Luke Cage Season 1 was released nearly two years ago, at the end of September of 2016 on Netflix. Some of the characters have had adventures in the interim on The Defenders. Misty was one of those characters who crossed over, losing her arm in the process. But that's not all she has to face when coming back to Luke Cage Season 2. There's also the loss of her partner, Rafael "Rafe" Scarfe. Who is Scarfe in Luke Cage? Or perhaps, more appropriately, who was he? It's his ghost haunting Misty now. Warning: Spoilers for Luke Cage Season 2 follow.
Scarfe wasn't just Misty's partner on the streets, helping fight crime in Harlem — he was her mentor and her friend. As she told people, Scarfe might have been a bit of a jokester in the office, but he took the job seriously, and he recognized the talent she had in her from the start.
The two of them worked together for years as a team, and Misty felt like she knew Scarfe like she knew her own family. She was even there for him when his son, Earl, was killed in a gun accident after he found a pistol at home and accidentally shot himself.
It was a tipping point for Scarfe. He became bitter and angry. He started quietly planting evidence in order to make sure the guilty were taken in. He also began working a side trade, taking money from the Stokes family to turn a blind eye to some of their dealings.
By the time the events of Luke Cage Season 1 rolled in, Scarfe was deep in the two-timing game, working as hard for Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes as he did the department. It's a hard game to play, both hunting down a surviving witness to figure out what happened at a gun deal gone wrong, while under orders to kill said witness from the gangster you're beholden to. Caught in the middle, Scarfe tried to blackmail Stokes. Cottonmouth was so pissed, he lost his head and shot Scarfe in the gut.
Shooting a cop will bring the entire department down on your head. When cases get personal like that... the police don't play. Cottonmouth's mistake would cost him dearly, as it was part of what caused Mariah to take her cousin out of the game. As Shades noted, if she hadn't done it, he would have. Cottonmouth killed a cop. He was out of control and he had to go.
But worse, Cottonmouth didn't kill Scarfe outright. Scarfe limped back to the barbershop and confessed everything to Cage and Claire about what had happened. When Misty showed up, she saw her partner and heard him confess and apologize for everything he'd done before he passed.
But apologizing doesn't make it go away. The cases Scarfe was involved in, the same ones Misty was involved in, were now tainted. That meant people the two of them put behind bars were back out on the streets again with their cases tossed.
Scarfe's memory haunts Misty from the moment she returns to the precinct. She's determined to clean up the mess he made, but part of her wonders if his choice was the right one. When it comes to putting those who deserve to be there behind bars, is planting a little evidence really wrong?
Misty might even have tried it herself, determined to take down Cockroach (one of those who got out on a Scarfe technicality). But as luck would have it, her entry into the apartment was disrupted when she found Cockroach already headless when she arrived. Perhaps planting evidence isn't really necessary after all.