Monday, February 21, 2011

Bad Judgment – White Collar Episode Summary 1.9

Bad Judgment White Collar Episode SummarySynopsis: Agent Peter Burke and Neal Caffrey investigate a mortgage fraud scam involving a federal judge. The difficulty of working on a high-profile case heightens when they learn that the federal judge is connected to Agent Fowler who then uses his authority to thwart Agent Burke’s investigation. Agent Fowler manages to turn the tables on Agent Burke whom he now accuses of taking a bribe.

Episode Summary: Agent Peter Burke hesitantly looks into a supposed mortgage fraud case. The victim, David Sullivan, inherited his late father’s house, but was surprised to learn that the bank is about to foreclose his house given that his father had taken a second mortgage on it. Mr. Sullivan is convinced that his family is a victim of mortgage fraud, but with no evidence to prove his claim, the man has no case until Agent Burke learns that the young 35-year old NYPD detective who handled Mr. Sullivan’s case was recently forced to retire.   Continue reading...

Neal Caffrey and Agent Peter Burke meet with former officer Herrera who appears to have no intention of discussing the case. He, however, leaves them a cryptic message by leaving a $4.76 tip for the three cups of coffee they ordered. Caffrey and Burke review Herrera’s case files, and learn that 476 is the ID number of Federal District Judge Michelle Clark.

Neal enlists the help of Moz to look into Judge Michelle Clark. Moz notices that Judge Clark signed all the court orders and search warrants that Agent Fowler used to arrest Neal for the diamond heist. Convinced that Agent Fowler is the one holding Kate Moreau captive, this new development heightens Neal Caffrey’s interest on the case. However, like Peter, Moz is suspicious of Kate, and suspects that the young woman might even be working with Fowler. Knowing that Peter was able to get a hold of Kate, Moz suggests that Neal try to have him send a message to her. Neal requests Agent Burke to tell Kate the he is starting to wonder whether the bottle really did mean goodbye.

After some digging, Agent Burke learns that the last case Judge Clark was working on was the Sullivan house. He also found that the judge has a track record of favoring banks on the probate cases she presided over. So it appears that David Sullivan’s suspicions are not unfounded. This they confirmed after having lunch with Peter’s wife. Elizabeth Burke is evaluating a new caterer, and had wanted to hear Neal’s opinion on the dishes. Noticing two cups of coffee, Agent Burke wonders whom his wife had over before them, and learns that a cable guy dropped by claiming that the cable company had accidentally cut a power line that caused the neighborhood to lose their cable. Agent Burke calls the number of the supposed cable company whom Elizabeth had spoke with, and finds that the number is no longer in service. Agent Peter Burke finds the bug that was planted in their house, and makes his anger known to whomever is listening. Suspecting Fowler as the culprit, Agent Burke could not trust the FBI to do the search, and so enlists the help of Moz to rid of their house of bugs. Moz arrives, and wastes no time to look for bugs. Agent Burke, afraid to leave his wife with the mysterious, strange man, asks Agent Jones to keep an eye on him, while he and Neal continue with their investigation.

Later, Neal Caffrey updates Agent Peter Burke of his knowledge of Judge Clark being part of Agent Fowler’s payroll. The thought of having to go after a federal judge worries Agent Burke, but he knows that taking her down would be killing two birds with one stone. He believes that pinning her on the mortgage fraud case would give them the leverage on getting her to turn on Fowler. Unfortunately, Agent Fowler is two steps ahead of him, and arrives in no time at the FBI headquarters to keep a close eye on Burke as he does his investigation on Judge Clark. After poring over the judge’s files, Neal Caffrey stumbles upon what appears to be a forged signature on David Sullivan’s late father’s second mortgage.

Agent Peter Burke pays a visit to the judge, and makes it known to her that the FBI has found discrepancies on the foreclosure dispute she presided over, and is reopening the case. Moreover, Agent Burke tries to put a pressure on her after letting the judge know of his knowledge of the nine suspicious foreclosures she settled. However, it is Agent Burke who is caught unaware when the judge offers him a quarter of a million dollars to look the other way, which he neither accepted nor rejected. Unbeknownst to him, the judge has been recording their conversation after getting a tip from Agent Fowler. The judge gives Fowler the call, thanking him for the tip, but holds the tape for ransom. Knowing that she is now under investigation, she demands that Agent Fowler have her mortgage fraud files sealed.

At the Burke’s house, Moz has not yet finished debugging, and finds Peter’s old surveillance photos of Elizabeth. Apparently, the two met after the art gallery Elizabeth was working at got robbed. Agent Burke was the lead investigator handling the case, while Elizabeth was a witness. With the upstairs of their house still not clear of bugs, Elizabeth and Peter are forced to sleep on the floor of their living room when they receive an unexpected visit from FBI Director Hughes who gives him the heads up that OPR has once again launched an investigation on him for the suspicion of taking a bribe from Judge Clark. According to Hughes, Agent Fowler is presenting a videotape of his conversation with the judge. Agent Burke’s strategy of playing out the dirty judge, hoping that not rejecting her bribe might lead to more evidence of her malpractice, worked against him.

Neal Caffrey gets a postcard without a return address, but only a chess move that opens with a D5. Before he and Moz could even discuss what it could mean, Neal gets an unexpected visit from Elizabeth Burke. Knowing that her husband is in deep trouble where even FBI Director Hughes cannot offer any help, Elizabeth finds that only Neal can save his husband. Meanwhile, Agent Burke spends the night at the FBI headquarters figuring out a way to clear his name. Soon after, other FBI agents start pouring in to help his cause. Elizabeth, on the other hand, asks Neal to break into Judge Clark’s office, and steal the incriminating videotape. Moz plans the break-in with Neal. Knowing that Agent Fowler’s private courier will arrive at 8 A.M. to pick-up the tape from the judge, Moz plans to distract the driver while Neal assumes the identity of the courier to retrieve the tape. Once Neal acquires the tape, he is to erase its contents using a high-grade neodymium magnet. After a change of clothes, Neal is to hand the now blank tape to the courier.

At the FBI headquarters, Agent Burke and his team of FBI agents continue their investigation on Judge Clark, believing that the best way to clear his name is to solve the case. Agent Burke gathered that Judge Clark has been preying on financially strapped, estranged families who are either unaware that the additional mortgages imposed on the properties they inherited are fraudulent, or have no means of taking on a lawsuit against financial institutions. During the course of their investigation, they learn that the judge’s files have suddenly been sealed, and the only way to prove the judge’s guilt is to find the money she received from the mortgage fraud scam. Agent Burke asks ex-officer Herrera’s help, and learns that he was forced to retire right after requesting for a search warrant on the judge’s chambers.

As expected, the courier arrives in front of the judge’s office at eight in the morning. Moz wastes no time to confront the driver with a bogus rant about a sensitive package the driver had handed to his mother instead of him. Neal Caffrey dressed as a courier picks up the package from the judge’s secretary who gives him strict orders that he is to personally hand the package to Agent Fowler, and that nobody but him could sign for it. Just as planned, Neal rubs the magnet on the package to erase its contents, and changes out of the courier uniform. Moz finishes his rant, and lets the courier go so the man could retrieve the package from Neal. The driver leaves with the package, and the judge arrives unaware of what had just transpired. Neal, still inside the federal building, receives a call from Peter, and learns that Officer Herrera believes that the judge keeps the money from the mortgage fraud scam in her chambers. Neal breaks into the judge’s chambers, but only to make it look like someone had broken into her office looking for the money. Alarmed, the judge plans to move the money the very next day from her office to a deposit box at Certified National.

Agent Fowler with a grin on his face arrives at FBI Director Hughes’ office to show him, and Agent Burke, the tape with damning evidence that would put Agent Burke in prison. Agent Fowler plays the tape, and is surprised to find that its contents have been erased. He later learns from Neal that it was his wife who saved him from trouble, and also discovers that the judge is moving the money to a bank. Unfortunately, because Neal’s information was illegally obtained, the FBI has no probable cause for a search and seizure operation. However, Agent Burke has an idea. Knowing that Agent Fowler has been tapping his phone, Agent Burke gives Neal a call asking for help with the judge’s payout. According to Peter, the judge has threatened to send the real tape to Fowler if he refuses to pay her. Peter needs Neal to make the drop at Certified National Bank. Agent Fowler wastes no time, and confronts Judge Clark in front of the bank, demanding the tape. He grabs the judge’s briefcase, but finds cash, and no sight of the tape. Immediately, he realizes that he has been set up, and soon after the FBI arrives. Agent Peter Burke informs him that he is assisting him with the arrest of Judge Michelle Clark whom he knows to be in his payroll. With Fowler’s forged signature on a search warrant, and no explanation for FBI Director Hughes as to why he is with the judge holding her briefcase, Agent Fowler has no other choice, but to arrest Judge Clark. The judge pleads guilty to mortgage fraud, but uses her extensive knowledge of the justice system to get herself a reduced sentence.

Having solved the case, the Sullivans regain their home, and so does the Burkes for Moz has finally finished clearing their house of bugs. Agent Burke returns the favor to Neal who was essential in destroying the evidence that would have put him in prison. Peter tells Neal that Kate wants him to see Robert. Robert is Kate’s late father. Neal with Peter arrives at the cemetery where Kate’s father is buried, and is surprised to find Moz there too. Moz tries to convince Neal to give up searching for Kate, but continues to refuse to do so. Neal finds fresh flowers by Robert Moreau’s grave, and in it an origami that he quickly hides in his pocket, but not quick enough that Moz sees him pocket it.

Watch the White Collar episode Bad Judgment
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