- "You're wasting your gifts, my brother. This gangster life not what our ancestors fought for. Not what our people died for."
"This is exactly what they died for. Self-determination, control, power. [...] Money outlasts respect. Respect will put your name on the side of a building, but the money that put your name up there comes from some place."
- ―Mariah Dillard and Cornell Stokes[src]
Staring at photos in the 29th Precinct Police Station, Misty Knight uses her detective skills to reconstruct the gunfight between Stokes' and Colon's gangs and the three masked robbers. Knight informs Rafael Scarfe that it was deeply personal while Scarfe thought that all that matters is money. Also, Knight notes that Chico Diaz is too weak to do something like that.
In Pop's Barber Shop, Pop and Luke Cage discusses Afro-American writers, such as Donald Goines and Walter Mosley. Pop then makes a tribute to Jomo Kenyatta who fought for his people, like Cage. He says that all of Harlem is talking about what happened in Genghis Connie's where Cage defeated Zip and his gang. Cage asks Pop who they work for - Cottonmouth or Mariah Dillard, which Pop replied as "a little bit of both". Pop speculates that big danger is coming to Harlem due to Stokes looking for Diaz.
They are interrupted by the sudden arrival of Stokes who asked Pop for a shave. While talking, Pop notes some cuts on his knuckles which Stokes explains as his failed attempt to shave himself but Pop guesses that Stokes killed Shameek Smith. Meanwhile, Cage was sweeping the floor and looking at Shades and Tone. Shades, who did not recognize him, asked Cage for whereabouts of Diaz. After talking, Stokes prepares to leave the barbershop before Cage reminds him that he needs to pay Pop for shaving. Knowing that Smith was killed by Stokes and Diaz is next, Pop asks Cage to find him.
Knight and Scarfe comes to the local basketball playground to ask about Diaz's location, however, Chauncey claims that he knows nothing. Knight then wins over him in basketball and forces him to tell her what he knows.
Stokes arrives to the Crispus Attucks Complex where he brings Dillard part of money of what he took from Smith. However, Dillard claims that this is not enough to make a deposit for her community project.
Cage searches for Diaz through all Harlem, asking citizens. Finally, he finds a scared Diaz who points his gun at Cage, fearing that he came to take his money. Cage says that he came upon Pop's request, who wanted to save Diaz from Stokes' rage. However, Diaz refuses to go with Cage.
Outside of the barbershop, Pop tells Cage about his criminal past; he was a member of the Stokes family and ran his own gang with Cottonmouth and Fredo Diaz, Chico's father. Entering the shop, Pop and Cage see Diaz who chose to return to Pop. However, Cage spots Knight and Scarfe who arrived at the shop. They ask him about Diaz who was the only link with gunfight at the junkyard. Cage enters the shop, confronting Scarfe. Knight and Cage then recognizes each other, making situation more awkward. When the cops leave the shop, Pop asks Cage to visit Stokes personally to negotiate the situation with Diaz.
At night, Cage comes to Harlem's Paradise and heads to the VIP lounge. Cage informs Stokes that Pop wants to discuss the situation with Diaz because he did not want him to end up like Smith. However, Stokes says that he will speak with Pop himself. Before Cage leaves, Stokes tells him that he is fired, but Cage says that he quit before walking away from Stokes.
Tone later informs Stokes that he know where Diaz is, however Stokes tells him to do nothing. Outside of the club, Tone and Shades meet with Turk Barrett who saw Diaz in the barbershop. They arrive at the barbershop and Tone opens fire on the barbershop. Cage manages to cover Lonnie Wilson while Diaz gets wounded and a bullet ricochets from Cage and fatally wounds Pop. Tone and Shades takes Diaz's part of the money and leave the barbershop.
Cage tries to help Pop but he dies in his arms before the NYPD arrives. While Diaz was taken to hospital and Scarfe questioned witnesses about shooting, Knight notices bullet holes on Cage's shirt who was unharmed.
Returning to the club Tone, Stokes, Dillard and Shades head to the rooftop where Tone gives Stokes his money and tells him about shooting at the barbershop. Stokes does not appreciate the attack on the barbershop but decides to support Pop financially as compensation. Shades then informs him that Pop was killed. Before Stokes can react, Barrett interrupts him asking for his money for the information. Stokes then throws Tone from the rooftop in a fit of rage, killing him and yells at Barrett to take his money from Tone's corpse.
Pop's sudden death affected everyone who knew him, Cage, Knight and Stokes mourn the death of a good man and their friend. Cage is watching outside of Crispus Attucks Complex. Mamba then pulls a gun at Cage's head, threating to shoot him. However Cage scares him off, forcing him to run. Cage then notices Dillard with Diaz's money entering the complex.
- Mike Colter as Luke Cage
- Mahershala Ali as Cornell Stokes/Cottonmouth
- Simone Missick as Misty Knight
- Theo Rossi as Hernan Alvarez/Shades
- Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard/Black Mariah
- Frankie Faison as Henry Hunter/Pop
- Frank Whaley as Detective Rafael Scarfe
- Rob Morgan as Turk Barrett
- Ron Cephas Jones as Bobby Fish
- Cassandra Freeman as Patricia Wilson
- Brian 'Sene' Marc as Chico Diaz
- Darius Kaleb as Lonnie Wilson
- Jermel Howard as Shameek Smith
- Warner Miller as Tone
- Hugues Faustin as Dante Chapman
- Steven Ted Beckler as Nate
- Cedric Benjamin as Jamel Shabazz
- Elijah Boothe as Young Cornell Stokes
- Peyton Smith as Chauncey
- Camrus Johnson as Torre
- Alsharik Sejour as Mamba
- Anthony Aroya as Victor
- Faith Evans as herself
- D-Nice as himself
- Justin Andrews as Basketball Player (uncredited)
- Nancy Cejari as Clubgoer (uncredited)
- Jerry DiLeo as Police Officer (uncredited)
- Saliyl Dotson as Bartender (uncredited)
- Nathalie Georges as Pedestrian (uncredited)
- Mohammed Hossain as Photographer (uncredited)
- Lynn Marocola as FDNY Paramedic (uncredited)
- Nicholas Marocola as FDNY Paramedic (uncredited)
- Phil Oddo as Reporter (uncredited)
- Annie Pisapia as Pedestrian (uncredited)
- Ann Marie Seall as Bartender (uncredited)
- Nora Sommerkamp as Clubgoer (uncredited)
- Kellen C Wingate as Detective (uncredited)
- Leroy Phillips Jr. as Pedestrian (uncredited)
- Unknown Actor as Fredo Diaz (uncredited)
- New York City, New York
- Chicago, Illinois (mentioned)
- Savannah, Georgia (mentioned)
- Seagate Penitentiary, Georgia (mentioned)
- Switzerland (mentioned)
- Turkey (mentioned)
- Jamaica (mentioned)
- Temple University (mentioned)
- Attack on Pop's Barber Shop
- Ambush at the Harlem Junkyard (flashback)
- Attack on Zip's Gang (mentioned)
- Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Mystery
- Dogs (mentioned)
- New York City Police Department
- Stokes Crime Family
- Fire Department of New York City
- Fox News (mentioned)
- New Harlem Renaissance
- Mama Mabel
- Buggy Stokes
- Bobby Fish's Daughter
- Turk Barrett's Mother
- Reva Connors
- Domingo Colon
- Pop's Wife
- Bert Hunter
- Kelly Knight
- Candace Miller
- Crispus Attucks
- Benjamin Franklin
- Donald Goines
- Walter Mosley
- George Pelecanos
- Richard Price
- Dennis Lehane
- Chester Himes
- Bobby Fischer
- Jesus Christ
- Muhammad Ali
- Nelson Mandela
- Richard Roundtree
- Michael Jordan
- Al Pacino
- Pat Riley
- Cheryl Miller
- Barney Miller
- Quentin Tarantino
- Sean Combs
- Horton the Elephant
- Jomo Kenyatta
- John Shaft
- Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins
- Michael Corleone
- The Cat in the Hat
- The Shawshank Redemption
- Django Unchained
- Code of the Street is the name of a song included in the album called Hard to Earn of the hip-pop duo Gang Starr.
- Tone compares his shooting up of Pop's Barber Shop to the Candyland Massacre from Django Unchained.
Faith Evans sings at Harlem's Paradise; Mariah Dillard tells Cottonmouth he's wasting his talents which he disagrees with; Turk Barrett meets with Shades and Tone, he tells them where Chico Diaz is located; Patricia Wilson looks for Cage at Pop's Barber Shop; Shades and Tone head to the barbershop; Cage reports back to the barbershop.
|Cristo Redentor||Donald Byrd||
Cottonmouth takes a moment on the roof top of the club; Rafael Scarfe and Misty Knight drink as Knight continues to be perplexed by Luke Cage and the bullet holes in his shirt; Cage comes to a resolution about what he should do as holds the Pop's Barber Shop swear jar and Mariah Dillard's leaflet; Stokes cries over a picture of himself, Pop and Fredo Diaz; Cage challenges Mamba to shoot him.