Off to the Homicide department, where McNulty is reading the Sun. Templeton's "I Spoke With A Serial Killer" piece is your above-the-fold story, complete with a "Nixon To Resign Presidency!"-sized headline and a mug shot of the reporter himself. The camera pans away before we can see if the photo is captioned, "Local dickweed." Anyhow, Bunk trudges in, carrying a metric armload of folders. "You happy now, bitch?" Bunk spits at him. Of course McNulty's happy -- to feel otherwise would suggest his moral compass isn't pickled in alcohol. Bunk posits that McNulty called Templeton posing as the serial killer -- "No, actually," McNulty whispers gleefully. "That asshole's making up his own shit." Bunk shakes his head at the thought that there's someone in Baltimore with even fewer scruples than McNulty.
Anyhow, the reason for McNulty's glee on this particular day -- other than delusion, I mean -- is that the police are holding a press conference about the serial killer investigation later that day. "They're gonna be shoveling so much money at my bullshit, it will make your head spin," he crows. But enough about McNulty -- what's with all the folders, Bunk? Hey, funny you should ask -- those are all case files involving the twenty-two bodies found in the vacant buildings. Or, as those well-versed in police work might call them, actual cases. Bunk is going to go back and work every case from the beginning to see what he can find, admittedly a departure from the make-things-up-as-you-go-along approach that McNulty and Freamon are following these days. "You know why?" Bunk asks McNulty, who probably is not wondering. "Because I'm a murder police. I work murders. I don't fuck with no make-believe. I don't jerk shit around. I catch a murder, and I work it. I'm working this shit like I'm supposed to." Powerful words -- let's see if they have the intended effect on McNulty. "Lemme know if you need anything, all right?" McNulty says, just a little bit patronizingly. "Cars, some O.T., lab work, anything you need. Because in three or four hours, the money's going to flow on my case." I am dreading the inevitable only-the-buildings-are-left-standing nuclear denouement we are surely building to in the fake-serial-killer-storyline, but if it means getting to see McNulty standing outside the burnt-out cinder of the Baltimore Police Department with a "Who farted?" look on his face, that will be of some comfort to me. Bunk just shakes his head, as McNulty happily prances off.
Over at the Sun, Templeton is reading is own story -- of course he is -- while Alma raves about said story. "To be that close to a serial killer," she says. "Must be weird." "I wouldn't know, because the only thing I was close to was a tapestry of lies," is what Templeton does not say, though he really should at some point. Instead, there's a lot of false-modesty, self-effacing "well, yeah" bullshit, and if you think that's sickening, just wait until Klebanow and Whiting slither up to Templeton's desk and heap undeserved praise upon him. "Wonderful story, Scott," Whiting coos. "Yeah, well, it kinda wrote itself," Templeton says. Truer words have never come out of those lips. Klebanow would like to know what Templeton plans to do for a follow-up. "Follow-wha?" Templeton seems to say. "This is not the kind of a thing we can let go after a day or two," Whiting says. Good God, man -- he's already fabricated one front-page story for you already this week. You can't just make this shit up! Oh wait -- I guess you sort of can. Templeton hems and haws and comes up with the idea of spending a night with the homeless for a story -- Whiting thinks that's a keen idea and scampers off to sell it to Gus. That leaves Klebanow to tell Templeton that a number of media inquiries have come in to the paper, all wanting the Brave Reporter Who Stared Down A Serial Killer to come on their respective programs. Templeton expresses some misgivings about that -- he's just a modest scribe, after all, and there's the not-at-all-small consideration that he made the whole thing up. But Klebanow is most insistent that he do TV -- "I'd avoid the locals, but if you can do the national stuff in a responsible manner..." -- and Templeton agrees. Oh Lord, let him appear on The View, trading pie recipes with Elizabeth Hasselbeck, and I will never gripe about any of the stupid Sun plotlines again.