The show opened with Agent Siegel asking Neal Caffrey where to live in New York, since he's recently divorced. He then tells him a secret: he's rich. Of course there's got to be intrigue with the new handler. Caffrey pointed him towards the lower West Side.
They transitioned to the office and Caffrey learned from Peter Burke, his former handler, that Curtis Hagen is now free due to the contaminated evidence (thanks Neal!) and as a result, Hagen is out. Of course, just as he was leaving Burke's office, Caffrey got a text from Hagen. What, Hagen couldn't wait five more minutes?
They met at a museum. It wasn't a social visit. Hagen told Caffrey that he was grateful he is free. Caffrey said that's he's done, but Hagen said that he controlled when it was over and, oh, he wanted him to steal something for him.
Hagen wasn't after the most valuable piece, a painting. Instead it was a book; or part of it, rather - one chapter out out of something called the Mosconi Codex, a book that cannot be opened and supposedly has the key to wealth. (Hagen could have just gone to the self-help section of any bookstore, duh.) Caffrey's got 48 hours. Of course, he started off by flirting with the curator, who was named Rebecca.
There was comic relief, with Mozzie wearing bad wigs to conceal himself. Yeah, this is a theme this season: the costume department must love this. They hatched a plan to get Siegel to take Caffreys' tracking anklet off by having him convince him that the museum is going to be robbed by someone named Zev (a person who Mozzie had grievances against) and Neal wanted to be on stakeout, sans ankle bracelet. Siegel bit and Burke first said he would join them, but Neal reminded him that he has a Yankee commitment. Crisis averted...for now.
Caffrey met Rebecca outside the museum and managed to secretly procure her work ID,which would allow him unfettered access to the museum. Siegel then drove up and set up the stakeout. While they were sitting in the car, Siegel admitted that he got his fortune from his grandfather's making elevator buttons. Exciting. Neal sent him off on a goose chase based on a wig that Mozzie was wearing and was then about to make a move to the museum, since he only had a 10-minute window, when Burke showed up. Oops. Neal got him to leave by playing the guilt card about how Burke was the one who dumped him onto Siegel. Burke got the message and took off. Neal hastily made his way to the museum.
Disaster almost struck when Siegel was closing in on Mozzie, but Zev, who apparently was more inept of a burglar than Mozzie let on, set off the alarm, causing all the gates to shut, but not before Caffrey was able to get the chapter out of the book and replace it with dummy text. Both Caffrey and Zev were trapped in their respective spots in the museum. Caffrey shorted out the gate, climbed under and left. Siegel caught up with him outside and it turned out Zev stole the painting. Burke saw the alert that painting was stolen and brought in Rebecca for questioning, since it was her ID used to get in. Which of course made Caffrey feel guilty, since he was the one who took the ID in the first place, and he hadn't told her that he worked for the FBI. Which made the meeting in the interrogation room rather awkward.
Neal had to admit that he was doing some reconnaissance (though he shifted it by saying he was just checking to see if it might be an inside job). He tried to divert attention away from her since she was really innocent. In an attempt to figure out the stolen painting, he met Burke at the museum, where they first saw the Codex being moved, since the mysterious owner was not feeling it was safe there. Someone was opening the book and Caffrey was sweating bullets that the fake pages would be seen, but in Plot Saver, the other curator berated the guy to leave it shut. Then, focusing on the painting, Caffrey was walking through what Zev might have done to escape when he realized that he took his gloves off to short-circuit the gate below. Oops. Of course, since no one actually knows the Codex had been tampered with, no one would dust downstairs, so Caffrey was safe.
Zev was arrested with Mozzie watching the takedown while wearing yet another horrible wig. Afterwards, he crossed Zev's name off a pad. Yeah, you don't want to be on Mozzie's bad side.
Siegel and Neal were talking and Siegel is about to ask him something that seemed important and illuminating when Burke walked in. Moment lost. Neal then met up with Mozzie. They agree to try to crack the code in the chapter before Hagen could. That's part of the fun of White Collar: those two friends putting their heads together.
Much as I like Mark Sheppard, he seems to have taken a similar role like Crowley on Supernatural. Both are supremely amoral and like to hold things over people's heads. Hagen is doing the same thing the King of Hell did to the Winchester Brothers. I'm sure that White Collar fans will be rooting for Hagen to wind up someplace really, really hot by the end of this season. Hagen took the chapter and basically taunted Caffrey about when the 'favors' would cease. The only thing missing was him disappearing in a puff of sulfuric-smelling smoke.
Oops. Siegel happened to be tracking Caffrey and saw him talking with Hagen. Ruh-roh.
The episode ended with Caffrey seeing Rebecca at the museum. She had been let go, even though the painting has been returned...and then a bombshell. Caffrey came back to office to find a somber Burke and found out Siegel is dead (poor Warren Kole...I was hoping he'd get a longer run), shot on the street in what was viewed as a mugging gone wrong. My first guess is that Hagen figured out Siegel saw him and Caffrey and had him capped. We shall see as the rest of the season progresses.