Original Air Date: January 26, 2010
Synopsis: Peter is feeling good after a long weekend of relaxation, but his buzz is quashed when he returns to the office to see David Sullivan and his young daughter, Alison, waiting for him. Sullivan stood to inherit his recently deceased father's home, but the bank is foreclosing. Turns out, the old man took out a second mortgage before he passed away. Sullivan claims fraud, but the bank has a stack of paperwork, signed and notarized by his father. As Peter and Neal see the situation, it doesn't get much more cut and dry.
Or does it? Things change after meeting with Officer Lester Herrera, the NYPD detective who originally worked the case. Something about the case spooked Herrera enough to take early retirement. Peter and Neal delve into the case file, and turn up nine linked cases in which banks foreclosed on homes in the last two years. The common thread? Michelle Clark, a federal probate judge.
But Judge Clark's dirty streak goes deeper than mortgage fraud. While doing their own research, Neal and Mozzie uncover a tie between Clark and Agent Garrett Fowler. As it turns out, Judge Clark signed off on warrants that Fowler used to frame Neal for the recent diamond heist.
Hoping to get Fowler to back off of Kate, Neal pockets the information. However, when Peter finds a bug in his home, Neal realizes he can't keep it too himself. Fowler is back in town, and he's coming after Peter to protect Judge Clark.
Their only choice is to get to Fowler through Judge Clark. Going back through the files, Neal notices a discrepancy in the Sullivan paperwork - the signature was forged! With this break, Peter goes to confront the crooked Judge.
Seemingly in a tight spot, Clark offers Peter a bribe. Peter can't believe it. Figuring he can use this information, Peter plays along. Now he's got his proof, and the perfect setup for a sting operation on Judge Clark.
But the meeting was a trap! Judge Clark has the entire conversation on tape, which she offers to Fowler in exchange for sealing the files on the mortgage fraud cases. Clark will be in the clear, and Fowler will have a piece of evidence to present to Hughes that may be damning enough to take Peter down. Hughes warns Peter, but with little time to come up with a solution, Fowler may have finally gained the upper hand. Unless Neal can do something about it...