Jimmy McNulty, a detective with Baltimore Homicide, observes the trial of D'Angelo Barksdale, a young drug dealer charged with murder. The first witness, William Gant, identifies Barksdale, but the corroborating witness, a security guard named Nakeesha Lyles, changes her story and refuses to finger Barksdale. The jury returns with a "not guilty" verdict. Judge Phelan calls McNulty into his chambers, where McNulty reveals that he has noticed that D'Angelo's uncle Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell have been tied to many murders and tells Phelan that he believes they are major players in West Baltimore's drug trade; McNulty complains that nobody is investigating their organization, and Phelan calls Deputy Commissioner Burrell. Major Rawls is incensed, and forces McNulty to write the report which Burrell requests about the Barksdale murders. Sergeant Landsman (McNulty's supervisor in Homicide) arrives in the morning warning McNulty that his behavior could end up in reassignment. McNulty reveals that his worst nightmare would be working "the boat" - the marine unit.
Narcotics lieutenant Cedric Daniels is charged by Deputy Commissioner Burrell with organizing a detail to investigate the Barksdale operation. Burrell wants to keep the investigation quick and simple, nothing sustained. Daniels brings Narcotics detectives "Kima" Greggs, Herc Hauk, and Ellis Carver with him. Rawls sends McNulty to join them, in addition to Homicide Detective Santangelo, one of his unit's more inept detectives. McNulty objects to Daniels's plan of action - "buy busts" - and suggests a wiretap is the way to get a conviction. Daniels doesn't budge, insisting that a fast and simple investigation is the way to go and also suggests looking at old murders to try to find a connection to Barksdale.
McNulty visits another contact to look for help with investigating the Barksdales - FBI Special Agent Terrence "Fitz" Fitzhugh. Fitz shows McNulty the FBI's far superior surveillance equipment but reveals that their drug investigations are coming to an end because resources are being shifted to the war on terror. McNulty then goes drinking with his homicide partner Bunk Moreland and complains about his ex-wife, who prevents him from seeing his two kids enough. Greggs has a rather different evening - returning home to her partner Cheryl.
Wee-Bey Brice drives D'Angelo to Orlando's strip club, a front for the Barksdale Organization. When D'Angelo makes the mistake of discussing the trial in Wee-Bey's car - Wee-Bey pulls over and curtly reminds him that their rules are not to talk business in the car, on the phone, or anywhere they aren't sure of. At the club, Avon chides D'Angelo for murdering someone publicly, costing the crew time, effort, and money to change the security guard's story. D'Angelo also meets a stripper named Shardene Innes working in the club, though he declines to buy her a drink.
When D'Angelo shows up to the towers the next day, Stringer tells him he's been demoted to heading a crew in the low-rise projects, including Bodie Broadus, Poot Carr, and young Wallace. A junkie named Bubbles and his protÃ©gÃ© Johnny buy drugs with counterfeit money, but when they try to repeat the scam, Bodie leads the crew in beating Johnny. Bubbles is also a confidential informant (CI) for Greggs, and agrees to begin giving her information on the Barksdale organization as revenge for the beating.
D'Angelo has a distressing start to his second day working "the pit". He passes the body of William Gant - the witness in his murder trial - lying in the street and seems upset about his fate.
* Snot boogie, a craps player.
* Pooh Blanchard, a drug addict who attacked D'Angelo Barksdale ca. 8 months before the events in the episode.
* William Gant, a witness in the D'Angelo Barksdale murder trial, is found murdered in the low rise projects at the end of the episode.