In the bar below Nate's apartment, where an elderly brother and sister who reclaim art from Nazi-occupied countries tell Nate and Sophie about a painting their father once owned. They have tracked the painting to a rich executive who has bought it on the black market, but refuses to give it to them. Nate tells them the team can get them the painting.
Nate and Sophie distract the secretary at the executive's company while the rest of the team cuts through the wall behind the painting. However, the painting is stolen by another team just before they get there, and the Leverage team is left with one of the Dogs Playing Poker. The other team managed to avoid the pressure sensitive floor and the encryption system, which Hardison said would be incredibly difficult. While the Leverage team makes a hasty retreat, Sophie is recognized by one of the members of the opposing team.
The team meets to determine their next move, but Sophie is missing. However, she has a good reason: she's holding a motion-sensitive bomb disguised as a vase of flowers. Parker stabilizes the bomb using instant pudding, and Eliot tells Sophie the best way to get away: drop it carefully and run. The team leaves and Sophie drops the bomb, blowing up her apartment.
Eliot, Parker and Hardison all give short speeches about their late friend, Katherine. Nate and Eliot scout out the mourning party for the bomber, and Sophie recognizes an old partner-in-crime.Sophie tells the team about Marcus Starke, a grifter and forger Sophie used to work with, much to Nate's surprise. Sophie explains Starke's method: he makes a team and does one small job to streamline it before doing one bigger job. Sophie thinks Starke tried to kill her because she's a good guy now and she knows his favorite scam: stealing a painting from an auction, and then selling several forgeries. Using Sophie's knowledge of Starke's preferences, the team narrows down the target to one painting, a Van Gogh. Sophie warns that if they call the police they'll never get the client's painting back. She suggests stealing the Van Gogh and trading it for the client's painting.
Nate, Eliot and Parker scout the art gallery while Hardison and Sophie wait in the van. The job goes awry when another com interrupts the Leverage team's frequency. Hardison tracks the other person while Parker steals the auction house manager's wallet. But someone else steals the wallet from Parker, and Hardison has difficulty hacking the other com. Hardison is losing a hack battle with the other computer geek when Eliot runs into a woman talking in Hebrew on her own com in a hallway of the auction house.
Starke meets Nate while Eliot and the Hebrew woman face off. Parker steals the wallet back from the other thief, but he pickpockets her phone. Starke confronts Nate about all the 'nasty' crimes the Leverage team has pulled, and Sophie warns Nate not to tell the truth; that they committed crimes to help clients. Hardison recognizes the opposing hacker as a man called Chaos. The two hackers start a computer war. Eliot and the other hitter are comparing fighting styles, judging who would win a fight, and they appear pretty evenly matched. The auction house manager realizes that his ID and wallet are gone and clears the auction house, telling his guards to triple the gallery's security for the night. Nate and Starke stop Eliot and the other hitter before they can start to fight and the teams go to make their plans.
The Leverage team is introduced to their counterparts. Apollo is the thief, who specializes in infiltration and security. Raquel Diane is the hitter Eliot met, an ex-Mossad agent who worked as a mercenary and once killed a man with a mop. The hacker who gave Hardison trouble is Chaos, a man who has hacked the Pentagon and the NSA and is known to CIA as the Kobayashi Maru, a Star Trek reference for an unbeatable game. Nate and Starke simultaneously make strikingly similar pep talks to their respective teams. Both team leaders say that they have to steal the painting tonight, and they will get the painting 'no matter what'.
That night Nate distracts a few security guards by banging on a door or the auction house, looking for 'Emily' while Eliot and Parker sneak in. Parker is in the air vents when a motion sensor is triggered, and security guards turn off the sensors when they see a bird flying through the gallery. Parker wonders how a bird got in, until she meets Apollo in the air vent, complete with an empty cage. Eliot and Raquel start fighting in the basement of the building, while Hardison and Chaos trade control of the cameras, motion sensors and lasers. Starke, acting as 'Nathan Ford from the insurance company', tells the security guards to be on their way and takes Nate for a walk in the park in front of the auction house.
Parker and Apollo discuss theft techniques in the air vent, until Apollo takes off to steal the painting. Raquel's shirt is torn off during the fight, and she gets hosed down by a broken water pipe. Starke explains to Nate that the gallery themselves gave his team blueprints and security codes for the building when he pretended to be Nate. Parker tries to stop Apollo from stealing the painting, but Chaos turns on the lasers, trapping Parker in place. Chaos also turns off power to Hardison's van, stopping him from turning the lasers off. Eliot, who has gotten soaked himself by this time, is still fighting Raquel when a police car pulls up the auction house.
Starke is very surprised when Sophie gets out of the police car, having thought she was dead. Sophie tells Starke that they are saving his life. Parker leaps, flips and cartwheels through the laser field and takes down Apollo. Hardison powers his van with a basic hand-crank machine and turns on the alarms. Parker holds a gun on Apollo and puts on a police jacket until security guards come in. Eliot and Raquel's fight turns into a kiss, and they find themselves handcuffed together. Parker leads out Apollo from the auction house and takes the Van Gogh to be 'dusted for prints', and Eliot leads out Raquel, now handcuffed. Hardison, dressed as a cop, assures and compliments the security guards for their 'job well done'.
Sophie and Nate explain to Starke that they thought he sent the bomb to Sophie, but that when he accused Nate of running a team of thieves, they realized that he didn't have motive to kill Sophie if he thought she was still a thief. Starke is sure that she's still a thief and says he wanted to recruit Sophie for the Van Gogh theft. He admits that he told his team he wanted her for the job. Sophie explains that the security footage from her apartment shows Chaos planting the bomb. Chaos admits that he wanted to kill Sophie because he had a perfect double-cross that would've been ruined if a master con artist like Sophie was on the team. Starke is very surprised when his car explodes moments later, compliments of Chaos. Sophie and Nate offer a trade: the Van Gogh and Starke's team, and thus his reputation, for their client's painting.
Later, in the bar, Parker and Apollo are competing at a lock-picking contest, Eliot and Raquel are comparing scars, and Starke is graciously 'returning' the painting the two elderly siblings. The brother and sister both thank and praise Starke, who tells Sophie that when he knew her she wouldn't waste her time 'being the good guy'. Nate gives Starke the Van Gogh, but it's one of the five fakes Starke himself made to sell. The real painting, along with the other fakes, is in a check-on crate at an airport under Chaos' name.
Sophie visits her 'grave', and she thinks Starke may be right. Sophie tells Nate that she's not sure who she is anymore. She says that all of the aliases she made up were real, complete people to her. She promises Nate that once she finishes burying all of her fake identities she can tell him who she really is. Nate tries to kiss her, but Sophie walks away.