Media consultant Reed Rockwell is working in his Crisis Center office, Photoshopping a woman onto a photo of state attorney Ed Kelley. His assistant, Kreese, comes in and tells Rockwell that he has planted the evidence on Kelley. Kreese doesn’t think that they can frame Kelley, but Rockwell figures that the press will turn against Kelley and the people, upset that their lives aren’t good, will turn against Kelley.
Nate and Sophie meet Kelley for lunch. Kelley and Nate are childhood friends and ran several scams. Kelley then asks Nate for help, admitting that he never tried to hide the things that he did when he was teenager like taking drugs. Rockwell represented Kelley’s opposition in the last election. Since then, Kelley’s aide has found a bottle of Vicodin in his office. Rockwell plans to file a lawsuit against Kelly, call the aide, and get him to admit to the Vicodin as well as the photos of Kelley with another woman. As Nate drinks, Kelley asks him to help and admits he doesn’t know what to do against Rockwell. Nate tells his friend that he’ll get his team to bury Rockwell and gives his word.
Alec, Parker, and Eliot go over their info on Rockwell. Alec is impressed with Rockwell’s photo-tampering skills, and warns Nate that there’s nothing they can do against him because his background is clean. He was lucky to get Rockwell’s office address. Sophie points out that they can’t undermine Rockwell’s credibility because he has no reputation. Nate figures that they can destroy Rockwell the same way they would destroy him. He wants to make Rockwell go public by making him a hero. Sophie agrees but the others warn that they have enough unwarranted attention already. Nate insists on going ahead with his plan, and once they make him a hero they can discredit him so no one will ever trust him again. As Nate and Sophie leaves, she sarcastically comments that Nate has never been able to resist the spotlight.
Parker and Eliot stage a purse snatching in front of Rockwell, but he keeps on going. Sophie shoves a baby carriage down the sidewalk but he ignores that as well. Even Alec fails when he chokes on a hot dog. Undeterred, Nate sends Eliot and Sophie into the coffee shop that Rockwell frequents. Alec comes in posing as a robber and takes everyone prisoner. Rockwell suggests that he take Sophie as a hostage for better media PR. Eliot gets behind the consultant and shoves him into Alec, and Alec runs off. Nate figures they have it made until Rockwell runs off. However, Nate figures that’s even better because they can play up on the “mystery hero” angle.
Back at HQ, Alec scrubs the footage and then puts it out the Internet, mailing it to 11 million recipients. The news stations soon pick up on the story. When Rockwell finds out about it, he tells his people to ignore it. However, he is soon recognized as a hero at the coffee shop. Eliot and Alec pose as construction workers and start a round of applause for Rockwell as he walks past. Parker approaches Rockwell at a bar and invites him to a party that weekend. She has him call him on his phone so she can get his number. When he does, Alec clones his phone.
Nate goes to Rockwell’s office and introduces himself as a media consultant. He plans to build Rockwell up and warns that if he doesn’t give the press a story, they’ll come up with one of their own. Nate tells Rockwell that he can be the hero that all the people he’s taken down have never been. Sophie and Alec listen in and Sophie wonders if Nate could be going too far. Meanwhile, Nate offers to get Rockwell on a political show and build him up until they get a book deal. He claims to have an auditorium set up so that Rockwell can give a motivational speech on heroism. Rockwell has his people run a background check on Nate before he agrees. Alec sets up a fake background while Sophie figures that Nate is close to losing it.
Back at HQ, Sophie accuses Nate of doing it for personal reasons rather than to help Kelley. She figures that Nate sees himself in Kelley and wants to take him down, and tells him to keep his eye on the bigger picture. Meanwhile, Eliot and Parker put together a motivational speaker they can interrupt. They finally find an 80-year-old fireman who donated a kidney to a friend. Sophie intercepts him and takes him to an empty auditorium, and uses bright lights and fake applause to convince the fireman that he’s speaking to a crowd.
Alec sends a speech to Rockwell, who says that it’s garbage. Nate convinces him that Rockwell can get recognition and inspiration and it will take away the pain that he feels. Rockwell goes out and gives his speech, wowing the crowd. Nate sends him back to his office and tells him to start writing his memoir. Later, he meets Rockwell and tells him that everyone wants to interview him. When he mentions that Newsweek
wants to do a background check before running a story, Rockwell hesitates and then agrees.
The next morning, Alec tells Nate that Rockwell has withdrawn $25,000 in small bills. Eliot and Sophie follow Kreese as he takes the money to a trailer in a small town. The woman inside refuses to let Kreese in and the man gets violent. Eliot intervenes and beats him up until Kreese leaves with the money. They then talk to the woman, Emma. She explains that Rockwell dated Missy, a girl from her class. The two of them went to prom with Emma and her boyfriend, P.J. Tiernan. They were all drunk and had an accident, and Missy was killed. Nate figures that Rockwell was driving the car and made it look like he wasn’t. Emma tells them that she had a photo of Rockwell driving. However, she turned the film over to the police and a few days later, it showed P.J. in the driver’s seat. He went to jail for vehicular manslaughter and Rockwell went free. Eliot promises to make sure that Rockwell becomes famous, and Nate sends Parker and Eliot to get the doctored film. Alec claims to be a Police Gazette reporter and gets the clerk to admit where she might keep the film, while Parker sneaks in and steals it.
Back at HQ, Nate proposes a new plan. Eliot warns that they can’t control the mark and Nate suggests that he take the rest of the job off. As Eliot leaves, Sophie repeats her objections. Alec examines the film and realizes that Rockwell took new photos of all the shots and then fixed the one key photo, and they can’t nail him for the accident.
Kreese reports back to Rockwell and says that someone was with Emma and beat him up. Emma calls Rockwell and demands $250,000, saying she has another photo. With some coaching from Sophie and Parker, Emma threatens to go to the police if Rockwell doesn’t pay him up. She gives her one hour to meet him at a bridge. When she gets there, Rockwell will get in the car, pay the money, and collect the photo. Nate then visits Rockwell, who is drinking heavily. He explains that he was in a car accident but claims he wasn’t the one who was driving. Nate tells Rockwell that Emma just wants one payment and will disappear, and Rockwell will make the $250,000 back in a week of book signings. However, once Nate leaves, Rockwell tells Kreese to kill Emma once he gets the photo from her.
That night, the car pulls up and Rockwell gets inside. Parker is driving and speeds off down the road. Rockwell remembers her from the bar, but before he can do anything, Kreese’s Land Rover slams into the car. When Rockwell wakes up, he realizes that Parker is dead. He runs off to his office but finds the police waiting for him. They take him and the investigating officer, Grayson, asks why he killed someone. When Rockwell denies it, they show him footage showing that he was driving the Land Rover and rammed Parker’s car. He’s unaware that Eliot knocked out Kreese, took his keys, and rammed Parker’s car. Alec used the footage to make it appear that Rockwell drove the Land Rover, and then made calls from Rockwell’s phone to make it appear that he was stalking Parker. Rockwell insists that Emma was blackmailing him and offers to show them the briefcase with the payoff money. When he opens it, he discovers that it contains photos of himself driving to the prom. Eliot switched briefcases when Rockwell was briefly unconscious after the crash. Kelley arrives to place Rockwell under arrest.
Back at the bar, the team watches the news as P.J. is released. The group has sent the $250,000 to P.J. and Emma. Nate admits that he was reckless but the others tell him that it was worth it. When the others leave, Sophie warns that Nate can’t be an honest man and a thief, and wonders which one she wants to win. Once she leaves, Nate receives a call from an anonymous man. The man congratulates Nate, who realizes that he’s the one who wiretapped his apartment. The man asks if Nate wants to take on Rockwell’s contracts with him, but Nate refuses. When he hears that, he congratulates Nate on making the world a better place for putting Rockwell out of commission and then hangs up.
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