At the Dempsey & Magruta Law Offices, a black-clad figure breaks in and smashes the photos of two women hanging on the wall. He then goes through the desks and tosses paper everywhere. Finally, he goes through a file cabinet and removes a binder containing photos of plumbing fixtures in older apartment. The figure leaves with the binder.
Tagger Lobo is painting anti-greed signs against slumlord Victor Kasanti on a wall when two patrolman stop to take him in. MacGyver bails him out and Lobo complains that the man he's protesting against is evicting his grandmother. She's always been evicted and MacGyver drives over to help her move her stuff.
While picking up extortion money, Kasanti notices Lobo's mural. He meets with Andrew Lawton, who is waiting to take possession of the slum. He can't start demolition because Gloria Diaz, Lobo's grandmother, is contesting her eviction. Her lawyers couldn't come up with the evidence to back her claim. The two men watch as Kasanti's security guards remove Gloria's belongings from her apartment. Lobo and MacGyver arrive to help her pack and Kasanti assures Lawton that his $200 million urban renewal project will proceed on schedule.
Gloria's lawyers, Rose Magruta and Helen Dempsey, arrive to explain that someone stole their evidence against Kasanti. Kasanti's landlord, Stroud, comes out and laughs while telling Gloria she had her day in court. Gloria introduces MacGyver to her lawyers and they explain they had proof that the building was a firetrap, the plumbing didn't work, and three families were crammed into a single apartment. MacGyver offers to help recover the evidence and they accept his work. Rose provides him with a camera and the lawyers leave. Stroud overhears them talking and makes a call.
As MacGyver takes photos, Lobo explains that his mother raised him in the apartment and his dad died in Vietnam. Gloria is the only tenant left and Lobo shows MacGyver his former room. Meanwhile, Kasanti arrives and Stroud explains that MacGyver is snooping around. Kasanti goes in and tells them that they're trespassing. MacGyver insists on staying to take photos of the building and tells Kasanti to do what he has to. Kasanti leaves and sends Stroud and his men in. When they attack, MacGyver and Lobo run up the stairs to the roof. MacGyver bars the stairs with a discarded TV antenna but they discover the fire escape is gone. MacGyver and Lobo leap to the next buildings and Stroud and his men circle around. Lobo and MacGyver get down a fire escape and push the ladder back up, and then jam it so they can escape.
MacGyver and Lobo turn the photos over to Helen and Rose, who explain that Lawton, the prime contractor, is building Hamilton Plaza, which will raise the land rates sky-high if it gets city council approval. Kasanti can sell his buildings for a huge profit. MacGyver goes to see Lawton, who notes that his company helped build the Phoenix Foundation. Lawton insists that he's doing the residents a favor but MacGyver notes that they have nowhere else to go and the landlords are taking illegal actions to get their tenants out. He insists he has no quarrel with Kasanti as long as his evictions are legal. MacGyver warns that his new complex may have a tenant stuck in the middle and promises to tie up Kasanti's eviction as long as possible. Once he leaves, Lawton calls Kasanti.
MacGyver returns to the law offices and admits to Lobo that he was surprised at Lawton's attitude. The lawyers determine that Kasanti employed four different inspectors for four different tenements, and each inspector confirmed the buildings were safe. MacGyver and Lobo go to the building & safety department and discover that all four inspectors have left. Clinton Ferris, the director, comes over and MacGyver explains that the dates on the reports took place years after the men left the department. Ferris ushers them into his office and Lobo admires his photos and awards for dog breeding. The director explains that the reports are forgeries: Kasanti bribed the inspector to sign the name of another inspector who is no longer accountable. Ferris agrees to testify and promises that he'll take the appropriate steps,
Back at the law offices, Rose and Helen inform MacGyver that they went to the tax office and the files show that Kasanti has a partner. Kasanti calls to offer to meet with MacGyver and resolve matters to his satisfaction. He asks MacGyver to meet him at the tenement in an hour. As MacGyver and Lobo go up to Gloria's apartment, they hear the voices of men arguing. Upstairs they find Kasanti, apparently dead when a pipe fell on him. Det. Neighbors takes their statement but doesn't believe Lobo's claim that Lawton had him killed. Helen and Rose arrive while Lobo insists that Lawton took Kasanti out. Now Lawton has the building and Gloria is out on the street. MacGyver insists that they need to handle the matter by the law but Lobo notes that following the law got Gloria kicked out. He leaves, figuring everything is over. MacGyver reminds them that Kasanti had a partner. As they leave, Stroud and his men watch them.
That night, MacGyver breaks into Kasanti's office and goes through his desk. He finds a pile of checks and takes one with him. As he leaves, Stroud's men contact their boss and report to him that MacGyver left with something but they don't know much.
MacGyver goes to see his friend Mo Nimitz, a tattoo artist and handwriting expert. He has him look at the signatures on the checks to see if the same person made them.
Lawton holds a press conference for the Hamilton Plaza renewal project. Lobo comes in and opens the drapes to reveal the mural that he's painted across the street, showing Lawton as a literal fat cat.
Mo confirms that the same person who endorsed Kasanti’s check forged the signatures of the inspectors. MacGyver hears a news broadcast about Lobo's actions and tunes in as Lobo denounces Lawton. He promises he isn't through and runs away as the security guards arrive and Lawton denies any illegal actions. As MacGyver leaves, Lobo calls him and says he wants to turn himself in but needs MacGyver's help, and he's found new evidence at his grandmother's apartment. Lobo finishes his call... and Stroud congratulates him.
MacGyver arrives at the tenement and Stroud captures him. He takes MacGyver into the apartment where Stroud's men are holding Lobo. MacGyver reveals that he knows who Kasanti's partner is: Ferris. The director emerges from the shadows and MacGyver reveals that he guessed who was responsible when he realized the checks were made out to a fake company named after Ferris’ dog. As they tie MacGyver up with plastic ties, Ferris explains that he killed Kasanti when he started to panic. Stroud places an explosive device on a canister of nitrates and they leave. Once they're alone, MacGyver kicks open an electric heater, pulls out the element with a coat hanger, and uses it to burn through the plastic ties. MacGyver tries to defuse the bomb but inadvertently advances the timer so they only have sixty seconds left. He grabs the explosive device and dumps it down a waste disposal chute in front of Stroud's car as he drives away. The charge takes out the car and the bad guys.
Later, Lawton puts the project on hold until housing can be provided for all the local residents. He asks Gloria to become the first new tenant and she accepts, as long as he pays for the moving men.