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White Collar: A Modern Day Robin Hood

NUP_136320_0880The episode opens with Neal and Mozzie following the map on the wine bottle to Grand Central Station. Neal finds a letter from Kate telling him to move on and stop looking for her.

Peter is overly suspicious of Neal this week—explaining that he checks Neal’s anklet on a daily basis and constantly reminds him he is on “tenuous probation.”

The case: a residential robbery of a rare painting, by Haustenberg, entitled “Young Girl with Locket.” It is stolen from Julianna Laszlo and worth about two million dollars. It belonged to her grandmother, who raised her and shared her name. At the initial meeting, Neal and Peter run into Julianna’s Uncle Gary who appears nervous and lawyers up almost immediately. An inside job? Neal thinks so.

After some ground rules from Peter, no threatening or lying, Neal confronts Gary. He confesses to telling Gerard Dorsett, a high-end loan shark, the whereabouts of the painting, who masterminded the theft.

The FBI trails Dorsett and finds that he is trying to sell the painting. To catch him, Neal will pose as a buyer with the help of a gallery employee, Taryn. While getting wired for the sting, Taryn hits on Neal. She heard about Neal’s escape from prison and asks if it was all really for a girl. He responds “some people think I’m a romantic.”

The sting goes bad and Dorsett escapes with both the painting and the money. (This seems like a recurring trend.) A cranky Peter is in hot water with his bosses.

On a side note, Neal discovers a hidden message in the letter from Kate: meet her at noon on Friday.

Back at the FBI, the curator of the Channing Museum shows up and claims that the painting belongs to the museum and was stolen in 1967. So who does the painting really belong to?

By the way, Neal is wearing the hat again–love that hat, but Peter not so much, he tells him to “lose that hat.”

Neal talks to Julianna again, who confesses that her grandmother stole the painting and was the girl in the painting. To prove this, Julianna shows Neal the locket, which her grandmother was wearing in the painting.

Meanwhile, the FBI cannot find Dorsett. The duo decide to track down Brigitte, Dorsett’s girlfriend, whom he mentioned during the failed sting. Neal finds her in a hotel bar with a friend. She invites Neal and Peter to her suite. Peter is uncomfortable and tells Neal, who keeps speaking French, “to cut the French crap.” Neal searches for the painting leaving Peter to awkwardly fend off the two blonde French women. Neal finds the painting hidden on the back of a mirror, takes it and leaves an origami butterfly in its place because Dorsett called Neal a butterfly during their meeting. The FBI loses track of Dorsett again.

But Dorsett calls Neal’s cell phone. He tells him that he wants the painting and threatens Taryn. Mozzie gets on Neal’s case for acting like “Robin Hood” and stealing the painting to give back to Julianna.

Neal confesses to Peter that he has the painting, which Peter is not happy about. But they decide to set up another meeting with Dorsett.

NUP_136320_1116Before the meeting, Neal paints a replica, which looks exactly like original. He has many talents! Although Mozzie critiques his work and tells him “Haustenberg’s brushstrokes are much more fluid. Yours are too choppy.”

The meeting takes place and goes smoothly with the FBI arresting Dorsett. Neal gives the original painting back to Julianna. We then learn that her grandmother was the illegitimate daughter of Haustenberg and the museum ignored his will, which said to give the painting to her grandmother. The curator of the museum receives Neal’s copy with a note on the back stating “I know what you saw here last time.”

The episode ends with Neal and Mozzie going to meet Kate. She calls a pay phone and talks to Neal. She says “she needs him to tell her where he hid everything. He (the man with the ring) will let her come back to him if he tells her.” Neal surprisingly refuses. He sees Kate, runs towards her, but she disappears. I am not sure I believe Kate’s story…something doesn’t feel right.

This episode was entertaining but not their best. Funny details and lines were abundant. We learn Peter is not the best driver (he almost gets into a couple of accidents); Neal hasn’t met a woman who wasn’t into him since “Britney Nicole in 2nd grade” because he “had a gap between his teeth;” and according to Mozzie, the temperature for aging a painting is 125 degrees.

My gripe is that the storyline for the past three episodes has been very similar. Neal has to pose as the buyer or pretend to be “back in the game.” The sting operation then goes bad with Neal getting shot at or the bad guys escaping. I hope the writers switch it up next week and try something different. I think the cast has the ability to pull off so much more. Also, where’s June?

For another take on this episode, check out A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words by Renata Sellitti.

Season 1, Episode 5: The Portrait (originally aired November 20, 2009)

For more on White Collar, click here.

Fridays at 10/9c on USA Network

Photographs courtesy of USA, Electric Artists, and David Giesbrecht

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