The FBI is called in to investigate the theft of a Pissarro painting from a small museum worth $20 million. The painting has a questionable ownership as it has been claimed to be a work stolen by the Nazis during World War II; Erika Hellman now seventy-eight years old tried to sue the current owner of the painting, Peyton Shoemaker, to get the painting back but was unsuccessful.
Charlie is able to use the FBI’s art theft database to narrow down who could have stolen the painting from the museum to three people, one is now dead, one is in jail and the third is found to be in LA at a posh hotel. David and Agent Jack Tollner from the FBI art theft unit find him dead in his hotel room.
On the home front, Charlie and Alan have several arguments over chores and upkeep of the house to the point Charlie starts avoiding Alan. Don calls Alan on how he is treating Charlie like a child and Alan takes the advice and offers an apology. He is however very concerned Charlie will end up like Larry, alone and is surprised to know Charlie is afraid of the same thing.
David discovers Mrs. Hellman’s grandson had contacted an art thief three years ago, when she lost the court case to get the painting back. In an interview with Don he admits he talked to the man because he had lost his cool, but never pursued the idea and certainly didn’t kill anyone. Charlie, Larry and Amita try to figure out where the painting could be, but are unable to find anything. However Charlie has a different idea and on examination of a picture of the painting realizes the piece is actually a forgery. Megan gets a warrant to search Shoemaker’s house on the idea that he had the forgery made as a way to hedge his bets in case he lost the court case. The original painting is not found. Charlie does some more digging and finds the forger died in 1948, apparently Mrs Hellman’s father commissioned the forgery be made as a way to foil the Nazi attempt to steal it.
Putting the pieces together, Megan realizes they’ve forgotten one person, the curator of the museum where the painting was displayed, Arthur Ruiz. He admitted the painting was about to go on a tour and that it had brought a lot of prestige to the museum. If word got out he was fooled, the museum would be ruined. Megan and Tollner talk to the preservationist at the museum and find out both he and Ruiz knew the painting was a forgery; Ruiz is arrested for the theft and the murder of the thief.
The original painting is found in the vault of the Hungarian police, who arrested the forger in 1946 and Don returns the original painting to Mrs Hellman.
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