In a flashback, Mike arrives in Albuquerque by passenger train, travel-worn and carrying a lone duffel bag. He waits inside the station until his daughter-in-law, Stacey, picks him up. As she pulls the car around, he enters the empty ladies' restroom to buy a maxi-pad from the coin-operated vending machine. Ducking into the men’s room, he unbuttons his shirt and reveals a fresh bullet wound beneath a blood-soaked bandage on his shoulder. Grimacing, he applies the pad to the wound, then buttons back up and leaves the station.
At Stacey’s house, Mike pushes his young granddaughter Kaylee on a swing set. He takes a break to make small talk with Stacey, who seems to be keeping him at a distance. When she asks how long he’s planning to be in town, Mike tells her that’s he going to stay indefinitely, to help out her and Kaylee. Stacey isn't thrilled by this news. Finally, she brings up what’s bothering her: she overheard Matt -- her husband and Mike’s son -- having a heated late-night phone conversation just a few days before his death. When she asks Mike if he was the one on the other end of the line, he denies remembering such a call and advises her not to dwell on it. Catching a taxi outside Stacey’s house, Mike finds a veterinarian, Dr. Caldera, who will stitch up his wound without asking too many questions. When the morally-ambiguous vet offers to refer Mike for some “work,” he declines and says he’s not looking for that type of work.
Back in the present, Mike sits opposite Detectives Sanders and Abbasi, from the Philadelphia Police, in an interrogation room at the police station. Though he’s not under arrest, Mike demands that Jimmy be brought in to represent him.
Jimmy arrives at the station with a cup of coffee, which Mike instructs him to spill on Abbasi after Mike answers his questions. Realizing that the stunt is a diversion that will allow Mike to steal the detective’s notepad, Jimmy refuses -- even after Mike reminds him that Jimmy owes him a favor for his help with finding the Kettlemans. When the detectives begin questioning Mike, Jimmy insists they start from the beginning and explain the events that brought them to New Mexico. Exasperated, Abbasi obliges: Mike was a cop in Philadelphia for nearly 30 years and his son Matt, a rookie, was killed in the line of duty nine months ago. Matt, along with his partner, Troy Hoffman, and his sergeant, Jack Fensky, were purportedly ambushed while responding to a shots-fired call in a bad neighborhood. Hoffman and Fensky escaped the attack, but were killed six months later in a similar ambush. Theorizing that Hoffman and Fensky were involved in corrupt activities that might have led to them -- and Matt -- getting killed, the detectives hope Mike can shed some light on what went down. Mike admits to seeing Hoffman and Fensky in a cop bar the night they were killed, but offers nothing more. He also says he wishes he could help the detectives, but he was drinking pretty heavily in those days and doesn’t remember anything else. Jimmy listens to Mike’s story quietly, gaining compassion for the man and his loss.
As the group prepares to leave the interrogation room, Jimmy makes up his mind: he pretends to lose his balance and spills coffee all over Abbasi. Mike immediately whips out a handkerchief and dabs at the irritated detective’s jacket, successfully lifting his notepad.
After studying Abbasi’s notes about the case, Mike goes to Stacey’s house to confront her about calling the Philadelphia cops - he now knows she's the real reason why they’ve come to town. Upset, she explains that she made the call after discovering a large amount of mysterious cash hidden in the lining of a suitcase. Thinking Matt must have been involved in something criminal, she begs Mike to tell her the truth about her husband. Mike, livid at this suggestion, roars that Matt was "not dirty" before storming out of the house.
Three months earlier, in Philadelphia, Mike surreptitiously breaks into a police cruiser parked behind a bar. Later on, inside the bar, Mike downs a few drinks, then notices Hoffman and Fensky across the room. He drunkenly makes his way to their table and throws his arms around their shoulders. Pulling them close, he whispers: “I know it was you. I know you killed him.”
When the bar closes, Mike is the last patron to leave. As he stumbles home, Fensky and Hoffman roll by in their cruiser and offer to give him a ride. When he declines, they insist, ushering Mike into the back of the cruiser and relieving him of his gun. Jovially, Fensky presses Mike about what he said to them earlier in the night. Still seemingly intoxicated, Mike declares in no uncertain terms what he meant: he’s sure that Hoffman and Fensky were responsible for his son’s murder and he's going to prove it. The cops trade glances.
Hoffman and Fensky take Mike to an abandoned lot far from the city. As they exit the car, Mike slides a gun out from between the backseat cushions and stashes it under his jacket - the gun he hid there earlier when he broke into their cruiser. The two cops pull Mike from the car, prop him up against a street lamp, then step away to discuss how to handle the situation. Fensky convinces Hoffman to shoot Mike with the gun they took off him earlier and stage the death as a suicide. Mike, who has only been pretending to be drunk, coolly compliments Fensky on his clever plan. The cops whip around to face him, only to find that Mike has already cocked and aimed his gun. Fensky attempts to fire at Mike, but discovers the gun he took from him is empty. Mike quickly shoots both Fensky and Hoffman, the latter fatally. Fensky is able to draw his duty gun and opens fire on Mike, one of his bullets hitting him in the left shoulder. Mike returns fire and hits Fensky in the neck. As Fensky tries to crawl away, Mike slowly walks towards him and steps on his leg, preventing him from reaching for his weapon again. Fensky begs for his life, Mike finishes him off by shooting him in the head. Mike collects Fensky's gun and walks off.
Back in the present, Mike visits Stacey again and tells her everything. He explains his entire precinct, including Mike himself, were dirty cops, but Matt was not one of them. When Hoffman offered Matt a cut of dirty money, he initially refused, calling his father to ask him what was the right thing to do. During this phone call that Stacey overheard, Mike told Matt that not taking the money would create bad blood between him and the precinct and could get him killed. Mike admitted to Matt that he was dirty as well, a revelation which crushed his son. Matt eventually accepted his father's advice, but because of his earlier hesitation, Hoffman and Fensky worried that he was going to turn them in and staged his killing. “I was the only one that could get him to debase himself like that, and it was for nothing,” a devastated Mike laments as he holds his tears. Stacey, stunned by this outpouring of honesty, asks who killed Hoffman and Fensky. “You know what happened,” Mike replies, composing himself. “The question is, can you live with it?”
- Saul and Mike are the only main characters that appear in this episode.
- There is an anachronism in this episode. Mike presumably leaves Philadelphia for Albuquerque in late 2001 or early 2002. The train he is riding, the New Mexico Rail Runner, was launched in 2006. Anachronism aside, it's odd that Mike arrives on the New Mexico Rail Runner instead of on Amtrak's Southwest Chief, since that runs through Albuquerque and he presumably would have to take that once he got to Chicago (since almost all trains through the Midwest go through Chicago).
- At first glance, it seems odd that Mike would travel all the way from Philadelphia to Albuquerque via Chicago by train. But consider that he had just been shot and the bullet may have still been lodged in his body. So if he tried to fly, the bullet would have set off the metal detector at the airport. The TSA agents would have found the bullet wound and they would very likely have reported him to the police. The same police who were investigating Hoffman and Fenske's deaths, that is. And, of course, Mike was in no condition to drive such a long distance. So the best option would have been to take the train.
- This episode marks the earliest chronological appearance of Kaylee, who first appeared in Breaking Bad.
- Error: Towards the end of the episode when Mike steps out of the car his right sleeve isn’t pushed up, but as the camera turns to show Mike walking toward Stacy’s house both his sleeves are pushed up.
- Rick Anglada as Albuquerque Police Officer
- "Steel Sky" by The Steepwater Band
- "It Came Out of the Sky" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
- "Hold On Loosely" by 38 Special
- Greg Sanders: "You look like Matlock."
- Jimmy: "Uh, no, I look like a young Paul Newman dressed as Matlock."
- ―Greg Sanders and Jimmy about Jimmy's costume.
- Jimmy: "So I'm here because you want me to assault a police officer."
- Mike: "I am asking you to take a few ounces of lukewarm coffee and spill it on him. I doubt that satisfies the definition of "assault," but, hey, you're the lawyer."
- ―Jimmy and Mike about Mike's plan to steal the detective’s notepad.
- "Look, don't let Mr. Ehrmantraut's dancing eyes and bubbly, bon vivant personality fool you. He's actually, believe it or not, somewhat taciturn. Shall I fan you gently, so you don't go into shock?"
- ―Jimmy about Mike to the detectives.
- "You know what a cop fears most? More than getting shot, more than anything? Prison. Getting locked up with everybody you put away. You threaten a cop with that, you make him dangerous, and that's what I told him. I talked sense. No one was getting hurt. But if you go to the I.A., if you even look like you're going ... He had a wife, a kid, responsibilities. Take the money. Do something good with it. Well I tried. I tried. But he wouldn't listen. My boy was stubborn. My boy was strong. And he was gonna get himself killed. So I told him. I told him I did it, too, that I was like Hoffman, getting by, and that's what you heard that night: me talking him down, him kicking and screaming until the fight went out of him. He put me up on a pedestal. And I had to show him, that I was down in the gutter with the rest of them. [in tears] Broke my boy. I broke my boy."
- ―Mike, confessing his complicity in Matt's death to Stacey
- Stacey: "Hoffman and Fenske, if they killed Matty...who killed them? What happened?"
- Mike: "You know what happened. The question is, can you live with it?"
- ―Stacey and Mike about Matty's murder.