A lie ain't a side of a story. It's just a lie. - Terry Hanning
Officers Truck and Dozerman stop for a snack and they are approached by a limping Omar. He tells the police that two drug dealers on a nearby corner are carrying weapons. Truck and Dozerman arrest the offending dealers as Omar approaches the corner through a back alley. He passes Kenard and a group of other children torturing a stray cat and all the children but Kenard flee. Omar runs the remaining drug dealers off of the corner and throws their ground stash down a drain. He walks down the block to a vacant house and demands the rest of the stash – threatening to go inside when there is no response. The stash is dropped out of the house and again Omar throws it down the drain, all the while shouting about Marlo Stanfield’s fear of facing him.
Omar goes to a corner store to buy cigarettes and is shot and killed by Kenard while at the counter. Kenard drops the gun and flees the scene.
Chris and Snoop cruise the streets still hunting Omar when they receive a coded message (a picture of a clock face) from Marlo to organize a meeting. Chris reports that there is no sign of Omar. Marlo is surprised to be relating the news of Omar's death to them. Snoop is annoyed and asks Marlo who killed Omar – Marlo reports that it was a young boy but doesn’t know any more detail. Marlo reminds Chris that he is planning a trip to Atlantic City to celebrate and Chris nods.
At the close of the episode Omar’s corpse is at the morgue being processed by the medical examiners. One of the staff notices a tag, which lists Omar Little as an AAM (African American Male), on the bag for a Caucasian decedent who lies adjacent to Omar’s body. The assistant medical examiner realizes the tags have been confused and puts the correct tag back on Omar’s corpse before sealing the body bags.
McNulty meets with Carver to discuss his joining the homeless murder detail. Carver asks the same question as Daniels – why choose him over a sergeant from the district where the murders occurred. McNulty admits there is “a hitch” and closes the door. Carver tells McNulty that he does not want him or any of his people to get burned. McNulty explains that he is using resources assigned to the homeless detail to assist Lester Freamon in following up a new lead on Stanfield. Carver guesses that Freamon is actually running a wiretap and McNulty denies any knowledge. Carver reveals that he gave Freamon the cell phone number Stanfield is using and McNulty continues to deny involvement. Carver guesses “the bosses stiff-armed” Freamon and is aghast that they are willing to allow the vacant murders to go unsolved. Carver asks about the paperwork and McNulty offers to handle that aspect and asks Carver to send him people willing to work. Carver nods his assent and McNulty goes to leave but Carver stops him to ask about cars and McNulty tells him the department has an account with a hire firm.
Carver chairs a meeting with his newly assembled surveillance teams. Officer Bobby Brown is pleased to learn that unlimited overtime is available and Dozerman quizzes Carver about the other cases they might be working on. Carver explains that the Major Crimes Unit is running a drug investigation that might need surveillance work. The officers are very pleased when Carver gives them the keys to their rented vehicles.
In the homicide unit, McNulty discusses their new recruits with Freamon over the phone. Bunk approaches McNulty with a request to sign but cautions McNulty not to revel in the moment. Bunk takes the request to the crime lab and delivers it to the supervisor Rob Lowenthal, claiming that his investigation is now tied in with the homeless murders. Lowenthal agrees to prioritise the DNA matching on Bunk’s case.
Kima Greggs tells McNulty they need to get on the road to Quantico. As they leave the office she asks if he has used the profiling team before and McNulty remembers one instance but derides the usefulness of the process. Greggs wonders why they are going if it is not useful and McNulty says they are doing it so they can report that they have.
Greggs and McNulty discuss their relationships on the way to Quantico. McNulty asks Greggs if she misses her relationship with Cheryl and Greggs admits that she feels responsible for the end of the relationship because of her infidelity but states that she does not miss it. However, she does feel a connection to Elijah. McNulty says that kids are great and Greggs agrees before asking him about his relationship with Beadie. McNulty recalls Bunk telling him that he was no good for people (from the series 1 episode “Lessons”) and Greggs tries to soften the comment by asking if Bunk was drinking at the time – McNulty confirms that he was.
The FBI profilers begin to describe their assessment by noting the inconsistencies in the killers behavior in terms of the timing of his crimes. They also recognize that the killer is unusual as previous serial killers targeting the homeless have been homeless themselves but the Baltimore killer is using a cell phone so is not likely to be homeless. The unit’s deputy director Arthur Tolan interrupts the meeting and brags about his work on high profile cases and television series like CSI. The homicide detectives are unimpressed and Tolan leaves deflated. His subordinates tell McNulty and Greggs that Tolan was the lead investigator on the Unabomber case, but the detectives remain unimpressed, as that investigation stretched over sixteen years and was broken by an the perpetrator's brother coming forward as an informant.
The FBI agents continue the profile, which is an accurate description of McNulty: The suspect is most likely a white male in his late twenties to late thirties, who is not a college graduate, but feels superior to those with advanced education, and is likely employed in a bureaucratic entity, possibly civil or public service. They continue that he has a problem with authority and a deep-seated resentment for those that have impeded his progress professionally. The sexual nature of the killings is thought to be a secondary motivation and the lack of DNA or saliva in the bite marks suggests possible postmortem staging. The suspect is described as struggling with lasting relationships and potentially a high functioning alcoholic with alcohol being used as a trigger in the crimes. Finally they speculate that the suspect’s apparent resentment of the homeless may indicate a previous personal relationship with a homeless person or the targeting may simply be an opportunity for the killer to assert his superiority and intellectual prowess. As they leave, Greggs asks for McNulty’s opinion and he tells her the profile is in the ballpark.
Back in Baltimore, Bunk is called to the Omar Little shooting scene by Ed Norris. Women in the crowd outside are speculating that Omar was shot trying to rob the Korean owned grocery store. Crutchfield is also at the scene and tells Bunk that he should have let him give Omar the years in prison as he would have been better off. Bunk glares at Crutchfield before assessing the body. Bunk thanks Norris for the call and speculates that Omar was killed professionally. Crutchfield admits that he thought the same but that the store owner witnessed the shooting and described the perpetrator as a short adolescent with a big gun. Bunk notices that Omar’s weapons are gone and asks if the perpetrator robbed Omar. Norris explains that the young hoppers took souvenirs from the body including the weapons. Bunk notices a piece of paper and picks it up with Crutchfield’s permission. It is a list of personnel in Stanfield’s organization and their corners. It includes Marlo, Chris, Monk, Cheese, Snoop, O-Dog, Savino, Cherry and Vincent. Savino’s name is crossed out. Bunk looks at the body and speculates that Omar was back on the hunt.
McNulty returns from Quantico to an empty house. He finds a note from Beadie that reads "Jimmy, one possible future. Be back tomorrow or the next day. Or not. Think about it B". McNulty is horrified as intended.
Lowenthal calls Bunk back to the crime lab the next day and reports a match to Chris Partlow from DNA found on Devar Manigault’s body. Lowenthal tells Bunk that he recognizes the name from the vacant murders but is aware there is no real link to the homeless killings. Lowenthal warns Bunk not to play him again. Bunk delivers Omar’s list to McNulty and tells him about Omar’s death. Bunk tells McNulty that Omar was hunting the Stanfield organization and offers the list as payback for McNulty’s assistance with the lab. McNulty asks Bunk to hold back on the Partlow murder warrant to allow Freamon to make a break in the Stanfield investigation and Bunk reluctantly agrees. Bunk tells McNulty that he made his case the honest way and McNulty claims that without the fake serial killer Bunk would still be awaiting the lab work. Ray Barlow approaches McNulty to ask for money to pursue an out of town lead over the weekend based on a case similar to a murdered transvestite. McNulty notices differences in the evidence and refuses. Barlow admits that he really wants to travel for a golf game and threatens to expose McNulty if he does not grant the funding request, so McNulty hesitantly agrees.
McNulty readies to leave the office when Gregg comes in carrying a pile of paperwork. She is planning to spend the evening working on the serial killer case and review the files on known sex offenders and the background information on persons of interest present at the harbor when the call was traced to compare them to the FBI profile. McNulty pulls Greggs into an interview room and comes clean about making up the serial killer. Greggs tries to tell McNulty he cannot carry on with his plan but McNulty tries to reassure her that it will all be over soon. McNulty offers Greggs a share of his resources to work her own cases and then leaves.
McNulty finds himself alone at Russell’s house again that evening and gets a call from Detective Christeson to thank him for the manpower he provided. Christeson has made an arrest on his case. Russell eventually returns with her children late in the evening. She refuses to tell McNulty where she has been and warns him that next time he will be the one to leave as she owns the house.
Russell warns McNulty that his family and closest friends are the only ones who will remember him when he is gone and that his colleagues and associates will not be at his wake. She urges him to reconsider his priorities. McNulty admits that he fabricated the serial killer. He tells her that he felt frustrated with his position when the Stanfield case was shut down and admits that he is unsure where his anger comes from or how he can make it stop. He explains that he has channeled funding to Freamon to continue the Stanfield investigation and admits that he cannot stand his actions. Russell is scared of the possibility of McNulty being imprisoned for his actions and angry that he took such a risk without including her. McNulty begins to tell Russell that he initially thought of himself as the hero of the story but then realized he was wrong, she goes back inside the house as he is talking.
Freamon meets with the Maryland US Attorney with the evidence from the Davis investigation, hoping to take the case federal now that local prosecution has failed. FBI supervisor Amanda Reese and Agent Fitzhugh are also present. The prosecutor refuses to take the case because Bond has recast Davis as a martyr for the black community and made much of the federal casework inadmissible as the state senator has been found not guilty.
Freamon returns to manning the picture intercepts and finds a coded message from Stanfield with a clock face showing 10:55:34. He calls Sydnor to see which of their targets is moving and Sydnor reports that Marlo is driving Eastbound on Baltimore Street. Freamon asks about Monk and Sydnor learns from Dozerman that Monk is Southbound on Martin Luther King Boulevard. Freamon records the timing and targets involved in the meeting. Sydnor observes the meeting, which is at the corner of Argyle and Dolphin. Freamon records a new incoming message to Marlo reading 4:40:35. The other targets are all stationary and not using phones so Freamon speculates that there is someone on the network they have yet to uncover. Later Freamon intercepts another message reading 5:15:35. Sydnor has lost Stanfield following a traffic incident. McNulty arrives at the office and tells Freamon about Bunk getting the murder warrant on Partlow. Freamon is concerned that an arrest could drive the Stanfield Organization to change their pattern but McNulty reassures him that Bunk agreed to hold the warrant for them. McNulty also reports Omar’s death and delivers his list to Freamon. Freamon recognizes Cheese Wagstaff’s name. Freamon had realized Stanfield was wholesaling to other dealers but McNulty theorizes that the note shows him as being part of Stanfield’s organization. McNulty prepares to leave and admits that he has told Greggs about the plan. Freamon is shocked that McNulty has told another person and asks how she took it. McNulty shakes his head and leaves.
Sydnor tries to pick up Stanfield by checking the location of the other surveillance cars. Karen reports that they have tailed Snoop to Edgecomb Circle in the Northwestern District but Freamon does not recognize the location. He pulls out an atlas to find it and realizes that the page number corresponds to the code the dealers are using.
After work Freamon tracks Clay Davis to a bar. Freamon asks the Senator’s companion to give them privacy while Davis buys drinks and Freamon then surprises Davis on his return. Davis is initially jocular about his recent victory in the court case until Freamon threatens him with the prospect of renewing the charges at the federal level and adding the false information on the Davis’ mortgage application. Davis assumes Freamon is trying to blackmail him for money and Freamon tells him that he will instead have to give answers in a few nights' time.
Freamon returns to the office to find that Sydnor has cracked the clock code. The time gives a location to meet only with the second hand indicating the atlas page, the hour hand the longitude (1 to 11 corresponding to gird squares A to K) and the minute hand intervals the latitude (with five minute intervals indicating the grid square). Each grid square has a prearranged meeting location. Sydnor is perplexed that the code gives only a location and not a time to meet and Freamon postulates that the meetings are to happen within an hour of the message being sent because the locations are tightly grouped within a half hour of driving of one another. Freamon makes a connection between the messages where none of the surveillance teams saw a subject moving. He recognizes that the second hand is always on 35, indicating the page for East Baltimore in the atlas and guesses that Cheese is involved in the East Side meetings. Sydnor is surprised to hear Cheese’s name in connection to Stanfield. Before Freamon can explain Greggs arrives. She chastises Freamon for his involvement and refuses to listen to any explanation – telling her colleagues she is not good with the plan before exiting.
Norman Wilson arrives at the meeting bearing bad news. He has been called by a Washington Post reporter seeking comment on a story about a Prince George’s (PG) County politician named Dobey opposing Carcetti’s party nomination as the Democratic candidate for governor. Wilson has also learned that Congressman Upshaw may support Dobey creating a greater threat to Carcetti. Steintorf doubts that Dobey could take the state house but worries that a battle in the Democratic primary would cost them much needed resources for their own campaign against the Republican incumbent. Wilson asks Carcetti who he met with when he visited PG County last month to drum up support. Carcetti’s contacts are all white and Wilson suggests that Carcetti will have to quell the potential insurrection.
Carcetti and Wilson travel to PG County and meet with Congressman Upshaw. Carcetti promises to do whatever it takes to make their relationship right and asks why Upshaw would back Dobey when it hurts everyone. Upshaw clarifies that he thinks it would only really hurt Carcetti. The two elected politicians share an animosity for the governor. Carcetti gives the congressman his word that their frustration will end when he is elected but the Upshaw tells Carcetti it will cost a lot more than his word to keep PG County in his camp.
Back in Baltimore, Carcetti meets with Nerese Campbell and Clay Davis to discuss the threat from Dobey. Campbell and Davis appear friendly but use the opportunity to secure promises from Carcetti in exchange for their support against Dobey. Campbell asks for Carcetti’s endorsement to replace him as Mayor while Davis asks for three seats on the liquor board and Carcetti offers him one. Davis offers to raise funds for Carcetti’s campaign in exchange for a second seat and Carcetti remarks that he is afraid of the damage that Davis can do with two seats on the liquor board and Davis pretends Carcetti is joking.
At the vigil Carcetti gives a rousing speech about the issue of homelessness and the serial killer plaguing the homeless population. Campbell, Wilson and Steintorf look on approvingly and Scott Templeton is also taking notes from the audience.
Carcetti returns home and quickly reviews his performance on the television news. His wife Jen congratulates him on the performance. Carcetti tells her about the negative aspects of his day with the compromises he has been forced to make to fend off opposition from Dobey. Jen is disappointed as Carcetti told her he would prefer to endorse Bond over Campbell. Carcetti reveals that Upshaw has asked for a pledge to send half of any federal funding for Baltimore for schools or crime. Jen is horrified at the prospect of giving up so much of Baltimore City’s needed funding but Carcetti rationalizes that if he does not get elected then Baltimore will receive nothing.
As Haynes returns to the office Jay Spry stops him to pass on a message from the reception desk – a visitor wants to discuss Templeton’s story about a homeless Iraq veteran. Haynes’ suggests that Templeton should take the meeting but Spry explains that the man claims Templeton has been avoiding his calls. Haynes reluctantly heads downstairs and greets the visitor. It is Terry Hanning, the subject of Templeton’s story. Haynes tells Hanning it is an honor to meet him but Hanning does not shake his hand and asks who he is. When Hanning learns that Haynes edited the piece he calls him a liar.
Haynes arranges a face to face meeting between Hanning and Templeton and sits in on the discussion. Hanning angrily confronts Templeton about a fabricated element in the story – Templeton has written that Hanning’s unit was in a firefight when Hanning clearly told him in episode 57 “Took” that his vehicle was hit by an elevated IED (Improvised Explosive Device) injuring his comrades and that there was no further action. Hanning is aggressively confrontational when Templeton claims that his notes show otherwise. Templeton repeatedly asks to be allowed to finish and then threatens to end the discussion if he is not allowed to tell his side of the story. This prompts Hanning to deliver the epigraph “A lie ain’t a side of a story. It’s just a lie.”
Haynes asks both men to calm down and asks Hanning about his alcohol consumption – Hanning angrily asserts that he would not sleep under a bridge sober. Haynes sympathetically explains that when he is drinking he has a tendency to embellish a story. Hanning agrees that is often the case when telling a story but claims that there are certain things that have happened that you do not ever alter when retelling them. Templeton again tries to convince Hanning that their conversation was different from what Hanning remembers. Hanning responds by asking Templeton what would happen if one of the Marines he served with read the story and notices the fabrication. Templeton has no response and Hanning asks for him to leave.
Outside Haynes tells Templeton that they will investigate the complaint by checking Hanning’s service record and verifying the story with the men he served alongside. Haynes insists that they will attribute the complaint to a misunderstanding but that if any of the details of Templeton’s story prove to be incorrect then they will print a correction. Templeton is annoyed with the outcome while Hanning remains distraught. Haynes reenters and Hanning tells Haynes that Templeton also lied during the meeting – they were drinking chocolate milk when he told the story and not coffee as Templeton claimed.
Haynes edits a story from Mike Fletcher about homelessness in the city and complements the work. Fletcher remains modest and reveals that he was helped by a source – Reginald “Bubbles” Cousins and says that he felt that he would make a good story. Haynes is intrigued by the details Fletcher has so far and asks his reporter to spend some time with Bubbles and see what comes of it. Fletcher worries about the rest of his beat and Haynes reassures him that he will be covered for a couple of weeks. Gutierrez arrives with some late breaking police stories – the murder of 34 year old Omar Little in a grocery store and a row house fire that killed two. Haynes checks what space remains in the paper and then tells Gutierrez to write a short story on the fire only.
At the end of the day Haynes edits Templeton’s story from the homeless vigil and is disappointed to see that the anecdote in his lead has been attributed to an unnamed source despite the vigil being a public assembly that was well attended. Haynes approaches his line manager, Metro Desk Editor Steven Luxenberg, and tells him that he plans to remove the lead because it violates the paper’s sourcing policy and asks for Luxenberg to back him up when the inevitable confrontation occurs. Luxenberg agrees with Haynes’ decision. Haynes calls Templeton over and gives him the news. Templeton asks Haynes to consider the quality of the quote in the lead and Haynes tells Templeton that the outstanding quality is part of his concern. Templeton says “to hell with you if you think I made it up” and Haynes explains that the lead violates the sourcing policy. Templeton angrily returns to his desk and makes a display of his anger. Templeton’s posturing attracts Thomas Klebanow’s attention. After a discussion with Templeton, Klebanow approaches Haynes. Haynes is quick to state his case and when Klebanow asks for further discussion Haynes explains that he has already had the discussion with Luxenberg. Haynes tells Klebanow that he feels that he has done his job and followed the paper’s sourcing policy but that as Managing Editor Klebanow can overturn the decision. Haynes then leaves the newsroom.