In Holgan County, Mississippi, Wayne Scott's' house has just been foreclosed upon. While his son and wife pack up boxes of their possessions on the front lawn, Wayne argues with the Sheriff Jimmy Delahoussaye, the officer overseeing the case. Delahoussaye tells him he should've paid the contractor.Wayne counters and says he paid the contractor with all of the money he had, but his men left the house a mess. To little, too late. There's nothing Delahoussaye can do-the house has already been sold-to the contractor who was supposed to take care of the house! Wayne puts it together right away: the guy who was supposed to prevent him from getting foreclosed upon stole his home instead.
As he comes to this realization, the contractor, Henry Retzing, pulls up in a large suv with two of his associates. They get out and Delahoussaye tosses the house keys to him. Wayne approaches him, asking if he can talk to him for one moment, then WHAM! He punches Retzing square in the jaw. Wayne is wrestled to the ground and arrested on the spot.
Later, in the Holgan County Jail, Wayne fills in the story for Nathan. As it turns out, Hurricane Katrina hit his home and busted it up pretty bad. Unfortunately, right after it was hit, his unit was called to Fallujah, Afghanistan. Not having time to fix his house up himself, he hired Retzing to take care of it. Wayne couldn't really afford to hire Retzing, but he had to get on a plane to Afghanistan right away, so he had little choice. Retzing told him he could take out an equity loan to cover the costs. Three months ago, Wayne returned, but couldn't pay the loan back and his house had lost value because the repairs made weren't right. That's when Retzing moved in and bought the house. When Wayne tells Nathan that Retzing stole his son's home and that, even if you do everything right, you still get screwed, he's reminded once again of his own son's death.
Back at Leverage headquarters, the crew is there waiting for Nathan. He's late to their briefing, which they acknowledge as being odd for him. When he finally walks in, he tells Hardison rather sharply to get on with it.
Retzing is a contractor, self-made millionaire, and all-around scumbag. His company, Retzing & Sons, owns construction contracts all over Florida, some residential, some commercial. His business dealings are completely shady, however. Sure, he signed a contract with the Scotts to do work on their house, but he made sure the work was shoddy and stretched out over an inappropriately long time period. That way, when the Scotts could no longer pay him and defaulted on their loan, he leaned on their property, became a creditor, and seized it as soon as it was foreclosed upon. Slimy? Absolutely. Legal, however? Unfortunately.
(As Hardison, Parker, and Eliot continuing discussing this in the background, Sophie calls Nathan out-he's drunk, isn't he? His answer: "Technically, no, I was drunk a couple of hours ago. Now I'm just hungover.")
Back to Hardison's briefing, it's a known fact that the Florida Attorney General's office investigated Retzing a few years back, but they couldn't make any fraud charge stick. Parker says the game is getting the Scotts' house back; Eliot wants to know the in. Hardison has it, of course: The "Sons" portion of "Retzing & Sons." Randy and Dennis Retzing.
(Sophie and Nathan sidebar once again: She scolds him for breaking their agreement-that he would sort himself out. Apparently, as he states, he wasn't aware of ever agreeing to that. And that's exactly what the crew was afraid of. )
While Henry Retzing is the chairman and ceo of his company, he's been trying to get his boys involved. Unfortunately, one of them isn't too quick on the uptake. Randy spends most of his time snowboarding and judging wet T-shirt contests. Dennis, on the other hand, has his MBA from Duke and does all the grunt work behind the scenes in the company.
Nathan then spells out what they're up against. . .
These men beat out a state investigation, so they're smart and they have the law on their side, so they're untouchable. Or so they think. He's interested in Randy, the sloppy one, and asks Sophie how her luging is. She's too disgusted by him to respond and walks out.
. . To the Powder Bear Ski Resort in Aspen, Colorado, where they find Randy enjoying a drink near a fireplace in one of the lodges. Sophie walks in talking on her phone in a German accent about a party. She makes sure Randy hears the details, which involve swimsuit models and dancers, and puts her wallet down on the table right in front of him before walking out of the room. Eliot watches all of this and reports to Nathan, who's currently having a drink at the bar, when Randy picks up her wallet and begins looking through it. Inside, he finds Sophie's fake passport and, upon doing an internet search on his phone of the name-Lena Christinger-on there, he discovers that she is a medal-winning lugist from Germany. Of course, Hardison has hacked onto the internet to paste an image of Sophie's face over a real lugist, Ute Ausgartner's, image online. Randy replaces the passport and walks off with the wallet with a self-satisfied grin.
Sophie sits down next to Nathan at the bar wordlessly and shoots him a look of disgust. He explains himself by saying he's blending into his surroundings. Still, she says nothing. Nathan, noticing Randy has followed into the room, gets up from his seat and disappears.
The young Retzing slithers in next to Sophie/Lena at the bar and returns her wallet. As she graciously thanks him, he tells her that he's a huge fan of hers and the luge in general. The speed, the thrill. . .the tight outfits. Let the shameless flirting begin.
The two of them move to a couch to continue their conversation, during which Randy reveals his big plans. He wants to put together an event that combines the sport of the X-Games with the music of Burning Man. Lucky for him, Sophie/Lena and her "friends" just bought this resort and are looking to renovate it to make it state-of-the-art. His event idea could be perfect for the relaunch. The overzealous, overconfident-and completely un-business savvy-Randy doesn't hesitate in showing his thoughts about that. Of course his event would be perfect.
Nathan, who's listening in, tells her to ease him into buying in. The Retzings only have a few hundred grand in liquid cash, so they're going to have to build him up slowly. . .or maybe not. Almost as soon as the mention of him throwing down cash is out of Sophie/Lena's mouth, he says he'll just cut her a check for $500,000. Nathan is shocked, but pleased. Sophie/Ute accepts his offer right away. Before he can actually write the check, however, Randy wants to see the plans and meet her business partners. This isn't unexpected and Sophie/Lena obliges-would right now work? Randy, already with stars in his eyes, is game. This might be easier than the crew thought.
As they walk through the resort, Sophie/Lena points out what's going to go where, like the heli-ski pad, hot tubs, etc. Meanwhile, Eliot introduces himself as Ben Svetke of Innovative Resort Solutions to Mike Rothman, the resort manager. At the same time, Hardison hacks into the system controlling the sky lifts and shuts them down. Parker is sitting next to a dude on one of the lifts having been given the task of acting like a terrified snowboarder when it stops. Still lacking in the con department, she climbs down off of the chair rather calmly, and almost forgets to create the diversion by saying, "help." In Rothman's office, Eliot/Ben is showing him the newest in resort fireplaces when the manager receives a call about a stranded guest. He excuses himself and rushes out of the office, just as planned. This leaves Eliot alone to take over the office. . .
He lays out fake plans on a table and puts two new nameplates on the desk-one reads "Hans Von Schwesterkrank." Sophie/Lena and Randy walk in and the two fake Germans greet each other warmly. Sophie/Lena introduces Eliot/Hans to Randy and instead of just shaking hands, the latter takes the former up into a big, obnoxious bear hug. Clearly, he's a little green when it comes to this stuff.
While Parker is being rescued out on the mountain, the fake business pitch continues. Eliot/Hans shows Randy the preliminary plans and the kid is thrilled. Sophie/Lena asks him if he's ready to write that check and Hardison, gleeful that this case is turning out to be pretty easy, is beside himself. But it's never that easy. Unfortunately, that check isn't being written today because, as Randy says, they have to go to Miami to get his dad to write the check. He doesn't have access to the family business money. They're not going right away though, of course. Randy wants to go tandem luging with a disgusted Sophie/Lena first.
Finally in Retzing's home in Miami, Randy pours Sophie/Lena a drink as his father walks down the stairs. Retzing's clearly taken aback by Sophie/Lena's beauty and doesn't do much to hide it. Outside, Hardison and Nathan do surveillance from a parked car, while Parker and Eliot sneak into Retzing's yard to get him video of what's going on inside.
Randy pitches his idea to his father-he wants to put on a winter sports show combined with a concert. It'll be called the Winter Edge Games. After a moment of silence, Retzing calls the idea. . .brilliant! Dream big, build big, he says as his other son, Dennis, walks down the stairs. This other son isn't as warm to the idea; he plays the role of stick in the mud quite well, in fact. Nonetheless, Retzing says he's behind Randy and says he will get him anything he needs.
A glitch in the plan then occurs. The crews ear buds go out and Nathan can't hear what's going on inside. Some sort of interference is coming from inside the house, but the signal isn't being jammed by anybody. Nathan tells Eliot to put a booster signal in the second-floor office to assuage the situation and he and Parker get to work.
Back inside, Retzing tells the glum, perhaps jealous, Dennis to give Randy whatever help he needs to get his idea off the ground. Dennis reminds him that, as president of the company, he needs to sign off on the checks in order to get approval, too. Retzing brushes him off and tells him to do his job and sign the checks. He has Sophie/Lena go help him.
Parker successfully gets to the office, but has to hurry because Sophie/Lena and Dennis are coming her way. She quickly plants the booster behind a picture frame and successfully uploads information from Retzing's computer to a jump drive.
As they make they're way up the stairs, Sophie/Lena does her best to tear the rift between the two brothers even further. She alludes to the power Dennis holds, even if it's not apparent to the masses and makes it quite clear, with a sway of her hips, that she's in business with Randy for strictly that-business-and that Dennis shouldn't get any ideas about his brother and her. The smell of Dennis' hormones is almost evident.
Parker and Eliot return to the car to find that the booster is working. Nathan can hear everything going on in the office. Dennis completes a check for $500,000 and is about to hand it to a wide-eyed Sophie/Lena when. . .he pulls it away. He really can't believe she's serious about going into business with Randy-his ideas are ludicrous. He rattles off a few of his past endeavors like hot air balloon paintball and submarine cruises. Is this really someone with whom she wants to get into business? Yes, yes it is. Now, if he's talking about getting involved on other levels, she prefers a man who's in control. . .
Fine with him. He begins schooling her on how he made Retzing & Sons what it is today. He turned disaster area relief into a growth industry. As it turns out, this little weasel is the mastermind behind the Scott's misfortune and he's done it to others. He actually likens Hurricane Katrina to winning the lottery. The crew hears this and Nathan tells Sophie to find out how many homes they've done this too.
Just as he holds the check out to Sophie, Nathan advises her to not take it and the rest of the crew freaks out. Dennis takes her hesitation as disgust, but explains that it's all legal. He just found a loophole. He puts the check in her hand, Nathan once again says don't accept it, and she. . .rips it in half. She's then told to tell Dennis that if it's real business he wants, then she might have a deal for him. And it's something she'd never tell his brother.
Back at the car, Nathan explains the new plan: they're going to take over Retzing & Sons and get everyone their homes back. The rest of the crew isn't pleased to hear this to say the least. They were about to be done with this mission and they just threw all of that money away. As they argue over what's going on, Hardison drops a bomb: the interference coming from inside the house is coming from police-issued bugs. The house is tapped and the cops are listening, meaning their involvement with Retzing is for real now.
That night at the Miami Grand Hotel, the crew begins to mutiny against Nathan, who sits at the mini bar downing a drink. What will they say when they go back to the Scotts with no money? How are they going to tell the Scotts he made Sophie rip up their son's future? Nathan calmly tells them it's a straightforward game of numbers-they could help one client or they can help 400. Simple as that. Beyond that, he manages to intrigue them by saying they're going to go with a much bigger scam.
The Glengary, Glendeath: They set up something like a mutual fund, but instead of investing in stocks, you invest in death.
The next day, Nathan, acting as a sleazier version of himself, explains his idea to Sophie/Lena and Dennis as he helps himself to a drink at the Retzing's estate. You take an average joe who's deathly ill, perhaps has weeks or days to live. Usually, these types of people want to spend one last great day here on earth-maybe with family, maybe with friends, whatever-but they can't afford it because they're tapped out from paying medical bills. However, they do have their life insurance sum just sitting there. What Nathan's group does is buy the insurance policy for pennies on the dollar and then, after the average joe dies, they get to collect the insurance money. That way, the terminally ill person can afford his/her great last day and Nathan's group makes a profit. How does he know all of this? He worked in insurance for twenty years and, not only that, he compiled a list of possible "candidates" for this scam. He has an extensive database of sick people with fat policies who will most likely be dead within six months. If Dennis gets involves, he could quadruple his money.
Sophie/Lena says Nathan has a good number of investors already, but Dennis' contribution would allow him to by many more policies. Dennis, however, says no. It's too risky because they don't know if and when they're going to die. Nathan pushes back, starts naming individuals' ailments off of his list. They don't sound good. Dennis bites, but with a condition: he wants independent confirmation on the health of these people from a doctor of his choosing. Fair enough, but nobody gets a look at the list without a little buy-in upfront-Nathan asks for $10,000 now. Dennis obliges and cuts a check right then and there.
Getting his hands on the list, Dennis chooses one sick person-Lisa Valdez-who has an inoperable brain tumor. She's convenient because she lives right there in Miami. Nathan will set up an exam with her right away; all Dennis has to do is bring the doctor.
The phone rings-it's Randy calling to give his brother crap for not writing the $500,000 check to Sophie/Lena. Dennis tells him he did write the check and puts her on the phone to confirm. Sophie/Lena breaks the bad news to Randy: they've decided to go in another direction. Still, Randy assumes Dennis still had something to do with her change of mind.
That night, Nathan is driving and taking pulls from a flask when he's pulled over by a cop car. He scrambles to hide the flask and does so right before a man in a suit from the state police gets in the backseat. He's Lieutenant Stone of the Racketeering and Corruption Task Force. He asks Nathan his business in Florida; Nathan tells him he likes the outlet malls. Stone pushes further, saying he knows he just left a meeting with Dennis Retzing. Nathan pushes right back, hinting at the fact that it's pretty pathetic that they're trying to get Retzing on racketeering charges because they can't close the fraud charges. Plus, if he's wasting time talking to him, that probably means they don't have anything. Stone promises that if they come down on Retzing and Nathan and his crew are still around, they won't take the time to sort things out. They'll just all go to prison.
Stone gets out of the car and goes to the driver's side window to tell Nathan that he knows two things about him: he's trouble, and he's a drunk. When Nathan tries to retort, Stone takes his head and WHAM! He slams it against the steering wheel and walks away. Nathan's dazed, but not so much so that he can't take another pull from the flask. . .
At the Feola County Hospital, Parker lies on an MRI machine, whining about having to be the patient to the rest of the crew. Nathan walks in without a word about his encounter with Stone and tells her that's the way it has to be. Dennis picked a woman's name and Sophie can't play both parts. Hardison chimes in and says while he can adjust an MRI scan, he doesn't think he can do so well enough to fool a doctor into thinking Parker has a brain tumor. Well. . .can they give Parker some sort of fake tumor? They could leak dye into her cranial cavity to make it look like she does, but that could lead to, as Hardison puts it, "death-like symptoms." So that's a no.
Eliot saves the day from out of nowhere by suggesting they get another MRI machine, put a brain with a tumor in that one, then crosslink that one with Parker's machine so the read out from hers shows a tumor. The crew looks at him impressed and awed-this isn't usually his territory. Luckily, though, he once dated a neurologist. Even better, there's a machine in the next room Hardison can tap into. Now, about that other brain. . .
Nathan covers what they need to do: secure both hospital rooms, set up a meeting with the Retzings, and, oh, shoot hot wax into the cranium of a cadaver. Just a normal day's work.
Nathan coordinates it all from the hospital's waiting room. Eliot gets the dead body (from who knows where), Hardison gets ready to do his thing with the machine swapping, and Sophie prepares the clueless Parker for her death scene from an actor's standpoint ("Don't I just make believe I'm dying?").
Nathan meets Dennis and his physician of choice, Dr. Kwon, outside of Parker/Lisa Valdez's room. Meanwhile, Eliot and Hardison argue who should have to shoot the cadaver's brain with hot wax. They resort to rock, paper, scissors to decide. Hardison loses.
Inside her room, Parker is put in the MRI machine with Dr. Kwon, Dennis, Sophie/Lena, and Nathan watching. Hardison switches the images successfully and Dr. Kwon sees the scan of a person with a gigantic brain tumor. When asked, she says her guess is this person doesn't have long to live at all. It's actually surprising she's still alive.
Dennis remains skeptical and doesn't want to buy in. They still don't know when she's going to die. Sophie/Lena asks to speak to him in private. While she tries explaining that being nervous at first is normal to get him to budge, Nathan calls an audible and pretends to answer a phone call from Chicago. Loudly enough for the Dennis to hear, he completes some sort of deal and hangs up. He tells him that a mother of three in Chicago just died, so money will be changing hands for some people. When he begins walking away, Dennis stops him-where's his money? He put in $10,000 and he should get a cut. Nathan tells him that was just a holding fee and it didn't really buy him into the game, but when Dennis begins whining, Nathan obliges-and writes him a check for $100,000. The rest of the crew is flabbergasted; Parker goes nuts and actually runs out of her hospital room, possibly to attack him, only to be dragged in a moment later by Eliot. What the hell is Nathan doing?
When Sophie/Lena suggests that there'll be more where that came from, Dennis says he's in, but only after he moves some accounts around in his father's business. Whoa, whoa, whoa. That's not what Nathan wants in an investor-he wants someone who's serious and committed. He storms out, telling Dennis to keep the money he's already got, but to forget about getting more. Sophie/Lena chases after him, leaving Dennis confused.
Back at the hotel, the crew is furious. Not only has Nathan now thrown away $500,000 of their client's money, but he's given their mark $100,000 of their own money. When he tries to explains that it's a basic stall, Parker points out that a stall is used when the mark is already on the hook. Plus, how's Dennis ever going to get them more money if his dad has to sign off on it? Nathan asks them to trust him; after all, they have before. Eliot points out, however, that at the time he wasn't drunk like he is now. It's true, too-Nathan drinks from a glass of wine. It almost comes to blows when Nathan sasses back at Eliot, but Sophie manages to break it up and tells them that she has to talk to Nathan alone.
She doesn't give him any speeches, which he expected. She just asks him a question: "Is this helping you?" He tells her that he can pull this off regardless, but she doesn't believe it. She knew him two years ago when he was a full-blown alcoholic; he's different now, even though he's reluctant to accept that.
The following morning, Nathan receives a call from Dennis-he's in. Oh, too bad, it's too late. It's past Nathan's deadline. This, of course, baits an eager Dennis to offer even more money: $5 million. The door opens. He tells Nathan to meet him at the bank to collect.
Meanwhile, Retzing looks at his laptop and sees that Dennis is attempting to transfer the money from the corporate account. He shows the evidence of it to Randy. As it turns out, the wayward son was right about his business-minded brother after all. Retzing prevents Dennis from transferring the money by moving it to an offshore account.
All the while, Stone is listening in on all of this.
Nathan calls Eliot, who's already at the bank with Hardison, to let him know he's on his way. The elder Retzing is already at the bank transferring his money. He signs his half of the papers and the banker tells his assistant to get the documents Randy has to sign from the printer. Moments later, a stack of papers is presented to Randy. Just as he's about to sign, a security alerts Retzing that someone has smashed in a window on his car. Distracted, he walks towards the door, just as Nathan and Dennis walk in.
It's Retzing v. Retzing in the center ring.
The elder Retzing lets Dennis know that he has no money to give to Nathan because not only has he given Randy full signatory power in the company and taken it away from him, but he's transferred all of his funds to offshore accounts. Dennis is floored, but still shows he has some fight in him when Randy comes over to shove it in his face. The two brothers end up wrestling on the floor with their embarrassed father watching.
Time for the crew to make their grand exit.
Later, back at home, both Retzing and Dennis receive phone calls at the same time. Both are to let them know that their company wrote checks that bounced. Retzing has the paperwork faxed over so they can see what's going on. Dennis, however, knows it has something to do with Randy. When he asks him if he's signed anything, his brother tells him he signed the check for the Winter Edge Games deal. Oh, but he hasn't. He actually signed over a controlling share of Retzing & Sons. They are now minority owners.
As it turns out, when the banker's assistant went to the printer, nothing was coming out of it because Hardison switched the feed. Parker, dressed as the banker's assistant, grabbed the papers, which had a few revisions, off of another printer. She was the one who presented them to Randy just before Retzing got up to see about his car. Sophie/Lena swooped in, telling Randy that now that he the power to sign checks for the company, they can close the deal. She points to the papers already in his hands, making it seem as though it's a contract for the Winter Edge Games. They say something much different, however; upon being signed by Randy, it gives Sophie/Lena's "group" a share in the company.
When the three Retzing men realize this in their living room, Dennis puts it together right away. Sophie/Lena and Nathan wanted his father to find out he was about to transfer money so he'd give the less-than-intellectually-sound Randy the power to sign checks.
If losing most of their money wasn't enough, Stone comes into the house with a large amount of back-up. Combined with his past suspected fraudulent behavior, the suspicious transfer he completed earlier to prevent Dennis from getting to the $5 million allows Stone to arrest him for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity under the state RICO Act. Retzing is put into cuffs, but Dennis has a question: How did Stone know that he'd make that transfer?
As it turns out, the night in his car when he told Stone that he was fishing for a case, Nathan also told him that if he'd give his crew two days to get Retzing to cross the line, they'd let him arrest him on fraud charges and get out of the way. The Leverage team was actually working with Stone and the only one who knew it was Nathan.
As a sputtering, incoherent Retzing is lead out by Stone, Dennis receives a call from Nathan. He asks him if he even looked at the names on the death candidate list. They were actually the names of the families Retzing & Sons screwed out of their homes. Now that Nathan's crew holds a controlling share of the company, they're going to make sure that all of them get their homes back. And, to top it off, he tells Dennis he was very smart in declaring the Retzing's home as a corporate asset. Not only did they save on taxes, but now that Nathan owns the company, they have to move out because they're house is going to be reclaimed by the majority owners. Bing bang boom, move out in three days, please.
A few days later, the crew shows the Scotts their new home-the former Retzing estate.
Even Sophie has to admit that she's impressed by Nathan giving the Scotts the house. She still warns him, however; he's still a mess, even though he admits he's a changed man. One of these days, the crew might not find a reason to stick around to back him up, and that includes her. When he asks if she's threatening to bail on him, she's rather sweet with her response:
"Give me a reason to stay."