Oh my God, you guys. This is a big job.
We open on a close-up of blood trickling on asphalt, illuminated by the flashing lights of a police car. We pan up to the apparently deceased victim, swaddled in a parka such that we can't see a face or even really tell if it's a lady or a dude. Apparently nearby, three little girls sit on a stoop watching the proceedings. Go to bed! A uniformed cop writes something up as we hear the dulcet, indeterminately accented tones of Det. Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West -- totally English and not really hiding it that well; I know it's too late now, but he really needs to find out who taught Jamie Bamber to sound American and get with him or her): "So your boy's name was what?" "Snot," replies the kid he's talking to. "You called the guy 'Snot'?" McNulty marvels. Considering that we'll later learn he could have been stuck with the gang name "Poot," the late Snot wasn't doing so bad. And apparently the full handle was "Snot Boogie," so at least he had the dignity of a surname. And the option to go by "Mr. Boogie" if he so chose. McNulty asks the witness whether Snot liked the name, and the kid shrugs like it never really came up. This launches McNulty into a schmaltzy, Law & Order-ish monologue that I am going to chalk up to a pilot-era failure of the show to have found its particular voice yet; the gist is that the erstwhile Omar Isaiah Betts once had the misfortune of going out coatless, got a runny nose, and became "Snot" forever after. "Life just be that way sometimes, I guess," the witness rightly rejoins. Cutting the crap, McNulty turns to the witness and asks, straight up, "Who shot Snot?" Hee. The witness sharply replies that he isn't going to court. They sit for a moment in silence, which the witness presently breaks: "Motherfucker ain't have to put no cap in him, though." "Definitely not," McNulty replies. "I mean, he coulda just whipped his ass like we always whipped his ass." "I agree with you." "Gonna kill Snot. Snot been doing the same shit since I don't know how long. Kill a man over some bullshit." McNulty watches the witness quietly, trying not to spook him back into silence. The witness finally concludes by saying that they were playing alley craps; Snot waited until the pot got big, and then snatched it and took off -- which he apparently did on a weekly basis. "You let him do that?" McNulty asks. The witness says that they'd catch him and beat his ass, but that nobody would let it go past that. McNulty, perplexed, asks why, if Snot would steal the pot every time, they even let him in the game. "Got to," says the witness. "This is America, man." Ah, of course. In Canada, we respond to that sort of behaviour by stripping a dude naked and leaving him out overnight on a glacier. And the game isn't alley craps, it's alley curling.