Nate wakes up in a hospital office, bruised and battered. A woman, Ellen Casey asks him what went wrong and how everything started, and Nate shares at her in shock.
One Month Ago
Nate meets with his former pediatrician, Dr. Giallo. She wants his help with Pallogen, a biochemical company that refuses to release a drug that will cure Stanhope's Sarcoma. Her patient, Danny Sullivan, is running out of time but Pallogen won't release the drug on the market because there isn't enough patients for them to make a profit. Nate assures Giallo that he'll get the drug released. As Nate hugs her, Sophie and Hardison watch and Sophie explains that Giallo was the pediatrician treating Sam Ford before he died.
Nate, Sophie, and Hardison meet in the briefing room. Hardison warns the group that Pallogen is located in Highpoint Tower and that the building is impenetrable. It has the highest possible security because the Federal government uses Highpoint as a secure Internet relay point. Parker and Eliot are already on site trying to get in, and discover that the building has a full wireless lockdown. As they lose contact with the others, Parker realizes that the building has the "unbeatable" Steranko Security System. She quickly gets out with Eliot, while Hardison warns the team that they've never beaten a Steranko, only escaped it once. The best he can do is access the hard lines going in and out of the building. Nate says that they have two months to beat the system before Danny died, and Hardison says that they can do it in one.
To gain entry, the team plans to work down from the top. As they check the surrounding buildings, Sophie sees the historic Dolan Theater and Hardison confirms that it was built on top of the old Shanghai tunnels. Security at the theater is non-existent and Sophie immediately books a performance of Macbeth there with her acting troupe. Parker and Nate check the theater roof and work out how to send a zipline across. As they separately calculate the vectors, Parker wonders why Nate has been involving her in the planning of their jobs. He admits that he admires her unique three-dimensional way of planning crimes, even if he doesn't do it himself, and assures Parker that he trusts her judgment.
As Sophie's rehearses the play, Nate comes in and joins Sophie in the audience. He wonders if she misses the stage but Sophie assures him that her talents are best used robbing the rich and powerful and kisses him.
Ellen tells Nate that when he was pulled from the window, he said that he made a mistake. He doesn't answer and Ellen asks him if he remembers how his friends died. Nate is still confused and Ellen tells him that he's at Trinity State Hospital. After they pulled him out of the river, they discovered that he suffered head trauma, causing short-term amnesia. They have reports of a break-in at Highpoint Tower, shots fired, and Nate's van going off a bridge and into the river. Ellen says that they need to work out what happened and tells Nate to concentrate.
Sophie prepares for the show's premiere but discovers that her Lady Macbeth hasn't shown up. She worries about her performance but Nate tells her that she'll be great because she always performs well when she's on a job. The play begins in the theater while Parker fires a crossbow line over to Highpoint's roof. As soon as he lands on the roof, the alarms go off and she ducks into an air vent just as the security guards arrive. Once inside, Nate loses contact with her because of the wireless lockdown.
Sophie performs and botches her performance, and the crowd starts angrily muttering. Meanwhile, Parker gets to the main security panel and sets off alarms throughout the building. Nate calls the security desk, claiming to be the Steranko representative, and the guards report that there appears to be a malfunction. He asks for their password for confirmation and says that he's sending two technicians in. Once he has the password, Nate intercepts the call from Steranko to Highpoint, gives them the password, and has them shut down the alarm. Hardison and Eliot enter Highpoint posing as the technicians and fake shutting down the alarms, just as the company shuts down the alarms for real. The two men take the elevator up and Parker joins them, puts on a tech uniform, and they all head to the tenth floor.
A police officer arrives in the lobby and tells the security guards that he's required to walk the floors because of the alarm. He calls Steranko via radio and Nate realizes that they can't stop the transmission. He warns the trio inside and Eliot covers Parker and Hardison's retreat when the police officer arrives with two of the security guards. The hitter takes them out while Hardison and Parker pry open the elevator doors and start to zipline down. The police officer gets past Eliot and fires into the shaft. A startled Hardison loses his grip and Parker manages to grab him, promising that she won't let go. The police officer fires another shot, hitting her in the chest, and Hardison plummets down the shaft. Parker manages to slide down and manages to get a signal through to Nate, telling him that Hardison is all broken up.
The play ends and Nate and Sophie take the van to Highpoint. Meanwhile, Parker carries Hardison to the van and runs to the loading dock, taking out the police officer and discarding his gun. However, as Eliot runs for the van, the officer pulls out a second gun and shoots him in the back. Eliot manages to get into the back of the van with Parker and Hardison while Nate drives off. The hitter manages to grab Hardison's hand and the two of them share one last moment while a dying Parker looks on.
The police pursue the van and Nate drives for the nearby bridge. The police have set up a barricade and Nate brakes to a halt. He checks in the back and realizes that Hardison, Parker, and Eliot are dead. The mastermind then takes Sophie's hand and hits the gas. The van slams through the barricade and goes up the bridge as it starts to rise...
Nate pounds the table in frustration at his inability to remember, and Ellen shows him a photo of the police bringing three body bags out of the windows. She informs him that they've identified all of the corpses and leaves him to consider. Outside, Ellen tells her team not to give Nate any outside accesses and then leaves the building... Highpoint Tower. She goes to her own office and her assistant informs her that the Portland PD sent two detectives to Highpoint but they don't have on-site confirmation yet. Ellen checks the security footage of the loading dock and watches as Eliot is shot in the back.
Ellen tells her assistant to call the Portland PD and confirm which two detectives went to Highpoint, and then pick up the team's bodies. She then goes to the building roof and finds scraps of red plastic scattered on the floor. Ellen then goes to the theater and talks to the stage manager. The security man with her says that the police officer came in to the lobby and then ran back a few minutes later, radioing for backup. Ellen then goes to the theater and talks to the stage manager, who says that the first Lady Macbeth was incredibly bad, but her understudy received a standing ovation at the next performance.
Once she's done checking out the crime scenes, Ellen goes back to the fake hospital office in Highpoint and tells Nate that the police will soon take him into custody. She then asks why he's lying to her, pointing out that he didn't need three weeks to get into the theater just to access the roof. She checked at the theater and confirmed that the team dug through the basement, into the old Shanghai tunnels, and over to the elevator shaft in Highpoint. Ellen figures that Hardison fired water balloons at the Highpoint roof, setting off the alarms, while Parker used the distraction to enter via the tunnels.
When a furious Nate asks Ellen why he'd lie, Ellen realizes that he must have figured out he wasn't in a hospital. Nate immediately calms down and explains that he didn't hear any of the typical hospital background noises outside. Ellen's file had Interpol markings on it and she instinctively reached for her phone but ignored it, meaning she was in a building with a wireless lockdown. Putting it together, Nate figured that he was in Interpol's provisional offices at Highpoint.
Ellen congratulates Nate on his deductions and engages in some of her own. She figures that the team set off the alarms on the 20th floor so that Parker could get to the server room. However, the only files are dead ones stored by government agencies. Nate agrees that there were no active case files on the server and glances up at the security camera. Right on queue, Jim Sterling comes in, offers Nate a drink, and tells Nate that he must have been after Interpol's most secret file: the black book.
As Sterling removes Nate's handcuffs, Nate informs Ellen that five years ago there was a major financial theft and one-third of the world's wealth was electronically embezzled. The rich and powerful knew it was coming and pulled most of their money out in advance. The world governments refused to reveal the full extent of the crime and prosecute because it would have caused an even greater financial panic. The intelligence agencies closed the case and sealed the information away in the black book fail. The black book is moved electronically through the Highpoint server every few months as part of routine maintenance.
Ellen still figures that Nate is lying even though he failed, and wonders why. They get a call that the coroner's van has arrived and is picking up three bodies. Sterling realizes that there should be four bodies and tells Ellen to bring Nate and every agent they have to the 20th floor server room. As they get there, Ellen checks the server and confirms that the black book file has just been loaded onto the server. Sterling figures that Parker is alive and entered the server room earlier... and then never left. Nate has been lying to give Parker time to get the file and then escape.
Sterling unlocks the high-security biometric device and asks Nate if Parker knows that the mastermind got Hardison killed. Nate angrily grabs his ex-partner while the Interpol agents enter the server room and search the premises. They don't find Parker and leave, securing the room. Sterling then takes Nate down to the parking garage to examine Hardison's body. Much to Ellen's surprise, Sterling draws a gun and shoots the corpse repeatedly. He then reveals that it's a dummy filled with ballistic gel. Now that he knows Hardison and Eliot aren't dead either, Sterling works out what happened and has two questions. First he asks Ellen if she ever talked in person to the Portland police. Ellen admits that she only talked to them over the telephone hard lines. Sterling lets Nate ask Ellen the second question: what happened to the coroner van's drivers. Ellen realizes what Sterling already has noticed: the drivers are gone. Impressed, Sterling asks Nate who played the police officer who shot Eliot and Parker?
What Really Happened
At the briefing, Nate explains that he brought the team to Portland because he knew the black file was routed through Highpoint's server. Hardison was the only other person he told, and the hacker has been keeping the secret since they arrived. Nate planned to get the black book, the ultimate score, and spent the months in Portland planning the job. However, they discovered that the one thing they couldn't hack was the biometric lock on the server room door.
Sophie had her understudy give the bad performance of Lady Macbeth while she intercepted all of the calls in and out of Highpoint. Nate went in posing as the police officer and faked shooting Eliot and Hardison. He then walked out while Sophie posed as the Portland PD operator and told the security guards to stay put. Parker then went in posing as the police detective. Finally, when Ellen called the Portland PD, Sophie intercepted that call as well.
Sterling and Ellen realize that when Ellen went to the theater during her investigation, Sophie was the one giving the rave performance that the stage manager described. The two Interpol agents go to the server room and discover that the hard drive is gone. When Nate grabbed him earlier outside the room, it was to keep Sterling from noticing that Eliot, Hardison, and Parker were all posing as Interpol agents and entered to search the room with the other agents. Once the others left, the trio simply stayed behind and removed drive, then opened the impenetrable lock from the inside.
Sterling realizes that Ellen already found the team's escape route: out the elevator shaft and back through the theater. They take a team of agents to search the audience, unaware that Parker, Hardison, and Eliot are posing as soldiers in the production and taking their bows with the rest of the cast.
Once they're unable to find the trio, Sterling asks Nate if he's done and admits that he gave a great performance. Nate tells his former friend that Sophie is the one who taught him how to act. A van pulls up to take Nate to a secret prison and he asks Sterling for one favor. He wants Sterling not to tell anyone that they got the names from the black book. Sterling points out that if he doesn't tell the authorities, the rich and powerful who profited from the financial collapse won't know that every grifter and thief will be coming after them with the stolen information. Ellen, overhearing, wonders if Nate is doing the right thing making them pay, and Sterling admits that Nate has that effect on people. He warns Nate that they don't believe in the same things and Nate warns him that one day he'll have to make a choice. Sterling writes something on a file and tosses it into Nate's lap before closing the door and watching the van leave.
Inside the van, Sophie drives away and asks Nate what Sterling wrote. Nate looks at the message, which tells Sophie to drive carefully, and realizes that Sterling knew Nate's final move. He tells Sophie that it doesn't say anything important.
Back in the parking garage, Ellen realizes what happened and tells her boss that he couldn't have had an easy decision. Sterling tells her that justice is always easy.
Back at the pub, the team looks at the hard drive with the black box and realizes that they now have a weapon they can use to destroy a thousand rich criminals. However, Nate tells them that he won't be doing it anymore. When Sophie wonders what he means, Nate says that it's up to her. He then dims the lights, gets down on one knee, and offers her an engagement ring. He proposes, calling her "Laura," and tells the others to take the hard drive. Hardison figures that they can put it out on the Internet and offer a piece of it to every conman in the world, expanding their operation to Leverage International. Eliot tells Nate that it was his crusade but now they'll fight the war, and he promises to take care of Parker and Hardison until his dying days. Nate tells Eliot that he can call if he needs anything, but figures that he never has and never will. The hitter corrects him, saying that he did need one thing... and Nate and the others gave it to him.
As the team says their goodbyes, Nate warns Hardison not to get cocky. Sophie asks Parker if she's okay with them going, and the thief admits that she is... now. Nate points out that's why they can finally go. As Sophie and Nate walk out of the pub, she points out that Laura isn't her real name and Nate says that he knows. She looks around the bar and admits that she was just getting used to Portland, and then leaves with Nate.
Parker, Eliot, and Hardison meet with a couple whose son was killed by corporate malfeasance. They wonder what they can do and Parker, the team's new mastermind, tells the couple that they can provide... leverage.