D'Angelo Barksdale is in court on a murder charge, and Detective Jimmy McNulty is viewing the proceedings. The jury returns with a not guilty verdict after the second witness in the case recants her testimony and says she did not see D'Angelo kill anyone. Stringer Bell is there, Avon Barksdale's second in command. His crew was responsible for bribing the witness not to testify.
After being beaten out of another murder, the Judge, a friend of McNulty's, starts asking questions about the crew. McNulty tells him that he believes the Barksdale crew are involved in a slew of related murders and that they are beating them by doing the same thing they did in this case. The Judge goes to McNulty's superiors and demands an investigation. Deputy Burrell gives the Judge what he wants, explaining, "He's not just a Judge, he's a political entity. And I want to give him what he wants."
Rawls brings McNulty into his office and rips him a new one for going outside the chain of command.
Burrell puts Daniels from narcotics in charge. Daniels brings along Kima, Herc and Carver from his unit. Burrell allows the investigation to go ahead to appease the judge. However, he does not want the case to go too far, wanting it resolved fast and easy. McNulty tends to disagree, "You're never going to get Avon Barksdale with Buy Busts, Lieutenant -- or anyone above the street for that matter." An argument follows, but in the end, Daniels insists that they do it his way.
On the other side of the law, D'Angelo Barksdale goes straight to Orlando's, a strip club owned by his uncle, Avon Barksdale. Avon tells D'Angelo that he should not have shot that guy, and that by doing so he has harmed the business. "D" apologizes and Avon tells him, "Don't ever walk out of here like that. You're family. You know there's always love."
The next morning, "D" goes to work at the towers only to be told by Stringer that he has been demoted back to the pit. "My uncle know about this?" asks D'Angelo. Stringer replies, "What you think?" "D" goes to the pit and meets Bodie, Wallace and Poot, who work there. Wallace works the money, taking money from the customers. He gets burned with fake money and the crew beats up a guy named Johnny, who is then hospitalized.
Johnny is a dope fiend; he is being mentored in the ways of the streets by Bubbles, a friend of Kima's. After the Barksdale boys beat up Johnny, Kima meets Bubbles in the hospital, where Bubbles tells Kima that he wants to help bring down the Barksdale people.
A man walking down the street suddenly gets shot in the head; it's the witness who testified against D'Angelo. "D" sees the dead man on the street and recognizes him from the trial.