Recap / Leverage S 05 E 10 The Frame Up Job
Not even murder will keep Nate from taking his afternoon swim.

"I just got you off the hook for stealing that painting, now you want to go and steal it and another one just to prove it isn’t real!"
Nate, to Sophie

Nate and Sophie run for their lives as someone shoots at them, and she berates Nate for not going to the movies like she wanted, though he says if they had they’d be in jail by now.

Skip back to earlier when Nate and Sophie are trying to decide how to spend their free time, and Sophie decides she’s going to a local film festival. Except she doesn’t. She winds up at an art sale of a recently deceased collector, Mr. Gault, posing as someone from the London Museum. She learns a bit about the family, and strikes up a conversation with the son, who insists he’s met her someone before. Nate disagrees. The two walk off, Nate asking why she lied to him, and her stalling. She says it’s personal.

Inside the mansion, the curator, Katrina Hardt, explains a bit about John Mettier, the painter whose work is primarily found there. The auction is made possible by his daughter, Fiona, and his lawyer, Reinhold Shecter. Sophie explains that she’s a big fan of Mettier, but Shecter announces there is one more thing and invites those with passes into the vault.

Sophie explains that this is Mettier’s first paintintg, never sold or exhibited. When the vault is opened, the painting is gone. Nate pulls Sophie away as she protests that she didn’t do it, but before they can get out they run into Sterling.

Sterling pulls them aside and talks about how he created a new division at Interpol to stop art theft and the activities it funds, and finds Sophie’s presence right after the painting is stolen telling. Sophie protests that she’s an ex-art thief. Sterling tries to keep them on task, but the two of them keep getting off topic by something or other that he says and he starts to get a little annoyed.

He decides to keep them there until he finds evidence, and handcuffs them together. After he leaves Nate and Sophie are loose out in moments. Nate figures the only way to get Sterling off their back is to give him the painting, which Sophie insists she doesn’t have. In that case they need to find whoever does have it and give them to Sterling.

They go to talk to the lawyer, posing as undercover Interpol agents and ask about the security. They find out that it couldn’t have been moved by anyone when the vault was opened or any time before that.

Nate begins looking at the keypad using Sophie’s makeup to dust for prints, as they talk about the trust issues they’re having. They find that Gault must have changed the code before he died.

In the master bedroom, they talk to the butler…er, manservant. After he leaves, they print out the last thing that was in the printer, a log of times the vault was accessed, which shows that someone else had been in there as well, which is why the code was changed, right before he died. It’s not just art theft, it’s murder.

They brings their suspicions to Sterling, who’s a bit put off that they’re sharing anything with him. between tampering with the medication and the number of times the vault was accessed, he determines that the culprit was a member of the household. That means the lawyer, the curator, the daughter, the last ex-wife, and the son. Sterling gives him an hour to give him a suspect, Nate says he doesn’t need an hour, he has a Sophie.

Sophie goes to talk to Miss Hardt. She explains that she was here the day Mr. Gault died, having an argument with Fiona, who had decided they no longer needed a curator. When they talk to Fiona, they find that she’d had an argument with Eleanor, who she regards as a “drunk parasite”. Eleanor seemed to think Gault was going to get better then they were going to get remarried. The lawyer had told her so when he mentioned drawing up papers for the marriage certificate and changing the will. He also asked that she not tell anyone. Shecter was convinced it wasn’t going to actually happen, and that Gault was just getting sentimental, but there was a change in the will already…Gault was putting the son back in, but he didn’t want anything, which Shecter seems to regard as insulting.

Nate goes over the suspects and finds that Shecter is embezzling. But that’s not why they’re there, neither is the murder for that matter. They’re after an art thief, and the suspects all alibied each other. Nobody’s left except the butler, who happens to have a painting in his room. As he’s carted off, and the painting is brought out, Hardt examines it and pronounces it a genuine Mettier. Privately, Sophie tells Nate the painting was not the painting in question, which brings the question of how she knows. The point is now she wants to prove that’s a fake, and to do that they need to steal an actual Mettier and the one they just found to prove it. Nate must be wondering why he puts up with her at this point.The problem is that Sterling is with the painting.

Sophie: Are you telling me you can’t outsmart Sterling?
Nate: I can’t, but he can’t outsmart me either.

He’ll distract Sterling while she gets the painting.

As it turns out, he doesn’t have to say anything. Just acting like he knows something Sterling doesn’t is enough to have him start over from the beginning. Sophie in the meantime tricks the security people into giving her one of the paintings. Nate causes more distractions while Sophie switches the painting. They take a genuine painting and compare a sample with the fake. They match. Sophie is shocked, she’d been certain it was a fake, but Nate raises another possibility: they’re both fakes, which would mean that every painting sold today is a fake.

Sterling is incredulous when they tell him, but if they are right…Nate and Sophie go through what would be needed to pull it off, and the only one who could have done it is the curator, Miss Hardt.

Sterling has a simple method for determining if it happened, he walks in and blurts it all out. Hardt panics and runs.

Nate: Smooth interrogation there, Sterling.
Sterling: I didn't think that would work.
Sophie: I think she's getting away.
Sterling: I didn't think that would work!

Nate and Sterling follow, but find her body in the pool. Sterling rules it an accidental death, and is delighted to know where the team’s new base is.

Back at the restaurant, Sophie apologizes for keeping him in the dark. When she goes to get changed, he realizes something and leaves.

Back at the mansion he is confronted by the forger, Woodman. He worked with Hardt to copy and replace the pieces in the collection and killed her by the pool. He painted the fake for the vault, which he could get away with since no one knew what it looked like but it tipped off his father, who changed the combination. Woodman is about to kill him when Sophie knocks him over the head with a plant. They run, Sophie berating Nate as they go, while Woodman starts shooting at them. Nate ambushes him, handcuffs him to a large crate, then shoves them both in the pool.

Sophie: That is the shallow end, right?
Nate: Whoops.

Sterling comes back and arrests Woodman, annoyed, but impressed enough to offer Nate a position if he ever wants it.

Down in the vault Nate breaks down the fake wall Woodman had built to hide the painting while the auction went on, then he’d come down to get it afterwards. The painting, the real one, is of Sophie...nude. Mettier promised her that it would never be shown to the world until after her death, and so, to honor his wishes, they decide to steal it.

Tropes stolen in this job:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Sophie and Nate tell him the entire collection has been forged, Sterling tries to have them arrested for theft, then interfering with an investigation, and finally, being annoying. He can’t make the first two stick, and being annoying isn't a crime.
  • The Butler Did It: When they find the painting in the butler's room, Sophie exclaims, "The butler did it?"
  • Chekhov's Gun: The handcuffs Nate took from Sterling are used to stop Woodman.
  • Casual Kink: Sophie tells Nate if he’s going to use his “sexy voice” to use handcuffs.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: During the flashbacks.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Sterling's use of just announcing how he thinks all the paintings are forgeries and asks if anyone knows anything results in Hardt actually running like a rabbit before a hungry wolf. He even lampshades that he didn't think it would work.
  • How We Got Here: The opening shows Nate and Sophie running from gunfire, then goes back and shows what led to that.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Nate and Sophie certainly seem like on here, and it gets on Sterling's nerves.
  • Sherlock Scan: Nate identifies the shoes Sophie wears at the start by the sound they make on the floor. From this, he deduces what type of event she is going to and meets up with her in about twenty minutes.
  • Splash of Color: Nate is present in the flashbacks and the only thing that’s in color.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: The forger cannot crack the second security measure on the painting in the vault. Instead he creates a fake wall in front of the painting and makes it look like the painting was ripped from it to fool everyone.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Woodman kills his accomplice the moment she comes running to him in a panic, without any real hesitation or remorse.