Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Con Artistry – Wild Card Episode Summary 1.3

Ex-con artists Dan Lennox (Chris Potter) and Lisa JenningsOverview: Dan Lennox and Zoe Busiek investigate the theft of a two million dollar painting. Things become awkward between Dan and Zoe when Dan's ex-fiancee appears to be involved. In addition, Zoe learns about Dan's past as a con artist.

Synopsis: A two million dollar Max Catterfeld painting was stolen from the art collector Ron Westbury (C. David Johnson). Zoe Busiek (Joely Fisher) and Dan Lennox (Chris Potter) set off to question the victim. He explains that he had invited friends and other art collectors to a party in his house on the night the painting was stolen. The fine art had been cut off from its frame. Ron also confirms that the security system was not working on the night of the crime and that a handful of people were aware of this, which further complicates the investigation. To make matters worse, a woman from Dan’s past comes into the scene. Lisa Jennings was Dan’s fiancée. It was she who had sold the painting to Ron Westbury.  Continue reading...

At the office, Zoe eagerly updates Sophia (Rae Dawn Chong) about the stolen Catterfeld case more to inform her about Dan’s ex-fiancée. Apparently, she had conducted a background check of Lisa without her partner’s knowledge and found out that the woman had changed her name, which explains Dan’s shock at her introduction. Moreover, her file also states that she had been convicted of stealing paintings by cutting them off from their frames. This mixed with a bit of jealousy heightens Zoe’s suspicion.

Carlos Beccera (Juan Chioran) is Sophia’s injured salsa instructor. She meets him at the club to get his testimony on his insurance claim. He had slipped at the produce aisle of a grocery store blaming the incident on the produce spray. According to Carlos, aside from the pain and loss of dance students the injury had caused him to lose his salsa dance partner.

Zoe arrives late for the meeting with the professor who authenticated the painting. She later explains that she ran a background check on Lisa, which explains her tardiness. Dan confesses that she is aware of Lisa’s past to which Zoe had insisted that he take himself off the case.

Sophia visits the grocery store to verify her salsa instructor’s testimony. She finds out that there is no way the grocery could account for his injury given that it is impossible for the produce spray to accumulate enough water on the floor to cause a slip. Sophia who was already in an unpleasant mood meets her fiancé for lunch and scolds him for looking for a house at a bulletin board.

Zoe asks for an English translation of Debbie Fairman’s (now known as Lisa Jennings) trial and asks that Dan not be informed of this request. Unfortunately, Dan overhears the conversation and so their first argument ensues. Zoe argues that his not letting her know the truth about Lisa coupled with his conflict of interest gives her the right to conceal information from him. Dan refutes that he is probably the best person to determine Lisa’s guilt as he knows her best and that he is eager to nail her if that is the case. At this point, Zoe’s remark is clearly tainted with jealousy. The Intimidator who informs them that the Catterfeld painting had been stolen before disrupted their squabble.

A family claims the ownership of the stolen painting upon reading about it on the newspaper. According to the old man, the woman on the portrait is his mother. The daughter explains that his grandmother modeled for Max Catterfeld who later gave her the portrait. All those years they believed that the fire that was started by the Nazi’s destroyed the painting. Unfortunately, they do not have any proof of ownership. The woman on the portrait and her husband were killed in the concentration camp. Dan insists that the claim of ownership should be addressed to the owner to which the old man asserts that he is the owner. Being a rookie investigator, Zoe sympathizes with the family. Dan, who had always displayed objectivity, reminds her that their story is irrelevant to the case and that a proof of ownership should clarify the issue.

Zoe confronts Lisa to verify the history of ownership, which states that a family in Zurich bought it from Max Catterfeld. Lisa purchased the painting from them and later sold it to Ron Westbury. Clearly, the verification was not the main purpose of the visit. Zoe makes it known that she learned of Lisa’s past. Dan’s arrival interrupted their heated conversation. Zoe leaves the two not knowing that Dan had come to make it clear to Lisa that he will not cover for her if this turns out to be one of her jobs.

Later that night, Marcos (Bronson Picket) stops by to drop Cliff’s history book and finds Zoe all dolled-up. She explains that she is to meet Sophia in a salsa club to help her with a case. Marcos shows his concern and asks about Zoe’s new job. He later invites her to dinner, which she gracefully refuses with the excuse that she is swamped with work. He leaves letting her know that he is available whenever Zoe feels like coming up for air. As soon as he leaves, Zoe goes back to reading the trial’s transcript to which she finds that Dan was an accessory to Lisa’s crime.

Zoe quickly informs Sophia of her discovery and was annoyed to learn that she knew all along. Sophia explains that it was not her place to inform Zoe of Dan’s past. Moreover, she enlightens Zoe on how insurance company’s work saying that they sometimes hire ex-convicts to teach them the tricks of the trade. During their conversation, Zoe unconsciously shows the root of her annoyance that is Dan and Lisa having been intimately involved. Going back to the main purpose of their rendezvous at the salsa club, Sophia asks Zoe to dance with Carlos to determine if he really is injured. After a few twists and turns, they got their answer. The poor man was not lying about his injury.

The following day, Sophia and Peter visit a house Peter had found. The place is the complete opposite of what they first viewed. Both houses are descriptive of the couple’s opposite tastes. Zoe, on the other hand, was having lunch with Marcos voicing out her concerns with Dan. Marcos being the voice of reason had managed to convince Zoe to give her partner the benefit of the doubt. A phone call from Dan interrupts their lunch. He called to inform Zoe that the victim Ron Westbury might also be a suspect for he owes the IRS a huge sum of money.

The fraud investigators meet with Ron to inform him of their discovery. He makes it clear that it does not make sense to steal his own painting and that hiding it will not do him any good. Zoe points out that hiding the painting will shield it from other claims. He reiterates that there were no other claims on the painting when he bought it. During their discussion, he receives a package with a ransom note.

That night, the two meet with the Intimidator to show her the note. Given that the thief is only asking for $200,000 for the painting, the insurance company has decided to pay the ransom.

Ron Westbury waits for the exchange at the park where Zoe and Dan, and a few other investigators observe. Dan informs Zoe of the placements of the other investigators, which reminds her of the days when she was a wild child. She remembers the time when she and a boyfriend broke into a sailboat and raided the liquor cabinet. She also retells the story of her stealing the key to her mother’s car and driving away with a girlfriend to Milwaukee. This opens the discussion to Dan’s past, of him spending half of his life as a scam artist and a thief.

They hear a cell phone ringing. It comes from a paper bag from the bushes. As instructed, Ron puts the money inside the duffel bag and places it back in the bushes. As soon as he turns his back, a dog runs and snatches the bag full of cash. Zoe and Dan run after the dog that runs into the bushes. The canine emerges with the painting and runs into the dock. Zoe, claiming to be a dog whisperer, tries to befriend it. She struggles with the canine and manages to get a hold of the painting, but it slips from her grip and falls into the water.

Back in the office, the professor informs them that he could restore the painting to its original state. Relieved she leaves the room only to bump into Carlos who after recognizing her threatens to sue Zoe for assault and battery. Overcome with guilt Sophia meets Peter for lunch and updates him of what just happened at the office. Peter offers to provide free follow-up on Carlos’ injury. However, it is of no use since the salsa teacher has lost his trust to anyone associated with Sophia. The topic of their conversation changed when Sophia had ordered another round of herbal tea. Peter warns her of drinking too much of those herbs stating that though organic they still have side effects. In the course of their conversation, they talk more about their move. He surprises her when he announces that he found the perfect place for them to live and that he already put down a deposit and signed a two year lease. Although clearly disappointed with the news, Sophia tries to convince Peter that she does not disapprove of his actions.

Zoe visits the Von Wright to inform them of the insurance company’s decision to return the painting to Westbury. The old man expresses his disappointment telling her with the new development he feels that the painting has been stolen twice. First, when the Nazi stole it in 1937 and now with awarding ownership to Ron Westbury. Zoe corrects Mr. Von Wright saying that the painting was dated 1932. He argues that his parents did not even meet Catterfeld until 1935.

In an attempt to fool her aunt, Taylor changes her grade from a D to a B. The teenager explains that she did not want her aunt to get angry at her failing the Spanish test to which Zoe responds that she is not. She tells the kid that she is just disappointed and her changing the grade will not do her good, as she would not know how to help her if she is not aware that she needs help. Moreover, she tells the youngster that nobody gets away with changing the grade. To add, the smart younger sister demonstrates that if he had an F, she could have easily turned it to an A by just adding another line. With this Zoe is struck with an idea.

Zoe rushes to Dan’s apartment and finds him with Lisa. Surprised, she finds herself babbling. Lisa offers to leave the two investigators alone to discuss work. However, Zoe stops her since what she has discovered might eliminate her as a suspect. She claims that the painting is dated 1937 despite the experts’ claim that it was done in 1932. Both Lisa and Zoe agree that the painting they recovered was a forgery, since the bottom line of the number two when it shouldn’t be perfect.

The following day, they visit the professor to inform him that the police are holding the painting as evidence. Slowly they build up the conversation until it was time to tell him that the police are on their way to arrest him for having forged the painting and stealing the original Catterfeld. As it turns out, the professor is one of those art collectors who steal a painting he cannot afford. He held it for ransom to stop the police from investigating the theft. He figured that once the police have recovered the painting they would stop the investigation. His only mistake was authenticating both the original and the fake.

Zoe and Dan gladly inform the Von Wright’s that they can now pursue a lawsuit to reclaim the painting. Moreover, during this process they could easily admire the painting for Mr. Westbury has loaned it to the Spiritist Institute for Jewish Studies, since this action has tax advantages. Finally, Zoe had offered to have coffee with Dan only to find out that he already is going out with Lisa.

At the salsa club, Carlos is back to his normal state dancing the way he should be. After Sophia informed him that the herbal supplement Roosterplex he has been drinking has caused his muscle weakness, he immediately went to see a doctor. In a week he would have his cast from the injuries he incurred removed in addition to that his dance partner has returned.

Peter arrives at the club and apologizes, but Sophia stops him. She informs him that she had changed her mind about the place he had chosen for them. Unfortunately, it was too late Peter had already pulled the plug on the lease and that another couple already took it. Despite of this, the two are just happy that there is a place that they could both agree on.

At a bar, Dan and Lisa discuss about their situation. Lisa attempts to reminisce on the old times, even showing Dan the bracelet he had bought for her. He makes it clear that there is nothing left between him and Lisa. She also asks about his relationship with Zoe having noticed a tinge of jealousy when she found them in his apartment. He realized that he has developed feelings for his partner and rushes to Zoe’s house only to find her in Marcos’ arms.

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1 Pennies for your thoughts:

makulit said...

This is one of the better episodes of the show. I liked it because it showed a bit of tension and jealousy. It also started to build the Dan Lennox character and introduced his criminal past. Moreover, the case seems to be well-grounded. I, however, did not care too much about Peter and Sophia. The search for the house was stretched too much.