"A New Day" is the eleventh episode of the fourth season of The Wire. It is the forty-eight episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 26, 2006. The episode was written by Ed Burns and directed by Brad Anderson.
The title is spoken by Kima Greggs in reference to the new Mayor's plans for the city. It also refers to the New Day Co-op.
"You play in dirt, you get dirty." - McNulty
McNulty uses this phrase to explain his dislike of Officer Walker and his feeling that Walker got what he deserved.
Namond Brice buys dinner for his friends Michael Lee, Randy Wagstaff and Duquan "Dukie" Weems. They sit on a stoop with Donut and discuss the recent murder of Little Kevin. Randy is dismayed to learn of Kevin’s death. Officer Walker is walking by leaving the laundromat and tells the boys to move on accusing them of being up to no good. They plan revenge on Walker for his recent brutal assault on Donut. Michael establishes that Walker attends a bar well-known as a police hangout and vows to handle the problem.
Later, Namond, Randy and Dukie express doubts about Michael’s plans for Walker but proceed regardless. Michael does not hesitate. Duquan scratches Walker’s car and then lures him into an alley. Michael greets him with a handgun and orders him to turn around and kneel. He takes the ring that Walker is wearing, gives a signal to Namond, who then splashes him with yellow paint.
Walker later characterizes the incident in the alley as a declaration of gang warfare against the police to his fellow officers. Officer McNulty is dubious of the story. McNulty finds Bodie Broadus hiding out in a diner when he goes for lunch. Bodie explains that the police activity has driven him in doors and McNulty reveals that it is the assault on Walker that has riled the patrol officers. He confides a dislike of Walker to Bodie because of his corrupt actions. McNulty is called away and the two joke together as he leaves.
Sherrod returns to Bubbles' garage. Bubbles checks how long he is staying and then offers him food. Sherrod confesses that he owes money to the drug dealer he was working for and admits he felt out of place working on the corner. Bubbles promises to help to sort out the problem and reassures Sherrod that he is home again.
Sherrod and Bubbles get to work the next day. Bubbles is enthusiastic about having Sherrod back and pleased when they find a toppled street light. Their day takes a turn for the worse when the addict who has been tormenting Bubbles robs them again.
Reverend Frank Reid and the Reverend recently stopped and searched by Sergeant Thomas "Herc" Hauk attend a meeting with Mayor Tommy Carcetti to complain about Herc's actions. They try to persuade Carcetti to introduce a civilian review board for police complaints. Carcetti reminds them that the racial aspects of the incident will not go unexamined with both an African American commissioner and Internal Investigations Division commander. The ministers respond by stating that they believe commissioner Ervin Burrell’s authority has been limited. Carcetti asks the ministers not to pre-judge the investigation of the complaint and tells them he takes the matter seriously. They leave disappointed but thank the Mayor for keeping an open door. After they are gone Norman Wilson and Carcetti discuss the difficulty of their position. Wilson tells Carcetti that firing Herc will upset the police department but leniency will upset the black political infrastructure.
Colonel Cedric Daniels and Assistant State's Attorney Rhonda Pearlman host a meeting with the homicide unit. They ask for suggestions to pass on to the new mayor and state’s attorney. Detective Crutchfield suggests improved witness protection and a pay raise, the latter is greeted with much enthusiasm from the other detectives. Detective Freamon asks for more pro-active investigation and more time for preparation. Detective Norris suggests greater investment in lab work and technicians. Detective Greggs is exhilarated at the prospect of “a new day” but Sergeant Landsman is not drawn in.
Wilson meets with Deputy Commissioner William Rawls and gives him a memo from the mayor asking for community based policing and high end police work. Rawls asks Wilson about firing Burrell. Wilson explains that they do not have the political capital available and links this to the situation with the ministers. Rawls asks if they want Herc fired and Wilson tells him they do not want to interfere with the day to day running of the department. Rawls confirms that they are interested in the perception of the investigation and recommends assigning the task to Daniels as Herc’s new commanding officer.
Rawls meets with Daniels and passes him the investigation. He tells Daniels that in minor cases he can issue a summary judgement or pass the case to a trial board. Daniels is disbelieving when Rawls tells him to do the right thing.
The following morning Carcetti visits the department of public works and tells them to tow an abandoned vehicle that he noticed. He does not offer the location of the vehicle. This galvanizes the department into action. He offers similar instructions to the department of parks and recreation telling them that a constituent called and asked them to clean up a hazardous playground in her area but not giving any location. He repeats the trick at the water department. All three departments initiate a flurry of activity soon afterwards.
Senator Davis and Burrell play golf and discuss the summary judgement Daniels has issued. Burrell believes the punishment of two weeks extra duty is too lenient for the ministers. Burrell arrogantly suggests that he is the only person who knows how to play the game.
Carcetti has a disappointing budget meeting and learns that it will be difficult to muster the funds he needs to re-energize the police department.
Rawls introduces the policy change to his commanders and is met with pessimism from the patrol division commander. Rawls insists that they follow the Mayor’s orders. Daniels approaches Rawls after the meeting to request reconstituting the Major Crimes Unit under his command in the Criminal Investigations Division. Rawls approves Daniels suggestion. Deputy Commissioner Stan Valchek tells Rawls that he is smart to support Daniels as he is likely to be the next commissioner. Valchek sees that this is the first time Rawls is aware of Daniels' nomination for commissioner and claims in an amused manner that there is no way for Rawls to become commissioner of the department in the city of Baltimore given it's African American majority. Rawls finally understands why the delay in firing Burrell has occurred, he sees that Mayor Carcetti is looking for an African American to be commissioner of the department.
Daniels takes the acceptance from Rawls straight to Freamon. He tells him that he wants him to move back to Major Crimes and pick his own squad and lieutenant concluding by telling Freamon that “he is the Major Crimes Unit.” Freamon returns to the Unit headquarters and reviews the subpoenaed evidence that has been collected in his absence. As Freamon looks at the names in the file Carcetti is at a fundraising event with the very same people – Andy Krawczyk, Ed Bowers, Maurice Webber and Clay Davis.
Carcetti meets with the Western District patrol officers and announces the pay rise along with a change in focus. McNulty is dubious of his commitment to avoiding stat based policing but Carcetti insists that if the current command can not meet his request then he will replace them.
Burrell arrives at the Mayor’s office and Carcetti reluctantly agrees to see him. Burrell tells Carcetti that he does not mind his orders about strategy being countermanded and segues into a disussion about Herc’s punishment. He reveals that Daniels is planning to recommend sensitivity training and tells Carcetti that they will need to be more severe for the ministers. Burrell tells Carcetti that he can find a more convincing reason to fire Herc based on his history in narcotics that will appease the ministers and the rank and file. He tells Carcetti that his greatest asset is his ability to work with a mayor’s needs.
Carcetti meets with the department heads and hears reports of how they have acted on his requests for cleanup. He continues to encourage the public works department by claiming they have not resolved the complaint he received but congratulates the water department head when he reports that all hydrants are capped. He next hears from his budget adviser who has just learned that the school system is running at a 54 million dollar deficit. Carcetti is astounded at the news.
Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski takes his class through a lesson about measurements. He tries to help Charlene and Jasmine in halving an odd number but is interrupted by disruptive behaviour.
Randy finds contempt from his juniors as he makes his lunch time sales pitch. Word that he is a police informant is continuing to spread.
In the special class Miss Duquette asks about examples of courage. The class have already identified examples from life on the corner. Miss Duquette asks for examples unrelated to the corner and none are forthcoming. She asks for a volunteer for a trust fall exercise. Albert Stokes declines and Namond reluctantly agrees once the exercise has been explained and Colvin gestures his support. Miss Duquette returns to Albert once Namond has successfully completed the task. He responds with profanity and walks out of the class. Mr. Colvin follows Albert and takes him aside with the new social worker, Miss Rennert. They ask Albert what is wrong and he reveals that he discovered his mother’s body after returning home last night. His grandmother sent him to school regardless of his desire to be at home with his mother.
Namond tells the story about what happened to Officer Walker to Colvin. Colvin tells Namond that he is making good progress and suggests that he is nearly ready to return to normal classes.
After school Randy is attacked by several of his classmates. Michael refuses to leave his side despite the accusations about him working with the police. Dukie flees to get help. Prez breaks up the fight and brings Randy and his friends into his classroom. He quizzes Randy about what happened and recommends that he not talk to the police in future.
After school Namond questions Michael about his reckless behaviour both in removing his mask in front of Walker and getting involved in the fight. Michael refuses to apologise for either action. The next morning Namond considers cutting his distinctive hair and his mother insists that he do so. He decides that he is still not ready. He also questions Kenard about the appropriateness of his haircut as they work on the corner. Namond is approached by Michael’s mother for a handout, claiming that it is for a friend. He accepts her story
Prez visits Sergeant Carver and accuses him of betraying his trust by endangering Randy. Carver tells Prez that he will have a plain clothes unit assigned to guard Randy’s home and promises to find out how Randy was exposed.
Assistant Principal Donnelly hosts a meeting with five eighth grade students, including Dukie and Monell, and announces that they are moving on to the ninth grade and high school at the end of the marking period. Dukie is dejected at the news. Colvin is next to meet with Donnelly. She informs him that the board have called an end to the special class program.
Colvin, Parenti and Donnelly meet with Miss Sheperdson and her supervisor at the school board. They make the case for the program but are told that the school system is under too much scrutiny at the moment. The school board advises that they will only continue with the program with approval from city hall.
New Day Co-Op
Omar and Renaldo continue to follow Slim Charles and wait for him at an intersection. Renaldo questions the logic of waiting at the same place where they lost him before and Omar reassures him that if he does not return they will start by following from his home the next day. Omar is proven right when Slim drives past in his SUV. They tail him to a meeting with Proposition Joe. Omar is astounded that Slim is linked with both Marlo and Prop Joe. Renaldo insists he needs a bathroom break and Omar hands him a toilet roll and sends him to an alley.
Omar follows Proposition Joe to a meeting of the New Day Co-Op. He notices Fatface Rick and Marlo arriving and speculates that the Baltimore drug dealers have put all their eggs in one basket.
Omar visits Proposition Joe at his electrical repair store with weapons drawn. He finds him meeting with Cheese and Slim Charles. Omar gives Joe a clock to fix. Omar accuses Joe of lying to him about the card game. He enlists Joe’s help in stealing from Marlo and threatens to inform Marlo of his involvement in the card game robbery if he attempts to double cross him. Renaldo asks Omar if he trusts Joe and he tells him that he trusts his fear. They follow Cheese when he leaves the store.
Marlo Stanfield meets with Chris Partlow and Snoop and commends them for being up to date on their work. Snoop confirms that they took care of Michael’s problem by killing his step father. Marlo comments that he has heard that Michael stood alongside Randy when he was accused of being an informant and Chris is perturbed by the news.
Bunk Moreland and Kima Greggs tease Lester Freamon about his return to Major Crimes as he packs up his desk. Carver arrives and quizzes Bunk about Randy. Bunk tells Carver that Herc never passed Randy over to him and both men realize that Herc is to blame.
Bunk and Freamon visit Thomas "Herc" Hauk and quiz him about Randy. Herc claims that Randy had no useful information but Bunk is not mollified. Freamon mediates the discussion and asks Herc to tell him everything he did while working on the case. He learns about Herc's traffic stop of Chris and Snoop and the discovery of their nailgun.
Bunk and Freamon visit Prez at the school. They explain that they have been to see Randy but as per Prez’s advice he would not talk to them. Bunk tells Prez that he is siding with the criminals and Prez asserts that he is looking out for his kids. Freamon is diplomatic and wishes Prez well. Bunk asks Prez for a little information and Prez reports Randy’s story about telling Lex to meet a girl at the playground.
Bunk and Freamon next visit the playground and search the area. Freamon notices the sealed vacant houses and identifies one door as having newer nails. He tells Bunk that they need a crow bar to open the house. He postulates that the house is a tomb and that Lex is inside.