Detective Bunk Moreland extracts a confession from a suspect using manipulation and a mock polygraph test, tricking the suspect into thinking a photocopier is the polygraph machine. His reasoning gives the episode its epigraph "the bigger the lie, the more they believe."
Mayor Tommy Carcetti's plan to rejuvenate the police department has been halted by funding cuts necessitated by the massive education deficit. Norman Wilson remains disappointed in Carcetti for refusing the Governor's assistance for the schools and putting his ambition to unseat the Governor before his responsibilities as Mayor. Police commanders Ervin Burrell and William Rawls are forced to accept further funding cuts from Carcetti but convince him to lift the ban on secondary employment for police officers.
Mayor Carcetti and Council President Campbell meet with the Republican Maryland U.S. attorney as a means of acquiring Federal resources to help the Baltimore Police Department. Carcetti is told that as political corruption and counterterrorism are the bureau's main investigative priorities that the U.S. attorney's office will grant them a dozen FBI agents in exchange for corrupt state senator Clay Davis. In the discussion, Carcetti defends Baltimore City State's Attorney Rupert Bond's decision to keep the case local as he fears the Republican attorney will use the case to damage the image of the Democratic Party. Campbell then criticizes Carcetti for upsetting the feds and as they discuss Clay Davis, Carcetti claims that Bond will charge most of the Clarence Royce's administration including Campbell who sees Bond's motive to charge Davis as a means of one day running against her for Mayor.
Major Crimes Unit
The Major Crimes Unit's year long investigation into the Stanfield Organization and their involvement with the murders in the vacant houses has still not produced enough evidence to make arrests, but their continued observation has curtailed some of the criminals' activity. Marlo Stanfield continues to scheme despite noticing the continued surveillance. He is intimidating independent drug dealers into buying his narcotics, causing unrest in the New Day Co-Op about splitting up new territory and has Chris Partlow working to find Sergei Malatov as a connection to the Co-Ops' suppliers.
The Unit is closed down as part of the cutbacks, effectively ending investigation of the vacant murders. Colonel Cedric Daniels convinces Carcetti to retain detectives Lester Freamon and Leander Sydnor to staff the Davis investigation.
Detective Jimmy McNulty is outraged and despondent upon his return to the homicide unit. McNulty has begun drinking heavily again and fails to return home to his domestic partner Beadie Russell.
Morale is similarly low in the Western District because of pay cuts. Sergeant Ellis Carver struggles to keep his men in line and drinks after work with his old partner Thomas "Herc" Hauk. Herc has been discharged from the department and is now using his contacts in the department as a defense investigator for Maurice Levy.
Michael Lee is acting as an enforcer under Partlow while his friend and co-habitant Duquan "Dukie" Weems runs their drug dealing crew. Dukie has not gained the respect of the crew and Michael suggests paying him for looking after his younger brother Bug instead.
The Baltimore Sun
In The Baltimore Sun newsroom similar funding cutbacks are affecting the reporters' morale and work. Editor Gus Haynes remains principled and efficient. His institutional memory allows his team to identify and break a story about city council president Nerese Campbell relocating known drug dealer Ricardo "Fat-face Rick" Hendrixâs strip club out of town at a considerable loss of public money and link it to campaign contributions from Hendrix. Ambitious reporter Scott Templeton remains dissatisfied while his colleague Alma Gutierrez is happy with her work.
Bubbles is living in his sister's basement and no longer using drugs. However, he must leave each morning as his sister does not trust him enough to leave him alone in her house. He walks through the city while she's at work, trying to avoid the temptations of the street. Bubbles works as a rush hour distributor of The Baltimore Sun to commuters â he sells a copy to Campbell, who is outraged by the Fat-face Rick story.