Epigraph: "Thin line 'tween heaven and here," quoth Bubbles. Well, I guess he'd know from lines. And thin, come to think of it.
McNulty walks into a courthouse, where Kima is conferring with a prosecutor, who opines, "This case is a bit humble for you." Kima doesn't disagree, but asks her to see what she can do, before she takes a seat next to McNulty. This courtroom? Is TINY. The prosecutor's table is pushed right up to the clerk's, and there isn't even a well, as such; the spectators are like four feet away from the lawyers. It's weirdly intimate. Everyone involved would need to be very confident about both breath and BO. Kima reports to McNulty that she was in juvenile court all morning, processing the arrests from the last episode, but that the kids know they aren't facing any hard time on "street-weight" charges, so efforts to flip them were about as successful as efforts to...well, move the desk back at the office. "Nothing like being told 'fuck off' by a fourteen-year-old," says Kima. She indicates a defendant who's just walked in, saying that he's their best shot: "Hand-to-hand with Bubbles, and he's carrying a long-ass sheet." The judge enters, and the prosecutor, Ms. Dawkins, introduces the case against Marvin Browning: one count each, distribution of heroin and cocaine. Browning stares straight ahead, impassive. Turns out he was arrested for holding one gelcap and one vial. It hardly seems worth the effort to prosecute him, but what do I know. The bail recommendation is remand, based on his implication in an ongoing investigation -- plus he's facing a mandatory five-year sentence, without parole, because of prior convictions, which the prosecution intends to seek. This gets an indignant reaction from Browning -- and rightly so, frankly. "Got his attention, at least," mutters McNulty to Kima. Well, railroading a guy for holding a quantity of narcotics that would barely fill a Nerds box will do that.
Daniels rolls into a hospital room, where Mahone is laid up in bed, his right arm in a sling. Turns out Daniels has arrived at Happy Hour, as Polk is pouring out a "taste" of what I'm guessing is straight vodka. Daniels duly accepts a plastic cup, as Polk announces that Mahone is "going out on Medical." "Sweet, sweet Cervical 6," says Mahone, holding up an x-ray. He says that his shoulder and arm are numb: "My fingers feel like they belong to some son of a bitch in the next county. This is my ticket out of this rat-shit department." Polk says that the kid who hit Mahone did him a favour, and Mahone celebrates that he'll get two-thirds of his pension without having to wait for his "thirty" (years, I take it). Daniels suggests that he take a couple of days before he puts in his retirement papers. Mahone responds by bragging about how much business his brother-in-law's video store does in rentals, and that he's looking for a partner. Polk pipes up to say that "they take that off the top of a medical pension," but Mahone is quick to reply, "If you report it as income, they do. Do I look that fucking stupid?" No. Not stupid. Drunk is another story. Remembering that Daniels is there, Mahone offers, "Have a nice life, lieutenant." Daniels feebly raises his glass, and then takes it with him, presumably to offer to a nurse to sterilize some cuts and scrapes.