When an inmate exchanges some procured information on an old shooting, the team reopens the 2005 murder of a young African-American politician who vowed to rid the lower-class neighborhood he grew up in of drug dealers who prey on young kids.
In 2005, Dexter Collins, a promising African American politician, campaigns for the position of City Council. Dexter takes time away from talking to the press to play basketball. He speaks to a young man named Eric about his brother who was shot by a stray bullet. Later, Dexter was found shot and killed laying next to a crack pipe. His murder remained unsolved and the weapon used to kill him was never found.
In present day, Luthor, a man about to be convicted, tells Rush and Valens that he wants to give them information regarding Dexter’s murder in exchange for a reduced sentence. He says that he was a cellmate of man who saw Dexter when he was murdered. Luthor says that he knows where the murder weapon is. Valens and Rush go to the location and find a gun matching the caliber that was used to kill Dexter. The team learns that Dexter was a anti-drug candidate. Rush believes that Dexter was planted with drugs at the scene. They feel that the police department was politically motivated not to properly investigate Dexter’s murder.
Vera and Valens meet with Cassie Michaels, Dexter’s campaign manager. She says that Dexter didn’t even drink let alone do drugs. Cassie says that Dexter refused to give money to the traditional Philadelphia political machine. She recalls seeing Dexter talk to the community about his bid for office. Dexter asked the crowd for their support. Casey remembers when Dexter brought Warren Wilson, the owner of a local diner, to his apartment. She remembers that Dexter told Warren about his father’s teachings about faith. Warren convinced most of the community to support his campaign efforts. Miller finds that the gun used to kill Dexter was registered to a truck driver named Jay Quincy. They figure that Jay reported the gun stolen, but probably actually sold the gun to Dexter’s killer. Rush speaks to Dexter’s father, Ronnie. He is upset that Dexter was framed as a drug abuser. He remembers that Dexter was out on the street trying to stop the sale of drugs. Ronnie remembers Dexter talking to Victor Nash. Ronnie remembers Victor pulling out a gun, threatening Dexter and telling him to go home. Ronnie says that Victor later worked for Dexter’s campaign. After Dexter died, Victor went back to to the streets.
Rush and Valens go to meet with Victor while he is hanging out with his fellow gang members of the 6th Street Mafia. They search Victor and find that he is carrying a gun. Victor says that Dexter helped him. Victor tells the detectives that he remembers working in Dexter’s campaign office located at Warren’s diner. He recalls that the cops entered Warren’s diner and told him to shut down the campaign office. Victor believes that Dexter’s opposition, Grover Boone, directed the police to try to shut down the campaign operations. The team later discovers that Dexter’s campaign office was the target of harassment. Miller speaks with Jay about his gun. She finds that Jay was selling guns on the street that were later used in crimes. The ADA tells Jay that he knows he reported the gun used to kill Dexter stolen from his mother’s house. He says that if he doesn’t talk, he will have to bust his mother. Jay says that he sold the gun to Jorge Gomez, a Dominican man. Rush and Valens meet with Warren at the diner. He says that his home and business were constantly vandalized during Dexter’s campaign. Warren remembers Dexter meeting with Mr. Moray. He recalls Moray leaving the office abruptly and leaving behind a briefcase full of money. Warren remembers that Moray was trying to get Dexter to help him secure a remodeling contract for a housing project, which would have caused the displacement of many residents, and Dexter refused to take his money.
Rush and Vera meet with Moray. Moray says that the project went through after Dexter died. Moray said that Dexter gave back his money. He says that Cassie, Dexter’s campaign manager, was taking money from various of sources. Moray says that Cassie was fired because of her unethical behavior. Miller and the ADA take Jay to look over a lineup of men. Jay identifies Jorge Gomez as the person that purchased his gun. Valens meets with Cassie in her office. She says that Dexter didn’t understand that they needed street money to win the election. She recalls arguing with Dexter about how to run the campaign. She remembers that Dexter fired her after their discussion. She recalls that a reporter called to talk to Dexter regarding an incident that took place during the ’80s. Rush meets with Dexter’s dad. She tells him that she knows that Dexter was arrested for selling drugs in ’87. He says that Dexter was arrested as a juvenile and that the charges were suspended because of his academic record. Rush discovers that Dexter’s records were sealed because he was a juvenile.
Rush meets with Victor and tells him that she knows that Dexter and him were in juvenile detention together. She says that Dexter’s records were sealed and asks how the press knew about it. Rush accuses Victor of leaking the information about Dexter’s arrest to the press because he was jealous. Victor remembers Dexter coming to his apartment and finding drugs. Victor told Dexter that he spoke to the reporter, but that the reporter already knew about his arrest record. He remembers Dexter showing him photos of Grover with a stripper and asked him if he sent them to him. Victor says that he doesn’t know about the photos.
Stillman speaks to Grover about Dexter. He accuses Grover of leaking the information about Dexter’s arrest to the press. Stillman says that he has a witness that spotted Grover with Dexter the night that Dexter died. Grover recalls Dexter confronting him about his time with a stripper. Instead of giving the pictures to the press, Dexter wanted to call a truce. Dexter told Grover that he didn’t need the pictures to beat him in the election. Miller and Jeffries find that Gomez had no record. They find that Gomez was once bailed out of jail by Warren. Rush and Valens tells Warren that they know that he took the photos of Grover at the strip club.
Warren says that he got the gun from Gomez because he wanted protection from Grover’s men. Warren remembers seeing Dexter in the street the night he died. Warren admitted to Dexter that he took the photos of Grover. Warren was surprised that Dexter didn’t want to use the photos against Grover. Warren thought that Dexter cut a deal with Grover and sold out to further his political career. Warren admits that he got angry and shot Dexter. Warren is then placed under arrest.
- Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush
- Danny Pino as Scotty Valens
- John Finn as John Stillman
- Jeremy Ratchford as Nick Vera
- Thom Barry as Will Jeffries
- Tracie Thoms as Kat Miller
- Chadwick Boseman as Dexter Collins
- Gbenga Akinnagbe as Victor Nash
- Tyrees Allen as Warren Wilson
- Wilmer Calderon as Luther Carp
- Cosimo Canale as Frank Mulwrey
- Jonathan LaPaglia as ADA Curtis Bell
- Henry G. Sanders as Ronnie Collins
- Keith Szarabajka as Patrick Doherty
- Christine Woods as Cassie Michaels
- Peter Holden as Harold
- Euriamis Losada as Jorge Gonzalez
- James McBride as Jay Quincy
- Wanda-Lee Evans as Josephine (uncredited, scenes deleted)
- Unknown actor as Eric
- Unknown actress as Mrs. Quincy
- The end song "Hands of Time" was also heard in the second season episode "The Badlands", which had several similar themes.
- First appearance of Jonathan LaPaglia as the quirky ADA Curtis Bell and Keith Szarabajka as Deputy Commissioner Patrick Doherty
- In a continuity error, Jay Quincy gives the name of the man he sold the gun to as Jorge Gonzalez, but is mentioned as Jorge Gomez in later scenes.
- Kanye West ft. Consequence & Cam'ron "Gone"
- The Roots "Guns Are Drawn"
- Common "The Corner"
- The Perceptionists ft. Phonte Of Little Brother "5 O'Clock"
- Mos Def "The Boogie Man Song"
- Closing Song: Groove Armada "Hands Of Time"