White Collar Review: Mozzie Versus the Mob
“Character defines personality. And in that department, your cup runneth over.”
Mozzie certainly has plenty of character, and it shines during his flashback episode. It is, without a doubt, my favorite episode of the third season so far.
Let’s start at the beginning. Since Mozzie (Willie Garson) and Neal (Matt Bomer) cannot sell any of the Nazi treasure, Mozzie holds a yard sale of his prized possessions, i.e. a banana knife, to help support his former orphanage and the man, Isaac Jeffries, who found him as an infant. June (Diahann Carroll) even shows up to buy some of Mozzie’s wacky treasures. Welcome back June!
It looks like it’s going to be a quiet day at the FBI until Peter (Tim DeKay) mentions Detriot mobster Frank DeLuca Jr. is in town looking for someone. This leads Neal to return to question Mozzie about his Detriot connections, but they’re interrupted when Frank DeLuca Jr. bursts in. Mozzie hides while Deluca announces that he’s looking for the dentist of Detriot and if he doesn’t meet with him, he can say goodbye to his friend, Isaac Jeffries. After DeLuca leaves, Mozzie confesses “I’m the dentist of Detriot” to a very shocked Neal. Mozzie is determined to save Jeffries and meet with DeLuca, but Neal tries to convince him it’s too dangerous to go to the meeting.
Peter, who knows DeLuca has been there, shows up and asks, “you in danger Mozzie?”
In a perfectly Mozzie answer, he quips, “I live in danger, Suit.”
Neal throws Moz under the bus by telling Peter “DeLuca is forcing a meet with Moz using an old friend as leverage.”
To forbid a stubborn Mozzie from attending the meeting, Peter takes Mozzie into protective custody for his own good.
Back at the FBI, Peter reveals that Detriot police could not find Mr. Jeffries and that the dentist of Detriot has a very long rap sheet while Mozzie freaks out in the interview room. Peter is willing to listen to Mozzie’s story. And Mozzie’s flashback begins…
It was 1969 Detriot when baby Mozzie, adorable with glasses and a teddy bear named Mozart, was orphaned. Isaac Jeffries found him and took him in at the orphanage. He encouraged Mozzie to read, started his obsession with quotes, and showed him how to outsmart the other kids who bullied him. We then see the outsmarting take place as Mozzie cons the bullies at the orphanage.
Back in the present, Mozzie asks Peter about Mr. Jeffries again and if he left any stuffed animals in his house. A somewhat strange question, but Mozzie believes Jeffries is sending him a message through a stuffed animal—he is heading to NYC to warn him about DeLuca.
Neal decides he’ll be the one to go to meeting with DeLuca instead of Mozzie, as “the dentist’s lip man.” This pisses DeLuca off and he almost leaves until Neal calls Mozzie, a.k.a. The Dentist. Through Neal, DeLuca confirms it’s the dentist by asking about his favorite ice cream flavor (bubblegum). DeLuca acknowledges that years ago The Dentist pulled a con on his father for $500,000. He demands Mozzie pull the same con on Irish mobster Patrick O’Leary, who he believes killed his father. Peter and Neal plan to go through with the con, because once they put the money in DeLuca’s hands they can arrest him on extortion and Mozzie and Mr. Jeffries will be safe.
To pull off this “wire con,” they must get Mozzie to reveal how he pulled it off the first time. It turns out at age 12, Mozzie stole $500,000 from the Detriot mobster Frank DeLuca Senior. He describes himself as a “gifted child.” Mozzie reveals he was eventually placed with a family but ran away after their son blamed him for stealing a family heirloom.
Poor Moz, I totally would have adopted him—little Mozzie was adorable!
Mozzie continues his story, saying he first got a job with a numbers guy and then worked with a “patsy” named Bruno. With Bruno, he ran the biggest street lottery in town until DeLuca Sr. started to lose profits and threatened to shut down The Dentist. This is when Mozzie ran the wire con and stole the $500,000 from DeLuca Sr. But Bruno sold him out and Mozzie ran away to NYC to start fresh. Afterwards, “The Dentist” became a cover for other criminals so no one knew DeLuca was taken by a 12 year old. Peter responds that Mozzie is a “living conspiracy theory.” When Moz finishes his story, he is taken to a safe house.
At the hotel, Mozzie drives Jones crazy, but also believes Mr. Jeffries has sent another clue by running a tollbooth and will go to the Statue of Liberty when he gets to NYC.
Meanwhile, the FBI are preparing for the con by shutting down O’Leary’s betting establishment. Neal, who is pretending to work for the dentist, persuades O’Leary to help him take down his boss at his betting site.
At the Burke’s house, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) finishes baking muffins for Mozzie as Neal shows up so he and Peter, both wearing tuxes, can go to the con. El makes them pose in their tuxes for a “prom picture.” So cute! I want a copy of that picture!
Elizabeth visits with Mozzie, a bit concerned about Peter’s safety and wondering why Mozzie never confronted DeLuca. Mozzie tries to reassure El as she is leaving that Peter will be fine. Then Mozzie, as Diana later puts it, pulls a Ferris Bueller. He is clearly one step ahead of his protective detail as he pretends to nap but really sets up a pillow version of himself in the bed and escapes by unscrewing the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.
Mozzie has gone rogue as Neal and Peter attempt to pull of the wire con on both O’Leary and one of DeLuca’s thugs, who is present. O’Leary is buying Neal’s inside info but is only betting the minimum, which is a problem. There is now only one race left and they must do something or the con will fall apart—so Peter and Neal start screaming at each other and then Peter publically fires Neal. During the fight, I couldn’t help but cringe and wonder if some of the insults were somewhat truthful. But the fight works and persuades O’Leary to bet the rest of his money on the final race, which he loses.
Diana calls to let Neal know Mozzie escaped to go meet with DeLuca. Jones, Peter, and Neal, all looking dashing in their tuxes, rush to the meeting place. Mozzie, in an awful red tracksuit and carrying a briefcase of money, talks with DeLuca—he explains he is the real Dentist of Detriot and tells DeLuca they should go their own separate ways.
Peter, Neal, and Jones wait anxiously because they can’t arrest DeLuca for extortion until he touches the briefcase. Mozzie puts the briefcase down and begins to walk away. DeLuca picks up the briefcase and pulls his gun to shoot Mozzie but luckily Peter and Jones are a quicker draw and arrest DeLuca for extortion and attempted murder. Mozzie genuinely thanks Peter for saving his life by calling him Peter and not Suit.
Back at Neal’s apartment, Mozzie warns Neal to enjoy his relationship with Peter while it lasts before they take off with their treasure. Peter shows up to reunite Mozzie with his beloved Mr. Jeffries, who finally made it to NYC. Much to Peter and Neal’s amusement, Jeffries and Moz begin having a “quote off.” Jeffries also reveals where the name Mozzie came from—as a child Mozzie couldn’t pronounce the name of his bear (Mozart), so he called him Mozzie. Moz obviously took the name when he came to NYC. Peter is surprised that Mozzie was sentimental about the bear’s name but Neal understands and says, “sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye.”
Collars, until next week, I’m going to go eat some bubblegum ice cream in honor of the Dentist of Detroit aka Mozzie…
Season 3, Episode 4 “Dentist of Detroit” (original airdate June 28, 2011)
White Collar airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on the USA Network.
Images courtesy of Will Hart and USA Network.