Directed by Joe Chappelle
Story by David Simon & George Pelecanos
Teleplay by George Pelecanos
"Deserve got nuthin' to do with it." - Snoop
Det. Leander Sydnor and his surveillance teams cover Marlo Stanfield and his crew while Det. Lester Freamon tracks their coded cell-phone images from the detail office on Clinton Street. When Freamon notices a meet scheduled at a new — and remote — location he guesses that he's on to Marlo's supplier. Pulling his teams off the street targets, he converges the resources on a warehouse near the marine terminals.
Snoop and O-Dog meet with Maurice "Maury" Levy in his law office to prepare O-Dog to take the rap for Snoop and Chris Partlow's weapons charges. With a lack of priors, the fall-man faces a few well-compensated years in prison, but he's not thrilled with the arrangement.
Freamon joins Sydnor and his surveillance force a few blocks away from a warehouse that Chris just entered. Freamon orders the men to wait and watch — if Chris feels the location is secure, they're likely to see Marlo's crew arrive to pick up the re-supply. Any Stanfield lieutenant who leaves the warehouse, Freamon says, presents a target flush with narcotics. Pull them over, seize the dope and collect their phones, the detective orders before leaving to come clean about his illegal investigation.
Inside the warehouse, Chris inspects the delivery: More than 100 kilos of raw heroin hidden inside new refrigerators. When the Greek deliverymen tell Chris he can count the packages, he leaves without a word.
At the Baltimore Sun, City Editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes welcomes the paper's London Bureau Chief, Robert Ruby, back to the states since his office was shut down. After a few minutes' complaining about their parent company, Gus asks Ruby to look into Scott Templeton's reporting — check its accuracy with a fresh set of eyes. Ruby warns him that chasing the reporter might cross Executive Editor James C. Whiting III, but the displaced bureau chief immediately heads to the library to order up the sum of Templeton's work.
Duquan "Dukie" Weems rides the Arabber's cart and stops off at the junkyard to steal metal. Dukie hustles over the barbed-wire fence, snagging his hand as his new boss urges him on. He passes as much scrap over the fence as he can and bails out.
Monk and Cheese arrive at the supply warehouse, offloading the product and quickly leaving. Sydnor and his officers split up to tail the lieutenants.
Chief of Staff Michael Steintorf visits Commissioner William A. Rawls and Deputy Commissioner of Operations Cedric Daniels at police headquarters. In desperate need of an immediate drop in crime to fuel Mayor Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti's gubernatorial run, Steintorf wants to see more cops on the street making arrests. Daniels explains that only quality police work can make a meaningful impact on crime, adding that Carcetti promised him that the statistic games would end during this administration. Steintorf says they'll keep their pledge for systemic reform, from Annapolis if need be, but unless the department becomes creative enough to effect a 10-percent drop in crime by the end of the quarter, Carcetti's ability to help will fade with his shot at the state house. As Steintorf leaves, Daniels steps outside to find Freamon pacing in the reception area.
Rushing through an explanation that his investigation of Marlo never ceased, Freamon tells Daniels that they're a few warrants away from locking up the whole organization. Before Daniels can catch up, Freamon's cell phone rings with a call from Sydnor. They've pulled Monk over on a traffic violation and found his vehicle loaded with dope. Lester hangs up and rattles off the list of warrants he'll need to search the warehouse and lock up the rest of Marlo's crew. Daniels smiles in the face of some real police work, picking up the phone to call A.S.A Rhonda Pearlman.
Across the city, police teams take down Marlo's crew, raiding the warehouse while others track down Cheese, Chris and Marlo. Snoop and O-Dog rush to Michael Lee's apartment, where the young soldier watches the bust go down on the news.
At police headquarters, Carcetti addresses the media, touting the $16 million in heroin seized, along with the Stanfield organization's ties to the rowhouse murders. Alma Gutierrez takes notes while Bill Zorzi quietly mocks the mayor in her ear. Laughing, she stands up to interview Daniels, but the deputy commissioner brushes her off with an empty quote about "the good guys." When she asks for something more substantive, Daniels reminds her that the last time he appeared in the Sun, an anonymous source falsely identified him as a backstabber.
Cheese, Monk, Marlo and Chris sit at central booking, scrutinizing the documents that led to their arrests. Cheese points out that warrants were drawn up "from information received" — code for snitching as far as he's concerned. Marlo asks Chris if there's anyone in their shop who would inform the police, and when Michael's name comes up, Monk jumps on it. But, in his haste to lay their troubles on Michael, Monk slips up and mentions that Omar called out Marlo by name in the streets. The boss becomes livid, demanding to know what Omar said and ordering his lieutenants to spread word that he knew nothing about it. As for Michael, Marlo's not willing to take any risks.
At the homicide unit, Sgt. Jay Landsman steps up to Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty's desk, pointing to Det. William "Bunk" Moreland's murder charge on Chris and demanding the same sort of progress on McNulty's serial killer case. When Landsman leaves, Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs asks McNulty how long he plans to waste manpower chasing his fake killer, and he promises the case will die down. Later that night, McNulty reiterates the concern about wasting resources to a drunken, celebratory Freamon, who assures him the brass will lose interest.
The next day, at a student debate competition, Namond Brice delivers a rousing speech about fighting AIDS in Africa while Howard "Bunny" Colvin and his wife look on with pride. Midway through Namond's delivery, Carcetti arrives and waits by the door, distracting Colvin. After the event, as Colvin and Namond walk to their car, the mayor breaks away from a Q&A session with reporters to catch up with the former district commander. Carcetti apologizes that he couldn't do anything with Colvin's "experiment" legalizing drugs in the Western, but Colvin has little to say in return.
Levy visits Marlo in jail to discuss the case against him. While Levy expects the judge to deny bail for Marlo and Chris, the others' will post soon. More importantly, Levy and Marlo puzzle through the facts of the case, trying to ascertain who told the police about the re-supply. Only Snoop knew about it, and Marlo knows he can trust her implicitly.
At the homicide unit, Landsman sends McNulty out on a call for a dead homeless man. The detective protests, knowing the body can't provide any leads, but he has no choice. As McNulty leaves, Greggs sarcastically asks whether it's a waste of his time.
Haynes meets Council President Nerese Campbell for lunch at Werner's Deli. Under the guise of seeking information on the upcoming mayoral race but really trying to validate Templeton's facts, Haynes lets the interview drift toward the subject of Daniels and asks whether the deputy commissioner deserves a promotion after undercutting his boss. Campbell replies that's she'd wondered where that information came from, given Daniels' solid reputation. Haynes, with his suspicions confirmed that Templeton had fabricated an anonymous source, nods.
Haynes returns to the newsroom, and when he asks Templeton about the paperwork he requested to fact-check the reporter's homeless Marine story, Templeton says it will take at least three weeks. Haynes finds Metro Editor Steven Luxenberg and says he needs to get into Walter Reed to interview a veteran. After the hospital's national scandal, Luxenberg tells him, no one will speak to a journalist reporting on a story. But, if it's off the record, he can get Haynes in.
Thomas R. "Herc" Hauk joins Sgt. Ellis Carver and his men for a "shift-change party" on a dead-end street in West Baltimore. Herc asks his friend about the Stanfield bust, trying to find out whether the cell number he lifted from Levy's office found itself at the end of a Lester Freamon wiretap. Carver won't confirm anything, so the two old friends have a beer.
In his sister's basement, Bubbles talks to Sun reporter Mike Fletcher, bringing the writer up to speed on his personal history. His sister, Rae opens the kitchen door upstairs, and when Bubbles invites her to his Narcotics Anonymous anniversary, she remains noncommittal.
Freamon meets up with State Sen. R. Clayton "Clay" Davis at a bar to squeeze some incriminating details out of the corrupt politician. Brandishing the threat of a federal indictment, Freamon wants to know who brokers the laundered drug money in Baltimore. Davis says that the same defense attorneys who handle high-end drug cases — Levy included — have created a sideline dishing out illicit funds to capitalize developers and politicians. The lawyers take a cut on both ends, but they also protect their street-minded clients from corrupt businessmen like Davis. As the final payment to buy back his case, Davis informs Freamon that Levy sells sealed grand-jury documents, which a source inside the courthouse leaks to him. Davis doesn't have a name but figures Freamon could find one easily.
Snoop pulls up to Michael's corner and beckons him over, telling the soldier that she needs his help with a hit Marlo ordered. But, when she tells him not to bring a gun — that she has him covered — he grows suspicious.
Haynes interviews Sgt. Raymond Wiley, the Marine who lost his hands in the explosion Templeton wrote about, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. While a physical therapist works with Wiley's motorized prosthetic hands, the soldier tells Haynes that his comrades didn't engage in a firefight the day he was wounded. And his friend, Terry Hanning, didn't need to invent combat stories to impress Scott Templeton — he'd seen enough action to recount plenty of gunfights if he'd chosen to. The Sun must have lied, concludes an apologetic Wiley.
Greggs visits Carver at the D.E.U. office to tell him he made a mistake by allowing McNulty to falsify his records. Carver doesn't see the problem, but Greggs advises him to coach his officers to tell internal investigators that they had no idea their paperwork ended up on McNulty's desk. She asks Carver whether he was okay with speaking up about Colicchio's outburst, and when he answers in the affirmative, she nods and leaves, on her way to Daniels' office.
From the back seat of a hack's car, Michael watches Snoop and some Stanfield soldiers set up a trap for him. He pays the driver to rent his car for the night, and then returns to his corner to wait for Snoop to pick him up for the "job." They drive toward the hit, but Michael asks her to pull over in an alley so he can pee. When she stops the vehicle, he pulls a gun from under his shirt and aims it at her head. Michael denies that he had anything to do with the arrests, but Snoop — level and unafraid — says the way he carries himself, questioning and apart, proves that he was never cut out to be one of them. Michael pulls the trigger, killing Snoop,and escapes down the alley.
Bubbles brings Fletcher along to his Narcotics Anonymous anniversary, where Walon reminds the reporter that anything said in the meeting must stay there. Bubbles watches for his sister to arrive, but she doesn't turn up. In front of the group, he shares a story about a particular day that he struggled to stay sober; then he talks about Sherrod, saying that he's learned it's alright to hang onto grief — as long as you make room for other things, too.
After Greggs blows the whistle on McNulty's manufactured serial killer, Daniels brings the news to Pearlman. Piecing together the rogue detective's methods, they drive to evidence control to test the serial killer's tapped number against Marlo's seized cell phone. Pearlman dials the number off of a court document, and after a brief moment, the phone rings, confirming their suspicions.
Michael storms into his apartment, gathering up Bug and Dukie and ushering them into his rented car. He drives his little brother to their aunt's house in Columbia. Narrowly managing to choke back his emotion, Michael says goodbye to Bug and sends him inside with a box full of cash. When he returns to Baltimore, where the entire Stanfield crew must be hunting him by now, Michael drops his friend off at the Arabber's stable, where addicts get high by the light of burning barrels.