White Collar

Season 3 Episode 11

Checkmate

4
Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Jan 17, 2012 on USA

Episode Recap

Picking up immediately from the end of last season, Peter has just discovered that Elizabeth has been kidnapped. He stares accusingly at Neal, while Jones and Diana quickly assure him that the maximum surveillance and checkpoints have been put in place. "Do we know what Keller wants?" Jones asks. Grimly, Peter pulls Neal outside and explodes. Slamming Neal against the wall, he grits his teeth and demands to know where the treasure is. Neal tells him that he didn't steal it, but Peter insists that Neal knows where it is, and that Elizabeth's kidnapper, Keller, wants it. "And you are going to give it to him, so I can get my wife back!" "Whatever you need," Neal agrees anxiously. Keller calls Peter, and tells him not to put the FBI on the phone call. "I AM the FBI," Peter snarls. "No, you're just a guy who wants his wife back," Keller tells him. Peter demands to talk to Elizabeth. She comes on the phone and assures Peter that she hasn't been harmed. Peter's voice breaks while he talks to her, and Neal turns away from the display of raw emotion. As they talk, Elizabeth tells Peter to check their dog. "You know how he is when he hasn't eaten." Peter, intent, assures her that he will, and Keller interrupts to tell him he has twelve hours to produce the treasure. He turns to Neal. "What did she say?" Neal asks. "She could have said anything . . . but she asked me about Satchmo (the dog)," Peter says, puzzled. He goes back into the house, and examines the dog. He finds blood on the dog's muzzle. "I love my wife!" he exclaims fervently, and calls Jones over to take a DNA sample from the kidnapper that Satchmo bit. Jones adds that he will also put a bulletin out asking medical personal to be on the lookout for people with dog bites. Peter turns to Neal and demands to be taken to the treasure.

They arrive at the warehouse, and Peter is taken aback: it's a building he passes to and from work every day. As Neal punches in the coded lock, Neal reminds Peter that he didn't ask for the treasure. "You could have walked away!" declares Peter. "You're right, I could," Neal reminds him. "I didn't. I should be paying for it, not Elizabeth." "You're going to pay for it, right now," Peter says grimly. They enter the darkened warehouse. Neal turns on the lights . . . and nothing. The warehouse is completely empty, to Neal's shock. In panic, he blurts out that "He already moved it!" Peter guesses Mozzie, and demands that Neal call him, but Neal tells him that he and Mozzie had a falling out and Mozzie isn't returning his calls. "I didn't think he'd move it this fast," Neal says, still stunned. Peter asks where he took it, but Neal doesn't know. Peter looks at him skeptically, but Neal tells him earnestly "No lie. It's Elizabeth. I don't know." Peter curses in frustration, the twelve-hour limit crushing down on him, but Neal assures him that they will find Elizabeth. But first they have to find Mozzie.

Early the next morning, Peter and Neal compare notes. Mozzie has gone to ground – no emails, no phones, no sign of him at his safe houses, which leads Neal to guess that Mozzie has left New York. Tiredly, Peter collapses in a chair, and asks what Neal and Mozzie were fighting about. "Mozzie wanted to leave New York. I didn't." Peter looks at him questioningly: "Why not?" "You," Neal tells him simply. "Elizabeth. Sarah. You at that window. Stepping off the elevator on Monday morning. All of it," he says, trying to explain. "I have a life here." Peter asks about Mozzie, and Neal tells him that even though Mozzie wouldn't admit it, this was home. Peter tells him that Mozzie hasn't used any of his aliases to try to leave New York. Neal believes that he may still be in New York, thinking it over. "He wants seclusion," Neal thinks out loud, and suddenly remembers something . . . .

Neal walks to the edge of a dock. An older man approaches him and asks if he can help him, and Neal asks for Estelle. The man comments that it's a strange place to be looking for a woman. Neal tells him knowingly that he knows he's not looking for a woman, and asks for Mozzie. The man looks Neal up and down. "Blue eyes, tailored suit . . . Mozzie said that if you were to come around, I was to send you away." He turns aside, but Neal tells him the story about a homing pigeon that saved a battalion in World War I and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He tells the man that Mozzie's dear friend needs him now – he doesn't know it, but another life needs to be saved. The man studies him for a moment, and then turns toward a small coop and withdraws a pigeon. "Hey, Estelle," Neal coos, gently stroking the bird, "it's been a long time." He attaches a note to the pigeon's leg. "Mozzie always said you were the best homer in the city," Neal tells the bird, and gently releases her.

Jones and Diana bring Peter an early morning cup of coffee and the DNA results. The blood didn't belong to Keller, but to a Leonard Grant, man with a long rap sheet. As Jones leaves to follow up on Grant, Diana asks Peter what she can do to help. Peter tells her that he trusts her and Jones to spearhead the investigation. "What about Caffrey?" she asks pointedly. Peter is silent, and Diana guesses that Neal has the treasure, Keller wants it, and that Peter and Neal are working an angle. "The less you know, the better," Peter tells her, but thanks her.

Far out in a forest, Mozzie has been camping in a VW van. As he is shaving using the rear-view mirror, Estelle arrives. Extracting the message, Mozzie reads it thoughtfully.

Keller comes to visit Elizabeth, who asks him not to hurt her, because she's sure they will give him whatever he wants. "He better – I've got a lot of debts to pay, especially to the Russians, and this will take care of it all, in one fell swoop." Elizabeth tells Keller that she hopes he does get the treasure, bitter that Neal betrayed Peter. "Wow, you're good," he tells her admiringly. He notes that she is using his name – everything from the FBI playbook for kidnap victims – but points out that Peter already knows who he is. "That's true," says Elizabeth, all pretense at being downcast set aside. "And they he and Neal are going to kick your ass." Keller demonstrates to Elizabeth that the room is very secure – shatterproof window, high-security lock, and he brings in Grant to watch her personally. Grant complains to Keller that his hand (that Satchmo bit) is starting to hurt, but Keller dismisses it as a scratch.

In Peter's office, they discuss what they should do if they don't hear from Mozzie. Neal suggests turning it over to the FBI, but Peter refuses, saying that they won't negotiate with kidnappers, and he'd rather they concentrate on finding Elizabeth. As they fall quiet, thinking, Neal looks up: Mozzie has entered the office.

Mozzie's first words are to tell Peter how sorry he is. "Do you have the treasure?" Peter asks. "Yes," confirms Mozzie, but warns Peter that once Keller has the treasure, he has no reason to keep Elizabeth alive. Peter is upset – they are running out time, and the only way to keep Elizabeth safe is for the FBI to find her. "We need to buy more time," he declares, but Mozzie points out that Keller is smart enough to detect a stall. Angrily, Peter retorts, "We've been playing by Keller's rules – let's try changing the game."

Back at the apartment, Neal offers Mozzie a glass of wine, commenting that he thought he'd be on a beach sipping mai-tai's somewhere. Mozzie admits that he needed to think, and feels guilty because he was the one that stole the treasure in the first place. Peter corrects him: "Keller is the one that kidnapped Elizabeth – remember that," he says briskly, adding that they have a lead. He asks Mozzie where the treasure is, and Mozzie tells him, evasively, that it is "in a secure facility that I set up with some associates." They decide they are going to have to show Keller the treasure, and tell Mozzie that they need a well-timed call to the police and a criminal they have no ties to that Mozzie wouldn't mind ratting out. Mozzie grins: "I know just the rat."

Mozzie meets up with a portly man named Rufus and his bodyguard, who is surprised to hear from Mozzie "after what happened in Atlanta." Mozzie tells him that he has a two-man job that needs to be done today. "I need someone who can crack the best security." The man asks what the job is, but Mozzie is evasive: "It's a benefactor-specified target," he tells him, showing him an envelope and explaining that he just received the details and he hasn't even had a chance to look them over yet. Rufus is skeptical, but Mozzie tells him that it will be a lucrative job. Rufus steals the envelope and walks away, commenting that now he doesn't even have to share the take.

Elizabeth sees the Grant staring in concern at the dogbite. She asks how he's feeling, and he dismisses it as just a scratch. Concerned, she asks him if he has a fever or is sweating. He says not, but why? She suggests that blood poisoning could cause a fever. Meanwhile, she is surreptitiously raising the temperature on the thermostat to over 80 degrees.

Mozzie, Neal and Peter meet Keller at an abandoned warehouse. Keller tells them that Elizabeth will be safe as long as he calls in every half hour, and checks to make sure Neal isn't wearing his ankle GPS. As they make their way to the shipping containers holding the treasure, Keller snidely asks Neal if it had been hard, lying to his friends all this time. "You've always been good at lying to people close to you," he jeers, and Peter tells him to stop. Keller pries open one of the treasure boxes, uncovering something that Peter tells him Napoleon brought back from one of his Egyptian campaigns. Keller chortles over stealing the treasure back from Neal, and suddenly they hear police sirens. Keller threatens Peter that he can't make the phone call that keeps Elizabeth alive if his hands are in handcuffs, but Peter protests that he's not responsible for the police. "We can't get caught here," Neal says quickly, "Let's go." They hurry off behind the crates as the police enter, loudly identifying themselves. Meanwhile, the police find Rufus and his bodyguard in another container, with a printing press and counterfeit $20 bills, both loudly protesting that they have no idea what is going on, and another policeman suggests examining the other containers.

From a distance, they watch as the police set up a secure perimeter. "You guys did this," Keller accuses them. "You think I would play games with my wife's life?" Peter asks him incredulously. "This wasn't us," Neal agrees, looking dumbfounded at the police action. Keller is skeptical that it is some random chance action. Peter tells him that he has the treasure, and to release Elizabeth. Keller points out that he doesn't actually have the treasure. Peter points out that it's going to take time for them to get the warrants to open the other containers. "That should give you some time." "Time to do what?" Keller asks him. "What you do best – steal it," Peter suggests. Keller agrees, as long as the four of them do it together. Peter protests that he's an FBI agent, but Keller doesn't care. "Boys – we're going to steal back your stolen treasure!" The three of them exchange a cautious look.

Back at Neal's apartment, Keller is disgruntled that Neal has no beer. "Caffrey, you're a terrible host," he chides him. "That's because I don't want you here in the first place," Neal tells him. Mozzie is studying a drawing of the warehouse and the containers, and working out the police schedules, they make plans to drive a truck in just after a shift change. Peter asks Keller how he's going to get past the police, and Keller grins when he says, "with a bullet in each head." Peter is adamant – no killing, and, as a matter of fact, no guns. Keller agrees, noting that they had already tried to kill him once, already. "Is there anyone in this room you haven't tried to kill?" Mozzie asks with irony. "You – yet," sneers Keller. Peter points out that the FBI has received a request for container trucks, so they will use that when they go to the warehouse. Keller points out that they won't leave them unsupervised. "But they will leave an apparently empty truck unmolested," Neal reminds him. Keller thinks for a moment. "Ah, Barcelona, 2001—that's what you're thinking, huh?" "It was Madrid," Neal corrects him, "but, yeah." Neal suggests that Keller and Mozzie drive the truck in, and that Neal and Peter move the treasure, but Keller refuses, saying that he and Neal will remove the treasure and get away. "Just like old times," he tells Neal.

As Keller and Neal work on an adjustment to the truck, Keller asks Neal why he didn't run. "You see what I have here," Neal tells him, but Keller is unimpressed. "There's a reason why our kind doesn't stay in one place too long, Caffrey – it's in our nature to deceive," Keller explains. Neal asks Keller how life on the run has been. Keller admits it's been stressful, but with the treasure, he can pay off the Russians and disappear. "You're going to wish you never had it," predicts Neal, "All it brings is trouble." Keller asks him if he thinks the treasure is cursed, and Neal reminds him of what has happened to everyone who has gone after it.

Peter and Mozzie have obtained a truck and uniforms from the National Guard, but Peter tells Neal worriedly that the FBI is getting closer, but hasn't found Elizabeth yet. They may have to go through with the break-in to buy time.

Back at the office, Jones has noticed on the police report that some cherry blossom pollen was found in a footprint, pollen belonging to a cherry tree that is only in part of Manhattan. Jones and Diana organize a detailed search of the area around the cherry tree. Meanwhile, back where Elizabeth is imprisoned, the temperature in the room has reached 85 degrees, and Grant is sweating profusely. Elizabeth pretends to be chilly, huddled on the sofa with her arms crossed tightly. Quietly, she tests her diamond engagement ring on the coffee table. It leaves a small scratch. She persuades Grant to go to a nearby pharmacy for an antibiotic. As soon he leaves, she leaps up and goes to the window, and begins to etch the shatterproof glass with her diamond.

As Peter and Mozzie head toward the warehouse in the truck, Mozzie comments that as a con, he learned that the first rule of survival is to look out for yourself. "Why are you here?" asks Peter. "Surviving is overrated," quips Mozzie, "and I find myself reminded that the unshared life is not living." "So, you're saying you care?" Peter asks him. "I care about Mrs. Suit," Mozzie tells him, ". . . and . . . ." He trails off, but Peter has heard what Mozzie didn't say aloud, and smiles. In the back of the truck, Keller is remembering the old days with Neal. Keller is laughing, remembering a time that Neal got caught in bed with a princess. "I didn't get caught in bed with her," objects Neal, "you found me on the ledge outside her window!" Keller laughs. "I remember seeing you standing there, with nothing but a solid gold tray covering your genitals," reminding Neal that he stopped the others from shooting at him. "You had my back, then," Neal agrees, "what happened to you?" "The same thing as you, Neal," sighs Keller.

The truck arrives at the warehouse, but the police won't let them through. They show him the orders, but he won't accept them unless they come through proper channels. Pretending exasperation, Peter jumps out of the truck and thrusts the plans under the policeman's nose, telling him that the truck is his responsibility, now, and he should park it where indicated – by Container 10 on the plans. "What if I don't?" blusters the policeman. Peter and Mozzie exchange a look and start laughing. "it's your ass, not ours," declares Peter, strolling away. Keller and Neal listen tensely from the hidden partition in the truck. As Peter and Mozzie walk away, Mozzie asks anxiously what happens if they don't drive it in. "They will," says Peter confidently. Sure enough, they hear the truck starting up and moving in. "Nicely played, Suit!" says Mozzie admiringly.

Neal and Keller emerge cautiously from their hiding place, but are dismayed to find that the watch schedules have been changed and the areas is teeming with policemen.

Peter checks in with Diana and Jones, who assure them they have the area being closely covered. Jones tells Peter that whatever happened at the warehouse, it got the 22nd precinct stirred up enough to order double-shifts. Peter is dismayed, realizing that Neal and Keller are trapped, and urges Jones to hurry. But Neal quickly comes up with a plan, steals a couple of discarded police department jackets, and walks up to the police, asking for help to load container 10. The police are reluctant, but Neal waves the key and says, "If it wasn't true, would I have the key?" The policeman agrees, and enlists the help of the watch to load the treasure onto the truck, but at the last moment, asks to see the warrant. Keller says he'll get it to him later, but the sergeant insists. Keller leads him behind the container, planning to garrote him, but Neal walks up on a cell phone, interrupts and tells the sergeant it's the D.A.'s office on the phone – it's Peter. "What part of 'no killing' do you not understand?" hisses Neal, and Keller protests that the plan is falling apart. Peter convinces the sergeant to allow them to load the container.

Diana calls Peter and says that Grant's credit card got hit at a pharmacy three blocks away – alcohol, antibacterial and bandages.

As they finish loading the truck, the sergeant tells them goodbye. Neal circles around the truck, checking the ties, and as he turns to Keller, Keller viciously hits him over the head.

Elizabeth has finished etching a large "X" into the window, hoping to weaken it. "Thanks, hon," she whispers, kissing her ring before putting it back on. Taking the chair, she begins bang it on the window. After several times, she is successful, and the window breaks. She jumps down the fire escape, but unfortunately, Grant is waiting at the bottom and grabs her, muffling her mouth with his sore hand. She bits it, and exclaiming, he pushes her away, and draws a gun on her. She hears a gunshot, but is surprised when Grant drops to the ground – Diana and Jones have turned the corner and witnessed the struggle.

Peter is worried – he can't get Neal to answer the phone. His phone rings – it's Elizabeth. Peter is relieved, but worried why Neal isn't communicating. Elizabeth tells him that Diana and Jones are taking her home, and to go find Neal. "El . . . ?" he asks, torn between being with her and finding Neal. "Go – and then come back to me," she urges him. Mozzie has already mapped out escape routes, and Peter calls in FBI help to cover the routes.

Neal wakes up, woozy, in the hidden compartment, trapped by a crate. He eases it away, and then begins to kick the treasures out of the truck, causing Keller to stop, retrieve a hidden gun, and peer into the back. "Caffrey – I know you're back there," he says, shooting into the dark interior. Neal has grabbed a gladiator's shield, and, leaping out, he deflects the gunshot and knocks the gun to the ground. Keller grabs the Egyptian staff, and they face off. They brawl, and suddenly, Keller picks up a painting to use it as a weapon. "Not a Rafael," objects Neal, shaking his head in disbelief. "You wouldn't!" Keller takes the painting and smashe Neal over the head with it, knocking him to the ground. Groaning, Neal, bloodied and stunned, tries to sit up, but Keller grabs the staff and tells him, "First rule of a fight: always go for the weak spot." He strikes Neal, who falls still. Raising the staff again, he is tackled by Peter. Peter tells him that he doesn't have Elizabeth anymore, but Keller thinks he is bluffing, and when Peter gives him the address, Keller shrugs. "Ok, so I'll get her again . . . and again, and again . . ." he taunts Peter, setting off a fury of kicks and punches. Keller retrieves a small antique dagger and attacks Peter with it, but Neal recovers and, reaching the discarded gun, chooses just the right moment to shoot Keller in the leg, disabling him and ending the fight. Neal confirms that Elizabeth is safe, and Peter asks him how he made that shot. Neal glances at Peter's pants, and Peter, following his gaze, sees with consternation a small tear where he was grazed by the same bullet.

Peter arrives back at his house, which is filled with agents. He and Elizabeth embrace in the middle of the room, heedless of the onlookers. Mozzie asks Neal what happens next, and Neal tells him that Keller has to go away forever, and to make that happen, Neal's going to have to make a full confession. "That means prison . . . a lot of it," observes Mozzie. "I know," sighs Neal. He tells Mozzie, "I'll turn myself in tomorrow morning – that should give you a twelve-hour head start." Mozzie is thoughtful, and Neal reminds him, "The treasure is gone – think you can survive without it?" Mozzie sniffs. "I always have a contingency plan," he reminds Neal. Neal looks at Peter and Elizabeth. "If you want a happy ending, it depends on where you stop the story," he tells Mozzie. "I think our story stops here." "And ends . . . well," agrees Mozzie. He turns to Neal. "'Til the next chapter," he tells him in farewell. "'Til the next chapter," Neal agrees, smiling faintly.

Neal enters the office the next morning, longingly taking a last look around. Jones and Diana nod at him silently as he makes his way to Peter, sitting sternly in the conference room. He asks about Elizabeth, who is fine. "I know what I've done," he tells Peter with a deep breath, "and I know what I need to do to take Keller down. I'm ready to make a full confession." "You know what that will mean?" Peter asks him. "I do," Neal nods firmly. "Are you sure? You're willing to give up everything?" "Yeah," says Neal softly. Peter hides a small smile. "I'm glad to hear you say that," he tells Neal, "But before you go any further, I want to show you something." Neal begs him to let him get it over with, but Peter shows him a video of Keller's interrogation, where he confesses to stealing it from Adler, proclaiming that it is priceless artwork that belongs to the people of Russia. "I and I alone am responsible," he declares, with a sly grin into the camera. Neal watches, stunned. "He took credit for it," he says woodenly. "Why?" Peter tells him that Keller agreed to a full confession, as long as it was in front of the Russian authorities. Since the treasure was stolen from Russian museums, Keller is a hero for returning it to the Motherland. "The Russian mob wanted him dead!" realizes Neal, and Peter agrees, adding, "And now, they're helping pay for his legal defense!" "That son-of-a-bitch!" Neal exclaims admiringly. Peter points out that, as far as anyone else is concerned, Keller is the one that recovered the treasure of a lifetime – not Neal and not Mozzie. "Does that bother you?" Peter asks him. Neal shakes his head ruefully. "No, it doesn't." "I know what you were prepared to do," Peter tells him, "and it means a lot, that you were willing to do it." "What happens now?" asks Neal, but they are interrupted by Diana, who has a letter that she insists that Peter needs to see. Peter scans it quickly as Neal looks on anxiously. He comes back to Neal, and with a strange look on his face, tells him that the letter is from the U.S. Probation Office who, in light of Neal's outstanding service and help in recovering the stolen treasure, will be holding a hearing to discuss the commutation of his sentence. "What does that mean?" Neal asks in confusion, not believing what he thinks he's hearing. "That means – no anklet. No nothing. In three months, you could be a free man!" Neal rocks back in astonishment.

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