Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pilot – White Collar Episode Summary 1.1

White Collar Pilot EpisodeSynopsis: Neal Caffrey, a convicted felon imprisoned for bond forgery, escapes from prison three months before his release. Peter Burke, the FBI Agent who caught him before is called upon to catch him again. Agent Burke captures Caffrey who then pleads the agent to accept his offer to help with the case the FBI is trying to solve. In exchange, Neal asks that he be released to the custody of Agent Burke.

Episode Summary: Neal Caffrey, a convicted felon imprisoned for bond forgery, and suspected of securities fraud, hurriedly shaves his beard, and puts on a prison guard’s uniform. He walks passed other prisoners, and guards unnoticed. Moments later he walks out of jail, home free. With a hotwired truck he drives out, and purchases a yellow raincoat from a street vendor. Now disguised as a valet at an airport, he gets a generous tip from the unsuspecting owner of the Rolls Royce he is about to steal. Neal Caffrey drives to Manhattan in style.   Continue reading...

Peter Burke is at a bank with the whole FBI team trying to crack a safe. All are silent as an agent slowly but surely tries a combination to open the safe. The agent relays every number that unlatches the lock, and prepares to open the safe when Peter Burke realizes that something is wrong. He yells to stop the agent from opening the safe, but was too late. Fortunately, opening the safe only produced a small explosion that filled the vault with a blanket of dust. Nobody was harmed, but Agent Peter Burke could not help but be annoyed. The explosion coupled with the dust and unidentified strips plastic now cover the FBI agents, all the evidence that would convict the Dutchman are gone. Peter Burke realized that it was a setup the moment he heard that the combination the Dutchman used was 3-2-4, which spells F-B-I when punched on a phone.

Soon after his failed attempt at catching the Dutchman, Agent Burke learns that the criminal he once put in jail had escaped. Having been the only person to ever catch the elusive Neal Caffrey, the U.S. Marshals have personally requested his help. With only three months left in a four-year sentence, Neal Caffrey’s escape baffled Agent Burke and the Marshals alike. Burke learned that right before Caffrey started growing a beard that made him difficult to recognize, he received a visit from Kate Moreau. Kate had been paying Neal a visit every week until that fateful day. Seeing her as the reason for Neal’s foolish escape, Agent Burke decides to pay Kate Moreau a visit. True enough, Agent Burke finds Neal Caffrey in her now empty apartment. The young man unwary about his being caught, but instead marred by the woman’s disappearance sits on the floor with an empty wine bottle in his hand. Agent Burke informs Neal that his escape will add another four years to his sentence that would have ended in three months time. Neal Caffrey does not seem to care. Agent Peter Burke had just called in the FBI and the Marshals that surround the apartment building when Neal notices a small strip of plastic on Agent Burke’s suit. Caffrey instantly recognizes the strip that Agent Burke has not yet figured out. Neal Caffrey his new four-year sentence now sinking in, starts to bargain with Peter Burke, requesting that the FBI agent meet him in prison if he tells him what the plastic strips are. Agent Peter Burke agrees to his request, and learns that the plastic strip is a security fiber for the new Canadian 100-dollar bill. The agents arrest Neal Caffrey who willing surrenders.

A week later, learning that he had inadvertently incensed the Canadian Secret Service after correctly identifying a yet to be revealed security fiber, Agent Peter Burke keeps his promise and pays Neal Caffrey a visit. The young convict having done his research proposes that he help Agent Burke with the case he has been trying to solve for years. In exchange, Neal requests that he be turned in to Agent Burke’s custody. Peter Burke has spent three years of his life trying to catch Neal Caffrey, and he knows him too well to recognize his agenda, and that is to find Kate Moreau. Neal insists that he is not going to run, and in fact had researched on a tamperproof GPS tracking device that would keep him from escaping. Unfortunately, Agent Peter Burke could not agree to his request.

Peter Burke, however, could not stop thinking about Neal Caffrey’s offer. Moreover, the young felon’s reason for escaping continues to baffle Peter. The man could not fathom how Neal would throw away his freedom to run after the woman he loves. He is convinced that there must be another side to Neal Caffrey’s story. Peter Burke’s wife, however, does not find this as a far-fetched reason. She asks him whether Peter would have done the same thing if he were in Neal Caffrey’s shoes.

Neal Caffrey owes his pseudo freedom to Elizabeth Burke for Peter had finally agreed to his offer. The young convict has been released to the custody of Agent Burke where he is to wear at all times a tracking anklet set to a two-mile radius. Escaping while under the FBI’s custody would mean lifetime imprisonment. Moreover, Agent Peter Burke offers making the setup permanent if Neal helps him catch the Dutchman.

Neal Caffrey gets a first taste of freedom, and it isn’t nice. With a budget to fit that of having him in prison, Agent Burke brings Neal to a crummy hotel fit for the homeless. With no other clothes but the ones he is wearing, the otherwise glamorous Neal Caffrey is left to scouring for decent clothes in a thrift shop. As luck would have it, a classy woman arrives to donate her late husband’s designer clothes, clothing she swears to have a guest room full of. Only a day had passed, and already Neal Caffrey is stirring trouble. Agent Burke returns to the crummy hotel only to learn that the young convict left under his care has moved to a new home. A note from Neal Caffrey leads Agent Burke to a beautiful, prewar mansion. Peter could not believe Neal’s luck as June, the owner of the mansion confirms that Caffrey now resides in her guest room. Peter finds Neal having breakfast at the rooftop with a spectacular view of Manhattan. The man somehow managed to find a home within the set budget, and boundaries of his anklet. Not to mention he is in the company of his landlord’s beautiful granddaughter only a few years younger than Neal. Still in disbelief at Caffrey’s amazing luck, Peter Burke warns June that Neal is a felon, but the woman couldn’t care less informing the agent that her late husband was too.

Agent Burke and Neal Caffrey make their way to the airport to interrogate a man the Dutchman calls Snow White. The man, a rare-book dealer, was caught with six hundred regular copies of a Spanish version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Though being pulled aside only for lugging in books, the dealer sure looks edgy. Peter Burke is sure that he could make the man sing. Regrettably, his lawyer arrives before he could even question him. Soon he learns that the man is not truly a lawyer, but his realization came a moment too late. The dealer is already dead.

Neal Caffrey inspects the books that they confirmed not to be worth much. Learning that the books were published in 1944 in Madrid, Neal identifies the Dutchman’s need for the books. The top sheet that lines the book cover is a piece of 1944 Spanish press parchment. The probationary agent Diana recognizes that the Dutchman would be counterfeiting something that was originally printed on the parchment. Agent Burke finds in the dead book dealer’s wallet a visitor pass for The National Archives.

Agent Peter Burke and Neal Caffrey pay a visit to The National Archives where the curator remembered receiving the book dealer as a guest. According to the curator, the man took several photographs of The Spanish Victory Bond, and informed him of his goal of writing a book about the bond’s history with it being issued by the U.S. during the war in 1944 to support the Spanish Underground’s battle against the Axis. More importantly, that the one in The National Archives is the only surviving copy of the bond, but there’s speculation that boxes of these bonds exist hidden in the caves of Altamira. Agent Burke rolls out the parchment from the book, and finds it the exact same size of the bond. Neal further inspects the bond, and recognizes it, much to the curator’s shock, as a forgery. In fact, the bond they are looking right now is a recent forgery. This he learns having noticed that the ink has not yet dried.

Learning of the theft of The Spanish Victory bond adds more urgency to Peter Burke’s investigation. The genuine bond now worth $248,000, and having six hundred sheets of forgery would give the Dutchman a payday of about $150M. Still, Agent Burke has yet to figure out why the man would go into trouble of taking the real bond, and replacing it with a forgery. Lucky for him, Neal Caffrey already knows why. The Dutchman would come out claiming to have found the lost boxes of the bonds, those that would need to be authenticated by comparing to the original. The original being the forged Spanish Victory bond he created and put in place at The National Archives.

Marrying an FBI agent comes with a price, one of which is having to eat dinner alone. Elizabeth Burke understands that this comes with her husband’s job. What she doesn’t know is that he too has forgotten all about their upcoming anniversary. Luckily, Neal Caffrey who studied his captor as meticulously as the agent did with him, reminds the man of his anniversary. Neal tries to give Peter unsolicited relationship advice that only irked the agent who in his annoyance inadvertently blurts out that Kate Moreau has changed her identity and fled the country. Upset at having learned what Kate has done, Neal refuses to give any more advice despite Peter’s urging.

Agent Burke drops Caffrey home where he finds sitting in the dark, sipping wine, his friend Mozzie. Unable to search for Kate on his own given the limitations of his current agreement with the FBI, Neal Caffrey had enlisted the help of Mozzie. Moreover, he decides to ask the quirky, mysterious man with the current case he is working on. His assignment is to identify the person who forged The Spanish Victory bond.

Still worried at not having taken the time to prepare for their anniversary not to mention that he knows very little about his wife’s likes and dislikes, Agent Peter Burke decides to snoop at his wife’s belongings. Unfortunately, his search is cut short after receiving news that Neal Caffrey has gone outside of his anklet’s set two-mile radius. Soon he learns that Neal is actually in his living room happily chatting with his wife. The reason for his surprise visit is to inform Agent Burke of his new discovery. Neal Caffrey identifies the Dutchman as Curtis Hagen, one of the world’s best art restorer specializing in Goya restorations. The man, though recognized as a brilliant restorer, never got the chance to be seen as a real artist. Neal Caffrey believes that the stunt he pulled off with the bond is the Dutchman showing off. In fact, he even signed his forgery.

Neal Caffrey and Agent Peter Burke pay a visit to the church Curtis Hagen is restoring. With restoration underway, the priest asks that the two leave, but Neal Caffrey quick to make an excuse tells the story of Peter Burke needing a moment to pray in the church where he was married to help him ward off the temptation of having an affair with his assistant. With the priest out of their way, Neal Caffrey inspects one of the restored arts in the church, and finds what may or may not be the Dutchman’s signature. Soon Curtis Hagen confronts the too who immediately recognizes Neal as a suspected art thief. He soon orders them to leave the church.

Realizing that he knows more about the felons he is investigating than his wife, Agent Peter Burke decides to do detective work on his wife, and comes up with a list of things she likes. Neal Caffrey believes that Peter will not find the answer he is looking for in the summary sheet of his wife’s favorite things. Peter once again seeks Neal’s help casually asking him to share the story of the wine bottle Kate had left for him. Apparently, the wine bottle is an ’82 Bordeaux that Neal bought empty. He and Kate would fill it up with cheap wine with the dream of living the good life. It was a promise of a better life that only left Kate with a lover locked up in prison.

Diana arrives with news of Curtis Hagen planning to leave the country for Spain. Him seeing Caffrey put him on alert. This worries the FBI, and Neal Caffrey alike for the Dutchman’s escape would also mean that Peter would need to return him back to jail. Mozzie finding a recent photo of Kate Moreau from a surveillance camera with a man’s hand with a ring on his finger grasping Kate’s shoulder gives Neal more reason to keep himself from being locked up in jail. Neal shows half of the photo to Peter, informing him that the photo was taken at an ATM in San Diego. Kate Moreau has been using the name Kate Purdue, which Neal believes to be a code she meant for him. Purdue being the French word for “lost”. Neal Caffrey comes clean with Peter Burke, divulging to him his plan of flying to San Diego to search for Kate. Agent Burke tries to stir him away from his plan of wasting away his life to a girl who dumped him. Neal Caffrey pretends to have taken his advice.

Neal finds Mozzie outside the FBI building surrounded by agents also having a smoke. Neal Caffrey walks over to him, and asks for a cigarette. The two converse as Mozzie hints to have hidden a message inside the cigarette’s filter. The note reveals an address of a warehouse Curtis Hagen runs through a shell corporation in Guatemala. Agent Burke and Neal Caffrey make their way to the warehouse by the docks. Outside they could hear the printing press Hagen is using to create test prints of the forgeries. Unfortunately, the FBI does not have enough cause for a warrant to search the premises. At dawn, Agent Peter Burke receives a call informing him of Neal Caffrey’s escape. What he doesn’t know is that Neal drove to the warehouse. Neal Caffrey blatantly takes pictures of the warehouse causing alarm to the guards who wasted no time to bring him inside. Just as he theorized, the inside of the warehouse is filled with the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs books, and a running printing press. The men bring Neal Caffrey inside the bulletproof office where he locked himself at the sight of Curtis Hagen. Moments later, sirens come blaring, Neal Caffrey pulls up his pants to reveal his tracker. Neal being a fugitive supposedly hiding inside the warehouse gives the FBI cause to enter the premises without a warrant. The agents barge in before Curtis Hagen and his men escape. Neal having explicitly created an exigent circumstance not only gave the FBI reasonable cause to enter the warehouse, but also allowed them to seize all evidence seen in plain view regardless of its connection to the crime that prompted their search.

The day of the anniversary has arrived, and Peter Burke has found the perfect gift for his wife. With June’s permission, Peter has converted the rooftop of her house into a tropical paradise. Peter having promised Elizabeth of flying to the Caribbean just gave her a glimpse of his promise. Moreover, he has booked them two plane tickets to Belize, and even reserved a villa in Sarteneja. Peter delivers in his promise, and his wife could not be happier. The next day, Agent Burke returns with the news that because of his work in capturing the Dutchman, the FBI has agreed to hire Neal Caffrey as a consultant to the FBI, and for him to be officially released to the custody of Agent Peter Burke until he serves his four year sentence.

Watch the White Collar Pilot Episode
Next White Collar Episode: Threads
More White Collar Episode Summaries

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