Rossi and photographer Lisa Carruthers cover a story about a woman who gets reunited with her mother, 37 years after they were separated during the war. Lisa seems strangely affected by the story. Animal offers a simple explanation: Lisa is adopted and has never met her real mother.
Lou invites his colleagues to an Italian restaurant he discovered on his way home, Mario's Trattoria. Lisa joins them and her story becomes a topic of conversation. Rossi feels they should help Lisa find her real parents. Lou worries that Lisa might learn things she doesn't want to know.
Rossi and Lisa look through old photo albums to find clues about Lisa's past. Rossi comes across a number on the back of a document that falls out of an album. After some research he learns that it is the number of an adoption file. Once he locates the file he can tell Lisa that her real name is Alexandra Hart. She is the daughter of an artist and a printer from North Carolina.
This bit of success in their research gives the people at The Trib reason to employ every connection they have to find more. Some efforts fail, but when Art remarks that Lisa's father may have served in Korea, they look in military records. They find the man's records, which state that he was killed in action in 1952, three years before Lisa's birth. Lisa now realizes that she was probably an illegitimate child, which explains her adoption.
Meanwhile Corinne has heard about Mario's Trattoria and wants more information. Lou, afraid that the restaurant might get crowded, refuses to co-operate, but Corinne finds it herself by retracing Lou's route home. She prints a glowing review.
Rossi tries to locate Lisa's mother by checking with art reviewers in the newspapers of North Carolina. One of them knows Augusta Swan Hart and gives her address. Lisa decides to write a letter to her real sister.
After reading Corinne's review of Mario's, Mrs. Pynchon is also interested and Lou invites her out for dinner. The restaurant, however, has changed from a quiet family restaurant into a hectic mess. Lou nearly starts a fight with a couple who take his table.
Rossi asks Lou for permission to travel to Norfolk for a story on migration. Lou understands what Rossi actually wants and lets him leave with Lisa. They travel to Charlottesville. Lou is less friendly towards Corinne, whom he blames for ruining Mario's.
Lisa meets her sister Bess, who warns her that their mother is not an easy person to like, but she will arrange a meeting. In Los Angeles Charlie notices that Rossi is away. When Lou tells him about Rossi's trip, Charlie sees possibilities for a story. There have been many stories about adoption, but did anyone ever write about birth mothers who don't want to be found?
The meeting of Lisa and her mother turns out to be a disaster. At first the mother is just silent, but when Lisa tries to touch her, the mother gets angry. Why would Lisa want to remind the woman of a mistake she made 25 years ago?
The chaos at Mario's has led to bad reviews. Lou and friends find the place practically deserted, but Mario is happy. The new customers have all left, the old ones have returned.
When Lisa and Rossi arrive home, Lisa remarks that she now knows who her mother is. She runs towards her adoptive mother and hugs her.