Hard Sell
S1 episode 8 Aired on January 19, 2010

Original Air Date: January 19, 2010

Synopsis: With Agent Fowler's words ringing in his ears, Neal contemplates his next move. Could Peter really be the FBI Agent manipulating he and Kate from behind the scenes? Mozzie thinks so, but Neal isn't sure how to play it until he has definitive proof. 

In the meantime, the team has their latest case: a mobile Boiler Room scam that is bilking people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The FBI's inside source, a receptionist named Madison Cookler, has led them to the outfit's newest location, but they need the identity of the man in charge to shut down the operation for good. Undercover as Nick Halden, Neal interviews for a job and impresses his supervisor Brad with his natural gift for sales. With some help from Agents Jones and Cruz as willing buyers, Neal is soon dominating the sales board and catching the eye of the man behind the curtain, Avery Phillips. 

Thrilled that Neal is making him so much money, Phillips takes Neal into his inner circle. But try as he might, Neal can't find anything to pin on the oily trader. On paper Phillips is a good guy, running a legitimate brokerage firm with his partner Daniel Reed. But as Neal observes, Reed and Phillips aren't getting along, and Peter thinks Phillips may be planning to push his partner out. This could be the angle they're looking for.


Meanwhile, Neal finds proof of a different kind: a picture of Peter sporting the infamous ring. Neal can't believe it. How could Peter do this? Neal's only choice is to let things play out, but he puts Mozzie on alert in case he needs to go on the run. 

At the same time, the team ponders their next move in the Avery Phillips case. Switching tactics, Peter approaches Phillips as Mr. Edison, the angry owner of a small time pharmaceutical company in which Phillips bought an inordinate amount of shares. He knows what Phillips is up to and he wants a piece of the profits or he'll talk to the Feds. Knowing when to play ball, Phillips invites Peter to a party at his house to discuss the details of their business together - a party that Neal also happens to be attending. 

Things are going well, until they see a worried Madison Cookler being escorted into Phillips' house. They must know Madison is an FBI informant! She'll be a goner if they don't do something, fast. 

That's when Neal confronts Peter about Kate. How could Peter do this to him? But they don't have time get into it with Madison's life in jeopardy. Thinking quickly, Peter calls Neal out in front of Phillips. He's a spy! With all eyes on Neal now, he has no choice but to go with Peter's plan. But can Neal really trust Peter to get him out of this, or is the man with the ring just setting him up to take him down?