Anne Ellis (Toby Poser), an appraiser for the Champlain museum in Troy museum, calls Bernard Jackson (Tom Bloom), another appraiser, and tells him that she needs to talk to him. Then Jackson goes to Rudy Langer (Tomas Arana), a gallery owner from Germany, and asks him what to do. Anne comes into the city from Troy and finds Langer and Jackson waiting for her. The next morning, Jackson's wife (Linda Gehringer) comes to her husband studio and finds him dead on the floor.
Detectives arrive on the scene to find the Jackson dead of a gunshot to the chest, and Anne hanging from the ceiling. Goren finds that the table she used as her support to commit suicide does not reach her feet. Jackson's wife explains that it could not have been a romantic relationship, as he had recently had prostate surgery, and was no longer able to have intimate relations.
Anne was working on a special donation of an expensive Monet from Rachel and Bill Blunt. Jackson authenticated the Monet when they bought it from a European dealer, and he recommended the museum to the Blunts, observing that large museums like the Met had more art than they knew how to deal with, but it would be a big deal to a small museum in Troy. There was supposed to be a big ceremony, but Anne had called to say it would have to be delayed a couple of weeks due to a lighting problem.
The museum says otherwise; that there wasn't a lighting problem. Anne told them that the Blunts couldn't make it there for the ceremony, and Anne was adamant that they be there. They go through her desk and find that she sent a paint chip to a testing company in New Mexico for validation. Apparently, Anne thought the Monet might be a fake.
The bureau experts explain that it's a very good forgery. Goren points out that the cracks in the paint have a uniform pattern, which suggests that it wasn't aged naturally. The specialist explains that after the Hiroshima bomb, paintings made after 1945 have a higher radiation level. The painting is a forgery. Goren and Eames go to speak to Bernard's widow, who tells them about Bernard's history as an appraiser for an insurance company until he got fired over a statue and started to work privately. They discover that Jackson invoiced $100,000, but his widow says he put a million dollars into their private accounts last year.
Goren and Eames go to the Langer galleries to speak to him, who denies that his painting was a forgery. They get a list of the paintings that he has authenticated and sold over the past few years. When Goren and Eames investigate, they find a common thread of the paintings: they were owned by Jewish people who met their end at the hands of the Nazis. Further investigation uncovers that all the paintings on the list were sunk with a U-Boat in 1945 and are at the bottom of the ocean. All the paintings on Langer's list are likely forgeries.
Goren and Eames start tracing down each of the paintings, and learn that there may be a tax scam. The donations to museums were big write-offs. The buyers buy forgeries for "bargain" prices, then donate them to museums for an estimated value far higher than the value of the painting. They speculate that the people who donated the paintings knew they were forgeries.
Langer denies that he is responsible for the forgery, and scorns the ability of anybody who actually is lacking vision enough to do a forgery. His implication is that it must be a woman, since no man's ego would be so strong. Goren goes to an ex-forger, who looks at transparencies of the forgeries and points to a common mark in the paintings. He is able to identify the forger as a Sylvia Moon (Elizabeth Marvel), who used to restore paintings for the Met.
Langer and Moon have an argument about her work. She wants a show of her own work, and he promises her her own show if she finishes the two canvases he promised her. Goren and Eames catch up with her at her studio, where they discover evidence that explains some odd traces they found in the paint in the forgeries.
The detectives bring Moon in for questioning, and she denies making forgeries. She claims they are color exercises, and that Langer knew exactly what he was getting, as did the buyers. Moon denies that she knew Jackson. Goren gets to Moon by passing on what Langer said about the forger's lack of artistic vision. The police and Carver discuss how to get to Langer and the others when Moon won't give them a criminal trail, but Goren finds that Jackson and Moon knew each other at art school, where he was a teacher and she was a student.
They go to visit her school, where they learn there was some sort of scandal between Jackson and Moon. She almost didn't make it into the school. She applied twice. However, her second canvas showed tremendous improvement. When they go back to her undergraduate school, they find that she was roommates with a girl who committed suicide. They go to visit the father of the dead girl, but Goren notices that the view from the living room is the same as the image in the second canvas that let Moon graduate. They realize that the roommate did the painting.
The detectives go to investigate the dorm room where the roommate committed suicide, where Goren realizes that the pipes bent after the suicide, and that Moon must have known that. This is why Anne was strung up on rafters, and not the more convenient pipes that were lower down. They arrest Sylvia Moon and use the tax charges to try to get her full cooperation on getting Langer for murder. She tells them that Langer asked him to help them talk to Anne. She says she stayed half an hour, but she was still alive when she left. They bring her to Jackson's loft to show them what happened and talk through the crime. However, Goren points out the similarities between the roommate's death and Anne's death and pushes Moon's buttons until she blurts out that Langer killed Jackson. Goren realizes that she then helped Langer kill Anne, in order to get her art show.
Goren and Eames arrest Langer.