We begin with McNulty holding court at COMSTAT, updating the top brass and ranking city officials as to the progress of his investigation. Ah, but this is not your father's COMSTAT, where Rawls would snarl snide questions at whatever poor dumb major had the podium, forcing the poor bastard to rifle desperately through stat sheets while Rawls and Burrell alternately mocked his competence and threatened his livelihood until he inevitably started crying. No, McNulty is in control here -- though, to be fair, it's a lot easier to have command of the details when you've invented every one of them. For those of you with an interest in fables, the killer is working primarily in the Southern, Central, and Southeastern Districts. Some died at night, some during the day. And since Carcetti asked, there are no leads to the missing homeless dudes' whereabouts, though McNulty offers that they're running daily morgue checks and have spread the word to police departments throughout the mid-Atlantic to keep an eye peeled. For McNulty's sake, let's hope that police in Richmond, Virginia were kept out of the loop. Also, Daniels offers, some people will be heading down to Quantico later that day, so that the FBI can work its profiling magic on the killer. Wonder if the resulting profile will include words and phrases along the lines of "non-existent," "totally fabricated," and "Jesus Christ, how is it possible that you people fell for this crapola for this long?"
"This is a strange one," observes Rawls, positing that normally it's punk-ass teens who go after the homeless, not sexual predators. McNulty allows that it is odd, but that it was the best he could come up with on short notice. (Okay, I made up that last part.) Rawls goes on: "I mean, I'm all for a little kinky shit now and then" -- oh God, please carry this though no further so that the thought centers of my brain don't start shutting down in self-defense -- "but chewing on a homeless fellow?" The other officers chuckle, partly because they are sycophants and partly because laughter makes the sad go away. "You seem to be well grounded in the case file, detective," Daniels says, because who is more familiar with one's own handiwork than the author himself? "What else do you need?" This gives McNulty all the opening he needs to request those surveillance details Freamon's been clamoring for -- it will be done under the guise of keeping taps on all the suspects rounded up down at the pier after McNulty faked the killer's most recent phone call. And McNulty has just the man for the job -- Sgt. Ellis Carver from the Western District. Daniels asks why McNulty wouldn't use someone from one of the districts where the attacks occurred. Because Carver knows enough to keep his mouth shut? "Well, I've worked with Carver on prolonged investigations in the past," McNulty says, "and his familiarity with surveillance tactics is relevant. Also, I would be inclined to trust his objective assessment." That too.
Carcetti pipes up at this point to ask what's being done to protect non-murdered homeless people. Stepped-up patrols in the relevant districts, Daniels says, and undercover officers posing as vagrants working in staggered shifts. Hey, speaking of undercover things, McNulty also puts in a request for some undercover cars, noting that motorpool has been a little stingy with the wheels as of late. "Whatever you need, detective," Carcetti promises before McNulty can even complete his plea, and when Rawls begins to mention that the public works department has put the kibosh on such expenditures, the mayor suggests hitting rental car agencies. There's an Enterprise Rental Car commercial I'd love to see. ("Enterprise? I'm in pursuit of a serial killer." "We'll be right by to get you, detective." Enterprise -- we pick you up!) "People are disappearing," Carcetti adds. "They're dying, for chrissake. Just do what you need to do." And with that, Carcetti scurries off, his flacks and attendants in tow.