White Collar

Season 1 Episode 14

Out of the Box

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Mar 09, 2010 on USA

Episode Recap

During an office meeting Neal's cell phone beeps, and he asks to be excused for June's champagne brunch which he totally forgot about. He meets with Alex and says, "I got your message. I was wondering when you were going to call."

Alex had told Neal earlier that the music box is right there in Manhattan. Now she reveals it's in the Italian consulate, stored in a private safe by the consul general. The consulate is hosting a party the following week, presenting their chance to get inside. The Nazis stole the box from the Russians, so the consul shouldn't have it in the first place. Therefore, he won't say anything when it's stolen from him.

Mozzie is totally unenthusiastic about breaking into a consulate. To keep Neal from going after the box without her, Alex hasn't told him which safe it's in. Besides, any plan they come up with requires Neal to lose his tracking anklet. Neal realizes that Peter's not the only person who can do that. Even if they succeed in getting the box, Mozzie is still skeptical about a happy reunion with Kate. "Neal, happily ever after isn't for guys like us." Neal replies, "It is this time. It is."

Neal calls Fowler's office and gives the aide who answers a message: "Tell him I've got information on the music box he requested. He knows [who I am]. He can meet me at midnight tomorrow. He'll know [where], too."

Peter studies a map of Neal's tracking anklet data from the night before, which shows Neal apparently casing a parking garage. Peter realizes that Neal is going after the music box.

Fowler and his aide meet Neal at the garage. The aide confirms that Neal isn't wired, then leaves them to talk. Neal says he's close to the music box, but he has only a week to get it and needs his anklet off now. Fowler professes ignorance until Neal proposes a deal: "I give you the box, Kate and I never hear from you again. That's my price." For his aide's benefit Fowler replies, "You know, I don't give a damn what you do, Caffrey. Just don't make it my problem." Watching nearby from a parked car is Peter, who wonders what the hell Neal is doing.

Neal, Alex and Mozzie work out their plan. Their biggest challenge is getting through a security door and down a long hallway to the vault where the safes are. The only way through the door is to be buzzed in by a guard in the security room, and the hallway is covered by a closed-circuit camera. Once in the vault Neal can crack the safe, but he'll need some heavy-duty tools to do it.

Alex will enter the consulate as the date of a party guest who previously didn't have one. That morning the catering company received the resume of Mozzie, currently employed at The Greatest Cake Bakery. For his own entrance, Neal is planning a very generous donation to the people of Italy.

Peter shows up while they're all in Neal's apartment. Mozzie and Alex leave, and Peter reveals he knows Neal met with Fowler and plans to steal the music box. Peter expresses his disappointment, and Neal says that the better life Peter offered him isn't the life he wants. Peter urges Neal to do the right thing, and to face the fact that Kate isn't on his side.

Fowler's aide Maurice shows him surveillance photos of Peter at Neal's apartment, records of Peter pulling Neal's tracking data the night of their meeting, and a request to find out what Fowler is doing in New York. Maurice confirms that Jones and Lauren are being watched 24-7. After Maurice leaves, Fowler calls someone. "Mentor is moving forward, but we may have a problem. Agent Burke may try to interfere. Yes, sir. Yeah, I can -- I can take Burke out of play. As long as you remember our deal: I get the box, and this is over."

Neal is finishing his reproduction of a c Italian statue when Alex drops by his apartment. While she's there, the light on his tracking anklet goes off. Fowler came through.

Fowler and Maurice go to Elizabeth's office with a search warrant for contraband on the premises. Jones is telling Peter that he and Lauren are under surveillance, when Peter gets a frantic call from Elizabeth. Peter immediately gets to her office, and Fowler keeps goading them both until Peter loses his cool and hits Fowler in the face.

Peter is suspended for two weeks, and loses his badge and gun. He and a hysterical Elizabeth return home, where Neal joins them after Jones told him what happened. Neal tries to apologize; he never thought Fowler would go after Peter, let alone Elizabeth. Fowler took out Peter to keep him from stopping Neal, and Peter kicks himself for not suspecting a trap. Neal shows Peter his unlit anklet; Jones said the monitoring station shows Neal's at home. The two of them resolve to beat Fowler, who's now aiding Neal in illegal activity. For this Peter needs somebody with FBI access whom Fowler can't link to him, someone he can trust.

Agent Diana Barrigan, Peter's former probie who now works in Washington, DC, comes in response to Peter's call. He tells her what's happened and asks her to open an investigation into Fowler. The Italian consulate accepts Neal's gift of the statue and takes it into the vault. Neal observes that the outer door leading to the security door is opened by a keycard, both entering and exiting. In appreciation for his gift, he is invited to the party.

The catering company has hired Mozzie as an assistant server trainee. Mozzie does the honor of cutting Neal's anklet, and they drink a toast. "We feel free when we escape, even if it be but from the frying pan into the fire."

Diana shows Peter all the information she could find on Fowler, while she awaits a judge's authorization to get more. Peter needs to know how Fowler has been manipulating Neal's anklet. He could be doing it remotely, for which he'd need a secure Internet connection -- like from an OPR office. There's one in New York. Only someone with federal clearance and an appointment can get into that building.

It's party time at the Italian consulate. Mozzie is serving in the ballroom when Neal and Alex arrive. On Neal's signal Mozzie "accidentally" bumps into the consulate director, allowing Alex to pickpocket him. She gives Neal the keycard to the outer door, and tells him which safe the music box is in. Neal then calls out to the guests, making a toast to their hosts and announcing himself as an international art thief who's there to rob the place.

Neal is quickly hustled out as a drunk and taken through the security door to a room for questioning. In the ballroom Alex sets off smoke bombs, forcing everyone to evacuate. The director and his men lock Neal up and go to check on the disturbance. They don't see Mozzie slip through the outer door before it closes behind them. Neal escapes and runs down the hallway to the vault, while Mozzie fakes out the security camera with video showing an empty hall.

In the vault, Neal smashes his gift statue and breaks out the safecracking tools hidden inside. He cracks the safe and gets the music box. Just as he reaches the security door, Alex appears and asks to be let in. She hugs Neal to celebrate their success, lifting the keycard as she does. Mozzie hears the Italians coming and yells a warning, momentarily distracting Neal. Alex grabs the box and exits, leaving Neal unable to get back through the outer door. Before fleeing, she returns the keycard so Neal and Mozzie can escape.

The next day Alex comes to Neal's apartment with the box. She adds her voice to Peter's, saying that she hopes Kate is still the same girl Neal thinks she is. Alex came back because she doesn't want this to be goodbye in the event Kate's not. Besides, she doesn't need the person who's been after Neal coming after her too.

Fowler leaves the OPR building, and Diana goes for his office. Elsewhere, Fowler meets with Neal and shows him the new identities created for him and Kate under Operation Mentor. Neal hands over the music box; Fowler tells him when and where to meet Kate.

Diana is downloading files from Fowler's laptop onto a flash drive when Maurice walks by and sees her. She passes herself off as a technical support person, then exits seconds later. Maurice gets suspicious and returns to Fowler's office. The laptop screen reads "File download complete", and Maurice informs Fowler that Diana downloaded the entire Operation Mentor file.

Neal has said goodbye to June, and now he says goodbye to Mozzie. Elizabeth comes home to a large flower bouquet on the dining room table. The gift card says "Speed Dial #1", and a prepaid cell phone is in the bouquet. Neal answers and says he called in a favor from a friend at the Channing Museum. The friend will call Elizabeth today about hiring Burke Premiere Events to do the museum's annual Masters retrospective. That event is impossible to get, but Elizabeth has it now because Neal wanted to fix what he broke.

From the OPR parking garage Diana calls Peter, waiting outside, and tells him she has the Operation Mentor information. Neal's very much involved, and one file is heavily encrypted. Diana unexpectedly confronts Fowler, who eventually pulls a gun on her. Peter comes in when Diana doesn't come out, and argues with Fowler while Diana raises her hands in apparent surrender. Peter sees the gun in her side holster and grabs it, and Diana pulls a second weapon from her front holster.

Peter puts two shots into Fowler, who falls backward but is saved by his bulletproof vest. Fowler says that Operation Mentor is legitimate, and that Neal and Kate now work for OPR. Peter realizes Fowler is helping Neal disappear. Seeing the music box in Fowler's car, Peter threatens to send the Mentor information to Bureau headquarters unless Fowler tells him where Neal is now.

At an airstrip, Kate waves to Neal from the doorway of a waiting plane. Peter arrives and calls out to Neal; Kate sees him and moves back into the plane out of sight. Neal insists he's going. Pressed as to why he said goodbye to everyone but Peter, Neal admits that Peter is the only one who could change his mind. He continues toward the plane, then stops and turns to say something more to Peter.

Suddenly, a huge explosion knocks Neal to the ground. Peter runs to him as he gets to his feet, and both of them stare in horror at the plane which is now engulfed in flames.
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