Barksdale's in jail, but the team is no better off. McNulty has been demoted to harbour patrol, Daniels is in the police archive dungeon, Prez is chafing in the suburbs and Greggs is stuck behind a desk.
Meanwhile, on the docks of the Baltimore harbour, the rank and file scrounge for work and the union bosses take illegitimate measures to reinvigorate business. But the discovery of 13 dead bodies in a shipping container is about to blow the whole port inside out. While the detail is on ice, a new case begins...
01 - Ebb Tide
"Ain't never gonna be what it was."
- Little Big Roy
Jimmy McNulty has been demoted and reassigned to the Baltimore Police Harbor unit as Colonel Rawls' revenge. On this dread detail, the big excitement of the day is a yacht with a dead motor, adrift while a corporate party moves into high gear. McNulty is depressed about his new assignment, even as his new partner Diggins tells him: "In a couple of months, you're gonna realize the bosses did you a favor, McNulty. This is the sweetest detail in the whole damn department if you give it a chance."
Major Valchek listens with boredom as Prez, his son-in-law, speaks with enthusiasm of his desire to work in narcotics. Prez mentions the Barksdale case, and how he found it to be a fascinating investigation. Ignoring him, Valchek replies that Prez will take the sergeant's exam. "And because I have Tony LoBianco's ear... you will score high and be ranked exactly sixteenth on the list." But Prez has no interest in making rank and would prefer to work good cases. Irritated, Valchek tells him that he has managed to "take some of the stink" off himself, and that if he would just do as he is told he might actually have a career in the department.
At police headquarters, Bunk encounters Daniels, who's been reassigned as a clerk in the evidence room, his payment for defying Deputy Commissioner Burrell over the Barksdale investigation. "I heard they posted you down here, but, I mean, damn, these motherfuckers don't play, do they?" Bunk tries to pull evidence for the upcoming Bird murder trial, but it seems to have gone missing. Together, they take the room apart, searching for it.
Bodie, who's never been outside Baltimore, travels to Philadelphia to pick up fresh drugs with a new Barksdale lieutenant named Dragon. Unaware they're followed by Stringer Bell's soldiers, the pair sticks carefully to the plan and picks up a rental car in which the drugs are supposedly stashed. But when they take it to a chop shop to retrieve the drugs, the car is practically dismantled and the drugs still can't be found. Terrified, Bodie and Dragon go back to Baltimore and tell Stringer the bad news. He sweats them badly before revealing that it was a test: He knows they're being honest because he was watching them the whole time.
At Baltimore's Seagirt Marine Terminal cargo docks, Frank Sobotka, secretary-treasurer of the longshoreman's union of checkers - the men who oversee the loading and unloading of cargo ships - argues with colleagues Nathanial "Nat" Coxson, Horseface and La-La about the merits of dredging the Baltimore shipping canal. Business is down terribly at the terminal, the checkers are struggling to survive and Coxson is adamant that dredging the canal won't necessarily bring new business to the port. Instead, he says, they should throw their efforts into rebuilding the grain pier, threatening Sobotka: "You keep on with the canal shit and I'ma go to the district council. My people need somethin' real."
Sobotka's nephew Nick, a young checker with too little seniority to get regular work, arrives at the docks hoping for his first day of work in two weeks. His uncle tells him to go see The Greek, who has "a number" for Sobotka. "He's got one on the way," Nick's uncle says, referring to an arriving cargo ship on which The Greek has contraband goods he needs help sliding by the authorities.
Bunk visits his former partner McNulty at the dock. With the Gant murder trial coming up, the ADA Ilene Nathan needs to review evidence. Omar, who agreed to testify in the case as an eye-witness against Barksdale's killing machine Bird, is nowhere to be found, and Bunk needs McNulty's help finding him.
Sobotka visits St. Casimir's Catholic Church in his neighborhood to see Father Jerome who shows off the stained-glass window Sobotka and his longshoremen recently donated to the church; a window depicting labourers in the port. The stained glass hangs in a prized spot, the nave, and the priest is grateful. Sobotka is there on business, however. Wearing his union hat, he tells Father Jerome that he needs "some face time with the Senator," because "we got nothing but problems, Father. We need to see something happen with the canal, and the granary pier has been down for a year now." Father Jerome tells him to come to Sunday's early mass and he'll introduce him to the Senator.
Nick and his cousin Ziggy (Frank Sobotka's son) visit The Greek in a shabby diner. Ziggy is a bit of a wild card, running his mouth off when he shouldn't. Nick, always watching after his cousin, lays down the law to Ziggy before the meeting: "You say a word Ziggy, I swear I'll kill ya."
Later that day, the pace picks up on the water when McNulty pulls the dead body of a pretty young girl from the harbour.
Not long after Sobotka goes to the church to see Father Jerome, Major Valchek drops in, three cops in tow, carrying yet another stained-glass window that Valchek himself wants to donate to St. Casimir's. Nervously, Father Jerome shows Valchek Sobotka's stained glass already hanging and offers a different, less desirable spot to display Valchek's window. Valchek promises to match whatever donations the union has coughed up, but leaves furious when he realizes he's been outbid.
Avon, beginning his seven-year prison sentence, receives Stringer Bell in the visitation room. Stringer is running the drug business in Avon's absence. Avon is hanging tough, telling Stringer: "You come in here, you get your mind right, you only do two days. The day you come in..." and, says Stringer, finishing his sentence: "the day you get out."
At the diner, Nick confers with Spiros Vondas, The Greek's number two man, and his Russian colleague Sergei Malatov, a driver and muscleman. Vondas gives Nick a paper with the number for an incoming cargo container. The container - or 'can', as the longshoremen call it - is arriving that day on the ship Atlantic Light. Sobotka and his union pals can make the container "disappear" from the port's records and Vondas can get hold of it without running it through customs. "Same deal, same rate," Vondas says to Nick.
Visiting his old unit at police headquarters, McNulty learns that Rawls has conned Baltimore County law enforcement into handling the case of the dead girl he pulled from the harbour. Rawls convinced them it's theirs based on the location at which McNulty found it, McNulty learns. He also learns that the body was, in fact, dead before it hit the water. "Blunt trauma to the head," says Detective Cole, who's been assigned to handle the case.
Stringer Bell spars with a new lawyer representing a now-indicted drug supplier who had been the major source for Barksdale's drugs. Wary that Avon may have implicated the dealer to lighten his own sentence, Stringer learns the dealer is unwilling to do further business with the Barksdale operation. This is bad news, because drugs are scarce, and Stringer must cut them heavily to extend the limited supply. The junkies have noticed, naturally, and are either complaining or taking their business elsewhere.
McNulty studies wind and tide charts of the day he found the dead body in the harbour and calculates that in fact the body was in Rawl's territory when it entered the water. No question, it should by rights be handled by Rawl's unit. Hoping to repay his boss for his current plight, McNulty faxes his calculations to the Baltimore County Police, who are only too glad to hand the case back to Rawls.
At the dock, Marine Police Officer Beatrice "Beadie" Russell is making her cursory rounds. The Atlantic Light has docked and is being unloaded, and the container Spiros wants is sitting on the dock, awaiting removal. Sobotka wants it gone quickly and is nervous because Serge, sent by The Greek to pick it up, is deep in conversation on his cell phone. When Serge suddenly leaves without the cargo container, Sobotka is incredulous - and more than a little worried. In fact, it is Russell who notices the locks on the container are loose, opens it up and goes inside. When she encounters a false rear wall in the back, she investigates further and finds the bodies of 13 young women, apparently suffocated, inside a tiny compartment of the container.
02 - Collateral Damage
"They can chew you up but they gotta spit you back out."
At the cargo terminal, with no apparent evidence of foul play, the death of the 13 women is ruled an accident. "No need to open an investigation on this," says a Port Authority cop. "No crime. All you got here, Officer Russell, is a lot of paperwork."
Sobotka is enraged by the 13 deaths and at the diner demands an explanation from Vondas. Vondas tells him it's all a big mistake, but Sobotka demands advance notice the next time people are shipped through his port on a container.
Brianna visits her brother Avon in prison and tells him times are tough in the drug business. With their supplier spooked and little supply available elsewhere, "We hangin' on to the projects with table scraps," she tells him. "Ain't you got no one else for us?" Avon tells her to have Stringer fly to Atlanta to visit a drug connection there named Vargus. Brianna is angry with Avon for not watching out for D'Angelo, incarcerated in another section of the same prison serving his 20-year sentence. Avon promises to look out for D'Angelo, and tells her to pressure Donette, the mother of D'Angelo's son, to stop ignoring D'Angelo and come to the prison to visit him.
McNulty brings Bunk some blue crabs - one of the few perks of his new assignment - and they feast in an interrogation room at police headquarters. Bunk learns that McNulty spent three hours running the wind and tide numbers, just to prove the floater should be assigned to Rawls' homicide unit. Bunk also tells him that the 13 bodies at the cargo terminal are not considered a crime.
Carver blankets the illegally parked cars outside the union hall with tickets. Confronted by an angry Sobotka, who asks why the sudden change in attitude toward cars that are always parked illegally, Carver explains it's at the request of Valchek, who, angry about the stained glass, has given orders to harass the union officials. Later, Valchek himself shows up at the hall, asking Sobotka if he's "gettin' the message." Valchek explains why he's angry but manages only to enrage Sobotka. Sobotka replies by insulting Valcheck, now making their war personal.
At the prison, a corrections officer named Dwight Tilghman tosses Wee-Bey's cell, tearing apart his girlie mags and breaking his aquarium. Wee-Bey learns that Tilghman is angry because Wee-Bey killed Tilghman's cousin on the outside. When Wee-Bey reports the situation to Avon, Avon doesn't even remember the murder: "You need a damn scorecard to keep up with your lethal ass," he says, reassuring Wee-Bey that he'll speak to Tilghman and call him off. Tilghman, however, brushes off Avon when he tries to have a word with the guard.
McNulty visits the customs shed where Russell is processing the 13 bodies and begins to poke around. He wonders aloud if there might be a connection between his "floater" and the 13 bodies, no missing-persons reports have been filed since the body was found in the water. Inspecting the container in which the women died, he discovers that the air pipe had been purposely hammered shut, which means the deaths are no accident. He also learns that the cargo container had 14 bedrolls and only 13 bodies. Russell matches a picture of the young woman to some items from the evidence of the missing woman #14 and McNulty confirms that it is his floater.
Valchek, still angry over Sobotka's harsh words, learns that the union has hired a high-priced lobbyist who's been spreading money around to politicians, in an attempt to revitalize the port. How can they afford this with a dirt-poor union and only 1,500 guys left, Valchek wonders. His conclusion: Sobotka is into some dirt. Valchek pays a call on Deputy Commissioner Burrell, who is in line to be Police Commissioner soon if the city council votes him in. Knowing that Burrell's having problems with the first district councilman, Valchek says he can take care of it, but he wants a favour in exchange. He wants Burrell to have Rawls appoint a six-man detail to look into the activities of Sobotka.
Worried about his clearance rate, Rawls resists - mightily - taking on the 13 murders but ultimately can't avoid them. Now he's even angrier with McNulty, since it was McNulty's detective work that turned the "accident" into a crime. Later, McNulty and Bunk do some serious drinking, McNulty downing 14 shots, "one for each of the bodies," he says. "Eleven more years of whatever bullshit they can find and then I put in my papers and I walk," McNulty says. "Fuck it, they can chew you up but they gotta spit you back out."
Later that night, he visits Pearlman, who always takes him in. In the morning, however, she presses him for the meaning of their relationship. But she becomes upset when he tells her that if his wife would take him back, he'd be gone.
Valchek gets his detail, but the unit is made up of useless cops, with Prez being the one exception. Valchek, not realizing he's been given humps, visits them in their new detail office and tells them to get to work on Sobotka.
Meanwhile, D'Angelo has begun to use heroin in prison. Avon arrives to speak with him one evening and, realizing what he is doing to himself, tells him, "We have to talk."
At police headquarters, Horseface, dressed in a suit and tie, hot-wires a surveillance van and drives it off police property, saluting the unsuspecting cops as he goes. It's payback time for Valchek, and at the cargo terminal, the longshoremen drive the van into a cargo container and ship it around to a series of domestic and international ports.
Freamon and Bunk, assigned to the 14 murders, learn that the Atlantic Light has left Baltimore headed for Philly and chase the ship there to interview the crew. They are preceded, however, by Serge, who kidnaps the ship's engineer and takes him away. Freamon and Bunk arrive later, unaware of what's happened, and are stonewalled at every turn as they try to interview a crew that can suddenly speak no English.
Serge brings the engineer to Baltimore, where after being beaten, he finally reveals that he raped one of the 14 women in the container. When she resisted, he killed her, and since the other girls were witnesses, they all had to die. The Greek orders Vondas to kill him, saying, "There will be more girls."
03 - Hot Shots
"What they need is a union."
Omar is stationed outside the apartment building where drug dealer Darnell lives, awaiting Darnell's little brother. Omar has established that Darnell's kid brother leaves the building twice a day with a laundry basket in which the day's drug earnings are stashed. Omar plans to take out the kid and steal the cash. "We don't have to blast our way to the top floor, we just wait," Omar explains to Dante, his lover. Astonishingly, before his eyes, two women - Kimmy and Tosha - who've been lounging around the doorway, spring into action, drawing guns and making off with the cash. "That's something you don't see everyday," Omar says.
Omar follows Kimmy and Tosha and confronts them in an abandoned building where they've gone to count the money. Rather than steal it from them, however, he teams up with them. Later, they stake out another drug dealer and their plan to pull a heist goes off without a hitch.
Nick gets his hair cut by his girlfriend Aimee, who wants to move in together. Nick protests that he doesn't have the money to get a place, but says that as soon as he does, it can happen. Later, at the cargo pier, Nick and Ziggy are again without work, and none too happy about it. "I can't keep waking up in the morning not knowing if I'm gonna get paid," says Nick. "I got a kid. I got a girl who wants to get married." When Ziggy again tries to interest him in dealing some drugs to make some cash, however, Nick says no.
At the evidence control unit, McNulty, carrying the very weak bag of evidence against Bird in the Gant case, runs into Daniels. As they discuss their mutually regretful fates, Daniels tells McNulty that with his 22 years in the force and his law degree, he's resigning, putting in his papers immediately.
Valchek finally discovers that his van - stolen by Horseface - has gone missing. "Are you telling me that a fully equipped, $120,000 surveillance van assigned to this district cannot be located?" he asks. Shortly thereafter, he receives an anonymous photo in the mail of the van, taken by longshoremen at the port in Wilmington, Delaware.
McNulty returns his kids to his wife's house after a visit, hoping she'll invite him in, but she crushes him by telling him to expect a separation agreement from her lawyer in the mail. "It's to protect both of us," she tells him. Back at the office, the medical examiner tells McNulty that based on dental work, he's determined that at least some of the girls are Eastern European. And one of them had breast enhancements in Budapest, which he deduced from the serial numbers on the implants. McNulty is puzzled by the deaths of the women, considering their potential earning power in the U.S. In a meeting with the INS, he also learns that there are 50,000 undocumented girls working in the States. "They need a whole new agency just to police 'em," says Bunk. "What they need is a union," responds Russell.
At St. Casmir's Church, the union's lobbyist throws a party to put the touch on state legislators. Sobotka's lobbyist instructs him as to how his time and money are best spent. "The guys you need to be working are the guys who wouldn't have shown up if we hadn't been throwing money at them."
Prez and his wife attend a family dinner celebrating Valchek's wedding anniversary, but all Valchek is interested in discussing is the case against Sobotka. The Major is disappointed to learn that the investigation is moving very slowly. Prez explains that the unit is not doing wire taps, not pulling phone logs, DMV records, political campaign contributions, as they had in the Barksdale case. When he tells Valchek that the Barksdale investigation would have been a major case had Burrell not stopped it, Valchek seems to hear - and comprehend Burrell's role - for the first time. Meanwhile, pictures of the missing surveillance van continue to arrive periodically, mocking Valchek as it makes its way from port to port.
Stringer drops by Donette's apartment and tells her she needs to take her son to visit D'Angelo in jail. Sparks fly however, and the two are soon in bed together. Meanwhile, Avon visits D'Angelo in the prison library, trying to win his affection once again. When D'Angelo remains hostile, Avon tells him if he's cool, he won't be doing but a piece of his 20 years. "You need to trust. You need to get your head right." "My head is where I want it to be," D'Angelo responds coldly.
Nick and Ziggy conspire to steal a container from the docks, and take it to a secondhand appliance store run by George "Double G" Glekas, where they try to sell him 400 digital cameras they've stolen. Glekas later visits Spiros and asks if Nick is to be trusted. When Spiros says yes, Glekas seals the deal for the cameras.
Valchek visits the Detail Room to learn how the investigation is progressing, but finds his squad playing poker and wasting time. He leaves, angry, and shows up at City Hall, where Burrell is lobbying the city council members who will vote soon on a new police commissioner. "You gave me humps," he tells Burrell of his detail. "They couldn't catch the clap in a Mexican cathouse with a fistful of fifties." He threatens Burrell that if he doesn't give him a real detail, with real police and a real unit commander, he's going to "bust up the vote for you." Valchek tells Burrell he wants Daniels pulled out of the evidence room to run the unit.
Stringer and Avon, knowing that the prison guard Tilghman is dealing dope to prisoners, arrange for Tilghman's supplier to give him strychnine instead of heroin. Avon warns his nephew to stay away from drugs. Heading his uncle's previous warnings to lay off the dope, D'Angelo passes on a hit the same night the hot shots are passed out to the inmates. He hears unholy screams through the prison, and then seeing the bodies carried away, Dee is suddenly aware of the coincidence of the hot shots and his uncle's warning.
04 - Hard Cases
"If I hear music, I'm gonna dance."
An angry Sobotka meets his nephew Nick by the harbor, telling him his theft of the cameras is further jeopardizing the port's diminished cargo business. Nick says it's too late; the cameras have been fenced. And Nick explains that he can't survive with the little bit of legitimate work he's getting at the dock. "I'm on my ass. I can't get by on five days a month." Sobotka tells him if he needs money, "you come to me."
At the prison, five people have died after ingesting the strychnine hot shots. Avon and Stringer's scheme progresses when they have real dope planted in Tilghman's car. Avon, with help from his attorney Maury Levy, tells the assistant warden he has "inside" information, naming Tilghman as the cause of the deaths. When Tilghman's car is searched and drugs are found, he is arrested. Two problems solved: Tilghman will no longer harass Wee-Bey and Avon cuts a deal to shorten his term in exchange for "cooperation."
Burrell meets with Daniels in his office, offering to clean the slate and put him in charge of a detail to do Valchek's bidding. When Daniels tells him he's resigning, Burrell promises him a major's slot if he'll stay. Realising Burrell is under pressure from Valchek, Daniels bargains hard, agreeing to stay and take the assignment with two provisos: Burrell will let him pick his people and - should the unit actually mount a case against Sobotka - Burrell will make the squad a permanent, major case unit. Burrell, over a barrel, agrees.
At home, McNulty's voicemail brings news that the state attorney Ilene Nathan is going to throw out the murder charges against Bird unless McNulty can produce Omar immediately.
Russell, at the Port with Bunk, explains what checkers do and how; Through computer sleight of hand, they can get a container off the dock without anyone knowing. And, she warns, because they're all loyal union members, there's no chance any longshoreman can ever be flipped and serve as a police informant. Bunk schools her that a police is only as good as his, or her, informants.
D'Angelo and Avon have another angry confrontation in prison when Avon tries to talk sense to D'Angelo but he's too angry to listen. "Play or you gonna get played," Avon warns him. "I don't want no part of what you doing no more," D'Angelo responds, sensing that Avon is behind the prison's heroin deaths. "So you can just leave me the fuck out of that, whatever it is."
McNulty, under pressure to find Omar, leaves another message on the burned-out white van Omar used to drive and then canvasses drug dealers in West Baltimore, looking for his man. Eventually, finding Bubbles and Johnny, he convinces Bubbles to help him find Omar.
At the projects, dope is still in short supply, and Stringer continues to dilute what product he has rather than lose more customers. Ziggy, after being warned by Nick not to flash the money they earned in their camera heist, shows up for a rare day of work wearing a $2,000 Italian leather coat.
Vondas meets with Nick and Ziggy at the waterfront diner and says he needs chemicals: ethanol, hydrochloric acid. "We need 30, 40 thousand liters," he says. When Nick investigates, he learns that chemicals come through a different pier nearby called Fairfield, and also that one of the checkers they work with has a brother who works at Fairfield and that he might help them. Meanwhile Nick tells Aimee that he's received a couple thousand in back pay and that they can now afford to set up house together.
Daniels visits Rawls, who approves the cops for the detail: Freamon, Greggs, and Hauk. Everyone, that is, but McNulty: "Nothing that even resembles that sonofabitch... He quits or he drowns," Rawls says. Daniels visits Greggs and pressures her to join up, too, telling her she can work "inside." "If I hear music, I'm gonna dance," Greggs tells him, and agrees to join the detail.
At the funeral home that serves as the new headquarters for the Barksdale gang, Shamrock arrives and directs Bell's attention to the TV, which is broadcasting a press conference about the Tilghman bust. Bell, who is continuing to study economics at the University of Baltimore, flicks it off. "I got a mid-term. I got to study."
Bunk and Russell visit the cargo terminal to bring Horseface downtown for questioning, but when he demands to talk to his shop steward and requests a union lawyer, they are unable to take him. Later, they drop in at the Clement Street Bar, which is in full longshoreman swing, sending the message that since it was determined the girls were murdered, they are not going away any time soon. Stunned, Sobotka escapes to the bathroom, where the reality of what he's been involved with eats away at him.
05 - Undertow
"They used to make steel there, no?"
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 D'Angelo in prison and tells him that Avon plans to set him up running a club when he's out of prison. D'Angelo 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 D'Angelo'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 fire.
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.
Bubble 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 D'Angelo, Avon responds "Boy gonna find his own way." But with both Avon and Stringer worried about the load D'Angelo is carrying, Stringer suggests putting some property in his name, so D'Angelo 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.
06 - All Prologue
"It don't matter that some fool say he different..."
Omar on the stand during Bird's murder trial is a prosecutor's nightmare. "I rob drug dealers," he says when asked his occupation. Asked how he survives in such a dangerous profession, he tells the court: "Day at a time, I suppose." He does identify Bird as the shooter in the Gant murder, however, and even manages to get a rise out of Bird by implying he's too stupid to dispose of his gun after a murder. Under cross-examination, Maurice Levy calls Omar a parasite living off of the culture of drugs, to which Omar responds: "Just like you man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase." The statement impresses a stunned courtroom.
Updating Daniels, Freamon says that Sobotka is living within his means, and that while the union is poor, it appears to have spread as much as $70,000 around to politicians who can help revitalize the docks. That money, however, does not show up on the union's books, and the wiretaps police have run don't reveal any dirt so far. The hand-to-hand buys are ongoing but seem to lead nowhere. Russell suggests that maybe the checkers generate income for the union. "They monitor what comes in and out of the port... Like with that can full of dead girls."
Nick appeals to Vondas for help in resolving Ziggy's problem with Cheese, who has now doubled the amount Ziggy owes him. "Look, we ain't got the muscle to talk to this guy... But I was hoping maybe you do." suggests Nick, who also tells Vondas that the chemicals he wants are now available. Vondas sends Serge with Nick to talk to Proposition Joe, Cheese's boss. Serge explains the nature of the conflict between Ziggy and Cheese. Proposition Joe isn't happy about it but at Serge's request he pays Nick the bluebook value on Ziggy's car, and Nick assures Cheese that Ziggy will pay Cheese the $2,700 he owes him.
McNulty visits his wife at her real estate office and finally makes some headway when she agrees to go on a date with him on Friday night. "You pay the sitter," she says. When they go to dinner, McNulty drinks only wine and tells Elena that he's not drinking so much anymore. She says she's still angry with him but when McNulty asks for a chance to reunite with her, she invites him to bed instead.
Greggs visits Shardene, the former stripper from Orlando's, now living with Freamon and going to nursing school. Greggs wants to know about the Russian girls in another club in which Shardene worked. Shardene says they're hard to get to know because the guys running them keep them on a short leash, but she gives Greggs the name of a friend who still works at the club, called Nightshift, who can provide more information.
When Greggs talks to the stripper, she learns that the last batch of Russian women arrived six months ago and that they live under the watchful eye of handlers, who are with them all the time. If they get too close to their customers, they're immediately moved to a different city, Greggs learns.
Sobotka reports good news to union members for a change, assuring them that not only is there money in the transportation budget to rebuild the grain pier but that a bond issue to pay for maintenance dredging on the main shipping channel - although not the canal - is in the works. A refurbished grain pier alone might bring a couple hundred more ships to the docks next year, Sobotka says, but warns that a developer friend of Valchek may try to derail the project so he can build condos along the waterfront.
At the Detail Office, Russell, using information supplied by the checker Maui, is perusing the union's computer records for the cargo ship, Atlantic Light. She shows Bunk and Daniels a computer simulation of the ship being unloaded, watching as the container with the dead women "disappears" from computer records. They realize there are probably hundreds of other instances in which this has happened, and that in order to establish patterns and learn what the patterns reveal, they must dig deep into the cargo operation's computer records.
Bird is convicted for first-degree murder in the Gant case. The State's Attorney Ilene Nathan is so pleased that she gives Omar a "get out of jail free card", for anything up to aggravated assault, in exchange for his cooperation.
D'Angelo, in a book discussion group at the prison, muses about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jay Gatsby. "It don't matter some fool say he different. What you do is what makes you different," he says. Later, when his mother comes to visit, again trying to convince him not to resist Avon's efforts to help him, he warns her to "tell Avon and Stringer and Donnette and all of them to leave me be."
At the Clement Street bar, the longshoremen are drunk and reminiscing once again. When Nick hands Ziggy the cash for his car, Ziggy buys everyone a round and lights a cigarette with a $100 bill. Later, he goes for a walk with Sobotka, who is curious about where the money came from and angry that Ziggy would waste a hundred dollar bill in a bar full of poor, mostly under-employed working men.
In the Detail Office, Russell and Freamon have discovered through long nights of labor that 22 containers have disappeared from the cargo docks in recent months, all of them manned by Horseface as checker. They have further established that only containers from the shipping line Talco go missing. They again push Daniels to take on the case of the dead girls, but Daniels resists. "I'm trying to get a major case squad going," he tells them. "I come outta here with all those open files, it doesn't smell as sweet." He does allow them to put a tap on Horseface, to watch the docks and clone the cargo operation's computer.
Nick and another stevedore meet Vondas with two semis full of the chemicals Vondas wants. When Vondas offers to pay them either in cash or in heroin, Nick takes half in cash and half in drugs.
Fed up with D'Angelo's hostility to Avon and worried that he might yet flip on them, Stringer, unbeknownst to Avon, orders D'Angelo to be killed in the prison library. The deed is performed by a con named Mugs who garrotes D'Angelo with a leather strap, then ties it to a doorknob so that it looks like suicide.
07 - Backwash
"Don't worry kid, you're still on the clock."
Bodie buys flowers for D'Angelo's funeral, explaining to the florist that his friend "hung himself, string himself up over at The Cut" - slang for prison. He asks for an arrangement of flowers in the shape of The Fremont Towers, with the numbers 221 signifying the address that was D'Angelo's turf.
At police headquarters, Russell and Bunk explain to Sgt. Landsman that they've cloned a computer and can now track cargo as it comes off ships at the cargo terminal. When Landsman learns that Daniels now has a detail, he wonders aloud if Daniels will take the murders. "He's no fool," says Bunk. As for the investigation into the docks, Bunk says the detail needs to change its tactics to appear to back away: "If we're gonna set up on 'em, they need to think we ain't a problem no more."
Nick visits the drug dealer Frog, who still owes Ziggy for his supply. Frog resists the split Nick offers for the heroin he and Ziggy have scored. Exasperated, Nick tells him, "I don't work without no fucking contract, and I don't stand around all day listening to horseshit excuses like my cousin Ziggy, who, by the way, is still owed money by you." Frog pays up and Nick gives Ziggy the money he's owed.
Stringer meets with the man who arranged D'Angelo's murder and pays him for the dirty work. The man asks Stringer if Avon is aware of what really went down, and Stringer says no, offering this advice: "I wouldn't let any of this mess end up in Avon's ear."
In prison, Wee-Bey visits a distraught Avon, whose prime rib dinner sits uneaten before him. Consoling Avon, Wee-Bey offers advice about D'Angelo: "You know the boy almost rolled on you the one time. He get to thinking he can't do the years, he might coulda rolled again." Maybe, Wee-Bey suggests, D'Angelo's death might have been for the best. Stringer visits D'Angelo's mom, Brianna, bringing the weeping woman food and false sympathy.
Herc and Carver visit a spy store to buy a wireless bug. Learning that it costs $1,250, they ask if they can take it for a test run, intending to see what they can glean from it and return it to the store. The owner lets them but not before putting a security deposit on Carver's credit card. They place the bug in a tennis ball and leave it on the street near the spot where the dealer Frog plies his trade. The bug works beautifully, picking up conversations clearly until Nick arrives to talk with Frog, who, noticing the tennis ball, picks it up absent-mindedly, bounces it a few times and throws it. It lands in the street and is run over and destroyed by a truck.
Ruing the loss of the wireless mike, Carver and Herc suddenly realize that, having run Nick's license plate through DMV, Nick's last name is the same as Frank Sobotka, the detail's main target. They also conspire to attribute the information they learned from the bug to a confidential informant to get back the lost money.
In an effort to ease fears at the cargo dock, Russell turns up in her old police car, back in uniform, telling Sobotka that the investigation is over but that she's been transferred to the Fairfield terminal because of terrorism fears.
Prez and Greggs stake out the club in West Baltimore where the Russian girls work. They see a gaggle of ladies come out of the club and get into a car with two thuggish chaperones, and they follow the working girls to a high-end apartment building.
At the docks, Nick gives the numbers of the containers Vondas wants to Sobotka and Horseface, who asks, "Nothing alive in these?" Sobotka tells him to go back into the container stacks once they're offloaded and bang on them to make sure. "I trust these Greek fucks with nothing," Sobotka says.
At D'Angelo's funeral, Proposition Joe makes a proposition to Stringer. "Y'all got the best territory but no kinda product. I got the best product, but could stand a little more territory. So you see where this thing needs to go." Stringer says he'll talk to Avon but when he does, Avon is dead set against the idea, reasoning that if Proposition Joe gets a toe in the door, he'll soon try to take over the Towers' drug trade.
Nick, trying to explain his newfound money, tells Aimee she can now look for a two-bedroom apartment because he has a new job working as a warehouse foreman. They can also pay down their truck and even have enough left over to get a nice place in the county.
At the union headquarters, the lobbyist tells Sobotka that revenue shortfalls are precluding any money in the budget for canal dredging. Sobotka is furious and insults the lobbyist, but gives him a shoebox full of cash, insisting that the union wants the grain pier rebuilt and the canal dredged, and that the lobbyist had better take care of it.When the latest Talco ship arrives, Russell and Freamon observe the unloading process on their computer, while Greggs is on the scene posing as a utility worker in a hardhat. Greggs watches as Serge takes a "disappeared" container to the Pyramid Warehouse, and then later she sees Proposition Joe arrive at the warehouse, greeted by Serge.
At the detail office, Freamon tries to convince Pearlman they need more taps, since they've established that on two occasions when Horseface worked a Talco ship, he got a call from Sobotka the day before. "That's a pretty good argument for a conspiracy case," says Freamon. Pearlman points out, however, that "you can tap a phone if a guy's selling drugs, but not if he's selling women." Freamon again presses Daniels to take the murder case for the detail, explaining that Sobotka is involved in some nasty business. "Burrell will be pissed if we get into some union shit, but how can you live with yourself if you let it pass?" he asks Daniels.
Convinced at last, Daniels goes to Rawls and bargains to take the homicides, but only if Rawls agrees to give him exactly what he needs to solve them. The more difficult conversation comes when Daniels tries to explain his change of heart to his wife Marla. She is now fed up with her husband, who can't seem to understand how to play this game to win.
McNulty, sitting on the steps of Elena's house while his kids play in the yard, tells her he cares about her, but she remains leery of him. "You give me some time, Jimmy, and I might get to the point where I want you to be happy. But how the hell do I trust you?"
08 - Duck and Cover
to sit behind the wheel, he leaves the bar to drive home and sideswipes a bridge abutment while making a turn. Undaunted, he backs up to try the turn again, to improve on his technique, but crashes his car even harder, damaging the front end severely. Nursing a bleeding hand, he goes
09 - Stray Rounds
"The world is a smaller place now."
- The Greek
On the new drug corner they commandeered from their rivals, Bodie and crew sell their repackaged dope, newly named WMD. In an apartment overlooking the scene, a young mother readies her children for school, but soon hits the floor when the rival gang shows up and shooting begins. Both gangs fire wildly, dispersing only when police sirens are heard. Upstairs, the mother discovers that one of her kids has been killed getting ready for school.
In the detail office, Freamon, Bunk, McNulty and Russell are forlorn. The people they've been monitoring seem spooked. In a matter of two days, the warehouse thugs have gone from speaking in barely guarded language about drug sales to offering no information whatsoever. And surveillance of the warehouse has turned up no traffic entering or leaving it, either. Furthermore, Russell observes, Sobotka hasn't used his cell phone lately.
At the scene of the shoot-out, an army of cops collect gun casings and Col. Rawls exchanges theories with Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin, the Western District Commander, about who was involved. Stringer, meeting with Bodie, says he must now shut down the entire operation until the cops calm down.
"They gonna knock heads behind this. They got to," says Bell, before instructing Bodie that any gun fired in the battle needs to disappear. "Not just storm drains, neither," he says, telling Bodie to throw the chrome in the harbour. Following orders, Bodie throws the guns off a bridge, but they land on a barge passing under at the moment, and are recovered by the police.
At the diner, Nick meets with Spiros and Eton, wanting to buy more dope from them. They tell him they are laying low temporarily, but give him the number of White Mike, another dealer whom it turns out Nick went to high school with. After Nick leaves, they ponder how much the police know and if they're still on the case. "If they were onto the truck," Spiros says, as if to convince himself that things are safe, "they would have searched it, no?"
As the police round up drug dealers across West Baltimore, Stringer meets with Proposition Joe and tells him that if they were in business together, this wouldn't be happening. "I'm out there sellin' the real, my boys ain't scuffling, and they ain't up on someone else's corner starting shit." They agree to go into business together, in spite of Avon's warning not to do so.
Meanwhile, traffic at the warehouse, and on the warehouse phone, is minimal. Spiros and Eton have another problem, too. The Columbians, to whom they sold the chemicals that Nick helped them acquire, are claiming the quality was not good, and are reneging on payment. "These Columbians, Spiros," says Eton. "They are men without honour."
Ziggy, flush with the success of his camera heist, revisits Glekas at his appliance store and promises to deliver brand new luxury cars without his cousin Nick. Glekas is interested but concerned he'll have trouble unloading new cars without titles. "In Baltimore, maybe," says Ziggy. "But where you come from? I'll bet you got family in some place that don't give two fucks about whether an American car got title on it."
Daniels expresses concern that Serge has no police record that can be found, and asks McNulty if he'll visit his FBI pal Fitzhugh and see if he can help. Freamon asks to try to get a check on Glekas, too. When McNulty visits Fitz, nothing turns up on Serge but he finds that Glekas had a brush with the FBI's San Diego Field Office a while back. Calling Agent Koutris in that office, Fitz is told that the Glekas business was of little consequence and no charges were brought. However, when Koutris hangs up, he immediately calls The Greek to let him know the FBI is interested suddenly in Glekas.
When the cargo ship they've been waiting for comes in, Freamon and Russell are on it, and the container soon "disappears" from the tracking software. Herc and Carver, alerted that the container may be coming to the warehouse they're watching, see it arrive, with Serge at the wheel.
At police headquarters, Detectives Cole and Norris sweat Bodie. Bodie registers surprise when they bring the guns his crew supposedly tossed in the water into the interrogation room, but the cops screw up when they tell Bodie they even have his fingerprints on the gun. Bodie had carefully wiped them off before throwing the guns away. And when he asks them which gun is his, they answer incorrectly.
The Greek, Vondas, Eton, George and the Russian Madam meet for dinner in a restaurant, and The Greek tells George that the FBI was making inquiries about him. Vondas is upbeat, however, noting that they've been running clean containers from the dock and no one has stopped them, no one has followed them, nothing. "Then back to business," The Greek decrees. Later, when Eton conveys this news to Serge, Bunk and Russell are listening in the detail office. They also pick up the number of Eton's new phone and immediately ask Pearlman for an affidavit to tap it.
Later, The Greek meets with Koutris, who tipped him to the Glekas inquiry, to return the favor. He gives the agent the number of a container destined for the Columbians that sits on the dock in Baltimore and contains $50 million in cocaine.
Meanwhile, McNulty, dressed in a suit, armed with a fake British accent and wired for sound, arrives at the Russian brothel. It is assumed he is there for sex, so there is no discussion of the subject - or of money - just the presentation of girls. McNulty chooses two and repairs to a bedroom, where they begin to disrobe and remove his clothing. He is so undone by their aggressiveness that he can't remember the code he's supposed to utter to bring in his squad for the bust. Finally it comes to him, and arrests are made all around.
Sobotka at his union hall drinks champagne with Horseface and Nat Coxson, celebrating the new state budget, which has $4.5 million allocated for projects that will positively affect the longshoremen. In the midst of the party, though, FBI agents and others cops arrive to open the container with the cocaine. Koutris has a career-making bust on his hands.
Stringer Bell asks Brianna to weigh in with Avon about the decision Stringer has made to let Proposition Joe deal drugs in three of the Towers. "We got weak product and we holdin' prime real estate with no muscle. I ain't got Wee-Bey, or Stink, or Bird - and the wolves are at the door."
Burrell, now police commissioner, watches the press conference of the cocaine bust on TV with Valchek, Daniels, Rawls and Pearlman. Valchek tells Daniels that if something like that could be pinned on Sobotka, he would die happy. When he asks what they can charge Sobotka with, Daniels tells him, "We're not at that point." Daniels explains that they're working on a smuggling operation that involves both drugs and women. Rawls wants to know if they're any closer to solving the murders, and Daniels says that if the same people who are running the brothel are also importing the girls, then they are in fact much closer.
However, Valchek is interested only in Sobotka so when Pearlman tells him that the case is bigger than Sobotka, Valchek goes ballistic, turning on Burrell: "So now that the votes are in and you're moving all your damn golfing trophies upstairs to the commissioner's office, you're gonna freeze me out, huh?" he says and stomps out.
Brianna reports back to Stringer that Avon is still adamantly opposed to bringing in Proposition Joe. Avon assures her he's looking for better product and meanwhile is bringing in muscle from New York to keep out rival dealers, a man named Brother Mouzone. Amazed, Stringer takes this news to Proposition Joe, who is none too happy to hear it either. Stringer reassures him that their deal is still on, and that they must deal with this problem together. Proposition Joe says, "You think I'm going to send any of my people up against Brother? Sheeeet."
At the projects where drug activity is at a standstill for a change, a man dressed as a member of the Nation Of Islam emerges from a car and surveys the scene; Brother Mouzone has arrived.
10 - Storm Warnings
"It pays to go with the union card everytime."
At the Towers, the joint is jumping, with dealers and junkies crawling all over the courtyard for the first time in months. So Bodie is puzzled when Stringer stops by to tell him that henceforth, dealers from the east side of Baltimore will be working three buildings formerly controlled by the Barksdale crew. Bodie is instructed to be courteous to them and let them do their work. Puzzled, he questions Stringer, who explains that this is part of an agreement that's brought good-quality dope back to the neighborhood.
In the detail room, the crew waits for Vondas to get to work again with his cell phone, which is tapped. McNulty shows the detail a laptop into which the multiple GPS devices they've attached are feeding signals. With the tap of a button, the vehicles of any of the prime targets in the investigation can be tracked at that moment, as well as any of their travels for the previous seven days.
Major Valchek, still stinging from his meeting with Burrell and still obsessed with nailing Sobotka, calls in the FBI on the detail's case, because one of the agency's specialties is union racketeering. "That's exactly what I want to hear," says Valchek. "This case needs closure and in my heart of hearts I know you're the kind of bastards to put Sobotka where he needs to be." Valchek also asks them to pursue the surveillance van Sobotka stole from police property, and he gives them the fingerprints he lifted from the pictures and the photos of the van in its various ports of call. Later, the FBI agents show up at the Detail Office, where they tell a shocked Daniels, "Major Valchek said you'd be expecting us."
Ziggy, moving ahead with his plot to steal cars from the marine terminal and sell them to Glekas, works with Johnny Fifty, who cuts a huge hole in the storm fence surrounding the parking lot. When Johnny Fifty finishes, Ziggy tells him: "Nicely done. I always say it pays to go with the union card every time." But the holes are simply a diversion to draw suspicion away from the longshoremen. Instead of driving the cars out of the lot through the holes, Ziggy drives each one onto the docks and into a shipping container.
Folding laundry in her basement apartment, Aimee spots something sitting on the duct work and pulls it down. It's a wad of cash, nearly $4,000, and when she asks Nick where it came from, he tells her several unconvincing stories about its origins.
Back at the Towers, Brother Mouzone is confronted by Cheese. Mouzone tells Cheese that he's there to represent the interests of Mr. Barksdale, and asks Cheese to remove himself from the premises. Cheese, puzzled, begins to explain that he's got permission to be selling there when Mouzone pulls out a pistol and shoots him in the shoulder. Stunned, Cheese departs at once.
At the U.S. Attorney's office, Pearlman meets with FBI squad supervisor Amanda Reese and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadiva Bryant to discuss the FBI's pursuit of the case Daniels' detail has developed against the union. Bryant sees it as a RICO case and Pearlman agrees. Driving the FBI's interest in the post 9/11 world is a desire to wipe out union corruption at the waterfront, where the U.S. is perhaps most vulnerable to terrorist intrusions. Daniels points out that the case is bigger than the union, and is reminded that nevertheless, the FBI is interested in the union's activities and that they can work together only if he can accept that fact.
Ziggy meanwhile, arrives at Glekas's store to collect the money owed him for the car heist. Ziggy tells Glekas that the cars sailed two hours ago on the Caspia and gives him the bill of lading. Glekas hands him his payment, but it's half what he had promised, and when Ziggy protests, Glekas laughs at him. Enraged, Ziggy takes the money and leaves, but once outside, he stews. Instead of leaving, he returns to the store with his Glock and first shoots the clerk who works for Glekas, then Glekas himself. Once he is down, Ziggy finishes Glekas off and turns to leave. Out front, he sits in his car trying to light a cigarette but is shaking too violently to do so. Instead he begins to cry as the police arrive.
Greggs returns home after a long day of work. Kima and her lover, Cheryl, now pregnant, spar good naturedly.
On the FBI front, Fitz reports that the agency has people in Le Havre, the origin of the container with the dead girls, and is also looking into 110 other containers that disappeared off of Talco ships. "We might be assholes," Fitz says, "but on the upside, there's an awful lot of us." Meanwhile, in Washington, FBI agent Koutris, who tipped The Greek earlier, learns that the investigation has expanded, and again calls The Greek to let him know the Feds are on him. Using text messaging, The Greeks tries to shut his entire operation down immediately.
Nick arrives at Sobotka's office and tells him Ziggy is in jail for murdering Double G the night before. Sobotka is shocked and appalled, and curses at Nick for not being with Ziggy. "You're his fuckin' cousin," says Sobotka, to which Nick responds: "You're his father."
In the detail office, Valchek shows up unexpectedly and berates the FBI for letting him down. When Daniels tries to intercede, Valchek shuts him up, too. "I gave you all this," says Valchek. "Good digs, people, anythin' you needed. And what did you give me? Right up the fuckin' ass, Lieutenant." Valchek orders Prez to get his things and leave with him, and when Prez hesitates, Valchek yells at him: "Move, shitbird!" Whereupon Prez decks his father-in-law with a right hook. Valchek leaves and Prez puts his gun on the table and walks into Daniels' office.
McNulty, in an unmarked boat off the coast, sees Vondas and Eton talking on shore, and then observes as each throws his cell phone into the water. He also observes Vondas sending a text message shutting down the operation. Vondas tells Eton to go to Glekas's store and to the warehouse and remove any evidence that's still there, everything the police didn't take.
McNulty pursues the phone companies to see if they can figure out what the text message says, since he knows the exact time and location from which it was sent. Sure enough, they track it down, but when they get it, it must be translated. Finally, the message comes back to them that the Greeks have shut down their operations.
11 - Bad Dreams
"I need to get clean."
At 6 a.m. sharp, the police action begins. The cops storm Glekas's appliance store but find the place utterly cleaned out, with only a bloodstain where Glekas died left behind. The cops also burst into Nick's row house, rousting his parents and Aimee from their beds, although Nick is nowhere to be found. They do find a large stash of both heroin and cash, handcuff Aimee and toss the rest of the house. The cops also nab Serge and Eton at their houses and White Mike and the Russian madam at theirs.
Sobotka, emerging from his house, is followed but not arrested, Valchek having sent word that he wants to perform that chore personally. After finding his son accused of murder in the morning paper, Sobotka drives to the union hall, not the jail where Ziggy is incarcerated.
Nick, having drunk himself into a stupor with his old school chum Prissy, wakes up in her bed, hungover and filled with dread. Arriving home, he finds his mother and father - consumed by shame and anger - barely able to speak to him, although his father does inform him that the cops want him. At the union hall, smug and happy, Valchek arrests Sobotka. "Big man on the docks," Valchek says to him. "Don't look so big now, do ya?" A few moments later, Sobotka is taken for his perp. walk, cameras firing and reporters shouting questions.
At the detail office, Daniels finally learns that Glekas was shot the day before and storms over to Landsman's office at homicide, demanding to know why the detail wasn't notified. "Lemme ask you, who exactly am I working all these dead girls for?" Daniels says. "The homicide unit, right? The same homicide unit that can't put two and two together and pick up a phone, leaving me to read it a day and a half later in the Baltimore Sun." Landsman, chastened, can muster only a lame "Sorry, Lieutentant. My bad." He recognizes that the moment has been lost. The offices and warehouse the Greeks used have been sanitized.
The Feds read Sobotka the charges they've lodged: Racketeering, wire fraud, conspiracy to import heroin, conspiracy to violate Federal customs statutes, white slavery... When Sobotka asks them what they want, they tell him full cooperation. "Name names and come clean. You help yourself and your union." Their mention of the union, however, infuriates Sobotka: "Twenty-five years we been dyin' slow down there. Dry-docks rustin', piers standin' empty. My friends and their kids. Like we got the cancer. No lifeline got throwed, all that time. Nuthin' from nobody... And now you wanna help us. Help me. Where the fuck were you?"
Except for White Mike, the rest of the suspects are hostile and silent. He, however, is ready to chirp, especially after McNulty plays him a compelling audio tape that in court will nail him as a drug dealer. The problem is, as a low-level outsider, Mike's knowledge of the Greeks and their organization is limited.
After his detention hearing, Sobotka's lawyers want to talk, but Sobotka shakes them off. "Not now. I need to get clean," he tells them, heading finally to jail to visit his son. When he sees Ziggy and asks what happened to him, Ziggy tells the truth: "I dunno. Got tired of bein' the punch line to every joke."
Ziggy is bitter toward both his father, whom he says has more affection for the union than he does for Ziggy, and his mother, who zones out on Nembutal. He also reveals to Sobotka that he's known for years that Frank is not his real father.
Meanwhile Proposition Joe arranges a meeting between Omar and Stringer. Stringer has decided to defy Avon and have Brother Mouzone killed so that he can uphold his deal to cede territory to Proposition Joe in exchange for quality dope. Convincing Omar that Brother Mouzone had, in fact, murdered Omar's lover Brandon, Stringer then tells Omar where Mouzone can be found. Taking the bait, Omar shoots Mouzone, wounding but not killing him. Bleeding badly, Mouzone convinces Omar that he had nothing to do with Brandon's killing, and, believing him, Omar calls an ambulance instead of killing him.
After his talk with Ziggy, Sobotka decides to put in a day of hard labour for the first time in a long time. He volunteers for stevedore work at the union hiring hall, and spends the day loading ships and securing the loads to the decks.
For the moment, the detail lets Vondas remain at large, tailing him in the hopes he'll lead them to the head of his operation. When Daniels asks Fitzhugh for a quality surveillance team to stay on Vondas, who's being followed by the inexperienced Russell, Fitz reminds him that the Feds are interested only in the union guys, "which means my field office is pretty much over this case."
Russell, warming to the job, tracks Vondas subtly and reports in that he's gone to a hotel room downtown. "She wasn't much when we started," admires Bunk. "Now she's got game," McNulty finishes his thought. When Vondas leaves the hotel with his lawyer, however, The Greek trails behind, and neither Russell nor any of the more seasoned cops pick up on his presence. Worse, they manage to lose Vondas altogether.
Russell is outraged when she hears Pearlman and Daniels discussing possible immunity for White Mike on his drug charges, and volunteers to speak with Sobotka to see if she can flip him to learn the same information. He accepts, agreeing to meet with Daniels and Pearlman, ready to spill his guts. Pearlman, playing by the book, stops him however, and tells him to return in the morning with a lawyer at his side.
At dinner, The Greek and Vondas discuss how to keep Sobotka on the ranch. The most obvious way, they decide, is to pressure the young clerk Ziggy shot in Glekas's store to change his story and tell the cops that Ziggy fired in self-defense.
Vondas feels certain that Sobotka, able suddenly to spring his son from jail, would be less inclined to talk to the police. And of Nick, whom Vondas has grown fond, Vondas says don't worry. When he meets Nick later and tells him of the plan to pressure the clerk, he asks to meet with Sobotka in person, to be sure of his cooperation. "We only ask loyalty," Vondas says, handing Nick a slip of paper with a location where he and Sobotka should meet.
When Nick sees his uncle, Sobotka is bitter and says he intends to blow the whistle on the Greeks. Nick urges him to reconsider, telling Sobotka of The Greek's scheme to lift some of Ziggy's weight by leaning on the clerk to change his story. Intrigued, Sobotka agrees to meet with Vondas, but forbids Nick to come with him.
FBI agent Fitzhugh's report detailing Sobotka's plan to flip the next morning in exchange for leniency for Ziggy and Nick reaches FBI agent Koutris, who again tips The Greek to the imminent danger. As Sobotka makes his way to the lonely spot under the Key Bridge for his meeting with Vondas, the FBI agent Koutris sends a message to The Greek and warns him of Sobotka's intention to tell the police what he knows. With Sobotka in sight, The Greek tells Vondas that the union leader must not leave their meeting alive.
12 - Port in a Storm
"Business. Always business."
- The Greek
At the cargo terminal, stevedores and checkers gathering at dawn for a day of work notice a police launch idling in the harbour; a policeman struggling with another floater. About the same time, Nick knocks on his uncle Frank Sobotka's door and learns he never returned home the previous evening. Fearing the worst, he races to the desolate spot under the Key Bridge where Sobotka was to meet Vondas and The Greek the evening before and finds Sobotka's truck parked and locked. At the dock, the longshoremen - including Sobotka's colleagues Ott, Maui, Moonshot and Little Big Roy - meet the police launch. Nick arrives at the same moment and sees the policemen lift off a body - Frank Sobotka - throat slashed and blue from 18 hours in the water.
Stringer Bell visits Brother Mouzone in the hospital, inquiring aout his recovery. Telling Mouzone that "we got your back" and "whoever did this, we find 'em," Stringer finds Mouzone even colder and more remote than usual. "I appreciate the offer," Mouzoune says, "but that won't be necessary. Inform Mr. Barksdale that any obligation he feels might have with regards to this incident, it's absolved, along with our agreement." Stringer, unable too resist asking if Mouzone knows who shot him, is dismissed with a curt: "Thank you for your concern."
Nick, consumed with grief and guilt, is watched over by Horseface and others at his uncle's office. When he grows angry however and tries to leave, vowing to "kill 'em, all of 'em. Fucking Greek bastards," Coxson and La-La stop him, reminding him of Ziggy's fate. Instead, with his father, turns himself in at police headquarters.
Omar, visiting Butchie at the ghetto bar, tells him that he shot Brother Mouzone, whom Stringer had said killed Brandon. He didn't actually kill Mouzone, Omar explains, because Mouzone seemed genuinely puzzled when Omar accused him of Brandon's murder. Butchie confirms Omar's insight, explaining that Mouzone works his evil "mostly up north - New York and Philly." Omar, realizing he's been played by Stringer, is furious with himself. "I'm going at Stringer," he vows, and when Butchie gives him Stringer's phone number, he's off.
In Valchek's office, Daniels explains that the night before, Sobotka had agreed to spill the beans on the Greeks. "So he lays down with gangsters, gets up with his throat cut. I almost feel sorry for the sonofabitch," Valchek says in a rare moment of sympthy.
When the conversation turns to the contretemps with Prez, Valchek says he intends to bring charges against his son-in-law. Daniels cunningly explains that all the witnesses to the incident - FBI agents and his own detail - wrote up reports on what they saw, and included the fact that Valchek incited Prez, a subordinate officer. Valchek backs down and demands a slap-on-the-wrist punishment for Prez. Daniels smiles secretly, having saved his man.
In Burrell's office with Rawls, Daniels and the FBI's Reese and Fitzhugh, Pearlman explains that Sobotka was planning to cooperate with police before he was killed. Burrell wonders if they have a leak in the squad. Daniels trusts his people, he says, and Pearlman has everything under lock and key at the courthouse. Only Fitzhugh seems uncertain, but he says nothing.
Daniels explains that all the suspects in the case have been picked up except for the number two man - Vondas - who's still at large because they are "hoping he'll lead us to number one." He admits, however, that Vondas has eluded his tail at the moment. But when he's picked up, Pearlman says, they have a solid case of racketeering, drugs and prostitution against him. As for the union, Reese explains, with Sobotka dead, the FBI has an inconsequential case against a subordinate or two of his. But, she adds, "the important thing... was to make a public example. Either the union jettisons the current leadership, or we have enough to get that local decertified." Rawls remains obsessed with the 14 unsolved murders on his hands. "When, oh when, do we get to that bit of business?" he asks.
Vondas, the detail learns, has dumped his Mercedes in a parking garage, abandoned his home as well as mobile phone calls and text messages. They do not realize that he is visiting The Greek at a hotel in downtown Baltimore to discuss how much effort should be put into killing Nick, who, having realized they've killed his uncle, is more inclined to spill his guts to the police.
"I am thinking there is nothing to be done at this point," The Greek responds. They also discuss the 150 kilos of heroin soon to arrive at the cargo dock, and decide to let it remain there. "Lambs go to slaughter," The Greek says. "A man - he learns when to walk away." They also discuss providing good legal help for Eton, Serge and the Russian madam, all in police custody, so no one will flip.
Ushered into the detail office, Nick marvels at the bulletin board and its detail on the whole case. "You guys are on all of it, huh?" he says. He tells Pearlman, Freamon and Bunk not to bother with a lawyer for him. "They killed my uncle. I don't need to talk to no one but you people," he says.
He knows the Greeks killed Sobotka, he says, because Sobotka met with them the previous evening, after having told Nick of his intention to finger them. Nick felt he had convinced Sobotka to change his mind by revealing the Greeks' plan to bring pressure on the clerk in Glekas's store to change his story. If Ziggy could claim self-defense, he'd walk, Nick says. And Sobotka, apparently agreeing with him, had left to meet with the Greeks.
Nick also explains to the cops that the longshoremen really weren't aware of the girls who died in the container: "We were paid by the can to creep the shit off the docks. That's all." He also exonerates Sobotka in any drug dealing, admitting that he did that on his own. Bunk explains to Nick that Sobotka had cut a deal to make things easier on Nick and on Ziggy before he was killed, and the police are willing to extend that deal to Nick. "You can walk with a suspended sentence on the drug counts if you testify against the Greeks and their people."
Nick pounces on the offer and ticks off what he knows of the operation, fingering Vondas ("He told me an' Frank what cans to disappear, and when it got to me an' the drugs, he was the one who hooked that up."); Eton ("their drug guy"); Glekas ("in charge of stolen shit"); and Serge ("he drove for them"). The only lie he tells, trying to save one of his own, is that Horseface is clean.
He also tells them it was Serge who went to Philly and killed the Atlantic Light seaman because he was responsible for the death of the girls. He ID's a photo of The Greek, marking their primary target for the first time. Realizing Nick is a prime target now for the Greeks, the police pick up his girlfriend Aimee and his daughter and sequester the three of them in a motel room.
Freamon provides the second reminder to Fitz that the leaks in the investigation seemed to develop only after the FBI became involved. Troubled, Fitz calls the San Diego Field Office and is speechless when he learns that Agent Koutris is no longer there, and in fact was transferred to the D.C. counterterrorism unit more than a year ago.
Stringer visits Avon in prison and tells him Mouzone was ambushed in his motel room and that Mouzone is going home once he recovers from his wounds. Avon is irritated when Stringer tells him he asked Mouzone who shot him. "How you gonna ask a soldier like Mouzone a question like that? Either he gonna say, or he gonna go to work on it. But either way, you ain't askin' such shit." Their relationship is more fragile than ever, but Avon concedes to the alliance with Proposition Joe, and they part nevertheless with knuckles to the window once again.
At the cargo dock in Philly, Bunk and Freamon find security video of Serge driving his car onto the docks and kidnapping the seaman from the Atlantic Light weeks earlier. Confronted with the evidence back at the interrogation room, Serge flips, fingering Vondas as the seaman's killer and explaining that he was murdered because he had killed the women in the container.
With the 14 homicides solved at last, the cops press Serge for details on the whereabouts of Vondas and The Greek. He directs them to a downtown hotel room, but by the time the cops arrive, the two are gone, passing through customs at the airport. "Business or pleasure on this trip?" a customs inspector asks them. "Business. Always business," The Greek replies, and boards the plane.
At a bar in Baltimore, the squad wraps up the case with a few drinks. Nick has copped to smuggling on the cargo docks and dealing drugs; Serge has cleared up the murder of the girls; White Mike is down for narcotics. The question is whether to bring Proposition Joe in, too, since they have enough to indict him. Greggs suggests they wait, revealing a surveillance photo of Stringer meeting with Proposition Joe. "Major case squad would have some fun with that mess, dont'cha think?" she says.
Fitzhugh comes clean with Daniels, telling him that the leak was not, in fact, with the police squad but most likely through FBI agent Koutris, now with the 9/11 boys in D.C. "I'm guessing Vondas or The Greek was an asset to them. Hooked up like that over who-knows-what."
It's left to Beadie Russell to sum it up: "I mean, we locked some people up, right? But Frank is still gonna be dead and the port is still screwed and the guy who killed the girls, he got killed anyway. And the girls - I mean the ones we locked up, they're probably back in Europe right now getting into another shipping container..."