Oh-h-h-h, this is one of those things where Jeff gets jealous of something dumb.
In the study room, the Save Greendale Committee is looking over the course catalog for the new semester. Annie suggests they all take the class on Grifting but Jeff warns them the course itself will probably turn out to be a con. Elroy, Chang, Annie, Abed and Britta ignore him and sign up for the class anyway. They also each purchase the $150 regulation Grifting briefcase needed for the course. On the first day of class they meet the teacher, Professor Roger DeSalvo. He instructs his students to repeatedly pass their briefcases back and forth to each other for forty minutes. When the students start to question his teaching methods their complaints are deflected by an amused DeSalvo.
Professor DeSalvo is amused.
Afterwards, they find Jeff in the cafeteria and admit he was right about the class itself being a grift. They ask for his help to get back at the professor but Jeff refuses since he wasn't personally affected. This changes when Jeff heads to his office only to find it occupied by his new officemate Professor DeSalvo. Although Jeff is annoyed the professor was making himself comfortable at his desk he admits to admiring his style. Jeff brags about his own past as a fake lawyer but DeSalvo is unimpressed. DeSalvo dismissively tells Jeff he's just a good liar, what he does as a grifter is more of an art form. Angered by his arrogance, Jeff goes back to the cafeteria and agrees to help his friends take DeSalvo down.
The committee unites against DeSalvo.
The next day, DeSalvo dismisses class early after Elroy and a fake telegraph messenger tries to run an obvious con on him. He joins the rest of the faculty in the Teacher's lounge for a drink where he finds Jeff. Roger mocks his amateurish attempts at orchestrating a grift which prompts yet another failed attempt. Jeff promises to eventually grift DeSalvo before Frankie orders all the teachers to get back to work. DeSalvo instead goes to The Vatican where an unwelcoming Britta is there tending bar. Later in a storage room, Jeff meets with the committee and tells them everything is going according to plan. When they press him for details, Jeff's obfuscation causes Annie to realizes he has no plan.
Jeff promises to grift DeSalvo.
Jeff reluctantly comes clean and pleads for more time to think of something. In desperation he and the committee watch the 1970s con movie "The Sting" for inspiration. It's implausible premise proves unhelpful and everyone but Jeff is ready to give up. DeSalvo surprisingly crashes their meeting and belittles their futile efforts. Britta punches him in retaliation and a bloody nosed DeSalvo runs away. The committee follows him outside only to witness him slip on a recently mopped hallway floor and sliding through an exit leading to a stairwell. The group is horrified to find him at the bottom of the stairs writhing in pain and coughing up blood.
The committee watches "The Sting" and takes notes.
Soon after, a wheelchair bound DeSalvo meets with Dean Pelton in his office along with the rest of the committee. He is given a $50,000 settlement for his injuries and Pelton expels Britta for her part in the incident. DeSalvo leaves with the briefcase only to have a clandestine meeting with Britta afterwards in the storage room. A clearly uninjured DeSalvo gives Britta her share of the money for the "accident" but rebukes her for punching too hard. Britta makes out with DeSalvo and agrees to meet up with him later at a motel. Only later does DeSalvo realizes his briefcase was switched and the money is gone. It's then that Britta, Abed and other students with briefcases march past him in the hallway.
The school is forced to fork over some hush money.
He abandons his wheelchair and gives chase ending up in the cafeteria where Pelton, Frankie, Britta, Abed and Officer Cackowski await him. DeSalvo claims they stole his money but the contents of their briefcases reveal newspaper clippings. The committee feigns ignorance on the accident or the settlement DeSalvo received. When Roger complains to Cackowski, Jeff appears and points out he has two options. He can say he was outwitted by people he underestimated or he lost the briefcase and owes the school money for injuries that are clearly fake. Defeated, DeSalvo admits he was grifted and is summarily fired by Pelton prompting the committee to revel in their victory.
The telegraph messenger Ryan Ridley, who participated in Jeff's attempts to con DeSalvo, returns to see Jeff and asks if he needs his help in the future. Ridley is in a debt of gratitude to Jeff, thanks to Jeff having saved his life in a gym accident. It's shown through an action montage that Jeff has had Ridley do menial tasks for him over the course of three years. Whether Jeff will ever consider the debt paid is not shown.
IMDb: The group (sans Frankie) actually watches "The Sting" in order to learn grifting, after which Abed recommends they watch another con movie, "Matchstick Men".
Shout out: When the group has finished watching the film "The Sting", Britta expresses disappointment because the musician Sting wasn't in it.
Use your allusion: When the grifting students are practising passing their briefcases back and forth, Professor DeSalvo flippantly says "Pass them like your sister's dying," a reference to a scene in Empire, where a record executive directs a singer to remember how she felt when her brother was dying.
Homage: The episode's plot pays homage to the Robert Redford and Paul Newman 1970s film classic "The Sting". Aside from the movie itself being directly referenced within the show, other nods include the use of old Saturday Evening Post type title cards, the Iris Shot technique which ends some of the scenes and Scott Joplin's The Entertainer piano piece as soundtrack.
Parody: The Guy from Jeff's Gym (the end tag) parodies 1980s action TV shows' title sequences, particularly "The Equalizer".