Season 4 Episode 4

The Van Gogh Job

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Jul 17, 2011 on TNT

Episode Recap

At a skating palace in New Willamette, African-American veteran Charlie Lawson looks around and remembers how the place was in the 40s. Another man comes over and asks him where the painting is. He claims to be a government agent and reminds Charlie that looting from the battlefield is a serious crime. Charlie insists that he never looted anything in his life and says that he knows the man is a fake. The man concedes the point but warns that the man who hired him to get the painting back will hunt down Charlie until they find it. As the man leaves, Charlie has a heart attack and collapses. At the bar, Nate meets with a former IYS insurance agent, Owen. Owen explains that he was fired for chasing a missing Van Gogh painting, Painter on the Road to Tarascon. He now has love letters from Conrad Becker, a Nazi soldier who rescued the Van Gogh from a museum during a bombing. Rumor has it that Charlie has the painting but he's in the hospital and won't talk to anyone. Nate reminds him that he's not in the recovery business anymore, but Owen says that people want the painting and won't argue about how it's found. Nate meets with Sophie and Eliot at headquarters after sending Parker and Hardison on ahead. Sophie goes over the history of the painting and explains that it was hanging in a museum when the Allies bombed Germany. Nate explains that Owen believes that Charlie smuggled it back into the U.S., and that it's now worth $100 million. Eliot points out that a lot people would hurt Charlie so they can collect a $10 million finder's fee. At the hospital, Parker and Hardison are posing as a nurse and orderly, respectively. Parker assures Charlie that she'll make sure nothing happens to him. Hardison has checked Charlie's records and confirmed that he left Germany and never came back. He calls Nate and reports what he's found and that Charlie came back to his hometown of Willamette City for the first time since the war. They figure that Charlie hid the painting in town and came to get it back for the $10 million. Nate and the others go to see Charlie and offer their help. Charlie refuses to talk to them and they go, but Parker insists that they have to do something. Charlie overhears her and agrees to tell them what they want to know. However, he'll only talk to Parker. Parker worries that she's not a people person, but Nate tells her to just listen. Eliot poses as a gas company inspector and goes to check out Charlie's house. He convinces the current resident, Martha, to let him in, and she explains that there's a mold inspector in the back. Eliot goes in the back and discovers that the "mold inspector" is a fellow retrieval expert, Frank. When Frank comes at him with a baton, Eliot holds him off with a Nerf bat. When Martha comes out, Frank flees over the fence. Eliot asks her if there is anything in the house that can place the original age and she tells him that there's some old art. Charlie tells Parker of how he grew up at the palace skating rank and met Dorothy Ross, the daughter of Alfred Ross, a timber baron. Dorothy took lessons on the Wurlitzer and the two of them soon became friends. Dorothy insisted on ignoring her father's wishes and being her own woman Charlie and Dorothy talk of her going out to see the world. Eliot warns Nate that the town is crawling with treasure hunters. Martha brings out a painting and shows it to Eliot. It's a painting of the Eiffel Tower. Charlie explains to Parker that Dorothy wanted to go to France and taught him French. At the skating rink, Dorothy schools Charlie in France and discovers that he speaks it better than she does. Charlie admits that he has an eager for languages and suggests that they go to Paris after the Germans leave. She says that she's like that. Alfred arrives and quickly leaves with his daughter. Charlie tells Parker that in 1942, a black man making overtures to a white woman was a crime. Alfred's men, including his foreman Lewis, start to beat up Charlie. The local sheriff intervenes and orders them to leave. Once they're gone, the sheriff tells him that he's joining the Army and his deputies won't protect Charlie. When Charlie wonders what he's going to do, the sheriff says all he can do is tell him to make his own decision. The next day, Dorothy comes to the skating rink and discovers that Charlie enlisted in the Army so he could go to France. In France, Charlie drives a supply truck as part of the Red Ball Express, using his mastery of French to trade for food and wine. As they drive through the countryside, a French woman runs up to them. Charlie is the only one who speaks French and realizes that she's warning them about an ambush. He tells his fellow soldiers to get down. As a private, McClusky, hides behind the truck, Charlie grabs a rifle and shoots the sniper, and then goes into the woods to confirm the lone German soldier is dead. He searches the sniper before the others can arrive and takes his bag. Nate has Hardison check on Dorothy Ross, and he confirms that she died three years ago as Dorothy Van Buren. She left her house to her daughter and Sophie goes to check it out. Charlie finds out that McClusky, who hid behind the truck when Charlie returned fire, is receiving a medal for killing the sniper. He protests to his commanding officer, reminding him that he saved his life but he won't get the credit because he's a Negro. The lieutenant admits that it's not U.S. Army policy to give medals to Negroes, but that's the way it is. Outside, Charlie reads the letters in the German soldier's bag. In the letters the soldiers said he recovered a painting from a fire and planned to use it to provide for his family. Charlie goes to the sniper's tent and finds the Van Gogh. Sophie talks to Dorothy's daughter, Mrs. Porter, who explains that her mother played the Wurlitzer at the roller palace at 50 years. Dorothy made sure that no one ever tore down the palace, and that she learned how to play the Wurlitzer from Aunt Cecilia. Dorothy roller-skates as Cecilia tries to teach her how to play. Charlie returns from the war and comes to see her. Hardison calls Mrs. Porter claiming to be a credit card representative asking her about false charges. As she goes to get her card, Sophie reports to the team that there's no sign of the painting. She searches the room and finds a hidden key to a safe deposit box. Nate sends Hardison and Sophie to check the bank and Eliot to secure the perimeter while Parker continues to get Charlie's story. Charlie tells Dorothy that with the money from the painting, they can build a life for themselves. When she asks how they can get it, Charlie says that she'll be playing the Wurlitzer the next night at the palace and everyone will be there. They agree to get Cecilia to help them and Charlie is forced to leave when Cecilia warns him someone is coming. The sheriff watches him go and Cecilia comes out to kiss her husband. She admits that she's homesick for London and the sheriff says that they'll work on that. Hardison and Sophie go into the bank as FDIC investigators and inform the manager that it failed a stress test. They demand to see everything and have him call Eliot to confirm they're inspectors. Eliot is interrupted when he sees another recovery expert, Randal, walking by. Eliot reminds him about Singapore and the fact that Randal owes him $27,000. The bank manager waits as a fight breaks out on the other end and Sophie and Alec listen on their earbuds. Charlie explains to Parker that they couldn't get out of town because they didn't have a car, and they had to slip away while everyone was gathered at the palace. Dorothy admits that she's worried about performing before the crowd. As she goes to practice, Alfred tells Lewis that Charlie is back and that he needs to find him. Charlie is at a railroad trestle timing the schedule of the trains. At the palace, Dorothy plays the Wurlitzer as the skater performs. Cecilia brings Dorothy her bags and secret takes her place at the organ. In the woods, Alfred and his men find Charlie and inform him that they need to have a talk. Alfred chats about the war and then asks him what his plans are for Dorothy. Dorothy runs out the back of the palace but discovers that it's locked from the outside. The sheriff arrives and demands to know what Dorothy is up to and what he's dragged Cecilia into. When Charlie refuses to answer, Alfred tells Lewis and the others to take care of him. Charlie claims that he and Dorothy were going to Canada and took the keys to Alfred's car. When they search his bag for the keys, they find a grenade. Charlie runs off and they realize that the grenade was a dud. Dorothy meets Charlie at the railroad trestle, and Lewis and his men catch up to them. The sheriff arrives and fires, driving them off, and the couple run to the train. However, Dorothy says that her father will do whatever it takes to find them, hurt Charlie, and bring her back. She explains that Willamette City is her home and she can't leave it. Charlie gives her the van Gogh and asks her to keep it safe for him, kisses her, and then jumps onto the train. Charlie finishes his story, telling Parker that's the last time he saw Dorothy. She wonders why he gave Dorothy the painting, and Charlie suggests that it might be a curse. He got to France on his own, walked the same road in the painting, had a remarkable life, and came back to see Dorothy... a couple of years too late. When Parker wonders where the painting is, Charlie says that it doesn't matter. Hardison and Sophie check the safe deposit box and only find $70,000. Nate says that he knows where the painting is and tells the others to meet him. They go to the skating rink and Nate plays the organ. One pipe is out and Eliot removes it. Inside is the Van Gogh. Owen and two of his thugs arrive and demand the painting. He explains that he lost everything chasing the ghost and he plans to have the painting. Nate points out that Charlie thinks the painting is cursed and sets it on fire. As Owen runs for the painting, Eliot drops down and knocks out Frank and Randal with the organ pipe. Owen stares at the ashes in horror and Nate reveals that he burned a substitute. At the hospital, Nate explains to Charlie that they had to understand Dorothy to find the painting. When he learned that Dorothy fought to keep the roller palace safe, Nate realized that she watched over it every time that she played the organ. The $70,000 was the tips that she saved over the years in the hopes that Charlie would come back. Charlie admits that he felt cheated when he got back and discovered that Dorothy was gone. He spent the years wondering how Dorothy would feel about him and now he knows. As the team leaves, Sophie points out that Nate couldn't know if that's the real story. In response, he says that he doesn't, but it is the best story. Parker tells Charlie goodbye and he advises her not to waste time. She looks at Hardison as he goes and agrees with Charlie.