• During the trial of D'Angelo Barksdale, a mid-level dealer accused of murder, the prosecution's star witness recants her testimony, resulting in a not guilty verdict. After the trial, Detective McNulty explains to Judge Phelan how he suspects the Barksdale crew for a line of related murders. After the judge contacts McNulty's superiors about this revelation, McNulty is taken to task for his indiscretion. Meanwhile, D'Angelo's free to return to work, but discovers he's been demoted to street level deals.
  • The witness who testified against D'Angelo winds up being a murder case for Detective “Bunk” Moreland. However, McNulty informs Bunk that, since the victim testified against D'Angelo, Avon Barksdale probably ordered this murder. McNulty and Bunk pick up D'Angelo for questioning and convince him to write an “apology” to the victim's family. Just as he's about to start, D'Angelo's attorney arrives and makes him leave.
  • After early morning “field interviews” conducted by Herc, Carver, and Prez lead to a minor riot and bad publicity for the police, the Deputy Commissioner calls in Daniels. McNulty sends Mahone and Polk to the terrace to get a photo of Avon Barksdale. They come up short, but soft-spoken Freamon comes through with an old photo from Barksdale's boxing days. McNulty and Greggs get surveillance equipment from McNulty's FBI contact.
  • Bodie manages to slip through security and escape from lockup. Meanwhile, Herc and Carver continue their renegade ways by traveling to Marlboro to find Bodie and beat him into giving up information on the case. Once they get there, Herc has a change of attitude after meeting Bodie's Grandmother. Furious at being robbed of his product during the “re-up,” Avon Barksdale instructs Stinkum, Wee-Bey, and Stringer to double the existing reward for anyone who eliminates Omar and his crew.
  • When Avon becomes more and more suspicious, he orders Wee-Bey to change phone lines in his apartment. He also promotes Stinkum to manage a new territory and he gets word that one of Omar's crewmembers has been “got”. Stringer warns D'Angelo that a snitch may be in his camp and D'Angelo should tighten up his crew by withholding their pay. While talking with Orlando, D'Angelo learns of Stinkum's promotion.
  • Brandon's bloodied body is discovered in a lot that's coincidentally located next to Poot and Wallace's house. Wallace reports this to D'Angelo, and also expresses how seeing Brandon's body has started to bother him. D'Angelo tells Wallace to simply get over it, but Wallace is still unsure. Wallace gets further unsettled after Avon rewards D'Angelo and him with extra cash for their parts in getting Brandon taken care of.
  • Greggs, Carver, Herc, and Sydnor grab the runner holding the re-up stash for the pit. Now that the cops have their stash, a furious Avon questions D'Angelo about a snitch being in the pit. D'Angelo denies the allegation but Stringer tells D'Angelo and his crew to use pay phones a block away now, and not to use the same phone twice. Afterwards, they snatch out the existing pit pay phones. This, of course, disconnects the detectives' wiretap.
  • McNulty has his sons play the game of “front and follow” with Stringer Bell as the target, and they get Bell's license plate number for their efforts. Greggs and Carver bust a driver picking up a large amount of cash from the towers, only they're forced to return the money on orders from the Deputy Commissioner. Avon finds out about Orlando's inquiries to branch out into “dirty” business, and makes it clear to Orlando that that's not the plan.
  • Freamon gets Sydnor and Prez started on Barksdale's money trail. They discover the usual ties to dummy companies, but they also find large sums of political contributions. Herc and Carver bust Wee-Bey holding $22,000, but only $15,000 is reported. Lieutenant Daniels discovers the discrepancy and orders them to find the money before the morning roll call. Omar's mission takes him to Proposition Joe where he promptly offers another recently stolen Barksdale stash to Joe in exchange for Barksdale's pager number.
  • After being clean for three days, Bubbles gets strong advice from former addict Walon and a promise of extra help from Detective Greggs. When Omar's murder attempt on Barksdale fails, Stringer lays down the new law to Barksdale – no phone use, no more money runs, a new pager number and anyone that needs Barksdale talks to Stringer first. They also send word to Omar that a truce will be offered.
  • While Greggs' life hangs in a delicate balance, the officers deal with the shock in different ways. Herc, Carver, and Sydnor get back on the case after Freamon puts the incident into perspective. After seeing McNulty close to the breaking point, Rawls instructs McNulty not to have any guilt over Greggs' shooting because he's not ultimately responsible. Daniels is ordered by the Deputy Commissioner to raid all the locations to appease the Commissioner's desire for “dope on the table.”
  • After Barksdale's supply gets confiscated in the bust, Stringer hands down new rules to the crews. Barksdale and Stringer meet with Levy to discuss next steps, which include the elimination of any and all persons that can connect Barksdale to the drugs. Wallace returns to the pit and asks to get put back on. However, Stringer has other plans for Wallace and asks Bodie to step up for the job.
  • Greggs musters the strength to finger “Little Man” as one of the shooters. Daniels and McNulty go to the feds with damning evidence about some Baltimore politicians tied to Barksdale, thinking they finally have him, but the feds only want the politicians and not Barksdale. D'Angelo can't swing a deal, and cops to a possession charge and 20 years of hard time. Business resumes in the pit with Bodie and Poot carrying the torch, using some of D'Angelo's wisdom and tactics.
  • Detective Jimmy McNulty finds the body of a woman floating in the water while carrying out his new assignment of Harbor Patrol. Major Valchek has his gift to a local parish trumped by Frank Sobotka, his rival in the local stevedores union. And on the waterfront, a shipping container destined for ‘The Greek’ bakes in the sun with perishable cargo.
  • Major Valchek gets back at Sobotka for the church gift fiasco, and a feud begins. Avon Barksdale continues to run his empire from a prison cell. On the waterfront, Port Police Officer Beatrice Russell gets stuck investigating the contraband in the The Greek's container. McNulty lends a hand with the investigation.
  • Lt Cedric Daniels lets it be known he is going to leave the department. McNulty pursues the identity of the Jane Doe found floating in the harbor. A pair of young longshoremen, Frank Sobotka's son Ziggy and nephew Nick, heist a container and sell its contents, digital cameras, to men working for The Greek.
  • McNulty goes on a self-assigned moral mission to identify his floater, but his old partner, Bunk, says they have more pressing matter at hand: finding Omar to testify against a Barksdale trigger man in one of last year's murders. To placate Valchek, Burrell asks Daniels to lead the detail investigating Sobotka, and Daniels agrees.
  • Weak product in the pit has Bodie getting heat. Homicide detectives hand out grand jury summonses to stevedores involved in the homicide case, and Port Police Officer Beadie Russell works the lingering affections of an old boyfriend to find out how cargo disappears from the docks.
  • Trying to let go of police work and return to his marriage, McNulty gives up on identifying his Jane Doe. The detectives look into Sobotka and his money. For his union, Sobotka tries to play the political game. D'Angelo wants to live life outside of Barksdale's umbrella and Bell brings in outside help for the problem.
  • Greggs and Prez tap into the circuit of Russian prostitutes. With two sets of evidence, the detail goes to Pearlman who tells them neither crime merits a wiretap, but a drug connection could give the case legs. Rawls can't persuade Daniels to take the murders, but new evidence does. Though discord grows in Barksdale's empire, Bell tries to hold it together.
  • McNulty goes on a drunken binge of legendary proportions. Fellow stevedores convince Ziggy to fight Maui. Bunk, seeing McNulty's desperation, talks Daniels into asking for him. Daniels does so and Rawls, who has no choice, agrees. After some labor, the wiretap is up, just in time to catch another disappearing container.
  • Bodie's disastrous sales efforts result in a tongue lashing from Stringer Bell. Ziggy pulls Johnny Fifty into a new caper that makes the Greeks pay big money. McNulty goes undercover in a brothel. As Valchek fumes over the change of targets and Burrell pulls the rug from beneath him, Daniels and Pearlman maintain their composure.
  • The detail uses satellite technology to its advantage. Bodie is unhappy that Proposition Joe's people are selling on his turf. Valchek visits the FBI in an attempt to get real results on the docks. Ziggy's deal with Double-G goes bad in a big way. Greggs considers motherhood and Prez makes a major blunder.
  • The detail makes a desperate move. Nick's deceit is in the open, as Sobotka is overwhelmed by bad news. The Greeks confidently ease out of a brief encounter with the detail and Omar's suspicions are validated. The detail hopes to find Vonda's boss. Nick hopes to repair relations with the Greeks and Sobotka is forced to make a difficult choice.
  • The detail has a setback. Russell and Bunk revisit Philly, looking for evidence. Brother Mouzone talks with Stringer Bell regarding their agreement, leaving Bell to contend with Avon Barksdale. McNulty and Greggs return to the Westside, where they discover new connections. Herc and Carver feel disrespected by fellow officers. Nick tries to come to terms with the Greeks, and himself.
  • After the notorious Franklin Terrace public housing towers are razed, the Barksdale drug crew searches for a new home on the streets of West Baltimore. McNulty and the detail look to make a case against Stringer Bell with a wiretap on a drug ring run by his ally, Proposition Joe. Daniels' promotion is derailed by City Hall due to his estranged wife's political ambitions.
  • Omar continues his bold strikes on the heavily guarded Barksdale stash houses. McNulty launches his own investigation into last year's prison suicide of D'Angelo Barksdale. On the streets the bloodbath continues, prompting Burrell and Rawls to jack up the heat on their district commanders. The street violence also presents Daniels with a tough decision. A beleaguered Cutty tries to get his life back on track.
  • The brutality at police headquarters continues over the perceived failure of department commanders to reign in the city's crime stats. Another hit by Omar on the Barksdale stash houses goes horribly wrong. Proposition Joe summons Stringer Bell to a meeting and tells him that the cops have screwed up. Daniels reassigns his detail after the wire on Stringer Bell goes dead.
  • Greggs and McNulty recruit Bubbles to gather street intelligence on the Barksdale gang. Cutty seeks out the Barksdale gang after he looses his taste for the straight life. Bunk feels the pressure to find Dozerman's gun. Daniels worries that Avon Barksdale, having cut a prison deal, will be paroled. Stringer Bell tries to make amends with Donette.
  • Johnny pressures Bubbles to stop snitching for the detail. Cutty lies to his grandmother about going straight. McNulty realizes pursuing Barksdale and Bell is a losing cause, so he turns his attention to nailing Kintel Williamson. Colvin's free drug dealing zone, now known in the streets as Hamsterdam, scores a small victory. Avon Barksdale emerges from prison to a warm welcome from Stringer Bell.
  • Major Colvin instructs his men to use brute force to get the message out to street dealers about his free zone. Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell discover that real estate development has its own pitfalls. McNulty and Greggs ask Daniels to let them renew the Bell and Barksdale investigation. On Barksdale's orders, Cutty plans to take back corners from Marlo's crew.
  • Daniels goes ballistic when the detail gets reassigned to the Western District. Stringer Bell learns from Donette that Brianna is thinking about talking to McNulty. Bunk receives a gift wrapped surprise. A single cell phone allows Freamon to begin mapping out a communications network for the Barksdale organization. Marlo dispatches a drive-by on a Barksdale drug corner.
  • Prez impresses the detail with what he's found out from Bodie's cell phone, information that sends McNulty and Greggs on a road trip. Colvin sees the benefits of his plan working. Carcetti confronts a hurdle he must clear if he wants to run for higher office, while Marlo appears to take the bait set by the Barksdale crew.
  • Responding to an officer's call for help, McNulty and Prez turn up the wrong alley with unanticipated results. Cutty is surprised to find help from within Baltimore's power structure for his proposed boxing gym. Omar decides to go it alone against Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell. Bubbles is wired up and sent into Amsterdam
  • Brother Mouzone returns to Baltimore on a mission of revenge and casts a wide net in his search for Omar. Colvin manages to put off a Sun reporter inquiring about Amsterdam. Pearlman and Daniels plead their case for a new kind of wiretap. Stringer Bell falls out of the loop with Avon Barksdale, while Marlo raises the stakes against the Barksdale gang.
  • The wire begins to yield information about the Barksdale organization. Stringer and Avon reminisce on how far they have come. McNulty finds the way to a key piece of the puzzle in an unlikely place. Awaiting his fate, Colvin works behind the scenes to shape the outcome of Amsterdam, while protecting his men from possible repercussions. Bubbles considers a new partner.
  • Avon readies his troops for a seemingly endless war against Marlo. The detail works towards the top rungs of the Barksdale organization with the information garnered from the wire. While Royce continues to grapple with Amsterdam, Burrell offers a deal to minimize the fallout. Carcetti's political plans become obvious to his friend and fellow councilman Tony Gray. Bubbles offers his view of the world. McNulty changes tack.