Directed by: Joe Chappelle
Story by: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by: David Simon
"The bigger the lie, the more they believe." -- Bunk
Det. William "Bunk" Moreland interviews a corner boy who's trying to remain silent. Bunk points out the futility of his silence — the kid's own running partner has already rolled in exchange for some lunch. Bunk opens the door to the interview room and signals to Det. Edward Norris, who in turn nods to Det. Michael Crutchfield who walks the corner boy's partner by the open door — just as he is handed a McDonald's bag. Meanwhile, a rookie cop has prepped three sheets of paper that say: True, True, False. Bunk verifies the order as they march the corner kid to the Xerox machine and duct tape his hand to the glass — explaining that it's a flawless lie detector test. "Professor" Sgt. Jay Landsman oversees the exam. Starting with easy questions (name and place of residence) the machine verifies his answers: True. But when Bunk asks the boy whether he and his friend Monnel shot Pookie, the boy denies it, and the machine reports its verdict, "FALSE." Landsman swears the machine is never wrong, and the boy gives up the truth on the spot.
Dets. Shakima "Kima" Greggs and Leander Sydnor stake out Marlo's lair in the surveillance van while Dets. James "Jimmy" McNulty and Kenneth Dozerman watch from a nearby school roof. Bored, Dozerman mentions to McNulty a story he heard about a police report Jimmy wrote including details of being blown by a whore while on assignment. McNulty, asks Dozerman if he believes everything he reads.
The surveillance continues as Marlo and Snoop inform a dealer that the new split is sixty-forty. Realizing he has no choice, the dealer gives in. After the meet with the dealer, one of Marlo's new hires whispers something to a young boy who takes off on a Vespa, and Greggs and Sydnor radio Det. Lester Freamon, who picks up the boy's tail in his unmarked car.
At the roll call room in the Western District, Sgt. Ellis Carver in his S.I.C. uniform presides over an unruly group of officers, including Officers Lloyd "Truck" Carrick and Anthony Colicchio. The group complains about the lack of overtime and court pay, now five weeks overdue. Carver insists that promises previously made will eventually be kept. But when he returns to the readouts and informs them that everyone must make due with their vehicles in their current state of repair, the officers erupt again.
While Carver is reporting to Maj. Dennis Mello about the officers' discontent, they're called to the back lot, where a fight has broken out over a vehicle returned in disrepair. Carver feels he should break it up, but Mello is content to let the men exercise their frustration with their fists.
Freamon and Sydnor, who've been following the kid on the Vespa for a half hour, now watch as he waits for Chris Partlow with Michael Lee. Once the message is delivered to Partlow, the kid rides off, and Michael remains. Chris tells him to check on his corner, and he'll get word to him if the meet is on. As Lester climbs in his car to follow Partlow, he gets a radio call from McNulty: Marlo's on the move, but following him is pointless since they know where he's going.
Mayor Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti, his Chief of Staff Michael Steintorf and Norman Wilson meet with Police Commissioner Ervin H. Burell and Deputy Comm. for Operations William A. Rawls. The police can't provide a drop in crime stats with the budget cuts, and Carcetti can't provide more money — it's all going to schools. When asked where else they can trim, Rawls suggests the investigation into the murders in the vacants. Carcetti points out that headlines saying they're giving up on the murders won't look good. Rawls suggests suspending it temporarily — and lifting the ten-hour cap from secondary jobs so the rank and file can get their extra income elsewhere. Carcetti agrees. Once the meeting is over, Carcetti taunts Norman into saying what he's thinking: That he should have taken the money the Governor offered.
Chris meets up with Marlo, who tells him the dealer agreed to the 60/40 split so Chris's guys can stand down. They both know they're being watched, so they bid their goodbyes and head off. With no new developments, and no OT to show for their time, Greggs and Sydnor bug Lester to call it a day.
Duquan "Dukie" Weems is heading up Michael's new corner but his workers don't seem to want to answer to him, especially Spider. When Michael drops by, Dukie's inability to run his own corner is obvious. Michael sends him home to wait for Bug and takes over - checking the count with a now compliant Spider.
Back at the Detail office, McNulty, Dozerman, Greggs, Sydnor and Freamon file for the OT they know they won't be paid. When Greggs asks Lt. James Asher — busy with the model of his beach house — what he's heard about OT payouts, he shrugs, claiming he's not in the loop, which is no surprise to any of them. As they all head out, Lester offers to buy a round or two.
Col. Cedric Daniels gets the news from Burrell and Rawls that the vacants investigation is getting put on hold. He's also being relieved of his take-home vehicle.
At their new place, Michael tells Dukie he doesn't need to put in time on the corner to get paid; he's doing enough taking care of Bug. Dukie scoffs at being a nanny but Michael insists that it's a valuable duty and, before Bug gets home, Dukie's time is his own.
At the bar, McNulty, drunk, complains to Lester and Greggs about the OT cuts and lack of surveillance vans or cameras. Bunk shows up, and when the bartender won't accept their OT slips as pay, they debate knocking over a liquor store to pay their bar tabs.
In the "smoking lounge" on the loading dock outside the Baltimore Sun, City Editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes talks about layoff rumors with veteran police reporter Roger Twigg and City general assignment reporter Bill Zorzi. Haynes heads back to the newsroom and checks up on his reporters, nudging them to make the e-dot and double dot deadlines. He spots reporters Olesker and Lippman looking out the window at smoke and shames them into finding out what it is. He calls the photo desk to ask them to surprise him with a pretty picture of the fire as he returns to writing his budget lines for the deadline.
Carcetti meets with City Council President Nerese Campbell and the U.S. Attorney. The Mayor asks for help with resources for the vacants investigation. The US Attorney wants him to turn over the Clay Davis investigation to the Feds in exchange. Carcetti insists it's State's Attorney Bond's call — and Bond has decided to keep the case local. After the U.S. Attorney leaves, Campbell and Wilson chide Carcetti for getting caught up in the politics of who hangs Clay Davis — and for shutting out the Feds when they are in desperate need of help.
Watching Marlo, Greggs and Dozerman see him head into a Holiday Inn with a woman. "P**sy call" says Greggs. But inside, Marlo sends the girl to a room to watch TV while he goes to the conference room for a New Day Co-op meeting already in session, including Proposition Joe Stewart, Slim Charles, Calvin "Cheese" Wagstaff, Hungry Man and Fatface Rick. Prop Joe is lobbying for the eastside dealers, who are being displaced by Johns Hopkins' development, to have dibs on the new market along Route 40 and at Turner's Station. Marlo shakes things up with the suggestion that Prop Joe let Slim Charles have a stab at the new territory. Slim Charles declines and whispers to Prop Joe not to "sleep on Marlo." Meanwhile, Marlo and Cheese exchange a look.
Bubbles sits alone in his sister's basement. She has to go to work and won't let him stay inside when she's not home. He tries to convince her to just lock him out of the main house, since he has nowhere to go. But she insists that he follow her rules and forces him to leave.
McNulty and Sydnor are on Partlow, who pays a visit to the Mitchell Courthouse.
Inside the Courthouse, State's Attorney Rupert Bond is confronted by A.S.A. Rhonda Pearlman and Daniels with the news that the plug's being pulled on the Major Crimes unit and their investigation into Marlo Stanfield and the vacants. Bond asks what this means for his Clay Davis investigation — if Lester Freamon's shipped back to Homicide, there is no case. Daniels has a few minutes with the Mayor and plans to ask to keep the Stanfield investigation going, Bond asks to join him. Meanwhile, Chris Partlow enters the courthouse and approaches the group unrecognized, asking them for directions to the criminal clerk's office.
Haynes, Phelps, Metro Editor Steven Luxenberg and a dozen other editors gather in Managing Editor Thomas Klebanow's office as he runs the metro budget meeting. Phelps and Luxenberg admit that they're chasing the Daily Record on the story on MTA cutbacks but blame their lack of a transportation reporter. Klebanow scolds their inability to do more with less. Haynes gives the City desk rundown. When Regional Affairs Editor Beth Corbett reports they have 15 inches on University of Maryland not making its desegregation goals, Executive Editor James C. Whiting III who has joined them, squashes the story based on a personal connection to U.M. Dean of Journalism Gene Robbins, who insists things have changed for the better. Haynes, obviously irritated by the blatant dismissal of a good story, attempts to protest Whiting's bias by mock-mispronouncing Robbins's name and mentioning off-handedly that he is white.
Partlow spots McNulty as he leaves the clerk's office. McNulty goes in after Partlow and sees what he's been looking at: the file for State of Maryland v. Sergei Malatov. Rejoining Sydnor in the car, McNulty tells him that Chris was looking up the Russian they locked up in the docks case several years back.
In the newsroom, Haynes calls Alma Gutierrez and gives her a lesson about the word "evacuate." Rewrite man Spry explains: You can evacuate a building, but to evacuate a person is to give him an enema. At the desk next to Gutierrez, Scott Templeton, a metro general assignment reporter, complains about Baltimore as a news town, pointing out that hardly any stories go national from the city. She mentions the dead bodies in the vacants from last year, but he counters by reminding her that the case hasn't been solved.
Haynes spots an item at the end of the City Council agenda, a vote on a variance to change the zoning on two parcels of land in a real estate exchange. The owner of one of the parcels is Ricardo Hendrix, aka, Fat Face Rick. Haynes orders Price to find out if it's Campbell or Carcetti behind it and calls on Alma to head to Rick's property — a strip club called Desperado's — to insist that until she gets a comment from Rick as to why he's trading property with the city, they'll put his picture on the cover of the paper. Templeton is obviously put off when he's assigned to write background while Alma gets the choice assignment.
Daniels and Bond catch Carcetti on his way out of the building — unbeknownst to them, their meeting had been cancelled. The Mayor gives them two minutes on the spot. They make their plea to not shut down Major Crimes, but Carcetti insists there's no money. When Bond says it's the same unit investigating Clay Davis, the Mayor offers two men for Clay, the rest is shut down. As they watch the Mayor and Wilson go, Daniels bitterly notes: "So one thieving politician trumps twenty-two dead bodies. Good to know."
At the bar, Carver, Dozerman and Colicchio bring Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk up to speed on the latest budget cutbacks. Herc, sporting an expensive suit, asks them to run some tags, promising to buy the next round now that he's making money in his new job as an investigator for a prominent defense attorney.
In the newsroom, Haynes brings Klebanow up to speed on the City Council dirt story - Fat Face Rick sells a building to the city for $1.2 million, and they sell him a better property to relocate his club five blocks away for $200k —' and so far they've found at least $40k of campaign donations to Campbell from Rick Hendrix and others at the same address. Klebanow gives it front page, below the fold. Haynes gets a call from Nerese, speaking off the record, who insists they need the property for redevelopment and it's in the city's interest to make Mr. Hendricks relocate. He asks her about the $60k donated to her campaign. When she doesn't object he knows there's at least $20k in contributions they haven't found yet.
McNulty, obviously inebriated, calls home to Beadie from the bar, telling her that he's working late and insisting that his slurred speech is just caused by fatigue.
At the newspaper bar, Haynes and the team celebrate a job well done. Gutierrez is happy with her contributing line and to be working for the Sun. But Templeton, obviously dissatisfied, has his sights set on the Times or the Post.
At home, Ofc. Beatrice "Beadie" Russell checks on her kids and looks out the door into the night, waiting for McNulty.
Daniels breaks the news to Freamon and his team about their investigation being shut down. Greggs and McNulty are back to Homicide. Dozerman is assigned to tactical for now. The Lt. is doing a 4-12 in the Northern and Freamon and Sydnor are assigned to State's Attorney's office for the Clay Davis investigation.
In the newsroom, everyone's impressed with the late-breaking page-one story. Templeton requests the reaction story, but Haynes has already assigned it. In a thinly veiled dismissal, he tells Templeton to stay hungry.
At his law office job, Herc proudly reports to his boss Maurice "Maury" Levy that he got the info run through his police buddies in exchange for buying a round at the bar. Levy educates him that as a prominent defense investigator, he should be buying all of the rounds: "You need to learn a little something about the expense account."
Greggs and McNulty return to Homicide, and McNulty stares down a rookie sitting in his old desk until he finally takes the hint and moves. He slumps into his chair, miserable. "The prodigal son," notes Landsman.