Bubbles attends a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. He follows a speaker named Dee-Dee who discusses her struggle with her inner addict and her inability to maintain a personal code because of her addiction. Bubbles is engaging and humorous but unable to discuss an emotional memory. Walon tries to convince Bubbles that he has to share the tragedy of Sherrod's death in order to move on. Walon convinces Bubbles to at least occupy his time and he volunteers at a local soup kitchen.
Scott Templeton plans a color piece about the Baltimore Orioles opening game. He fails to find a suitable subject and returns with an unverifiable story about an orphaned wheelchair user truanting to attend. Gus Haynes questions the piece's credibility, but is forced to print it after James Whiting gives his approval.
Marlo Stanfield meets with Chris Partlow and Snoop about the withdrawal of the year-long police investigation. Stanfield decides to reassert his authority and orders several murders and luring Omar Little out of retirement. Snoop, Partlow and Michael Lee watch the house of one of Stanfield's targets named June Bug. Michael questions the necessity of the murder and is admonished by Snoop. Snoop and Partlow disable the street's security cameras, stage a home invasion and kill the three adults inside. Two children escape - one hides in a closet and another flees via the back door. Michael is guarding the rear but does not shoot the child, defying Chris's orders. Previously, Snoop had carried out the murder of a rival drug dealer.
Stanfield visits MCI Jessup to see Sergei Malatov, but finds Avon Barksdale waiting in his place. Barksdale tells Stanfield that in order for him to talk to Malatov, Stanfield has to give his sister $100,000. Stanfield agrees and later talks to a defiant Malatov. Stanfield convinces Malatov, with encouragement from Avon, to give him a line to Vondas.
Commissioner Burrell struggles to deliver clean statistics and accommodate budget cutbacks. Burrell alienates Clay Davis by refusing to interfere in his corruption case. Mayor Carcetti plans a run for governor despite the city's fiscal difficulties; Odell Watkins expresses disappointment at his attitude.
Major Crimes Unit
Detectives Freamon and Sydnor are still preparing the Davis case for court. Freamon believes this type of sprawling and interconnected case is career defining but also spends his own time surveilling known Stanfield meeting places. Jimmy McNulty desperately wants to return to the Stanfield case and is increasingly frustrated in the homicide unit.
Freamon and McNulty meet with FBI agent Terrence Fitzhugh seeking support for their investigation but have no success. They bitterly drown their sorrows with Bunk afterwards.
McNulty is assigned a natural death and learns at the morgue that postmortem pressure on the neck is indistinguishable from deliberate strangulation. Later, Detective Greggs is assigned to June Bug's homicide and finds a child hiding in the closet, showing a rare moment of unveiled compassion by embracing the child and evacuating him from the building, creating the evocative image used in the title sequence.
McNulty and Bunk Moreland are assigned a probable overdose. McNulty goes to his car and drinks some whiskey he had in the trunk. He goes back to the crime scene and chokes the deceased and stages the scene to suggest a strangulation. McNulty tells Bunk that he plans to create the illusion of a serial killer causing Bunk to leave the scene in disgust.