The Wire
Sentencing

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"All In The Game..."

FBI conference room. The super-WASPy agent leading the meeting compliments the cops on "good casework." Daniels thanks him guardedly. Agent WASP adds that an Agent Arnold, present in the meeting, has had a file on Davis for a while. Lester comments that it took them some time to see the connection, "but the quid pro quo is right there in that Westside redevelopment mess. Barksdale, or his fronts, grease enough city politicians, and word comes back years in advance where the development zone's going to be." Daniels takes up the narrative: "He buys up every piece of garbage real estate he can, flips it three or four times, exaggerating the values." Lester brings it home: "And now the city's going to pay him millions to condemn the properties for the renewal project." Agent WASP says that it's a lot to work with, but that the FBI is willing: "The question is, can your co-operator give us the senator, or any other political figure?" McNulty doesn't know who they think the co-operator is, and Agentess reminds him, "D'Angelo Barksdale," asking the cops what D'Angelo knows about the money. Ronnie freezes, Lester shifts uncomfortably, McNulty incredulously smirks, and Daniels finally snorts, "Nothing. He gives you the drugs and the violence. He gives you Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell." "And they give us the senator," says Agent WASP, like this is police kindergarten. "Maybe, yeah," offers Lester pessimistically.

Ronnie is still shitting a brick down at her end of the table as she realizes where this is going, which McNulty spells out: "You're talking about turning Barksdale and Bell into co-operators and making the politicians the primary target?" "Of course," says some other one-liner in the room. "No, fuck the politicians!" spits McNulty. "It's Barksdale and Bell! Those guys have turned West Baltimore into a free-fire zone." "No one's saying they walk," says Agentess condescendingly. Lester surmises, "What you are saying is that if we bring you guys the case, it's your intention to let Barksdale and Bell reduce any sentence they get through co-operation." McNulty no likey, and tells the feds, "You're seeing all this ass-backwards." Ronnie tries to send him "shut up" signals, but of course he doesn't pick up on them, and another unnamed FBI agent (played by Toni Lewis, formerly Stivers on Homicide) informs McNulty that their office has a mandate to pursue political corruption. "Can you believe these guys?" chuckles McNulty to Daniels. Fitz tries to smooth it over, addressing McNulty, but McNulty cuts him off: "So drugs and murder don't cut it anymore, huh? How about terrorism?" Agent WASP gets a tiny boner, which wilts as McNulty goes on: "These guys have dropped fourteen, fifteen bodies. The witnesses, co-operators--" "That kind of hyperbole doesn't serve anyone, Detective," scolds Agent WASP. The cops look at one another, and with Ronnie actually shaking her head warningly at them, Daniels sighs, and then declares, "I think we're going in a different direction on this. Thank you for your time." Lester and Daniels get up to leave on a classy note, but of course, that's not McNulty's way, and as he stays in his seat, he brays, "West Baltimore is dying, and you empty suits are running around trying to pin some politician's pelt to the wall." He stands, the better to judge from above, and as he strides out of the room, he pauses beside Fitz, muttering, "Thought you was real police, brother." Fitz tents his fingers, thinking how many showers it'll take to get all of McNulty's self-righteousness off him.

County jail. Brianna, all dolled up in a silky black pantsuit, is admitted to a visiting room where a sulky D'Angelo waits for her. Glancing around, she comments that they've put him "all the way out here." She exposits that she thought he was still in New Jersey, and then when she found out he wasn't, she thought he would still be in Central Booking: "But all the way out here....Do send a message, though." D'Angelo curtly says that "a message needs sending." He asks how Brianna even found him, and as she pulls out the chair to sit down, she murmurs, "Ain't no one going to keep a mother from her son, right?" D'Angelo frowns, swallowing hard, and tries to prepare for the velvety onslaught about to engulf him by telling Brianna, "You know, he's always talking family. 'Family is the heart,' he say. Well, I'm family. Ain't I? Well, what about me, for once? It ain't right." Brianna, starting the soft sell, gently asks, "What's right? Hm? You like for him to step up, take all the weight, and let you walk? Because he will. You know he will." Um, none of us knows anything of the sort, including you, Brianna, you dirty liar. Brianna goes on: "But if he got to go away, that mean you got to step up and fill his shoes." Sure, because D'Angelo's next in line. Where the hell is Stringer in this scenario? Brianna asks if D'Angelo is ready to be the new Avon, and D'Angelo says she knows he isn't: "I ain't ready, and I ain't never gonna be ready for this game." She tries to jolly him along, but D'Angelo says the words she least wanted to hear: "They're giving me a chance to walk away, to start again someplace else." Trying not to throw up, Brianna asks what D'Angelo's giving them in return. D'Angelo blinks and looks away, and Brianna leans forward: "Look, he messed up, Dee. He knows it. Now, if you want to get even with him, you can. But if you hurt him, you hurt this whole family. All of us. Me and Trina and the cousins." Oh my God, not Trina! "And Donette, too. And your baby. Your own baby boy. This right here is part of the game, Dee. And without the game? This whole family would be down in the fucking Terrace, living off scraps. Shit, we probably wouldn't even be a family." Yeah, what a shame that would be. "Start over, huh? How the fuck you gonna start over without your peoples? Without your own child, even?" Yeah, God forbid D'Angelo should lose contact with the child we've seen him with twice in thirteen episodes. Anyway, he continues staring down at the table, avoiding Brianna's eye, as she concludes: "If you ain't got family in this world, what the hell you got?" D'Angelo finally looks up at her, and it's clear that his answer has a lot of swear words in it.

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