During the trial of D'Angelo Barksdale, a mid-level dealer accused of murder, the prosecution's star witness takes back her testimony, resulting in a not guilty verdict. After the trial, Detective James "Jimmy" McNulty explains to Judge Phelan how he suspects the Barksdale crew for a slew of related murders. The judge soon contacts McNulty's superiors about this and McNulty is taken to task for his indiscretion. Meanwhile, D'Angelo is free to return to work, but he soon discovers that he's been demoted.
Carver, Herc and Pryzblewski abuse their authority in the Terrace. Meanwhile, D'Angelo gets an earful from his uncle Avon after his talk with police.
Bubbles ends up giving Sydnor fashion tips to help him go undercover and score drugs in the projects. The detectives inquiries end up causing a riot and leave a young boy without an eye. D'Angelo decides to teach Bodie and Wallace how to play chess. Greggs reveals something personal to McNulty. Daniels sends his crew on an ill-advised raid in The Towers.
Greggs and McNulty desperately try to get Hardcase to turn informant as the arraignment begins for those caught in the raid. Barksdale places a bounty on gang rival, Omar. Meanwhile, McNulty takes Bubbles on a little cultural field trip and Herc and Carver try to track down a now missing Bodie.
Songs: Nina Simone -- Sugar in My Bowl
Carver and Herc end up taking Bodie back into custody. Omar notices that his crew is beginning to disappear, one by one, and thinks he knows who is involved. McNulty and Greggs must seek legal approval to get a "clone" of D'Angelo's pager so they can crack the codes on it. Bell begins instructing D'Angelo about training lookouts.
Brandon's body is discovered in a lot next door Poot and Wallace's house. Wallace gets worried whenAvon rewards him and D'Angelo with some extra money for getting rid of Brandon. Omar, in the meantime, decides to turn state's witness after Brandon's death. Meanwhile, Rawls is once again furious with McNulty for some arrest warrants.
After listening in on the wire, Greggs, Herc, Carver and Freamon make a bust, but the incident makes Avon and Stringer very suspicious and they decide it's time to stop dealing in the Pit. Meanwhile, Bunk and McNulty look for another witness in the Gant slaying and hunt a suspect known as "Mr. Bird."
McNulty decides to play a game with his sons that yields Stringer's license plate number. Greggs and Carver are more than thrilled when the arrest a congressional aide who has some dirty cash on him, but they are quickly told to release him. Omar gets himself into a very violent street encounter with members of the Barksdale crew.
Avon tries his best to stay one step ahead of a crosstown rival, but it ends up costing him. Herc and Carver end up lightening Wee-Bey's wallet. Freamon, Prez and Sydnor finally trace Barksdale's business interests. Omar makes his presence known again.
Now that the police have Wallace in their custody , McNulty, Daniels, and Pearlman have to figure out just what they must do with him during the months before he is slated to testify. Sydnor and Carver end up finally tracking down one of Barksdale's stash houses. McNulty's estranged wife takes desperate measures and he ends up getting Pearlman involved, who is not pleased about what she has to do and neither is Elena.
After the detail's scheduled drug bust goes wrong, Greggs winds up in intensive care and McNulty blames himself for what happened. The police step up the hunt for Savino, Wee-Bey and Little Man after the shooting. Burrell forces Daniels to produce results that the press will love and will give department some good coverage they desperately need.
Since the tapped pay phones are on the blink, McNulty and Daniels have to try to listen in by wiring Barksdale's back office at his club. Although the detail does not know it, Wallace goes back to the projects.
McNulty, Bunk and Pearlman head to New Jersey to interview D'Angelo. In hopes they can continue the case, Daniels and McNulty have to turn to a higher authority. Brianna Barksdale joins her brother in their new headquarters. Freamon and Bunk finally end up tracing a crucial phone call to their case.
Songs: Jesse Winchester -- Step by Step