Directed by: Steve Shill
Story by: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by: David Simon
"It don't matter that some fool say he different..." - D'Angelo
Omar on the stand during Bird's murder trial is a prosecutor's nightmare. "I rob drug dealers," he says when asked his occupation. Asked how he survives in such a dangerous profession, he tells the court: "Day at a time, I suppose." He does identify Bird as the shooter in the Gant murder, however, and even manages to get a rise out of Bird by implying he's too stupid to dispose of his gun after a murder. Under cross-examination, Maurice Levy calls Omar a parasite living off of the culture of drugs, to which Omar responds: "Just like you man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase." The statement impresses a stunned courtroom.
Updating Daniels, Freamon says that Sobotka is living within his means, and that while the union is poor, it appears to have spread as much as $70,000 around to politicians who can help revitalize the docks. That money, however, does not show up on the union's books, and the wiretaps police have run don't reveal any dirt so far. The hand-to-hand buys are ongoing but seem to lead nowhere. Russell suggests that maybe it's the checkers who generate income for the union. "They monitor what comes in and out of the port... Like with that can full of dead girls."
Nick appeals to Vondas for help in resolving Ziggy's problem with Cheese, who has now doubled the amount Ziggy owes him. "Look, we ain't got the muscle to talk to this guy... But I was hoping maybe you do." suggests Nick, who also tells Vondas that the chemicals he wants are now available. Vondas sends Serge with Nick to talk to Proposition Joe, Cheese's boss. Serge explains the nature of the conflict between Ziggy and Cheese. Proposition Joe isn't happy about it but at Serge's request he pays Nick the bluebook value on Ziggy's car, and Nick assures Cheese that Ziggy will pay Cheese the $2,700 he owes him.
McNulty visits his wife at her real estate office and finally makes some headway when she agrees to go on a date with him on Friday night. "You pay the sitter," she says. When they go to dinner, McNulty drinks only wine and tells Elena that he's not drinking so much anymore. She says she's still angry with him but when McNulty asks for a chance to reunite with her, she invites him to bed instead.
Greggs visits Shardene, the former stripper from Orlando's, now living with Freamon and going to nursing school. Greggs wants to know about the Russian girls in another club in which Shardene worked. Shardene says they're hard to get to know because the guys running them keep them on a short leash, but she gives Greggs the name of a friend who still works at the club, called Nightshift, who can provide more information.
When Greggs talks to the stripper, she learns that the last batch of Russian women arrived six months ago and that they live under the watchful eye of handlers, who are with them all the time. If they get too close to their customers, they're immediately moved to a different city, Greggs learns.
Sobotka reports good news to union members for a change, assuring them that not only is there money in the transportation budget to rebuild the grain pier but that a bond issue to pay for maintenance dredging on the main shipping channel-although not the canal-is in the works. A refurbished grain pier alone might bring a couple hundred more ships to the docks next year, Sobotka says, but warns that a developer friend of Valchek may try to derail the project so he can build condos along the waterfront.
At the Detail Office, Russell, using information supplied by the checker Maui, is perusing the union's computer records for the cargo ship Atlantic Light. She shows Bunk and Daniels a computer simulation of the ship being unloaded, watching as the container with the dead women "disappears" from computer records. They realize there are probably hundreds of other instances in which this has happened, and that in order to establish patterns and learn what the patterns reveal, they must dig deep into the cargo operation's computer records.
Bird is convicted for first-degree murder in the Gant case. State's Attorney Ilene Nathan is so pleased, she gives Omar a "get out of jail free card" for anything up to aggravated assault, she says, in exchange for his cooperation.
D'Angelo, in a book discussion group at the prison, muses about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jay Gatsby. "It don't matter some fool say he different. What you do is what makes you different," he says. Later, when his mother comes to visit, again trying to convince him not to resist Avon's efforts to help him, he warns her to "tell Avon and Stringer and Donnette and all of them to leave me be."
At the Clement Street bar, the longshoremen are drunk and reminiscing once again. When Nick hands Ziggy the cash for his car, Ziggy buys everyone a round and lights a cigarette with a $100 bill. Later, he goes for a walk with Sobotka, who is curious about where the money came from and angry that Ziggy would waste a hundred dollar bill in a bar full of poor, mostly under-employed working men.
In the Detail Office, Russell and Freamon have discovered through long nights of labor that 22 containers have disappeared off the cargo docks in recent months, all of them with Horseface working as the checker. They have further established that only containers from the shipping line Talco go missing. They again push Daniels to take on the case of the dead girls, but Daniels resists. "I'm trying to get a major case squad going," he tells them. "I come outta here with all those open files, it doesn't smell as sweet." He does allow them to put a tap on Horseface, to watch the docks and clone the cargo operation's computer.
Nick and another stevedore meet Vondas with two semis full of the chemicals Vondas wants. When Vondas offers to pay them either in cash or in heroin, Nick takes half in cash and half in drugs.
Fed up with D'Angelo's hostility to Avon and worried that D might yet flip on them, Stringer, unbeknownst to Avon, has D'Angelo killed in the prison library. The deed is performed so by a con named Mugs, who garrotes D'Angelo with a leather strap, then ties it to a doorknob so it appears he committed suicide.