As the I.B.S union's secretary treasurer, Frank Sobotka is the pater familia for an extended family. He's the guy everyone turns to — when they need work, when they get hurt on the job, when they are desperate for money. But work on the docks is disappearing, the port is being taken over by development, and union membership is dwindling fast. Sobotka's dream is to return the port to some of its past glory for workers. To do this he has decided to take an all-or-nothing shot, lobbying lawmakers to dredge the canal, which would make Baltimore competitive as a port.
But taking care of everyone in the sinking union and feeding lobbyists secret $50,000 chunks of cash is expensive business, and although his intentions are good, his means are coming crashing in on him. To finance his efforts, he is being paid to let The Greek's shipping containers slip into the port undetected by authorities. Now, his feud with police Major Valchek (caused by Sobotka's one-upping of the Major with his church window) combined with the discovery of 13 dead girls in a shipping can has brought on a major investigation of the port.
On top of this, Sobotka discovers that his screw-up of a son Ziggy and his nephew Nick have been doing some freelance work stealing shipments of cameras, and his own family ties are frayed at best. With detectives asking questions about the dead girls, some strange goings-on with his cell-phone and his own suspicions about his friend Officer Russell's involvement in the case, Sobotka demands to meet The Greek and tells him he wants out.
The Greek, who needs Frank's system, objects. Nick then asks for more money for them to take on the extra risk. The Greek and Sobotka agree to this arrangement-Frank needs the money — but Sobotka is ever more uneasy — he sees this relationship spiraling out of control.