Told from the points of view of both the Baltimore homicide and narcotics detectives and their targets, the series captures a universe in which the national war on drugs has become a permanent, self-sustaining bureaucracy, and distinctions between good and evil are routinely obliterated.
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"The bigger the lie, the more they believe." - Bunk Moreland McNulty and the detail continue to stake out Marlo and his crew. Recently promoted Sergeant Carver is met with complaints concerning unpaid overtime. Meanwhile, Haynes deals with cutbacks, but is still able to expose a politician's connection to a drug dealer; and Joe, Marlo, Fatface Rick meet to divide up the drug trade across Baltimore.
"This ain't Aruba, bitch." - Bunk Moreland Freamon keeps a look out for Marlo, who is putting together a deal with Avon Barksdale. Davis goes to Burrell for help, but finds that the commissioner's hands are tied. Whiting puts together a series on broad strokes.
"They're dead where it doesn't count." - Fletcher Mayor Carcetti's police department plan is leaked. Marlo turns to Proposition Joe for help. Meanwhile, McNulty strikes up an unexpected ally -- Freamon.
"Buyer's market out there." - Templeton Omar plots his revenge for his former associates murder now that he's returned from exile. Gus stresses the need for a city-court reporter, after missing out on a grand jury probe. Carcetti finds there are strings attached in his desire to get rid of Burrell. While McNulty investigates the deaths of homeless men, Freamon needs the help of an old friend. Also, Marlo looks to the future in his dealings with the Greeks.
"Just because they're in the street doesn't mean they lack opinions." - Haynes While the crew awaits a showdown with Omar, Marlo celebrates a business deal. Meanwhile, at the Sun, McNulty and Freamon take advantage of a development regarding the murder of the homeless people, while Dukie heads to Cutty's gym. Also, Herc does Carver a favor as a means to make amends for his past behavior, while Davis takes his case to the court of public opinion.
"If you have a problem with this. I understand completely." - Freamon Marlo's crew goes on full alert after Omar's mysterious disappearance. Meanwhile, Carcetti concentrates on the plight of the homeless, while Bunk has an interview with a witness connected with the row-house case, and Templeton looks to a follow up to his recent front page story.
"They don't teach it in law school." - Pearlman After cooking up another scheme for the homeless case, McNulty and Lester become popular figures. Davis is set for his day in court by collecting the best legal assistance money can buy. Plus, Michael has brushes with the wrong side of the law, while Gus seeks help for an old story by going outside the Sun.
"A lie ain't a side of a story. It's just a lie." - Terry Hanning A shift in the police department sends Carver to a new location. Meanwhile, Carcetti is forced to put his political future in jeopardy, Haynes digs deeper into Templeton's work, and an important case has a breakthrough by Sydnor, while Fletcher continues working with Bubbles.
"Deserve got nuthin' to do with it." - Snoop A promising lead makes Freamon's hard work worthwhile, although McNulty doesn't feel like a celebration. Michael is suspicious about his latest assignment;.Haynes gets fresh eyes to help with fact-checking. Namond's debating skills make Colvin proud. Davis points a finger at Levy and the courts. And Bubbles recounts a recent temptation overcome.
"...the life of kings." - H.L. Mencken A damaging report by Pearlman and Daniels gets a reaction from Carcetti, while Haynes finds little support for his concerns about a reporters work from the bosses. Meanwhile, McNulty wants to put a homeless case to an end, Dukie searches for an old mentor and a fallen officer is given a wake.