Golden Panda Clothing Company, Boston
We see a room full of Asian seamstresses, tiring from sewing in the din. One young woman looks particularly ill. She runs her fingers through her hair and it comes out in clumps. She reaches for a bowl full of vitamins and collapses.
Above the floor, a well-dressed Asian woman comes down and shouts at the women to get back to work.
Cut to the young woman and another meeting with Nate in his bar/office, explaining that the woman OD'd on the vitamins the factory gives them to stay alert during their 15 hour days.
Her friend translates, explaining that the family that owns the factory, the Pans, brings the women here and then makes them pay off the cost of the trip. She's afraid if she complains she'll lose her job. She just wants enough money to bring the rest of her family over. The woman translating is part of an immigrant advocacy group, but can't do anything without a formal complaint.
Nate assures her they can help.
Tara (Jeri Ryan) stops by, thinking she should fill Sophie's roll of meeting with the client. Nate explains that's just a Sophie thing.
Back in the loft, the team video conferences with Sophie, who urges them to accept Tara and try to get Nate to like her, too.
Nate and Tara return for the con rundown.
Gloria and Russell Pan are self-made millionaires. They run a company that makes knock offs of designer clothes. Gloria designs the clothes and fancies herself a designer. They think that's their way in.
Cut to Parker snapping glamor shots of Tara as Caprina, the model. and Hardison mocking up a fashion magazine with her on the cover.
Then Parker plants the magazine in the Pan's house for Gloria to find and Hardison hacks their DVR to show entertainment programs touting Caprina the super hot designer.
Nate and Tara watch on the wall o TVs as Gloria seems intrigued that Caprina will soon be at New England fashion week. Tara gets dolled up in leather and heads out with Eliot.
At the show, Tara pointedly drops her sketch book in front of Gloria, who comes over and gushes. Tara invites Gloria to her show and Nate announces it's time to steal a fashion show.
Cut to models being painted and dressed back stage at a run-through. Nate diverts the woman running the show so Parker can step in. She slips in an extra invite for Caprina and Eliot comes to pick it up.
Tara shouts at the models in her faux Italian accent as Gloria comes in. Nate is dressed fancy as Jacques Bouvier, Caprina's sponsor, and Hardison is from a fashion magazine. Nate reads a text that says his hot new designer has dropped out. Hardison and Tara suggest Gloria. He looks over her sketch book of Pilgrim chic, with buckles everywhere.
They head to her office to see more. Nate worries that they don't have time to make the clothes, so they mention having more money would help. Tara says they need $200,000 as Nate says they need $50,000. Without hesitation, Gloria takes the 50 out of the safe and hands it over. Her husband worries what their partners in China will say, but she brushes him off and promises them the other 150 later.
Outside, Nate tells Tara he wanted to slow play her. Tara says maybe that'd be possible if he communicated in words and not signals and code.
Back at the loft, Tara bitches to Sophie via web cam about Nate being difficult. Sophie urges her to stick with it. Tara says Nates "I'm sexy because I'm broken" thing only goes so far. She signs off as Sophie worries about Tara calling Nate sexy.
Nate comes in, having received a message from Gloria that she has the rest of the money. But she gets cut off before she says the meeting place.
Eliot waits at fashion week, entertaining himself with models. Nate sends him to the factory. Nate and Parker head to the Pan's house, he orders Tara to stay put as an unknown.
As Nate and Parker are walking up to the Pan's house they see their silver luxury car speed off and smoke coming out of the house. Nate and Parker hit the deck just as the mansion explodes. Hardison tracks the Pan's car.
Eliot goes through the bank statements at the factory as Tara comes in. She recognizes a bank prefix as being from Shanghai. Hardison checks the factory surveillance and sees trouble coming. Three tough looking Asian dudes confront Eliot and Tara bearing cleavers -- the signature of the Triad, Chinese mafia.
They realize they didn't just take the Pan's money, they took the Triad's.
Eliot tries to prep Tara for a fight, but she freelances, taking out a Triad with a clothing bin. Eliot fights off the other two.
Hardison finds traffic camera footage that shows Gloria was alone in the silver car. Hardison starts looking for more info on Russell.
Tara helps Eliot take out the third cleaver wielder.
Hardison finds Russell on an Interpol Most Wanted as Nicholas Chow, with Triad.
As Eliot and Tara are trying to leave the factory, Russell comes in with a lot more Triad dudes. Nate gets to the factory and comes in as Jacques, telling him the money's gone. Russell says he's been carrying his cow of a wife and they filled her head with fantasies.
Nate offers to get them next season's designs so they can start their knock-offs early. Tara offers herself up as collateral. Nate doesn't like it, but Russell does. As they're leaving, Tara tells them it's just about money, 5-0.
Back at the loft, the team gives Nate a hard time for leaving Tara there. But he says giving the $50,000 back wouldn't have solved the sweatshop problem. He sets Eliot on stealing some designs and says he wants to go make Gloria's dreams come true.
Parker and Eliot try to talk their way into the show, but get security stopped. They're told the only thing that gets in is fashion and clothes. So Parker goes to look for model clothes she can move in. She strolls in in a corseted dress and sticks a flash drive in a laptop. But she gets dragged away by the designer and made up for the show. Next, she's up on the catwalk doing some vampy walking. She takes a dive off the stage as distraction and Eliot sneaks out of a clothes rack and grabs the drive.
At the factory, Russell talks to Caprina, saying she must have a lot of faith in her friends. Tara drops the accent and starts telling Russell all about Nate Ford. She says they both know he's just going to kill them both, but she has a better offer.
Outside fashion week, Nate gives the drive to Hardison so he can compress the files.
Nate comes back to the factory as Jacques and hands over the drive with the designs. Russell tells Nate the police are on their way there because he called them to report a con man just tried to sell him stolen designs.
Flash to Tara laying out her plan for Russell, which includes placing blame for the house explosion on Nate, too.
Tara and Nate start arguing about her turning on him. The police come in and check the flash drive. They ask Russell if he's Nicholas Chow, Most Wanted.
Flash to Hardison putting Chow's rap sheet on the flash drive and Nate swapping the fashion design drive for that one with sleight of hand. The police also get surveillance footage of Russell planting bombs in his house to kill his wife.
The police go to take Nate away, but he tells the detective he's undercover Interpol and he walks.
Outside, Nate explains that the fashion designs Russell sent to China weren't the ones they wanted. Flash to China and men opening the files and wondering why so many buckles.
And Gloria Pan stays in the fashion industry, sort of. Cut to her working in a drycleaners.
Parker asks Tara how she told Nate she was gonna run the cop scam without her ear piece.
Flash back to Tara emphasizing 5-0. Tara's pleased she finally learned how to speak his language, clues and code.
Nate and Tara meet with the woman from the sweatshop and give her the $50,000. The factory went into receivership after the Pans disappeared and the woman from the immigration agency is now running things, letting the workers set their own hours.
Nate gives Tara her cut, and her earbud back. He tells her he'll try to communicate better. She tells him they are the best she's seen. He knows.
Back at the loft, Nate talks to Sophie via web cam. Soon he's yelling at her for second guessing him and she signs off.