The Wire | Season 2 | Episode 5


TV-MA | 57 MIN

Directed by Steve Shill
Story by David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by Ed Burns

"They used to make steel there, no?" - Vondas

Ziggy attempts to collect money from a white drug dealer named Frog he's been supplying, but Frog won't pay, saying the stash was hit. Frustrated but too soft-hearted to get tough with the dealer, Ziggy leaves, only to be surrounded suddenly by Cheese and his gang. Ziggy owes Cheese for the package he was fronted, and since he hasn't paid up, Cheese drags him from his car, slaps him around and take his leather coat. Cheese warns he'd better pay up by Friday or he'll be dead on Saturday. The dealer takes off in Ziggy's car, leaving him stranded on the corner.

Daniels continues to assemble the old gang, surprising Carver by offering him a spot even though he spied on Daniels for Burrell on the last detail. "If I caught him once, he might be the last sonofabitch to try it twice," Daniels says. When Rawls tells Freamon he's being taken off the 14 murders and assigned to the detail, Freamon is skeptical: "Colonel, respectfully, did you just fuck me over without giving me even half a chance to clear this case?" he asks Rawls. Rawls's reply: "Let's be clear Detective Freamon. When I fuck you over, you'll know it."

At the Detail Room, his squad mostly assembled, Daniels explains why they're back together and that it's Sobotka they're after. He asks them to figure out where the longshoremen cop dope on a Saturday night and set up some hand-to-hand buys. When Freamon arrives, he explains that Sobotka has been a focus of the homicide investigation of the dead girls in the container.

Donette finally visits 'DAngelo in prison and tells him that Avon plans to set him up running a club when he's out of prison. 'DAngelo isn't buying, however, and tells Donette, "They playing you with 'we family.' And 'it's about love.' That's how they do. When they got no more use for you, that family shit disappears, it just about biz." Later, she tells Stringer of the encounter and 'DAngelo's rebuff. "He off the damn hook," she says.

Back at The Pit, Poot, now in charge, watches two of his runners accost a junkie who has dissed their dope. Bodie, nearby, returns quickly, angry over the commotion. "Fiend badmouthing our shit," the soldiers say by way of explaining their behavior. Bodie realizes he needs to discuss the quality problem with Stringer Bell.

Ziggy shows up bruised and beaten at the Clement Street Bar and tells Nick his predicament. Ziggy wants to borrow $2,700 to get Cheese off his back but Nick says he's given his cash to Aimee for a security deposit and furniture for a new apartment and can't help him out. Nick and a checker named La La visit Cheese to tell him that if he'll give the car back, they can sell it for $3,000 and Ziggy can pay him. Cheese walks them around the corner where Ziggy's car has been set afire.

Greggs comes to Valchek to ask for a surveillance van just as the Major is opening a letter from California with another picture of the missing van on tour. He lifts a clean print from the picture, and tells Greggs there's no van available.

At the University of Baltimore, Stringer is commended by his economics professor for a recent paper. After class, he asks the professor what the options are for a businessman who has an inferior product in an aggressive marketplace.

Bunk and Russell and two other detectives hand out six grand jury subpoenas at the cargo terminal. When they appear before the grand jury, however, the longshoremen reveal nothing. "I've almost got one of them ready to swear that the docks are actually near the water," says a frustrated prosecutor.

Bubbles tracks down McNulty and gives him a phone number for Omar, who promptly agrees to show up for the trial. In a vacant house near a drug corner, Greggs and Carver set up surveillance on white dealers, Frog and Dirt.

At the diner, Nick tells Vondas and Serge of the grand jury subpoenas, and reassures them that there's no need for worry. Horseface is the only person who knows about their illicit dealings, "and he's a rock." Nick tells them that Sobotka wants to meet with The Greek, and that, until things cool down, no contraband can move through his dock. When Vondas inquires again about the chemicals, Nick demands to know who wants them, but gets no answer. Later, The Greek tells Vondas he doesn't want to meet with Sobotka, but that he'll double his fee to pay for lawyers.

When Vondas passes this message on to Sobotka, Sobotka replies that he's done doing The Greek's dirty business. "I got a union to run," he says. Vondas looks across the water to the huge industrial plant now largely abandoned and reminds Sobotka of his union's growing vulnerability. "They used to make steel there, no?" he asks.

Frustrated with the investigation, Russell visits Maui, a checker she used to date. She explores the idea of his becoming a confidential informant for her, he refuses, but does tell her that if she wants to understand how containers come and go on the docks, she needs to crack the computer system.

Stringer visits Avon in prison and tells him the dope from Atlanta is weak and getting weaker, and that they are barely holding on to the towers, but he's planning to try to repackage the product under a new name. When Stringer inquires about 'DAngelo, Avon responds "Boy gonna find his own way." But with both Avon and Stringer worried about the load 'DAngelo is carrying, Stringer suggests putting some property in his name perhaps, so 'DAngelo can see there's a plan to take care of him.

At the Detail Office, Bunk and Russell ask Daniels for a computer so they can run a trace on the missing containers in the port administration database. Freamon pushes Daniels to take on the 14 murders from their Detail Room, since Freamon is convinced the cases are intertwined. Daniels reluctantly tells them they can work the murders on the side, so long as ultimate responsibility remains with Rawls' homicide unit. "Unless," he adds, "you find a suspect."

Nick and Ziggy go to the library to use the Internet to look up the chemicals Vondas has asked them to get. They soon figure out that it's not bombs he's interested in making but drugs, since the chemicals he wants are all used to process cocaine. Later, Nick sees Vondas at the diner, who gives him numbers for three more containers Vondas wants retrieved. "Tell your uncle," Vondas says, "there's three times his usual fee there, for each one." Nick also tells Vondas that the chemicals he wants are on the Fairfield pier and that Nick will get them. Vondas realizes how smart Nick is and that he might be worth more to them.

When Nick tells his uncle that Vondas wants three more containers "disappeared," Sobotka responds, "I told that motherfucker we were done." But when Nick tells him the fee is tripled, Sobotka changes his mind.