At the end of Season Four, Franklin Saint’s crew took out Manboy and exposed Tanosse, tying up loose ends. Meanwhile, Teddy killed investigative reporter Irene Abe, in what was made to look like a drunk driving accident. And Teddy killed Alton, Franklin’s father;.before Teddy was cut from the case, and Gustavo received a new point of contact.
Snowfall Season Five kicked off in dramatic fashion.
The new season's first episode opened by dropping the audience onto the University of Maryland campus, on the night of June 19, 1986. A group of friends is partying in their dorm room. One of them, Maryland basketball standout Len Bias, has just been taken No. 1 by the Boston Celtics in the NBA draft, and Bias and his friends are celebrating with some cocaine. Everyone is excited and anticipating Bias suiting up alongside Celtics superstar Larry Bird, when suddenly the hoops star clutches his chest and begins convulsing. His panicked friends rush to his aid as his eyes roll back into his head.
The southern border has opened and the price of cocaine has decreased drastically. The arms flow to Nicaragua has slowed down, and the Sandinistas are not caving to the U.S.-backed Contras rebel group.
It's obvious that Saint has come up. He's got some legitimate real estate businesses going, and bought a home. And now, Franklin is flying a private plane, having learned how to fly. He wakes up in his penthouse to the news about the death of Bias, as he also learns that an old friend may be implicated in a murder that could also bring Franklin dangerously close to the authorities. His former rivals (and strippers), Black Diamond and Dallas meet up with him at a private hangar and inform him Veronique called for him. He calls an excited Veronique, and she tells him about their newest developments. But Franklin is headed to a party.
Franklin and Peaches go to a party to meet up with Franklin's new C.I.A. connect, Grady Williamson. He makes it clear to that the plan is to increase the buy to 300 kilos per week to stay competitive. Grady asked Gustavo’s take on the shorter end of the deal yet Franklin needed to remain competitive in his market.
Leon is still playing the role of project enforcer. He and his goons take a lead pipe to the legs of an underling who dared steal money to go buy Jordans. Leon's old ex-girlfriend Wanda is finally clean, having endured crack addiction and being shot. She's now working as a phone sex operator, and her boss lectures her after she proves to be a little too good at her job. You don't want the guy on the other end to "finish" before you make enough money. “Hold the cream to make the green," he says.
There's an air of domesticity around many major characters. Franklin's gotten very serious with Veronique, who we eventually learn is pregnant with his child. And Aunt Louie and Jerome seem to be in an especially positive place. After visiting a stable and seeing how much Louie is loving horseback riding, Jerome buys himself and Louie their own horses. They're still just as passionate and flirtatious for each other as ever, even as things have shifted somewhat with their relationship with Franklin and business.
But Wanda isn't the only familiar face who makes a return: Franklin reconnects with his old friend, Rob Volpe.
Rob introduced Franklin to Avi Drexler way back when, but he's fallen into a tough situation. Their mutual friend named Thad murdered a teenager at a party in North Hollywood after the kid tries their cocaine; and Rob himself now is struggling with crack addiction. Franklin and Peaches go looking for Thad, as a now-clean Wanda keeps watch over a withdrawing Rob.
Franklin meets with Jerome, Louie, and Leon to let them know about the situation. Everyone is very concerned about Rob's addiction and how vulnerable he could be. An addict in their midst puts everyone at risk. Things are further complicated by crooked cop Det. Buckley. Buckley visited Jerome and Louie’s club; as Louie greeted the C.R.A.S.H. detective. But Buckley warns her that needs her to give him information to please his bosses; the death of Len Bias has pushed drug enforcement into overdrive. Buckley needed something from her or he is going to cease shielding her illicit operations.
Franklin, Rob and Peaches eventually track down Thad, as Franklin's distrust for his crack-addicted old friend grows. They corner Thad at his home and Franklin encourages Rob to shoot a pleading Thad. Rob, Peaches and Franklin go to dispose of Thad's body, and Rob pauses to smoke some crack during the burial.
Franklin comes to a hard, brutal realization about Rob. As he urges his onetime friend to look up at the sky to see Haley's Comet (which last appeared in 1986), Franklin shoots Rob in the head as a shocked Peaches looks on.
The next morning, a concern Veronique suggests that Franklin walk away from this violent life for the sake of their unborn child. Franklin asks her to pledge her loyalty to him.