The Irrational (2023) s01e07 Episode Script

The Real Deal

Sometimes I feel like a mess ♪
But I'm a work in progress ♪
This heaviness on my chest ♪
Keep breathing, keep breathing ♪

I know, I know. Sorry I'm late.
You right on time. [BOTH CHUCKLE]
Hi, Rose.
I figured you get a lot of roses.
Thank you, Alec.
Thank you for doing this with me.
Anything for science.
Though, a 24-hour date experiment
might be the most convoluted excuse
a man has used to get me into bed.
Ah, that's not the objective.
Anyone can make a good
impression over an hour or two
after a couple cocktails.
And technically,
this isn't an experiment,
since there's no control.
You need a whole 24 hours to impress me.
Spending that time
together while we do our jobs,
taking a break for sleeping separately,
will give us a chance to really
get to know each other.
And this is something
you do on all your dates?
Well, this is actually the first date
I've been on since my divorce.
So this high-intensity dating
concept is just a theory?
Well, gravity was just
a theory at one point.

This is nice, isn't it?
Having a meal together.
Yeah, I always
I always looked forward to our dinners.
How long has it been? A year now?
Ever since you filed
for divorce from my brother.
I didn't mean for that
to come out so harsh.
It's OK. It's all right.
But maybe we should avoid
talking about him Alec.
You got it.
How's your lasagna?
Oh, it's OK.
Not as good as it used to be, though.
Remember when we shared it
at my birthday dinner,
and you dared me to give
that waitress my number?
And then I came to find you
making out with her in the bathroom?

Just the two of us.
- Isn't this nice?
- Mm-hmm.
So nice.

It might take longer than 24 hours
to get to know the real me.
I've been a few different people.
I read about that in "The Guardian."
You were MI6.
we don't call it that anymore.
Still, it must have been difficult
to have your cover blown
by a vindictive MP
during open session.
Imagine spending your whole
life married to your career.
And then it falls apart in an instant.
I guess we've both recently
ended marriages then.
It's been two years.
And I'm still putting
the pieces together,
figuring out what I want, who I am.
It seems we have a lot in common.
Here's to figuring out who we are.
It's a client.
She needs to meet with me ASAP.
You in?
Let our date begin.
Don't ever fall in love.
- Love makes you stupid.
Makes you ignore your friends when they
tell you not to marry him.
Makes you think he isn't cheating.
Makes you give up half,
half of your estate
to a debt-ridden crypto bro
from New Jersey.
I've experienced the pain
of divorce too.
But I've found that it can also
be an opportunity to reevaluate
I'm sorry. Who are you?
Blair, this is Dr. Alec Mercer.
He's an expert in human behavior.
He might be of use and promises
the utmost confidentiality.
How may we help you?
Here's my problem.
- Cézanne?
- "The Orchard."
He painted it after his wedding.
It was a wedding present
to me from my ex
even though, technically, I paid for it.
Carson and I fought like
hell over it in the split.
- And you won.
- Oh, did I ever.
But since it accounts for such
a large part of the settlement,
it had to be reappraised.
Imagine my shock when the appraiser
questioned its authenticity.
They think "The Orchard" is a forgery.
Apparently, all plein air paintings
completed in late 1883 must contain
some residual volcanic ash.
Makes sense.
Krakatoa erupted August 1883.
A cloud of volcanic ash
went from Indonesia
all the way to Europe.
And the appraisers didn't find
volcanic ash in "The Orchard"?
Even though the results
aren't conclusive
You're concerned
your painting is a copy.
A fake.
Just like my marriage.
Are you familiar
with retrospective framing,
our tendency to change how
we evaluate our past
when we learn something new about it?
Your fondness for your painting
and your former marriage
are now being invalidated
by new evidence.
That's not necessarily
a bad thing in divorce.
It helps people move on.
While I appreciate your insight,
Dr. Mercer, what I want
is "The Orchard,"
the real "Orchard."
Then you will get it.

I don't get it.
I mean, I get it.
But $8.5 million
for some shapes on a canvas.
I'm not a big fan of the cubists either.
A little too heavy-handed if you ask me.
Henry Gibbs, gallery owner.
We've heard you're the guy to see,
for impressionist paintings.
- Ah.
- And forgeries.
Now, before you go blabbing
the F word again, forgery,
here is a certificate of
authenticity for "The Orchard."
As you can see, several
Cézanne experts have confirmed
its legitimacy and provenance.
You're confident you sold
Blair the authentic "Orchard."
- I am.
- Then buy it back.
Refund Blair.
In the past five years, "The Orchard"
has appreciated by how much?
You'd come out ahead.
Way ahead.
I know I sold Ms. Dalton a real Cézanne.
But I can't account for it
since it left my gallery.
I understand her divorce
has gotten quite contentious.
Perhaps she's commissioned a fake
and is trying to turn a quick buck.
Not the quickest buck for her to turn.
You, on the other hand.
Ms. Dinshaw, Dr. Mercer, I'm
afraid I have an appointment.
I wish I could say
it's been a pleasure, but

Is this something you do
often in your line of work,
Don't get too excited.
All we're doing is waiting to
tail Henry to his appointment.
An appointment he made on the spot.
You see the way he tensed?
Clenched his fist.
Checked his watch. Dead giveaways.
You studied body language analysis.
One of the many reasons
I excelled in my profession.
Best case scenario,
he meets with an accomplice
and we can confront them
on selling a counterfeit.
Worst case scenario?
Everyone has their secrets.
We watch Henry until we learn his
and use them to put pressure on him
to cough up the real painting.
[SIGHS] The real painting.
"The Orchard" looks exactly the same
whether Cézanne painted it or not.
But one's a masterpiece,
the other isn't.
- Completely irrational.
- Exactly.
Blair loved that painting
until she suspected
that it was a copy.
But nothing's changed.
It's still the same painting.
Henry just walked up to the window.
I didn't want to blow our cover.
Here I was thinking you
were cutting off my monologue.
Not at all.
Oh, here we go.
Henry's appointment.
Can you make out anything?
No, but whatever they're
talking about looks tense.

There was just the body.
No one else was here.
And what were the two of you doing here?
- Working an investigation.
- We were on a date.
We were working
an investigation on a date.
I'm in crisis management.
My client hired me
to look into a painting
the deceased sold to her.
It's a suspected forgery.
And you're her date?
Dr. Alec Mercer.
He's a renowned professor
of behavioral science.
What's your client's name?
I got to get an alibi.
Blair Dalton.
This forgery investigation of yours,
there might be some overlap.
Keep me looped in, OK?
Yes, Officer Matsuda.
Your assignment just
got a lot more complicated.
Whoever killed Henry
probably has something
to do with Blair's forgery.
Agreed, but we're still not 100% certain
if the painting is a forgery.
Note this number down for me.
Photographic memory?
Something like that.
It's a phone number of the first expert
listed on the certificate of
authenticity Henry showed us.
Maybe they can take another
look at "The Orchard."
Ah, let's give them a call.
In a couple of hours.
See you for breakfast.
I'll see you for breakfast.

- Hey.
- Mm.
You might need this more than me.
I know that all-nighter life.
- What were you studying?
- I wasn't.
I went to the department mixer.
Man, comparative psych goes hard,
Like karaoke At 3:00 a.m. hard.
Sounds more fun
than working on my thesis.
Honestly, I only went
hoping to find a new roomie,
since my rent went up.
But it's actually hard
to meet potential roommates
while someone's singing Bon Jovi
at the top of their lungs.
Still, you should've come.
- Oh.
The professor wants us to experiment
on the meaningful endowment effect.
"Test to see how attaching
a story to an object
affects its value on the marketplace."
So we auction something online.
How about my old guitar?
It could give us good data.
Good data or help you make rent?
Can't it be both?
Only if you've got a great
story attached to this guitar.
It was a present from my dad.
How about you post
the control condition,
and I'll take care of the story.
Thanks for putting
a rush on the lab work.
Oh, considering
the gravity of the situation,
it's the least I could do.
Well, what's the verdict?
I took a pigment sample from
Blair's "Orchard," analyzed it.
No ash.
So my painting is a fake.
I talked to the previous owners.
They stored a pigment sample
from "The Orchard"
before selling it to Henry.
And that sample just
tested positive for ash.
What does that mean?
It means Henry bought
the real "Orchard."
But he didn't sell it to you.
Why didn't we run that test
before I bought it?
Well, the Krakatoa study was
only published two years ago.
I well, I certified another
couple of Cézannes for Henry.
Until they're proven authentic,
we have to assume that all of
Henry's Cézannes are forgeries.
Henry exploited the
irrationality of the art world,
where the default is always
to believe the work is real.
It's in the financial interests
of the buyers, the owners,
the auction houses, the whole system
to validate the art they buy and sell.
Until there's a glaring reason not to.
Clearly, given Henry
was murdered last night,
you may not have been
the only unhappy customer.
Do you know who else
Henry sold a Cézanne to?
You didn't hear this from me.
But rumor was, Henry sold
a Cézanne to a big client.
It was an anonymous buyer.
He went by a pseudonym, Mr. Z.
And since he bought through proxies,
no one really knows anything about him,
except that he is a dangerous guy,
moves in elite international circles.
My favorite kind.
Do you have any way of getting
into contact with this Mr. Z?
And if I were you, I wouldn't.

You could have planned
a dinner or a movie.
But instead, you're solving
a murder on a first date.
Isn't it romantic?
And hanging with the fam.
You know he lives here,
right, with his little sister?
- You cool with that?
- Temporary. Just temporary.
I've lived out of a suitcase
for months on end.
But I do have a great broker
I can put you in touch with.
Thank you. I'd like that.
If you can get him
to move into his own place,
oh, then I'm definitely
rooting for you two.
Were you able to hack
into Henry's records?
Just sent it to you both.

Multiple purchases
across different styles,
like Z has no taste or POV.
He's buying the most expensive works
and turning them quickly.
He even bought a few pieces twice.
What does that mean?
Mr. Z is laundering money through art.
It sounds like more
than I need to know, so
I will leave you two to this.

So Mr. Z has the means to hire a hitman.
And he has the motive
to settle the score
after being scammed out of millions.
Whoever he is,
he looks like a prime suspect.
If Henry's murder
is related to the forgeries,
finding the killer could
lead us to the real painting.
Good point.
I'll put out feelers.
I still have some contacts in the field.
And they might know how
to track down Mr. Z.

Well, that's the biggest
murder board I've ever seen.
Murder/forgery board.
I thought it might help us
keep track of it all.
I got us some dinner.
And I have dessert.
While we wait
for my contact to ring back,
I pulled these, profiles of Interpol's
most wanted money launderers.
Sounds tasty.
Perhaps a more neutral
backdrop while we eat.
- Very suave, Mercer.
- Mm.
There was this cart
outside my flat in Shanghai.
Best dumplings ever.
You miss it, being out in the field?
- Yes.
I do miss it.
It was fun, easy,
pretending to be other people.
It kept me safe.
And in a way, it was easier
for me to be someone else.
But sometimes, I worry I
might have lost the real Rose.
When people ask, I make up
stories about my scars,
just so I don't have to talk
about what really happened.
It's hard to open up about experiences
most people can't relate to.
And when you do, you're left
just feeling even more lonely.
Damn, I don't usually get
this deep over dumplings.

You just missed office hours.
Dr. Mercer.
Ms. Dinshaw.
I understand you are looking for Mr. Z.

it's hard to be terrified
when the cheese is this good.

Are you going to take us to Mr. Z?

I am Mr. Z.
My concern is keeping business private.
But you two have got people talking.
Why were you looking into me?
We suspect Henry Gibbs
sold you a forged Cézanne.
That doesn't bother you?
It doesn't.
He helped me make a lot of money.
In fact, I was seriously considering
buying Henry's last Cézanne.
Or a copy, I suppose.
Henry had another Cézanne?
Its unusual dimensions
made it stand out to me.
22 inches by 48.
No other Cézannes were
found in his gallery or home.
There wouldn't be.
Henry kept a secret stash.
I don't know where.
You think that's where "Harlequin" is?
Possibly along with other works?
But again, not my concern.
Nor am I yours.
Well, have the soppressata.
It's delicious.

- Hey.
- Hey.
Alec's not here. He and Rose got a lead.
Hold up.
Are you looking for that Z dude too?
Actually, I'm here for you.
Jace got us tickets
to the Kennedy Center tonight.
But he's got pulled away on a case.
I know it's last minute.
But you want to come with?
You're busy. I will leave.
No, no.
Sounds fun.
Let me change.
Rose, huh?
Rose Dinshaw, the corporate fixer?
Uh-huh, yeah, that Rose.
The two of them were on a date,
which turned
into a murder investigation.
You know Alec.
Strike one, girl. You said the A word.
Come on, Marisa.
Come on what?
You're not being real.
Obviously, you're
feeling some type of way
about Alec dating again.
And yes, it's awkward, but
I thought we agreed not to
What else can we talk about?
You're too busy stuffing
down your feelings
to discuss anything else.

Oh, that's work.
I'm going to get back to the office.

[SIGHS] Damn.
I was hoping Mr. Z was our guy.
I guess Mr. Z was
neither a guy nor our guy.
She and her henchmen didn't
fit the bill of a killer.
And I suspect, when it comes to murder,
Mr. Z is a little bit more
creative than pushing
someone off a balcony,
or at least more discreet.
- Hmm.
Well, that's 24 hours.
You put our date on a timer?
- So
- So
- This was a lot of fun.
- This was a lot of fun.

If Henry has a secret stash,
like Mr. Z said,
then maybe that's where
we'll find the real "Orchard."
That's what I was thinking.
I'm going to search Henry's.
Matsuda might have missed something.
- Can I join you?
- Call it a second date?


Evan mentioned authenticating
other Cézannes for Henry.
Maybe "Harlequin" is one of them.
If we can't find Henry's stash,
Evan might have some ideas.
Hold that thought.
Based on the square footage
of the first floor,
I'm thinking Henry walled off
a portion of his office
to create a secret room.
My money's on this bookshelf
being the door.

Impressive work, Dinshaw.
Damn it.
The real "Orchard" isn't here.
Neither is "Harlequin."
Z's photo was time stamped
the day before Henry died.
Now the painting's gone.
Is that why Henry was murdered?
Over a painting that's probably fake.

What do you think these dimensions are?
BOTH: 22 inches by 48.
Or at least, it was,
before it was shredded
and dropped in solvent.
The last fake Cézanne
in Henry's collection was destroyed.

We have to go.
There's an intruder at Blair's house.

You OK, Blair?
- Carson.
- Rose.
Blair's ex-husband.
What are you doing here?
I'm on the policy.
The alarm company called me.
Got here as fast as I could.
Did either of you get
a good look at the intruder?
I just heard the alarm.
I was too scared to come downstairs.
Yeah, they were already gone
by the time I got here.
I'll check with the police,
see what they know.
Could I have a word in private?
- Oh.
This might be unwarranted.
Or maybe not.
Considering how you
characterized your ex
when we first met, Carson may be
attractive to you right now,
but I would consider postponing
any potential reconciliation
until the knight in shining
armor effect wears off.
He didn't actually save you.
Your nervous system just thinks he did.
I guess I'll take that under advisement.
Police said it looks like a robbery.
But nothing's missing.
Why break into a multi-million
dollar home and take nothing?
Because the robber didn't
find what they were after.

All right.
You were right.
Why keep a fake in the vault, babe?
How'd you know it's a fake?
Ah, DC art world is microscopic.
It's the talk of the town.
Everyone knows.

If everyone knows,
then there's a good chance
whoever tried to steal Blair's "Orchard"
knows it's a forgery.
So someone's after
Henry's fakes Cézannes.
Could be a cover-up.
The forger covering their tracks.
But how do we find the forger?
I might have a lead.

Online auctions are the
Coachella of irrational behavior.
All my favorite theories
come out to play.
Check it out.
Bids on our meaningful
endowment condition
are up to $300.
That's amazing.
"Once played by Carlos Santana."
I told you my dad said there
was a guy in the guitar store
who looked like Santana.
Santana was on tour that year.
- It could check out.
Besides, the meaningful endowment effect
works whether or not the story is true.
How's the control condition doing?
Wait, our hypothesis is
that the guitar with the story
attracts a higher price, right?
Yes. Why?
All I did was list the brand
and year with the photo,
like you said.
No story, but
Rizwan, why is someone offering $500
for the control condition?
Your Interpol short list of
art forgers isn't very short.
We've been all over town.
Well, then this has got to be the one.
It's the only one left.
Goes by "Bridget."
No one's home.
There could be evidence in there.
Cover me, will you?

Don't tell me you've never
picked a lock before, Mercer.

The forger's studio.
What the hell are you doing here?

We're looking for Bridget.
We have to ask her some questions.
You can't.
Why not?
Because she's dead.
I'm Alec Mercer.
I teach behavioral science at Wylton.
And you are?

I'm Bridget's father.
Can I ask what happened to Bridget?
Died two weeks ago.
I saw one of Bridget's Cézannes.
She's very talented.
It's a shame no one will know
that those were her works.
I warned her.
It was only a matter of time
until someone figured it out.
The sad part is, Bridget didn't
get into forgery
until my heart attack forced
me to stop working.
A father is supposed
to take care of his daughter,
not the other way around.
So if you're here to press charges
against my dead daughter
This isn't just about a forgery anymore.
This is about the murder of Henry Gibbs.
I don't know anything about that.

We already know your daughter was
involved in illegal activity.
Maybe you killed your accomplice
and destroyed her art
to protect her good name.

Bridget was proud of her paintings,
and so was I.
I'd never destroyed them.
I'd like to help Bridget
get the recognition
she deserves for her skills,
even if they were imitations.
But that can't happen until we
know more about the forgeries,
like who else was involved.
She didn't want me
knowing what was going on.
But I did overhear
an argument between Bridget
and the other guy, not Henry,
but the one who lined up the buyers.
Bridget called him a reckless prick
for selling a forgery to his own wife.
Did you catch his name?
- Carson?
- Carson.
That's it.
You think I murdered Henry?
A credible witness identified you
as a member of Henry's forgery ring.
And you've refused
to tell me where you were
the night he was murdered.
All I did was make
a couple bad investments, OK?
I zigged when I should've zagged.
I needed some money
to back a new venture.
But Blair refused.
So to make some extra cash on the side,
I helped Henry, found a few
people to buy some fakes.
- Like your wife?
- Ex-wife.
I didn't kill anyone.
Where were you
the night Henry was killed?
Blair and I are this close
to getting back together.
If she finds out where I was
You've got bigger problems
to worry about.
Hosteria Rafael.

With my girlfriend.

I think he's telling the truth.
That's too bad.
I'm beginning to think we
need to revisit possible motives.
It seems my researchers' experiment
is showing a different pattern
of results than expected.
How about we go back to my place?
Thought you'd never ask.

- What are you
- Don't worry.
We will sell it to you, but first,
we need to know why you
offered such a high price
for an essentially worthless guitar.
I mean [SIGHS]
What's going on?
Professor, hi.
We thought you were coming by later,
after we organized our results.
We tried to sell an object
with a story attached,
like you asked, Professor.
But the control got a much higher bid
than the meaningful endowment condition.
- He's the outlier.
- What?
Did you know you were offering more
than the guitar was worth?
Yeah, of course.
My dad taught me how to play
on the same model guitar.
And when I was in my early 20s,
I was strapped for cash,
and I had to sell it.
Now I've got a foster daughter.
She wants to play.
And I want her to learn
on the same model that I did.
I mean, I know it's not
the exact same guitar.
But I don't know.
It's, um
sentimental value.
Thank you.

Sentimental value.
Someone connected to Bridget
wanted her paintings
bad enough to kill for them.
OK, but if Bridget's
paintings mean so much,
then why'd the killer destroy
one using a barrel of solvent?
The killer didn't destroy
Bridget's paintings.
Henry did to cover the forgery.
After we visited him,
he knew we were on to him,
so he destroyed "Harlequin."
The last Cézanne by Bridget.
And after the killer discovered
that Henry ruined her work,
they murdered him in a fit of rage.
Then tried but failed
to steal Blair's "Orchard."
Sentimental value is driving the killer
to extreme measures, violent ones.
And they won't stop until
they get one of her Cézannes
in their hands.
How do we stop them?
If they're willing to murder
and rob for her works,
then presumably,
they will come to an auction
to bid on it.
Under the pretense
of a larger divorce sale,
we offer Blair's "Orchard"
up for auction.
We even list it as a forgery.
And we use Bridget's name
as the real artist.
Spies have the best toys.
Testing. Testing.
- Do you read?
- Loud and clear, Professor.
[WHISPERING] I feel like James Bond.
Play it cool.
Next up, ladies and gentlemen,
we have "The Orchard,"
a convincing Cézanne forgery
from the late Bridget Archibald.
Let's start the bidding at $50,000.
Do I have $50,000? Looking for 55.
You think he's here
to support his daughter or
He's not bidding.
I don't think he's our guy.
She seems rather interested.
She does.
Let's see if she goes all the way
or be flushed out by Phoebe's bids.
76. Looking for $76,000. 76. $76,000.
- $76,000 and counting.
- $77,000, looking for 77.
Maybe I should have gone into forgery.
$78,000, looking for 79. $79,000.
Looking for $80,000. $80,000.
Looking for $100,000.
$100,000, ladies and gentlemen.
Can I get a 110? 110, 110.
I've got a $110,000 bid.
Looking for 120, $120,000.
Looking for 130.
Anybody 130? I've got $130,000.
That's our culprit.
Phoebe, Phoebe, stop bidding.
Looking for $150,000. Looking for 150.
Do I hear 175? $175,000.
Anybody for 175?
No, I've got 150 going once,
going twice, going three times.
Sold to the gentleman
in the back for $150,000.
That's Evan.

Alec, Rose, I wasn't expecting you.
On behalf of my client, Ms. Dalton,
I'm here to inform you that
this sale has been nullified.
What? No.
I bought the painting. I'm taking it.
You won't be charged for the purchase.
But you can't keep the painting.
It's already connected
to an attempted robbery.
It's FBI property now.
What are they going to do with it?
They've authorized me to destroy it.
Bull. [SCOFFS]
That makes no sense.
Bull or no bull, I'm the one
holding the box cutter.
Wait, you can't.
No, please no. Don't.
No, no, no. Please don't do that.
You clearly care a lot
about this painting.
If you were part of the forgery ring,
you'd want to destroy it too.
What forgery ring?
Evan, we know
about Carson, Henry, and Bridget.
Well, I didn't want anything
to do with their scheme, OK?
I refused to authenticate the painting.
But your name is on that certificate.
So you did. Why?
well, you know, Bridget asked me to.

[SIGHS] I couldn't say no to her, OK?
You were in love with her.

When Bridget died,
I arranged to buy
her last Cézanne from Henry.
I even gave him a down payment.
I was getting the rest of the
money when, all of a sudden,
Henry tells me
that the sale's cancelled.
He has to destroy the painting.

Bridget's work
is all that's left of her.
And when I saw what
he did to it, I just

You killed him?
You want to call Matsuda, or should I?

What did I say?
Don't ever fall in love.
Or at the very least,
don't fall in love with Carson.
After Henry Carson
and Bridget successfully
pulled off their scheme with you,
they passed off even more Cézannes.
So the real "Orchard"?
It was destroyed years ago.
But with the forgery scheme exposed,
I can extract a refund
from Henry's estate.
You can put that cash to a real Cézanne.
You don't want a Cézanne anymore?
I don't. [LAUGHS]
Learning the truth about
my ex has helped me move on,
helped me let go.
In fact, you two should have this.
This story belongs to you now.
The devil's
in the basement in my home ♪

You were right.
I wasn't being real with you,
which is stupid because we
always got along
because we weren't afraid
to be honest with each other.
I know.
I told you I was queer before
anyone else in the family.

We need to be ourselves again.
I'm mad, Marisa.
Without warning,
just poof, you just left us.
I left my marriage.
I didn't leave you.
I love Alec.
I will always love Alec.
But that's not the same
as being married to him.
I need to find out who I am without him.

Yeah, OK.
I get that.
We were family.
You were the closest thing
I had to a sister.
And then, you just
stopped talking to me.
I missed this.
I missed you.
Oh, I've missed you so much.
Until I'm honest ♪
Will I ever breathe again? ♪
Again ♪
I'd say our date yielded a lot of data,
how well we work as the team,
how much you like playing bad cop.
What a fan of brie you are.
And I can say without ambiguity,
that you're not a collection
of fake personas.
There's someone real in there.
And I would very much like
to see her again.

Another client emergency.
I'm off to Paris.

- Mm.
You keep the painting.
For now.
But when I get back,
we should do this again.
Hold my breath in until I'm honest ♪
Will I ever breathe again? ♪
Will I ever breathe again? ♪
- Bye.
- Bye.
Will I ever breathe again? ♪


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