Directed by: Dan Attias
Story by: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by: Ed Burns
"Buyer's market out there." -- Templeton
While Michael Lee and his crew lounge on their corner, Ofcs. Anthony Colicchio and Lloyd "Truck" Carrick" watch from theirs. Kenard shows up and makes a big show of stashing a paper bag under a row house step. Dumbfounded at the boy's stupidity, Colicchio and Truck go for the bust. When Colicchio discovers the bag is filled with dog excrement, he rounds the corner boys up anyway, causing a traffic jam. Sgt. Ellis Carver arrives on the scene and tries to ease the escalating tensions, but Colicchio loses his temper with an innocent motorist. As the detective beats the man up, the kids cheer.
At the Clinton Street detail office, Det. Leander Sydnor moans when he realizes the $80k withdrawal he's been tracing from State Senator Clay Davis's personal count isn't dirty — it's just a loan he's repaying from his mother-in-law. But Det. Lester Freamon says it's the break they've been looking for. "Head shot," he calls it, on his way out....
Sitting across from Police Commissioner Ervin H. Burrell, Col. Cedric Daniels tries to convince him that he wasn't going after his job and will decline it if it's offered. Burrell stares at him, unresponsive.
Scott Templeton puts the finishing touches on his clip book before leaving for an interview at The Washington Post. Meanwhile Alma Gutierrez works to substantiate a rumor she picked up on her calls that Burrell might be fired today.
In search of another body for his serial killer case, Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty finds out from the morgue that a lot of homeless are being reported dead after midnight in the Southern district. He calls Freamon to find out who they know working the overnight shift in the Southern.
Proposition Joe buys a floral arrangement for Butchie's funeral, dictating a note that makes it clear Joe is a "loyal friend." Slim Charles doubts that a nice note will keep Omar from coming after them. Prop Joe admits he suspects Cheese was the one who tipped Marlo off about Butchie, but he wants to wait and watch him closely to be certain.
Although he's impressed with the pristine bills that Marlo delivers, Vondas clarifies that by clean money, he also meant he didn't want any sloppy business coming in from the street. When Marlo makes it clear he won't take no for an answer, the Greek agrees he will consider a future relationship as an "insurance policy" against volatile times.
Freamon explains the "head shot" to State's Attorney Rupert Bond and A.S.A. Rhonda Pearlman. Since Clay Davis paid back the $80k his mother-in-law gave him for the down payment on his property, it falsifies the loan application (by making the gift a loan). Under federal law, the penalty is thirty years and a million dollar fine. But Bond doesn't want to turn Davis over to the Feds; he prefers to charge Davis with the four counts of stealing from his own charities — with the possibility of 10 years per count — and keep the case in his jurisdiction.
The editor at the Washington Post interviewing Templeton tells him his prose is a little over-wrought, and that he needs more seasoning. Frustrated, Templeton leaves without sitting in on the editorial meeting he had been so eager to observe when he arrived.
Mayor Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti, Norman Wilson, Chief of Staff Michael Steintorf, State Delegate Odell Watkins and Council President Nerese Campbell review the list of favors the mayor owes to the Ministers in exchange for firing Burrell. He wants to make Rawls acting commissioner for six months and promote Daniels to deputy ops, grooming him to take over the top post.
Burrell tries to hand over his file on Daniels to Nerese Campbell in order to discredit him, but she insists this isn't about Daniels. Burrell dug his own grave when he gave the mayor rigged crime statistics. She makes a deal with Burrell: If he goes quietly, she will see to it he's taken care of with a six-figure job in Washington. Still, she takes Daniels' file with her when she leaves.
As his parting gift to the Baltimore Sun, Police Reporter Roger Twigg makes a call when no one can get any traction on the Burrell rumor.
Michael Lee's mother bails him out (from Colicchio's round-up) and asks for some money in return. Disgusted, Michael refuses.
Freamon and McNulty track down Freamon's former patrol partner, Ofc. Oscar Requer, and they ask him to alert them next time he hears a report of a male homeless body with little or no decomposition. He agrees, no questions asked.
Omar returns, questioning Big Guy about what happened to Butchie. Learning Marlo was behind the murder, Omar vows revenge.
Det. William "Bunk" Moreland hands Sgt. Jay Landsman a written request for crime lab work on the bodies found in the vacants (a year later, most of the lab reports still aren't in). Once again, Landsman ignores the request. Frustrated, Bunk runs into McNulty, who cheerfully tells him he's looking for the thread in his homeless cases.
Carver reprimands Colicchio for his outburst on the street. The motorist he attacked was a substitute teacher trying to get to his after-school program. When Colicchio refuses to show any remorse, Carver writes him up, accepting that doing so makes him a rat.
Nerese brokers a deal with Carcetti to let Burrell out easy in exchange for his silence about any dirt on Daniels; they settle on a "grip and grin" at the press conference.
When Det. Kima Greggs watches the traumatized child witness to her double homicide withdraw completely from the psychologist, she calls Cheryl to schedule a visit with Elijah.
Clay Davis arrives in good humor to comply with his Grand Jury subpoena, but when Pearlman begins to lay out the money trail they have on him, he bristles and pleads the fifth.
At the New Day Co-op meeting, Hungry Man dresses down Cheese for overstepping his bounds, and Prop Joe apologizes on his nephew's behalf. As the group breaks up, Marlo comes to Prop Joe with a check from his off-shore account, asking for advice on what to do with it. Joe agrees to help him out.
Rawls visits Burrell as he packs up his office. Burrell warns his successor about the impossibility of the job, explaining that the mayor's office sends over a new priority every day. Rawls might think it will be different for him, but Burrell assures him it won't — not for him, and not for Daniels either.
Watching Carcetti's press conference announcing Burrell's departure, City Editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes translates the subtext for the newsroom full of reporters and editors. "How much of that insight and analysis can we get in tomorrow's story?" Managing Editor Thomas Klebanow asks. When a bitter Haynes spouts off that Twigg (who they bought out) was the one who could've worked the sources, Klebanow urges him to remain collegial and cut back on his profanity. When the next TV news segment shows video of Clay Davis talking to reporters outside the courthouse, the Sun staff scrambles to figure out why they don't have the story. Reporter Bill Zorzi, who has been covering the federal courthouse, catches the blame for missing the story, but he defends himself, pointing out it's a city court case. Haynes orders Zorzi and Templeton to play catch up on the story, wondering how anyone could stage a "perp walk" without calling the daily newspaper.
Freamon and McNulty wind their way through the maze of makeshift cardboard-box housing in a homeless Hooverville under the Hanover Street Bridge. McNulty would rather write up the report without going through the motions, but Freamon insists there's too much riding on it and they need to work it like a real case.
With a gun to Slim Charles's head, Omar demands to know where he can find Prop Joe. Slim Charles swears Joe had nothing to do with telling Marlo about Butchie and begs Omar to just "finish it," but Omar seems to believe him and lets him live.
While Haynes and the night editor pore over Gutierrez's story about murdered homeless men, Executive Editor James C. Whiting and Klebanow give Templeton an "atta-boy" for his catch-up reporting on the Davis case. Pleased, Templeton tells Gutierrez the Baltimore Sun "ain't so bad."
McNulty and Freamon get a tip-off call from Ofc. Requer about a DOA, but when McNulty arrives on the scene, he discovers the body is too far gone.
Chris Partlow walks a nervous Cheese down a dark alley to an empty garage where Snoop waits for him with Hungry Man gagged — a gift from Marlo. Chris warns that his boss expects a gift in return.
As Prop Joe continues to take Marlo under his wing, he introduces him to his lawyer (and counsel for many of their Co-op colleagues) Maurice Levy. When they enter the office, Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk sits reading the news of Burrell's resignation. Recognizing him, Marlo asks if he ever found his camera. A bitter Herc informs him it cost him his job. As Levy and Marlo adjourn to the conference room to talk, Prop Joe and Herc gossip about the news of Burrell, who was a year behind Prop Joe at Dunbar - and "stone stupid."
Hanging out in a parking lot, Carver and Herc discuss the Colicchio situation. Herc says Colicchio is too proud to beg, even though he knows he was wrong, but Carver insists he can't let him off because he's learned that everything "matters." As an example, Carver brings up what happened with Randy Wagstaff, chastising Herc for not following through on his promise to make sure Bunk debriefed the boy.
When McNulty stumbles in late, Ofc. Beatrice "Beadie" Russell" confronts him about his recent drinking and carousing, but McNulty refuses to get into it. He gets a call about another body and takes off.
Omar and Donnie scope out Marlo's lair, plotting their strategy. Omar plans to go after Marlo's people first — starting with Monk.
Having found their perfect body, Freamon and McNulty set to work prepping the victim. Freamon reminds McNulty that serial killers start out with crude tactics and mature to become more ornate. As McNulty takes the set of false teeth Freamon has prepared and braces himself to leave bite marks on the body, they argue over who is more twisted.
At his East Baltimore row house, Prop Joe packs a bag while Cheese watches. Joe plans to get out of town while Omar's back, but as he turns to go, Marlo appears in the door. Prop Joe realizes Cheese has given him up. When Marlo informs him he has the blessing of the Greeks, Joe counters with a proposition: He will leave and they'll never hear from him again. But Marlo knows that Prop Joe couldn't change any more than he could. As Chris steps up, aiming the semi at the back of Joe's head, Marlo nods. "Close your eyes. It won't hurt none."