After thirty minutes of driving through the streets of Baltimore, Freamon, Kima, and Sydnor have followed Moped Man to his meeting with Chris Partlow. And that stocky young man standing there with Chris? That's Michael Lee, somewhat more grown-up than he was at the end of Season 4 and certainly more ensconced within the Stanfield organization. Chris says he has a meeting, and dispatches Michael to go check on his corner. So Chris is Michael's mentor now -- fantastic. As Chris drives off, Freamon, Kima, and Sydnor get ready to follow him in their respective vehicles. McNulty radios in that Marlo is on the move as well. Dozerman wonders if they should follow him. "Why?" McNulty asks, sighing audibly. "We know where he's going." Boy, everyone's feeling defeatist today.
Over at City Hall, we join Burrell and Rawls mid-meeting with the mayor, as they outline their plans to keep vehicles in service, no matter how filthy and inoperable they become, and to defer overtime and court pay no matter how mutinous it makes the force. "How's crime?" Carcetti demands. "How are your stats?" How do you think, dummy? Excuse me -- that wasn't very polite. Let me rephrase: How do you think, Mayor Dummy? Rawls more diplomatically notes that the double-digit reduction in crime Carcetti was hoping for isn't feasible with the kind of budget cuts the department is forced to endure. Yes, yes, Carcetti knows all this -- but he has to cut where he can because of that damnable school budget crisis. So, uh...what else can you guys cut? Well, there's the Major Case investigation into all the bodies found in the abandoned houses -- if that investigation were to, say, get suspended, that might save some dough. "You're saying you want us to come down on a case in which twenty-two people were murdered and left to rot in city houses?" Norman Wilson asks incredulously. Well, yeah. Carcetti's like no, no, no, okay, you talked me into it. Also, Burrell asks that the ten-hour cap on moonlighting get removed. "You do that, and your police aren't doing police work," Norman protests. "They're guarding liquor stores, bouncing night clubs, putting up drywall." Rawls counters that there's a morale problem, and without something like this, officers might just up and quit. Guess who Carcetti sides with in this argument? (Hint: Not Norman.) "Hold the line now," Carcetti says, as the meeting breaks up. "We'll get to a better place, I promise." Oh, you're expecting a visit from the Free Money Fairy, too? Because that's my plan.
After the police brass scurry off, Carcetti turns his attention to Norman, who is seated about as far away from the mayor as one can be while remaining in the same office. Carcetti wonders if Norman might have something on his mind. "When the governor threw that $50-some million on the table, you should have picked that shit up," Norman says. Well, sure -- and I should have stopped drinking three glasses of bourbon ago. But here we are. Carcetti's chief of staff -- he's sitting next to the mayor, unlike sourpuss Norman -- points out that if Carcetti takes the state's money, he never gets to become governor; Norman posits that's an unlikely outcome anyhow for a mayor unable to deal with crime. "Just a weak-ass mayor of a broke-ass city," Norman sneers. "Feel better?" Carcetti says sarcastically. Norman allows that, yes, he does feel better, as would you if you got to put Carcetti's shit in the street. Hey -- maybe that's a way to buck up police morale.