A pair of burglars breaks onto a posh estate disabling a security system alarm and blacking out the cameras. A security guard (Edward N. Fernandez) in the monitor room calls his partner George (Danny Kamekona) when the power goes out to have him "hit the circuit breaker" at nine. When George goes to the circuit breaker, one of the robbers knocks him out. The robber cuts the wires to the monitors leaving the first security guard blind while one robber breaks into the monitor room keeping the guard at bay. The other robber breaks into a gallery room snatching a painting off the wall.
Danno and Chin arrive at the scene with HPD already there. Duke (Herman Wedemeyer) briefs them it's a huge robbery with the loot being "some paintings worth a bunch". Duke goes on to say the robbers found a way into the fortress and there are family members taking an inventory. Duke leads them inside to the gallery room stopping to check on an injured George who is out of it.
In the gallery room, Duke introduces Ms. Forbes the secretary (Gail Strickland) to Danno and Chin. She introduces Jeff Koestler (Michael Anderson, Jr.) who is Mr. Ogden's (Luther Alder) grandson. According to them, there are only two items missing: a sketch by Lautrec and the most expensive painting, a Gauguin painted in Tahiti. The painting is valued at $1.5 million and Jeff says it "was a super rip-off" explaining there were three independent alarm systems and none went off including the alarm bell. Chin wants Jeff to show him where the alarm box is and as they leave, Danno asks Duke to see if he can talk to the other guard.
Outside, two men arrive at the house and walk inside. Meanwhile, Chin discovers why the bell didn't sound, as he chips away plastic foam: spray it in and it sets up like concrete. Jeff figures it was an inside job as the man had to have the plans to bypass all the security. Jeff then shows Chin where all the electronic plans are kept.
Danno and Forbes continue working in the gallery room as the two men walk in. Forbes introduces them: the first man is Jacob Durkin (George Voskovec) with his assistant Sills Anderson (George Herman). Durkin tells Danno something wasn't right because the collection has been there for years and suddenly it needed to be evaluated and done so as quickly as possible. Danno tries to understand the process: the IRS requires an independent evaluation so that once Ogden donates the collection, he can then write off the amount on his taxes. Durkin claims he can come close to placing a very accurate fair market value on the collection because he has the latest catalogs from all the major auction houses. He then explains even though the collection has been donated to the university, Ogden can keep the collection at his house. In the case of the Gauguin being $1.5 million, Ogden can take the tax write off there too. Realizing he's a bit in over his head and not getting very far with Durkin, Danno wants to know where Forbes' office is and walks out.
Walking out with Forbes, Danno says they will leave an HPD officer on the grounds. At the car, the electronic plans are laid out on the hood with Chin giving a receipt for them. Forbes grabs Jeff after he smarts off to go back into the house. Danno and Chin are left slightly stunned as McGarrett arrives on scene. Danno briefs there was a high-priced security system with the plans left in a hallway closet anyone could get into. McGarrett wants a rundown on everybody in the house with Chin already running Durkin and Anderson through Interpol. Danno mentions Jeff was a medic in Vietnam and McGarrett wants everyone run including Ogden himself. Danno rolls up the plans to leave with Chin.
McGarrett walks into the house with Ogden stopping him. McGarrett tells him he's interested in his electronic devices showing Ogden his badge. Ogden says the governor "speaks well of you" and lets McGarrett know if it comes to a choice of paying the thieves and letting them go in order to retrieve his painting, that's what he'll do. He also doesn't want any officer trying to play hero to retrieve the painting. After Forbes reads a statement to McGarrett from Ogden, McGarrett says he'll need the full cooperation of everyone in the house to get through this "ransom situation". Forbes leads McGarrett to the gallery room.
Durkin explains his process of appraisal and restoration in detail such as codes and painted staples. McGarrett talks to him about insurance: the collection was insured for less than ten percent of its value. Durkin explains premiums are expensive and collectors often invest the money into security systems rather than the insurance. McGarrett focuses on the Gauguin: not appraised prior to the theft but it was coded. McGarrett wonders if the painting could be sold but Durkin believes it can't be because the new owner could never come forward claiming to own the painting.
As McGarrett steps outside, Evvy Bernstein (Danielle) calls out to him. She's the art expert at the Star Bulletin writing "the color" on the robbery. Looking for a statement, McGarrett gives some police jargon that equals "no comment".
Inside, Forbes, Jeff, Durkin and Anderson have lunch until the phone rings: it's Mr. Sevey (Bob Sevey) from KGMB about a tape left for him with the Lautrec sketch. Apparently, it has instructions on how to get the Gauguin back. When Forbes tries to call McGarrett, Ogden slam down the phone. This isn't his first rodeo and he says he'll run the show!
McGarrett has Durkin's Interpol dossier in his office surrounded by Danno, Chin and Frank (Douglas Mossman). Durkin has a "colorful background" while his assistant for 11 years, Anderson, is clean. Danno briefs on Jeff: he keeps bouncing around, invariably landing back with his grandfather. Jeff's mother is on her sixth marriage, which can add to the instability; however, "he seems okay" with "a good combat record". No history of drugs but he has a year of electrical engineering from Fulton Tech. McGarrett tells Danno to focus on that specific angle. Chin then briefs the servants are clean and the only "interesting" bit on Forbes is an ex-husband who served time for embezzlement. Jenny (Peggy Ryan) buzzes in saying Bob Sevey is there to see McGarrett with a copy of the tape left at the station from the thieves. Jeff picked up the original tape and the sketch. Chin sets up the copy and they listen but it's only music.
At Ogden's house, Jeff clicks off the tape player, "I don't get it". Along with the tape, Forbes received a note in the mail and Jeff looks at it again. The note isn't super helpful saying "can you read me" and "Gauguin lives on the wrong side of the tracks". Jeff has an idea rewinding the tape and removing it. There is a message written on the backside of the tape so that even if it's dubbed, the message couldn't be duplicated. The thieves want $250,000 in small bills at 10:00 a.m. Thursday morning. Forbes is really excited taking the entire message down. Ogden calls it "stupid" before Ducky conveys a message from Sample, his guard: police are watching the house parked front and back. Ogden smirks at this new information as he devises a plan for McGarrett.
A limousine drives out of Ogden's house with Danno and Chin following. Jeff drives while Ogden and Forbes sit in the back seat and they notice the Five-O car right away. Danno radios to McGarrett on the movement: they're heading toward Koko Head. Ogden and Forbes emerge from the bank after 15 minutes and take off. Danno and Chin keep up the following throughout Honolulu until Jeff pulls alongside of a cab, which Forbes climbs into with a briefcase. Danno radios all the information to McGarrett who tells them to stay with Ogden and they'll "pick up the girl". Jeff drives to a lookout making a u-turn with Danno and Chin staying on the bumper. Jeff pulls over so Ogden can climb into a white limousine and Danno radios this information to McGarrett again with the same instructions: stay with Jeff. As they keep following, Danno knows what Chin guesses: they've been had as all the cars show up at Iolani Palace!
In McGarrett's office, Ogden defends his actions saying he told McGarrett from the word go he was going to get the painting back. While he doesn't have it back now, it is supposed to be returned within 24 hours and he's confident it will be. McGarrett and Danno think otherwise even though Ogden says the painting is of no value to the thieves now. Danno shows them out as McGarrett wishes Ogden good luck in getting his painting back.
McGarrett and Danno walk out of a building in plain clothes on a Sunday. A radio call interrupts McGarrett's sailing plans as the painting has been returned with Durkin insisting on talking to no one but McGarrett. They head over to the Ogden estate.
In the gallery room, McGarrett tries to figure out the problem: Durkin believes the painting on the easel is the one that was stolen but Ogden insists it is not. Durkin says it is the painting because of the coding on the back was completed before the theft and has Anderson remove the painted staple. The staple code is verified in the book as Durkin stands by his claim it's the painting that was stolen but Ogden insists it's a copy. Durkin says both are true: the painting is a forgery but Ogden knows he didn't purchase a forgery.
In the laboratory, Durkin explains the forgery process to McGarrett and Che Fong (Harry Endo). Basically for the forgery to be seen as the real thing, one must use the talents of an accomplished painter. McGarrett points out when Ogden bought the Gauguin it was authenticated by a museum and several private experts but Durkin says museums have been fooled before, especially 35 years ago when the Gauguin was originally purchased. "The techniques of detection are now very sophisticated" such as x-rays, radiation and chemical tests. McGarrett asks how does Durkin know it's a forgery? He talks about the canvas and how many threads are "per square centimeter". When Che says Ogden could have purchased forgery, Durkin says the painting has traveled a lot and could have been swapped after the purchase. Durkin has subjected the painting to the tests he mentioned and it shows it's a fake.
Jeff isn't satisfied taking a very close look at the painting in the gallery room. Noticing there isn't something that should be there, he goes to Durkin telling him about the marks on the painting. Jeff explains he and a friend were in the gallery room before Jeff shipped to Vietnam. The friend didn't believe him about the alarm system and in their horsing around Jeff nearly put his fist through the painting in the corner. He writes out some of the tiny cracks that formed because of the incident showing Durkin where to look. Jeff goes on: his grandfather doesn't know about the incident but when he looked at the painting six months ago, the cracks were still there. Durkin tells him the painting has been revarnished and it's possible the cracks were obscured during that process but he has to run some chemical tests. They agree to meet at the gallery room in an hour before Jeff leaves. Durkin and Anderson realize they're in trouble when they pull the painting out of the closet!
In the gallery room, Durkin prepares to work on he painting to complete the forgery as Jeff walks in realizing who the real thieves are. Before he can do anything about it, Anderson walks behind with a gun hidden by a clipboard from the security cameras. They lead Jeff out.
Later that night in McGarrett's office, he stares out the windows as Danno walks in after receiving a message through his service. McGarrett hands him the 20-minute-old police report: Jeff Keostler is dead with his van going off the road at Ka'ena Point at about 9:30 p.m. burning in the crash. HPD was able to identify him two hours later.
McGarrett buys Evvy an ice cream cone and they walk in Kapiolani Park discussing Durkin and the painting theft, which makes no sense to McGarrett. He wonders if the painting was a forgery from the onset and Ogden knew, why not just leave it stolen? As well, the thieves couldn't sell it because it's known stolen property. Evvy confirms everything he says and while the thieves can try for more ransom, that's a long shot. McGarrett asks Evvy about how Durkin gained his reputation. Evvy answers that about 20 years ago, Durkin discovered a fake Vermeer that had hung in a Dresden museum for 73 years. The museum sued and about five years after "the big stink," the real painting turned up vindicating Durkin. No problem, except the same thing happened again about nine years ago with a Turner painting and again, it was Durkin but this instance, the owner threatened to kill him. McGarrett gets the information he needs leaving Evvy with two cones.
McGarrett goes to see Ogden who is grieving, asking if they, the thieves, killed Jeff. He wonders if it's his fault, which McGarrett says it is not. He then explains to Ogden this is the third "violent encounter" Durkin has had with forged paintings over the last 20 years. McGarrett explains Durkin walks away with the original without anyone the wiser and it miraculously turns up several years later. McGarrett wants Ogden to make one phone call.
Durkin smirks as he hangs up the phone then tells Anderson Ogden has essentially firing them but they will be paid in full.
Danno, Chin and Frank walk into McGarrett's office: Durkin and Anderson are leaving at 11:05 a.m. the next morning and made their arrangements 24 minutes after Ogden called. They haven't left the hotel room except to go to the coffee shop and Chin says if the painting is there, there's no evidence of it as the hotel staff haven't seen it. Frank says the gallery was gone over but there's nothing there either. Danno asks about their next move being a search warrant with McGarrett agreeing with other instructions.
Five-O arrives at the hotel with Forbes and Ogden behind them. They go upstairs to Durkin and Anderson's room searching everything including their newly packed suitcases. Five-O keeps searching despite Durkin's protests as Danno walks in with some boxes, which Anderson opens. Durkin says they are two paintings he bought in Los Angeles and keeps up his arrogant attitude. McGarrett calmly asks, "you don't mind if we take a look?" Durkin goes off ripping a painting off the wall shoving it into McGarrett's face! While he's not satisfied, he leaves taking the team with him. Anderson tells Durkin he's nuts but he calls it "daring" after Five-O is gone. At the cars, it hits McGarrett as he tells Forbes to bring Ogden and the team runs back upstairs.
Back in the room, McGarrett rips the tape off the back of the picture Durkin ripped off the wall. Taking the backing off, the original Gauguin is revealed! McGarrett orders Danno to book them for murder one and grand theft and Danno takes the pair into custody with Chin and Frank's help. Still in the room, McGarrett reveals the painting in full but it's a hollow victory for Ogden who would turn back the painting and the ransom if it meant he could have Jeff back. Shaking McGarrett's hand, he says, "good work. Thank you." McGarrett approaches Forbes who tells him Ogden doesn't say thank you very often to which he tells her "maybe he should".
This plot summary Copyright Bobbi Baker ©2020. No reproduction of any kind without permission.