Judge Phelan rolls into his courtroom; McNulty strides in with Barlow. The jury forewoman announces a unanimous not-guilty verdict. In the well, Wee-Bey et al celebrate boisterously, while Stringer retains his usual gravity. McNulty tries to comfort a pissed Barlow: "At least you made 'em work for it." The judge offers some procedural blah blah, and Stringer gets up to leave, briefcase in tow. As Stringer walks unassumingly past him, Barlow dicks, "Think I give a fuck? I'll be chopping you off one night." "You have a nice day," Stringer smirks back. He's such a gentleman! I can't wait to see whether he kills dudes and then mops away the blood with a monogrammed linen handkerchief. McNulty watches him go with kind of a fond smile, and then glances over at Barlow, who looks like he wishes his biggest concern were still the price of pressure-treated lumber.
Later, as McNulty walks down the hall and out of the courtroom, Judge Phelan's clerk comes chasing after him. The judge wants to speak with him.
In chambers, Judge Phelan is bustling about, setting out a Tupperware full of meds, interrogating McNulty about what happened. "We lost," McNulty says simply. Phelan asks whether McNulty was on the case; he wasn't. Phelan asks why, if it was Barlow's case, McNulty was in court. McNulty's all, "No reason." Phelan's all, "Whatever." He adds, "When you start coming with the customers, you should get out of the business." See, this isn't the sort of thing you hear on your NUMB3Rs. McNulty, amused, says that Phelan shouldn't talk dirty now that he's a judge; Phelan says it's because he's a judge that he can say whatever he wants. McNulty says that D'Angelo is cousin to Avon Barksdale (which is odd; I thought he was Avon's nephew). The name means nothing to Phelan, so McNulty elaborates: "Avon Barksdale. Stringer Bell. The crew that's been running Franklin Terrace for a year." Phelan repeats Stringer's name, and McNulty says that he was in court, "scaring the living shit out of every witness." And sparking the naughty fantasies of at least one viewer. (Me.) McNulty rhymes off the other members of the crew in attendance, and Phelan says he saw them. McNulty pointedly asks whether Phelan thought of clearing the courtroom, and Phelan asks, "On what basis? It's an open court in a free nation of laws." Where you even have to let the recidivist thief participate in the alley craps game, yo! McNulty smirks, "I thought it was Baltimore." Phelan says nothing, and after a moment, McNulty continues: "Barksdale has five out of seven towers in the Terrace. That's ten stairwells in five high-rises going 24/7 for dope and coke. And that's just the towers! The low-rises, the avenue corners -- they're all his, too." Phelan asks how McNulty knows; he replies that "everybody knows it." "Define 'everybody,'" says Phelan. "Everybody on the west side," McNulty clarifies. "Barksdale and Bell, they're the new power. I mean, they drop ten or twelve bodies in as many months; beat three cases in court, doing the same thing they just did to you." Phelan asks who's working it. "In the Department?" says McNulty. "Nobody, really. Well, I mean, we're a little busy doing street rips, you know. Community policing, and all that." Phelan wants to know why McNulty cares, if it's not his case. "Well, who said I did?" he bluffs back. Well, seriously; maybe he just thought that was a way he could legitimately skive off work. Which is how he would have thought of it, too, by the way, because he is ENGLISH.