Synopsis: Neal Caffrey’s rival, Matthew Keller, challenges him into creating a counterfeit bottle of wine that is impossible to forge. After linking Keller to a murder, Agent Burke agrees to help Caffrey with his plan convinced that it could put Keller in jail.
Episode Summary: Neal Caffrey receives a postcard in the mail from his anonymous chess opponent only this time it was hand-delivered. Moreover, all the postcards he received before were blank, but the most recent one he got has a picture of the Museum of Natural History in front. Neal plays the chess move written on the card and recognizes the game he is playing as the last one he had with Keller.
Troubled with learning of the identity of his mystery opponent, Neal begins researching about the burglaries that took place in the Museum of Natural History. Seeing that Caffrey showed up to work earlier than usual, Agent Burke becomes curious at what Caffrey is up to, and decides to look into his research. Intrigued with the young man’s sudden interest at a small-time museum heist that had been solved, and put to bed, Agent Burke wants to know what piqued Caffrey’s curiosity. On their way to see Manuel Campos, the thief who stole antique cork duck decoys, wax-sealed supply list, and French soil samples from the museum, Agent Burke and Caffrey become witnesses to Campos’ hit and run.
After hearing of Campos eventual passing, Agent Burke demands to know from Caffrey who is behind the murder of the small-time thief Manuel Campos. Caffrey informs him of Matthew Keller who Agent Burke makes out to be as Neal’s rival. Ostensibly, Caffrey met him at the Grand Casino in Monaco playing in the World Backgammon Finals. Keller has been linked to an array of crimes from arms smuggling to stolen antiquities, but has never been caught. Caffrey supposes that Keller posted Campos’ bail with the sole purpose of murdering him. Moreover, the items stolen from the museum are essential ingredients in creating a counterfeit bottle of Chateau du Munn owned by Benjamin Franklin that he received from Marie Antoinette. The forgery is a bet he and Keller made years ago mainly because the bottle cannot be counterfeited.
Agent Burke interviews Sir Roland Cattigan of the Weatherby auction house in the hopes of finding the identity of the seller who claims to have in his possession the Franklin bottle. The man is insulted when Agent Burke informs him that the bottle he is to auction is a forgery, and responds in kind belittling the agent’s unrefined palate. Threatening to shut his business down with a warrant that would consequently raise suspicions to the authenticity of the item being auctioned, Sir Cattigan confesses not to know the identity of the seller, but divulges the name of the broker from whom they procured the bottle.
Agent Burke wants to ask Grace Quinn, the broker who mediates between Keller and the auction house, questions. The woman also happens to run an upscale wine cellar. Neal Caffrey dissuades Agent Burke from interviewing the woman, and suggests that he go undercover instead to avoid tipping off Keller. Caffrey poses as a representative of a client interested in the bottle. With his wine expertise, it took no time for Neal to get an invite to a private wine tasting. Moreover, he manages to get a tour of the facilities, which includes the wine vault. Caffrey pretends to unwittingly set off the vault’s alarm to which Ms. Quinn quickly turns off with a quick punch of her code that also requires her thumbprint. To reassure Caffrey of the security they have in the premises, Ms. Quinn is quick to note that the code is changed everyday. However, some compromises were made to protect their client’s anonymity hence the absence of surveillance cameras.
Grace Quinn keeps a close eye on Neal Caffrey as he surveys the wine collection. He goes straight to the bottle of Chateau du Munn, and tries to trick Ms. Quinn into divulging the identity of the collector. She, however, informs Caffrey that the collector is not the one auctioning off the bottle. Then again, Caffrey notices Ms. Quinn glance at one of the wine cases much to her annoyance. He informs her to knowing that she is the broker of the much-coveted Franklin bottle, and reveals his intention of wanting to meet the seller. Caffrey’s eye for detail spots a postcard sticking out of a book. The postcard acted as a bookmark to a page that told the story of The Kings Crown, a tavern once frequented by George Washington, but now buried under Water Street. Written on the postcard is a time of day, “8PM” it reads.
Neal Caffrey is at a construction site at Water Street when he receives a call from Agent Burke informing him that Matthew Keller owes the Russian mob money, which could explain why he is running a scam involving the Benjamin Franklin bottle. During their phone conversation, Caffrey sees Keller at the construction site, but says nothing to Agent Burke. Keller pushes Caffrey’s buttons when he insinuates that Kate was seeing him when he was in prison causing Caffrey to approach the man. Unfortunately, Keller is standing beyond the radius Caffrey’s tracking anklet permits that it starts to beep. Keller soon reveals the reason for their meeting. He challenges Caffrey into creating a counterfeit bottle of Chateau du Munn, and even gives his opponent a bottle that he could use as a starting point.
Neal Caffrey goes to Mozzie for help, and immediately senses that the challenge is not just about the bottle for it is truly about Kate. Caffrey and Keller had always been fighting for Kate even though the young woman had never shown any interest in Keller. Nevertheless, Mozzie agrees to help Caffrey. In a surprising move for Caffrey, he informs Agent Burke about his rendezvous with Keller. Naturally, Agent Burke is annoyed with Caffrey not clearing his meeting with him, but what is done is done. At any case, Agent Burke updates Caffrey with news of Keller submitting his forgery to the Weatherby auction house. Aside from the bottle being a counterfeit, it is also proof of Keller murdering Manuel Campos. Regrettably, the only evidence that would make their case is locked in a vault.
Neal Caffrey suggests that they submit a counterfeit Franklin bottle in order to raise suspicion given that there is only one Franklin bottle in existence. With two submissions, Sir Cattigan will have to test both bottles to determine their authenticity. Caffrey is confident that both bottles will pass the usual tests, which will force the auction house to run a more complicated and expensive test to determine the age of the wine inside the bottle without opening it. In order for the bottle to be authentic, it needs to be absent of Cesium for it did not exist before the atomic bomb exploded, which occurred after the Franklin bottle was made. One may fill the bottle with wine that pre-dates the atomic bomb explosion, but the oxygen content would give it away hence the Franklin bottle cannot be forged. With both bottles failing the test, Keller will be exposed as a fraud.
Mozzie is hard at work at making the counterfeit bottle, but is missing a critical ingredient. Neal remembers seeing a few Chateau Du Munn bottles at Grace Quinn’s vault, which should provide them the 18th century beeswax from the Chateau Du Munn vineyard that should complete the forgery. With very tight security guarding Quinn’s vault, the only way inside is for Ms. Quinn herself to open the vault. Caffrey asks Agent Burke to pose as his client, Carlton Leed. With a bit of urging, Agent Burke agrees to Caffrey’s plan in order to get a few wax shavings that could help put a murderer in jail.
Neal Caffrey and Peter Burke attend the wine tasting, and the down-to-earth Burke surprises Caffrey with an excellent critique of a 1985 Chateau Petrus Pomerol. With his discerning palate validated, Grace Quinn is more than happy to show Agent Burke posing as Carlton Leed the vault. Caffrey stays behind, while Burke and Quinn enter the vault. After they have left, Caffrey enters the vault himself thanks to Burke’s sticking a tape to the door to prevent it from locking. Caffrey is still in the vault getting a few wax shavings when Burke sees Quinn leading another client to the vault. Burke distracts Quinn with a question, and is surprised to learn that the man she is with is Keller. Both men recognize each other. Keller sends Quinn away, while the two give each other empty threats with Keller intimidating Burke with calling security knowing that Caffrey is in the vault, and Burke threatening to arrest him for murder. Caffrey steps out of the vault to put an end to Keller’s threat.
FBI Director Hughes informs Agent Burke that the Weatherby auction house is no longer accepting any entries, throwing a wrench to the plan. Agent Burke arrives with the bad news just as Neal and Mozzie are about to complete the forgery. It took very little convincing to let Agent Burke have them carry on with their plan. Agent Burke and Caffrey arrive at Weatherbys with their counterfeit bottle. The FBI agent blackmails Sir Cattigan into admitting their bottle into the auction with information of him selling six magnums of 1947 Chateau La Fleur when only five were produced that year. Sir Cattigan continues to refuse to test both bottles arguing that it will take too long, but Grace Quinn intervenes stating that her client welcomes the challenge. While Weatherbys conducts their test, the FBI runs the IP addresses of those watching the Internet feed of the auction, and finds that one of the clients is watching from a parking garage. Agent Burke sends the cavalry to all locations, but focuses on the one at the parking garage.
At last, the tests are completed. Agent Burke and Caffrey were flabbergasted upon hearing Sir Cattigan validate the authenticity of Keller’s Franklin bottle. Matthew Keller had Benjamin Franklin’s Chateau du Munn all along. With all the controversy that surrounded the auction house for having to run an expensive test to authenticate the bottle, the value of Keller’s item reaches new heights, which is the sole reason to the whole affair. By driving up the price of his bottle, Matthew Keller now has more than enough money to pay his debt to the Russian mob.
With nothing to connect him to the murder of Manuel Campos, Caffrey suggests that they arrest him for trespassing at a construction site just to keep him from leaving the country. Meanwhile, Caffrey stalls the bidding to keep Keller from getting enough money to pay off the mob, while Mozzie gathers information about Keller’s debt. Mozzie arrives at the auction house with information. According to his sources, the Russians are anxious about getting their money from Keller, and they want him to pay them back as soon as the auction is over. Meanwhile, Agent Burke and his team finds Keller’s car, but he is nowhere in sight. Agent Burke updates Caffrey with news of Keller’s escape giving Caffrey an idea. He urges Mozzie to bid a million dollars on the bottle, and fearfully does so. Caffrey receives word from the FBI of Keller’s route, and using Mozzie’s information of whom Keller is meeting identifies his destination.
Neal Caffrey meets Matthew Keller at a helipad where the Russian mob awaits, and offers him an opportunity to confess to his crimes. Keller sees this as a desperate attempt from Caffrey to catch him. Keller was unable to watch the auction due to his escape from the FBI. He is, therefore, unaware that the person who won the bid was Mozzie. Imagine his surprise when Caffrey informs him that he is the person who won the bid. Moreover, the FBI is launching a full investigation on the bottle, which means it could take years before Matthew Keller gets a penny from the auction if he even gets any. Keller has two options, face the Russian mob empty-handed or turn himself to the FBI.
With Matthew Keller out of the picture, Neal Caffrey has one less thing to worry about. However, Mozzie informs him that there has been buzz about the music box, and that Alex Hunter has the information he needs.
Watch the White Collar episode Bottlenecked [HD]
Previous White Collar Episode Summary: Home Invasion
Next White Collar Episode Summary: Frontman
More White Collar Episode Summaries
- Downton Abbey
- House of Cards
- Mad Men
- McLeod's Daughters
- Mr. Selfridge
- Orphan Black
- Pushing Daisies
- Remington Steele
- The Tudors
- Three's Company
- White Collar
- Wild Card
- Canceled TV Show
- TV Show Trivia
- TV Show News
- TV Quotes
- Watch Full Episodes