A very attractive woman who identifies herself as Mrs. Reddington empties a safe deposit box in an Istanbul bank, leaving behind a note for Red, asking for a meeting. There's history between Red and tony international thief Madeline Pratt and it's seductive; but now she wants his help, so Red calls Liz. Madeline wants Red to procure a small ancient statue, the Effigy of Atargatis, in which is hidden a list of Cold War-era Soviet spies known as the Kungur Six. Liz's eyes light up to discover that since the Kungur Six are still active, nailing them would be the holy grail of American spycraft. Nevertheless, Cooper isn't happy. Red has demanded the Post Office be emptied before he'll set foot inside, and Cooper is sure Red has something to do with the disappearance of Diane Fowler. Unable to get squat out of Red, Cooper orders Meera to investigate.
The Effigy of Atargatis is secured inside the Syrian Embassy, and Red wants Liz's help so badly that he exposes her hidden side - a talent for thievery. After discovering her father's criminal record, Ressler and Cooper are suspicious, but Liz prevails, insisting she's the woman for the job. Of course the pressure is on, since once inside the embassy, Liz will be officially on foreign soil, so the FBI won't be able to back her up. That's why Red dons a tuxedo and insists on escorting Liz to the party where the heist will take place. Luckily, Liz has swiped the SIM card out of Madeline's phone as her own form of insurance. Getting dressed for the party, Liz promises Tom that she'll accompany him to a teacher conference, in hopes of shoring up their faltering marriage.
Just before the party, Red tells Liz that Madeline will be going as the date of Rasil Kalif - a Russian mobster posing as a cultural attaché, who likely hired Madeline to steal the effigy. While Liz accesses the safe, Red dances with Madeline, offering to fly off on a lover's tryst - all she has to do is say the word. Madeline declines, still angry over whatever happened in Florence. Their dance is broken up when Liz accesses the safe downstairs, setting off an alarm - definitely not part of the plan. The party guests are ushered into a secure bunker. Madeline announces the breach is all Red's fault and, in the ensuing hubbub, manages to stick the effigy in her purse.
Red rescues Liz, but Cooper is furious over Madeline's setup. Luckily, Ressler and Meera have gone through Madeline's phone records to ID Firas Ashear, son of a Syrian warlord. That's when Tom calls to check up, and Liz has to tell him she can't go to the teacher's conference. Furious, Tom decides to leave right away, without Liz. Ressler and Liz continue to work late into the night, bringing in Ashear, who claims the effigy belonged to his father - and yes, it did contain a piece of paper. He claims the Americans took it on the day they killed his father. Meera and Cooper deduce that the Kungur Six aren't Russian agents - they're nuclear bombs hidden all across America, smuggled in by the Russians.
Red accosts Madeline on the street. She claims it's over, and it's over because Red stood her up, when they had made arrangements to get out of the life and make a fresh start. Seconds later, several men tase Madeline and Red, stuff them in a van and transport them to adjacent jail cells. When Red comes to, he tells Madeline a terrible story about his past: it was Christmas Eve, he ran out of gas, then walked home, only to find his family brutally butchered. When Red is dragged from his cell, Madeline offers to reveal the location of the effigy in an attempt to save Red's life. Once the cat is out of the bag, Red returns, seemingly fine - he set Madeline up!
Liz, Ressler, Meera and a tactical team proceed to Fort Totten, where Madeline's lover Rasil and his men pull the effigy out of a hidey-hole in a stone wall. Rasil runs away from the ensuing gun battle and Ressler ultimately captures him and the effigy - which is empty. Red tells Cooper that Madeline sent them on a snipe hunt... it turns out Red has the coordinates for the Russian nukes, which he's willing to trade for the effigy itself. Red returns home to find that the only privately held Vermeer - that has been on the wall at his latest lodging - is gone. In it's place, another note from Madeline: "She's waiting for you in Florence." Liz returns home to an empty house, while Tom checks into his hotel, only to bump into - who else? - Jolene.