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Synopsis

Directed by: Ed Bianchi
Written by: David Simon
Story by: Robert F. Colesberry & David Simon

"Don't matter how many times you get burnt, you just keep doin' the same." - Bodie

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.

Johnny and Bubbles run with shopping cart of scrap metal

26: Time After Time

Season 3

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