Just when Neal has had enough of boring mortgage fraud cases, a hot one comes up: Mark Costa, an FBI agent working undercover, has gone missing. Costa had infiltrated the organization of Lao Shen, a Chinese money launderer whose strong arm-tactics and violent streak have made him a feared man in Chinatown and abroad.
Peter can't get to Lao without blowing the operation, which is where Neal comes in. In order to make contact with Lao, the FBI wants Neal to resurrect one of his old aliases; Nicholas Halden, a multimillionaire with a predilection for high stakes gambling. Lao Shen will be in New York for 72 hours - not much time to make contact and find out what happened to Costa.
While Peter's team sets up in a Chinatown apartment, Neal's ankle tracker is switched out for a high-end watch transmitter that doubles as a listening device. Neal gains entrée into an underground Pai Gow game in Chinatown and succeeds in making contact with Lao. Everything is going as planned - until the NYPD raids the game. If Neal is compromised, the operation will be blown.
With Lao watching, Neal makes a daring escape in order to preserve his cover. On the run, Neal meets up with Meilin, a beautiful member of Lao's retinue who invites Neal up to her hotel room.