeting with Marlo to explain the conditions of his release, tells Thomas R. “Herc” Hauk that the former detective has become a goldmine. Squeezing Herc on the cheek, Levy invites him to dinner at his house.

    Carcetti calls a press conference to announce the homeless killer’s arrest, and Rawls explains that he’s been charged with the last two murders, though he’s suspected of the rest. Because the suspect is mentally incapacitated and bound for a psychiatric facility, the redundant charges wouldn’t matter. As the conference ends, Carcetti credits Daniels for the arrest as well as the Stanfield case and announces that he’s promoting Daniels to commissioner.

    At the homicide unit, Pearlman delivers the verdict to Freamon and McNulty: The bosses can’t fire them without drawing unwanted attention, but she won’t allow either of them near any police work that would end up in a courtroom. The detectives lament that Marlo and Levy both escaped prosecution, but they have no one to blame but themselves.

    Steintorf visits Daniels in his office to congratulate him on his handling of the homeless debacle, but he also tells the soon-to-be commissioner that city hall needs to see a 10-percent drop in the crime stats. Daniels replies that the stats are clean and will stay clean — before and after the election. Steintorf leaves but makes his next stop at Council President Nerese Campbell’s office. Explaining that Daniels won’t play ball, Steintorf tells Campbell to find a solution if she wants Carcetti’s office.

    At the Baltimore City Jail, the remaining members of the Co-op — Fatface Rick, Slim Charles and Clinton “Shorty” Buise — discuss business with Marlo, who’s auctioning off his drug connection. When Buise asks what Marlo will do next, he replies: “Businessman.”

    At the Sun, Gutierrez walks out with Haynes after his meeting with the top editors. His speaking out has earned him a demotion to the copy desk, while Alma finds herself booted to a bureau office in Carroll County. Haynes assures her she’ll write herself out of the setback in no time, but wonders why they demoted her when he never told Klebanow about the notebook, she replies that she brought it up herself, trying to back Haynes up.

    A crowd of police gathers at Kavanaugh’s bar for McNulty and Freamon’s going-away party. With Landsman offering one of his inspired eulogies, McNulty lays on the pool table, smirking and listening. Freamon arrives, telling the crowd he’s officially retired, and Landsman continues his speech, calling out McNulty’s record for stirring up trouble, ignoring orders and generally bringing misery to the homicide unit. But he ends with a high compliment: “If I was laying there dead on some Baltimore street corner, I’d want it to be you standing over me, catching the case. Because, brother, when you were good, you were the best we had.”

    Daniels’ ex-wife, Marla, shows up at his office holding the file on his service — and apparent corruption — in the Eastern District, which Campbell delivered to her as a power play to buy Steintorf’s cooked crime stats. Daniels says that caving to the pressure now means working under Campbell’s thumb for the rest of his career. Marla asks him to resign for personal reasons, rather than taking both their careers down with him if the file emerges during his confirmation hearings.

    McNulty and Freamon stand outside Kavanaugh’s, and Greggs approaches, not sure if she’s welcome at the party. Both detectives assure her they’re not angry that she blew the whistle, and Freamon invites her inside for a drink. As they step inside, Freamon asks whether McNulty is coming, but he declines, telling them that he’s going home.

    In East Baltimore, Fatface Rick, Buise, Cheese, Slim Charles and a few others meet to talk over the finances of buying Marlo’s connection. They’re just a few hundred-thousand short of Marlo’s $10 million asking price, and Cheese jumps in to add his money to the venture. Fatface Rick chastises Cheese for putting them in this position to begin with by moving on his uncle, Prop Joe, and when Cheese protests, Slim Charles pulls out a 9mm. “You’ve done enough,” Slim tells Cheese before shooting him in the head. “For Joe.”

    Bubbles, sitting on a curb, reads a clipped copy of Fletcher’s published story from the Baltimore Sun. When he finishes, he carefully folds it and puts it in his pocket.

    As his final official act as police commissioner, Daniels promotes a handful of officers — including Sgt. Ellis Carver to lieutenant. Carver tells his mentor that he heard about the resignation on the radio and tells Daniels he wishes he could serve under him. Stepping down into the crowd, Carver finds Herc waiting to congratulate him.

    McNulty drives down to the Richmond shelter where he left the serial killer’s “disappeared” victim, Mr. Bobbles. The man has left the shelter, but McNulty asks the social worker where the homeless congregate.

    At a downtown office party, Levy introduces Marlo to the real-estate elite of Baltimore, and developer Andrew Krawczyk, among others, pitches the upstart “businessman” with a bevy of investment opportunities. Pulling Marlo away, Levy explains the developers’ power but warns the young man against dealing with them alone. “Guys like that will bleed you,” Levy tells him.

    Later, on his way home through West Baltimore, a group of hoppers try to jump Marlo, but he fights them off easily, grinning when he catches a slash on the arm… At Vinson’s rim shop, a handful of drug dealers handle their cash. Michael steps out of the darkness holding a shotgun and, blasting Vinson in the leg, grabs a bag full of cash and leaves… Det. Leandor Sydnor visits Judge Daniel Phelan in his chambers to apply back-channel pressure to an investigation, asking the judge to look into things but keep his name out of it… Freamon works at home on his miniatures… Herc buys rounds for a bar full of police… Templeton wins a Pulitzer… Dukie shoots up in a back alley with the Arabber… Carcetti wins the gubernatorial race… Fletcher takes over the Sun’s city desk… Stanislaus Valchek takes over as commissioner… Daniels puts his law degree to use… Chris meets Wee-Bey in a prison yard… Rawls heads the state police… Fatface Rick and Slim Charles meet with the Greeks… Bubbles sits down to dinner with his sister…

    McNulty drives up I-95 from Richmond with Mr. Bobbles in tow, looking to the Baltimore skyline. “Let’s go home,” says the ex-police.

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