->''"The secret of magic is misdirection"''
Dr. Leigh Jameson is in the Lilian Foods Company downloading some files when her boss Erik Casten and security chief Markland come in accusing her of illegal downloading. Knowing the jig is up, she makes her escape and manages to exit the company but receives a call from her home security system that her house has been broken into.
The next day, she meets with Nate and Sophie in a bar explaining that her house has been ransacked but the only theft was of her hard drive. She tells them that one of the quality-control inspectors found salmonella bacteria on a shipment of frozen dinners and ended up discovering that the entire frozen food division was contaminated. She even finds out that her boss is avoiding lawsuits by not reporting it. She asks for the teamís help, worrying of the safety of the food due to Erikís actions. Nate asks for more information about the CEO and she tells him that Mr. Price doesnít know about this matter and would have stopped it if Jameson had succeeded in her plan to report to him. During the interview, Sophie watches as the doctor's hand lingers on Nate's. If that wasn't enough to convince the grifter that love is in the air, she sees how hard Dr. [[MeaningfulName Jameson]] is pounding back the drinks. It's been a rough week.
-->'''[[TheMatchmaker Sophie]]''':You definitely have things in common with her.\\
'''Nate''': Like what?\\
'''Sophie''': Well, um, she's a [[HotScientist scientist]]. And, well, um... You're, you're a bit nerdy. Aren't you?\\
'''Nate''': I'm, I'm a, I'm a bit nerdy?\\
'''Sophie''': And food, she works with food.\\
'''Nate''': She works with food.\\
'''Sophie''': Well, you eat, don't you?\\
What Nate doesnít know is that the team is already in the midst of pulling recon on the company; Eliot dresses as a pizza delivery guy, Parker stands guard outside, and Hardison [[MissionControl stays in the office]] checking the progress. Sophie was meant to stop Nate from finding out but the best laid plans...
Nate tells his team to pull out but Hardison [[TemptingFate insists itís going smoothly]]. Suddenly, Eliot realizes the guards are ex-CIA from their "[[MadLibsCatchPhrase very distinctive stance]]" and are MRI-ing the pizza. Hardison is bombarded by alerts that lead to a black out. Parker realizes that even creepy homeless guy next to her is a guard.
After everyone escapes or reboots, Hardison complains that this was supposed to be an easy target. Nate tells him that he used to work with food companies at IYS. Anyone who gets their hands on the food patent will cost them billions, which explains why the company is heavily guarded. Hardison briefs the team on the company and that Erik is trying to cover up the problem so he doesnít need to pay out from the recall. He manages to send in a "Trojan horse" but security is so impressively tight that he only manages to collect employee emails. Hardison mentions the "state of the company" speech taking place the next day; Nate tells them thatís their way in. Too bad no one knows what the hell he's talking about since none of them has ever had a real job. The mastermind tells them that that companies usually host a mandatory event that consists of some long boring speech, entertainment, and food. Itís the only time that every employee is away from their office. Since catering is being done in-house, they have to replace the entertainment.
Hardison and Parker attend a magic show by Chronos the Magnificent, a basic magician with a CrissAngel aesthetic and a long list of sexual harassment charges. Even the assistant dislikes Chronos the Jackass.
Parker volunteers for the next magic trick, but the trick goes wrong! The sword pierces the box and screams pierce the air. Hardison, [[ShipTease posing as the protective boyfriend]], rushes onstage to reveal it was a trick-within-a-trick. Parker's fine. The two goad Chronos into punching Hardison.
The next day, Markland receives a call from the manager for the magic show (aka Sophie) that Chronos has been detained for 24 hours, but a replacement has been found. Meet Nate--er--Harry Turner, Illusionist ("Magicians do kids parties"). Backstage, Hardison briefs the team that the show opens with Casten delivering the companyís speech, which will last for an hour, giving him, Eliot, and Parker enough time to go down to the server room, hack and download the report, and return upstairs. To prolong Nateís act, Sophie asks Mr. Price for some employee names and habits that can be added to the patter. Rather, that's the cover for Sophie and Hardison to replicate Price's ID badge.
At the event, everyone hunkers down for a long speech, but when Casten wraps up in record time, the team's plan changes as Nate is forced to go onstage sans assistant, since Parker, Eliot, and Hardison are still making their way to the server room. Eliot and Hardison pick up the pace while Parker manages to make a DynamicEntry. It turns out that Casten has the same idea as the Leverage team; he finished the speech early in order to erase files in an empty server room. With the help of Mr. Price('s retina, stuck in a magic box...with the rest of him) and Leigh Jameson (on a comm in the bar, ordering another drink), Hardison and Eliot gain access to the server room, but too late. As Casten watches the files disappear, he sees some funny business. He tells Markland that thereís been a breach in the junction room. Where Hardison is. Nate and Parker make a magical escape and Hardison gets detained.
As Casten and Markland drag the hacker outside to find his teammates, Markland phone rings. It's Casten's number, but even Casten is surprised, since his phone has just been swiped by a certain blonde thief. At the other end of the line is Harry Turner, Illusionist--er--Nate. Nate tells him the secret of magic is misdirection. Obviously, Casten would delete the incriminating files, but he didn't pay attention to the food patents that Hardison had remotely downloaded into Casten's phone that Parker has so recently stolen. Nate tells him to release Hardison and pull the entire frozen-foods line from the market with the help of a specialist for the recall. Perhaps Dr. Leigh Jameson? Jameson and Price arrive, demanding a formal apology and a resignation letter.
Down time. Hardison teaches Parker magic tricks. Nate checks out new clients. Sophie talks softly with Eliot.
->'''Sophie''': He keeps winning. And every time he wins, he believes a little bit more that he can control... life.\\
'''Eliot''': It's what gets him through the day.\\
'''Sophie''': What happens when he loses? The first time he lost, it broke him. He breaks again, I don't think even we could pick up the pieces.