"A lie ain't a side of a story. It's just a lie." - Terry Hanning
Det. James "Jimmy" McNulty presents a detailed report about the serial killer investigation to Mayor Thomas "Tommy" Carcetti, Norman Wilson, Commissioner William A. Rawls, Deputy Commissioner for Operations Cedric Daniels and other police commanders. McNulty asks for surveillance resources for several "persons of interest" and requests that Sgt. Ellis Carter run the surveillance team.
When he points out they will need decent undercover cars, the Mayor orders them to go to Enterprise if they have to, he's sparing no expense. After Carcetti leaves, Rawls tells his team the bad news: They'll actually have to catch the serial killer. But the good news is the mayor finally needs a police department more than he needs a school system.
Duquan "Dukie" Weems stops in an athletic shoe store looking for a job, but the salesman, Poot, informs him the manager won't hire anyone under 17. Poot recognizes Dukie from hanging out with Namond on the corner and admits he got tired of that life. He encourages Dukie to hold out a while longer and come back when he's old enough.
McNulty fills Carver in on what he and Det. Lester Freamon really want him to do with his surveillance teams - watch Marlo Stanfield and his crew, not the serial killer suspects. McNulty explains that he's throwing people over to Freamon's investigation of Marlo and writing up the hours and paperwork under his serial killer case.
Carver suspects they have an illegal wire tap, knowing he gave Freamon Marlo's mobile phone number from Herc two weeks ago, but McNulty claims to know nothing about that. Carver finally agrees to the scheme and when he asks about how they'll get decent cars, he is stunned to hear they have been granted an open account at Enterprise car rental downtown.
Chief of Staff Michael Steintorf and the budget director review priorities with Carcetti about how to avoid cuts to school funding while giving the police department what they need to solve the serial killer case. Carcetti informs them he's speaking at a vigil for the homeless. Norman interrupts with the news that Maurice Dobey from "P.G." (Prince George's) county is suggesting he may run for governor in the Democratic primary, and U.S. Congressman Albert Upshaw is threatening to back him. Though Dobey can't win, he could do damage to Carcetti's bid for the Statehouse, and Carcetti realizes he has to meet with Upshaw to try to put a stop to it.
Carver addresses his hand-picked surveillance team - including Officers Kenneth Dozerman, Brian McLarney, Bobby Brown, Lloyd "Truck" Carrick - all of whom are pleased with unlimited O.T. and the pristine rental cars.
On a cigarette break at the loading dock at the Baltimore Sun, City Editor Augustus "Gus" Haynes talks with Bill Zorzi and Jeff Price about whether Scott Templeton is hyping the serial killer story, but they decide it's real enough, which means they'll be writing homeless stories until the end of the year (the cut-off for Pulitzer submissions). Back inside, Haynes gets a call that there's a homeless vet in the lobby wanting to talk to Templeton's editor - the reporter won't take his calls so he's showed up in person.
Michael Lee relays Omar's message to Chris Partlow and Snoop: Omar is calling Marlo a coward for not coming down to fight him on the street. Michael is certain Marlo would want to know but Partlow and Snoop are insistent they don't want to bother him about it right now, vowing to take care of Omar themselves.
Dozerman and Truck are interrupted from admiring the state-of-the-art GPS in their rental car when Omar approaches (recognizing them as cops) and alerts them to where two corner boys have hidden their drugs. After the officers bust the two guys, Omar approaches, scaring off a group of young boys who know he's trouble. Young Kenard remains behind, watching Omar as he scares off the remaining corner boys and disposes of their drugs. Next, Omar identifies the safe house forcing the guys to turn over another stash, which he also dumps. He calls out "Marlo!" again, shouting into the empty street.
Haynes goes to meet the homeless veteran Terry Hanning who indicts Templeton's story about him as full of lies. Haynes gets Templeton to sit down with the vet and Templeton insists his reporting was accurate. Haynes tries to determine whether Hanning could have been drinking or exaggerating, but the man insists he knows what it is to tell a story, and he would never embellish the details of a battle - it would be too disrespectful to his fellow Marines. Templeton insists to Haynes that the guy is off, but Haynes cuts him short and tells Templeton to track down some of the other men in the unit and find out what happened that day outside Fallujah. They will write a correction if it wasn't accurate.
Swallowing his pride, Det. William "Bunk" Moreland asks McNulty to sign his lab report request, finally giving into McNulty's scheme in order to expedite the lab work he's been waiting almost a year for.
Omar enters a convenience store to buy cigarettes when Kenard comes in and shoots him in the head, killing him. Dets. Norris and Crutchfield arrive at the scene and call Bunk, figuring he'd want to know about the murder, given his history with Omar. Bunk finds Omar's list of the top guys he was hunting down in Marlo Stanfield's operation.
Freamon and the surveillance team remain stumped by the clock code Marlo is sending and receiving on his mobile phone. Leander explains to the team they are trying to identify the pattern of the meeting times.
Going over the resupply plan, Marlo informs a surprised Chris and Snoop that Omar is dead, killed by an unknown kid for no apparent reason.
Enroute to Quantico to hear the FBI profile of McNulty's faked serial killer phone call Det. Shakima "Kima" Greggs and McNulty discuss their respective relationships. When they hear the final report, McNulty is taken aback by the accurate psychological profile they lay out (of McNulty, who faked the voice of the killer).
Reporter Mike Fletcher tells Haynes he's interested in spending time with Bubbles to write a profile and Haynes grants him a couple of weeks to pursue it. Gutierrez gives Haynes the news of Omar's murder (not knowing who he is), and Haynes tells her to write up a fire and scratch the murder - there's no room.
Carcetti and Wilson meet with 4th District U.S. Congressman Albert Upshaw, asking what it will take to stop him from running Dobey in the primary. Carcetti promises that when he takes the statehouse, he will help his district, but Upshaw says it's going to cost the mayor more than his word.
McNulty is disturbed to arrive home to find Beadie and her children gone, and a note suggesting that this could be his future.
Bunk finally gets his lab work back on the DNA samples from Michael Lee's murdered stepfather and is pleased to find out there's a match for Chris Partlow.
Freamon meets with the US Attorney, trying to get them to take the Clay Davis case using the false loan evidence he'd gathered (the "head shot"). But the US Attorney refuses, furious that Bond kept the case for himself and not only lost it, but managed to turn Davis into a near-martyr for the black community.
Bunk tells McNulty Omar is dead and hands over Omar's handwritten list. He also reports he has positive DNA on Chris Partlow for the alley beating but acquiesces to McNulty's plea that he hold off on serving the murder warrant because Freamon claims he's close to taking down Marlo's entire operation.
Det. Frank Barlow blackmails McNulty into giving him a car and covering his weekend golf trip to Hilton Head, threatening to blow the whistle on his OT-distribution scheme.
When Freamon reports that Marlo just got a call, Sydnor checks in with the rest of the surveillance team and they discover that none of their subjects have picked up a phone. Freamon realizes there's another person in the network they don't know about.
Dukie helps a junk peddler load an empty refrigerator onto his cart, and the man offers to pay $10 if he helps him take the scrap to the weigh station. With no other job offers, Dukie agrees.
When Greggs readies to compare the FBI profile of the serial killer to a huge stack of files on known sex offenders, McNulty can't stand the guilt anymore and whisks her away to an interview room to fill her in on what he and Freamon have been doing. Greggs, stunned, insists to McNulty he can't be doing this.
Meeting with Carcetti and City Council President Nerese Campbell, Clay Davis disparages the idea of Dobey running for governor. Even Clay can't believe the dirty politics of playing the race card and pretending to run an African-American candidate who can't win, just to get payoffs. Carcetti says Upshaw wants too much to keep Dobey out of the race but admits he's still "in negotiations."
Nerese promises to do whatever she can to help Carcetti - if he endorses her for Mayor. Given that Bond lost his case against Clay Davis, she doesn't think he will make a viable mayoral contender. Clay promises his loyalty to Carcetti will only cost two seats on the liquor board.
McNulty checks in with Freamon and reports that Bunk has a murder warrant on Partlow, explaining that he's secured a few days' grace period to wrap up their investigation. McNulty hands over Omar's list, and Freamon notes Cheese Wagstaff's name - someone Freamon hadn't identified as being under Marlo's wing. McNulty also reports that he confided in Greggs, and Freamon gets angry.
Trying to find the location of a possible Marlo meet, Sydnor consults a Baltimore street map and going over the coordinates, he suddenly realizes that Marlo's clocks are a code for Baltimore map grid coordinates.
Carcetti gives a rousing speech at the vigil for the homeless.
At a bar, Freamon watches Clay Davis socializing with a lady friend in a booth. When Davis gets up to refresh their drinks, Freamon goes over to the woman and whispers to her, and she steps away as Freamon settles into the opposite booth. When Davis returns, Freamon greets him and informs the senator it was mostly Lester's evidence that Clay overcame at his trial; he wonders if Davis thinks he can do that again with a Federal jury. Lester hands over copies of the paper trail he has on Clay's illegal loan and tells him he will keep quiet in exchange for his help with information in the future.
At the Sun, Haynes, with the Metro Editor's support, tells Templeton he's cutting the lead to the story about the homeless vigil because it features an unnamed homeless woman. Templeton throws a fit at the implication that he's lying and storms back to his desk. Managing Editor Thomas Klebanow challenges Haynes's decision but Haynes packs up his things for the night, insisting on his way out the door that he's following the paper's sourcing policy.
Carcetti comes home and fills his wife Jennifer in on the day's political maneuverings in his bid for Governor.
Beadie and the kids return home and she informs him next time, she's not going anywhere - he is. McNulty confesses what's been going on, telling her about the invented serial killer case and admitting it's gotten out of hand. Taking it in, Beadie realizes he could go to jail. She tells a chagrined McNulty that he had no right to do this - it impacts her life too.
Sydnor explains the map code to Freamon, who's impressed with his protégé's detective work. Freamon deduces that because all the coordinates seem to be within a 30-40 minute drive, they must just assume that the meeting time is within an hour of getting the clock code. He realizes that one of the clocks indicates coordinates for East Baltimore - and deduces that Cheese Wagstaff must be Marlo's East side lieutenant. Greggs busts in and announces she's not okay with the scheme.
At the morgue, a technician notes that the names have been changed on two body bags -Omar's body bag is identified as a white male, heart attack victim, and vice versa. Amused, he switches the names back, correcting the mistake.