I am not a professor of law, nor am I a policeman, nor even a celebrated gentleman detective. Don't come to me with your legal questions, is what I'm saying, because I don't know everything about the law! I DO know that things that are against the law aren't legal. You can't just go and do something totally illegal and be like, "I didn't break the law just now," because you'd be wrong. You did. Go to jail. White Collar is ostensibly a show about the FBI attempting to stop high-class criminals from always getting away with everything all the time. Except, for a show about fighting crime it sure does feature our heroes doing A LOT of crime-breaking. We're talking nonstop breaking and entering, theft, document forgeries, you name it. The main loophole White Collar uses to excuse our heroes' behavior is that Neal isn't technically in the FBI, so as long as his methods yield an arrest, everything's cool. But "Compromising Positions" basically presented a funhouse mirror version of this show that, while insanely entertaining, raised some troubling questions about the FBI's ethics. Questions, by the way, that need no answers, because who really cares? Peter and Sara had a FAKE AFFAIR! And Elizabeth choreographed it! Yeah, this episode was awesome.
Mythology-wise one important thing happened in this episode: We met Sam! During one of his jaunty crosstown walks/fashion-shows, Neal suddenly found himself tailed by a mysterious SUV and then quickly jumped aboard at the first opportunity. Sitting behind the wheel was none other than the secret informant whom Ellen had assured Neal he could trust. I don't know about you guys, but I thought we'd get a gender switcheroo and Sam would end up being some hot lady that Neal would shirtless-hug a ton, but nope. It was Treat Williams. He'd received Neal's secret email a few days earlier and took the meeting as an opportunity to boss Neal around all kinds. Apparently he too wanted to find Ellen's killer but did not yet trust Neal to do the job, particularly due to Neal's FBI associations (the creeps responsible for the murder were likely on the inside). They argued about this for a while and then and parted ways. Undercover bro drama.
The episode's primary case involved the trial of a known low-life owner of a high rise. The man's guilt came down to Peter giving expert testimony in response to the expert questioning of the District Attorney. Unfortunately the District Attorney became so rattled by a woman in the courtroom that he borderline LOST THE CASE right then and there. As it turned out, she was a woman he'd had a one-night stand with a week prior and turned out to be the defendant's girlfriend. So when she showed up in the courtroom with her wry smiles and bodacious cleavage, the D.A. had no choice but to blow the whole thing. It happens! That's the legal system for you.
As the FBI came to discover, the entire one-night-stand and ensuing courtroom flirtation were all arranged by an "Executive Consultant" by the name of Ms. Shepherd. She was a Jill-of-all-Trades type woman, a Miss Fix-It, if you will, a Lady MacGyver, a Blackmailin' Madame, a Tricky Vixen, a Crafty Patty, a Ruiner of Lives and Destroyer of Dreams. Basically she was some lady who could accomplish anything she set out to do, usually through extortion, blackmail, and wry put-downs. She was kind of amazing, in other words, and not least because her high-powered roster of clients included our beloved Sara! That's right, Sara's company regularly paid this woman to go break the law a bunch in order to secure their valuables. But since this evil genius was the only thing standing between a conviction of the low-life landlord and his getting off Scot-free (are Scots free?), the team set out to dismantle her working relationship with the guy.
Fortunately, because Sara <3s Neal and Peter SO MUCH, she totally agreed to help ensnare Shephard in her own web of deceit. After Sara "hired" Ms. Shepherd to blackmail Neal into returning some sexy photos of Sara, Ms. Shepherd revealed that she was WAY smarter than anyone thought and instead blackmailed Neal with the knowledge that Mozzie had been snooping around in some illegal places. (Mozzie had actually been helping Neal track down Sam's home address. A rubber baby was involved. Long story.) So Neal called off the sting and Peter got super mad at him. This would be the first of a number of conversations in which Peter objected to someone doing illegal things (in this case Mozzie) only to then explicitly condone illegal things so long as he didn't know the particulars.
So that's when a particularly sexy Plan B kicked into gear. Because the gang knew that Ms. Shepherd would rather quit than have anybody tell her how to do her job (GET IT GURL) they conspired to get her to quit working for the landlord low-life by arranging for her to have to possibly betray Sara, her favorite client. Shephard chose not to, of course, which displeased her other boss, which caused Ms. Shepherd to quit in protest. The plan worked! But I didn't even tell you the best part... The thing she was supposed to blackmail Sara over? Pictures of Sara and PETER getting it on. Because LOL. For real, the scene in which Neal and Peter pitched this idea to Elizabeth and Sara had to have been one of my favorite White Collar scenes in a long time. Obviously the ladies were SKEPTICAL of this idea, but even Elizabeth came to see the logic. And it all lead to the most awkward and tense photo shoot of all time? Elizabeth swilled champagne while Neal took photos of Peter and Sara awkwardly rubbing on each other, but then Elizabeth jumped into the fray and directed them to be more believable. Oh man, so strange. So good.
So anyway, while all these shenanigans were going on, the original trial was just about to finish up and things were NOT looking good for the FBI. In a sort of hail mary move, Peter and Neal decided that Ms. Shepherd was probably still in possession of the smoking-gun bit of evidence needed to put her former boss behind bars. So Peter happily turned a blind eye while Mozzie used tons of illegal tricks (all magical, of course, seeing as he was the product of a paradox and an enigma that shared a special hug 45 years ago) to trap Ms. Shepherd into turning over the contraband. She did, it was lodged as evidence at the very last minute, and a thrilled-to-be-testifying Neal provided the last bit of expert testimony needed to put the criminal away once and for all. Victories all around! (P.S. Speaking of victories, the judge was the same actress who played Bibi from The Apple! A select few of you know what I'm talking about: Amazing, right?)
But it wouldn't be White Collar without Peter having misgivings about Neal, so right at the end Ms. Shepherd even explicitly warned Peter that Neal was up to no good (Sam-related stuff) and that when Neal got caught, Peter would get dragged down with him. Old news, lady! We've been through this before! Anyway, at the very end Neal DID track down Sam once again and Sam reluctantly agreed to help Neal find Ellen's murderers. Because what kind of monster would refuse Neal a second time? Cut to: Peter staking out the meeting and snapping photos and generally looking super butt-hurt that Neal tracked down Sam in secret. Oh, get over it, Peter. FIFTEEN laws were broken to track Sam down, and you're not into law-breaking right? RIGHT? Haha right.
Good episode. No complaints here.
... Do you hope Ms. Shepherd will be a recurring character?
... Were you disappointed that Sam wasn't a foxy lady?
... Was the photo shoot super sexy or very awkward?
... Do you wish you had a power drill/USB drive in the shape of a baby?