Recap / Leverage S 04 E 04 The Van Gogh Job

Charlie Lawson, an African American veteran reminisces at his home town roller rink. Frank, a retrieval specialist, posing as an FBI agent asks him for the location of a painting. Charlie recognizes the fake and refuses to help the treasure hunter who warns that his employers and others will stop at nothing to obtain the work of art. Fear and anger cause Charlie's heart to fail.

Owen, a former colleague of Nate, brings him the case believing Charlie was targeted for the same missing Van Gogh he has been searching for his whole career. The team heads to Willamette where Charlie is hospitalized, to protect him and use whatever he knows to get the painting first. He is initially reluctant but then agrees to tell the story, only to Parker. Just before WWII, Charlie became friends with heiress Dorothy Ross who played the organ at the roller rink. Over time he would fall in love with her, and the two would make plans to see the world one day. Unfortunately her father and the local gang did not approve of a black man courting a white girl. Charlie enlisted in the military thinking he could see the world and maybe change the town's opinion of him. In France, his unit came under fire from a German sniper, and Charlie took him out in one shot. He would not however, receive the credit or a medal because of his race. Furious, Charlie came upon the dead German's belongings, among them a painting by Van Gogh, and a letter to the soldier's girlfriend suggesting they could live off the money by selling it. When Charlie returns home, he suggests to Dorothy that the painting could provide for them so they can run away together and she accepts. With the help of her organ teacher Cecilia, Dorothy slips out in the middle of a performance unseen. Charlie waits for her but Dorothy’s father and the local thugs find him first. He scares them off with a dud grenade escaping in time to meet Dorothy and a train out of town. Tearfully, Dorothy realizes it isn’t safe for her to leave, or for Charlie to stay. He gives her the painting to keep safe, and a kiss goodbye.

In the present day, the team uses clues from Charlie’s story checking first his old home where Eliot runs into Frank and chases him off. Next they try the home Dorothy left to her daughter, where Sophie finds a key to a safety deposit box full of cash. When Charlie finishes his tale Nate figures out that Dorothy hid the painting in one of the organ pipes. However the moment Nate and Eliot retrieve it, Owen arrives with hired muscle and demands they hand the painting over. Greed and obsession have overcome Owen’s original motive for seeking the Van Gogh. Nate pulls a misdirect by burning the empty sleeve which Owen desperately attempts to save while Eliot handles the goons. The team returns the painting to Charlie with Nate’s confirmation that Dorothy had kept it and saved many years of tips in case he ever returned. More than satisfied, Charlie donates the painting to a museum, and the team heads home.