White Collar ‘Most Wanted’ Review and Recap
White Collar‘s two-part season premiere concluded with last night’s episode ‘Most Wanted.’ As expected, the tension was high … Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) was still in peril, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) was risking his job to help him, Mozzie (Willie Garson) and Peter had to work together to rescue Neal, and of course, there was an exciting caper to pull it all off.
Gregg Henry is the featured baddie again as crime boss Dobbs, who Peter discovers is actually the FBI’s fourth most-wanted criminal Robert McLeish. McLeish has been hiding out on Cape Verde Island for over twenty years, bribing local officials to look the other way. Peter comes up with the brilliant idea of trading McLeish for Neal’s freedom; he asks his supervisor Reese Hughes if Neal can be released to his old job, if he cooperates in capturing McLeish. Reese doesn’t agree outright, but it sounds hopeful: “First, prove it’s McLeish. No promises.”
Agent Collins (Mekhi Phifer) is also back, ignoring the law just as blatantly as he did last week; after catching Neal trying to break out of his cell, Collins calmly shoots him in the leg to prevent further escape attempts.
“You’re a federal agent!” Neal protests, as Collins raises his gun.
“You were in the act of fleeing,” Collins explains. “And you could be armed.” POW! (We’re still not sure how Collins expects to explain to the FBI how it is that he forcibly removed a suspect from a principality that has no extradition treaty with the US. Some mysteries will just have to remain unanswered, in service to the plot.)
Collins then leaves with Neal restrained in his jeep, but Mozzie and Peter are a step of ahead of him.
“Are you sure this plan will work?” Peter asks Mozzie.
“Does a wine have tannins?” is Mozzie’s reply. (Somehow, Willie Garson always manages to steal every scene he’s in!) Sure enough, Collins’ jeep is soon halted by an overturned wooden stand with fruit strewn all over the road (thanks to young Hector, the fruit vendor). While Mozzie stalls Collins by loudly insisting that he help clean up the fruit, Peter releases Neal from his restraints. Neal’s leg wound slows him down, but Peter helps him to Mozzie’s car and manages to escape before Collins can follow. When he catches up with them at the marina, Mozzie is at first annoyed, then concerned when he sees Neal is hurt.
“What happened to you?” he exclaims, and Neal answers, “I got shot.”
“Oh! Welcome to the club,” Mozzie tells him happily.
“It’s good to be a member,” Neal says ruefully.
And now, it’s time for the heist! In order to catch Dobbs/McLeish, Peter, Mozzie, and Neal plan a way to make it appear that he’s planning to skip town in one of his expensive boats, taking all the bribe money that he has collected from local officials. They plan to have Peter pose as a bartender during Dobbs’ extravagant monthly party, while Mozzie and Neal sneak into the library where the safe resides. The plan runs into trouble, though, when it’s discovered that Dobbs’ safe is virtually uncrackable. Neal and Mozzie quickly hatch an alternate plan to use a painting and a mirror to make it look as if the safe is empty; but the plan falls apart when the mirror is shattered.
Meanwhile, Agent Collins attempts to bribe Maya (Neal’s sexy café girl, played by Mia Maestro) with the $500,000 reward for Neal’s capture. Maya says she will help him (but of course, we all know she’s not actually cooperating … somehow I can’t imagine any woman giving up Neal Caffrey to the law after spending the night with him).
Back at the party, things are getting tense for Dobbs as bartender Peter keeps blabbing incriminating pieces of information to anyone who asks, telling them how Dobbs plans to flee on his boat later with all the bribe money. Neal and Mozzie make this look even more believable by setting Dobbs’ packed suitcases in plain sight near the (unfortunately still locked) safe. Neal then confronts Dobbs, telling everyone at the party that Dobbs is really FBI’s Most Wanted Robert McLeish, and that Collins is now after him as well as Neal. Collins appears at that moment, and takes Neal into custody as McLeish flees.
At the airport, a worried McLeish boards a charter jet, convinced the FBI is after him. Peter is waiting for Collins and Neal; he tells Collins about the deal he struck with Reese, and says that if Collins plays along he’ll have the biggest score of his life (i.e., collaring Robert McLeish, who has evaded the FBI for over twenty years). Collins is nothing if not self-interested. He tells Peter he doesn’t care what happens to Neal, as long as he delivers him to FBI custody. He then asks Neal, “What do you get out of this?” and Neal tells him, “My old desk back.” (Not a bad deal.)
They all board the same jet as McLeish, which, Peter informs Collins, will be landing for refueling in the Canary Islands – a nation which DOES have an extradition treaty with the US and where Collins will be welcome to arrest McLeish for his crimes. (How very convenient!)
Jones and Diana are there to welcome Neal back when he returns to the FBI in New York, and Diana muses, “You know, I always thought I’d be the one to shoot you in the leg.” Neal then complains that he thinks he deserves a medal, if not the large reward for bringing in McLeish. Jones presents him with his old anklet instead. Good times!
Back in his stylish apartment in Manhattan, Neal gets a visit from his father’s ex-partner Ellen Parker, who is being shipped off to assume another identity under the witness protection program. Neal tells Ellen that she’s the closest thing he has to family, and asks her for more information about his father. She promises that before she leaves town, she’ll tell him what he wants to know, setting up the dominant plot of this season. Somehow, though, I suspect it will be a little harder than that for Neal to solve the mystery of his family background … or it won’t be a very long plot arc.
As much as we all enjoyed seeing Peter rescue Neal (again!) we knew it couldn’t come without a cost: Hughes tells Peter that because of his actions (and because he gave Collins all the credit for capturing McLeish), Peter is being reassigned. Oh noes! What will we do without Peter Burke in the White Collar Crime division? We’ll have to tune in next week for another enjoyable installment of White Collar to find out!
White Collar airs Tuesdays at 9 PM ET/PT on USA.