‘White Collar’ Recap: Deadly Renegotiations

Matt Bomer, White CollarUSA Network

Apparently Jeff Eastin, the show’s creator, decided his New Year’s Resolution was to really toss things into high gear with this episode. He succeeded.

The episode aired with Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) running in the park (all that was missing was the title music for Chariots of Fire in the background), ruminating on what had gone on with Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and his recent actions that, while keeping him out of jail, seriously crossed lines in terms of lawfulness in Burke’s eyes. He then got a call from the FBI Section Chief Bruce (Boris McGiver in a decidedly different role than the assassin Hersh on Person of Interest) who said that Washington was ready to hire Burke. It was a huge opportunity for the longtime FBI agent, but as Agent Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins) told him in the next scene, Caffrey was holding him back and Jones suggested that Caffrey should learn to take responsibility for his own actions. Of course, neither agent had a clue what was REALLY going on.

Caffrey and Mozzie (Willie Garson) went to meet Curtis Hagen (Mark Sheppard) at a public water fountain. Caffrey wanted to renegotiate, but Hagen had his own tactic – kidnapping Rebecca Lowe (Bridget Regan), Caffrey’s love interest. He proved it by showing a cell phone with a live stream of her sitting in a corner of a room, gagged. Caffrey was ready to drown the scuzzy forgerer, but held back after being warned that the lovely hostage would die. Caffrey had half an hour to meet at an address with the window.

In the past few episodes, Caffrey and Mozzie had been finding their friendship really strained, since Mozzie had kept warning his friend not to get emotionally entangled with Lowe. Yeah. Like Caffrey really listened to that. He proved that there was still solidarity when Caffrey said, “I’m on my own.” after Mozzie tried to get him to loop Burke in, Mozzie said softly, “No … we’re on our own.” which earned a grateful beam from Caffrey. They hatched a plan to try to plant a tracking device/bug on Hagen that would allow them to both listen and follow him wherever he went.

Burke met his wife Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) at the park and told her that he was taking the Washington job in two weeks. Burke still felt tortured at having to accept what Caffrey had done. He also showed her the card that the late Agent David Siegel (Warren Kole) had been carrying. He was meeting an art dealer about a possible forgery. He said he was not bringing Caffrey in on it.

Caffrey and Mozzie met Hage. Caffrey showed the window pane – that should have been it, but Hagen made them stay to solve the rest of the puzzle of the Mosconi code. He said that Mosconi was covering a big secret and showed them a mural he had restored. Caffrey took this as a cue to try to sidle up to Hagen and slip the bug in Hagen’s pocket. The Gods Of TV Writing had Burke call him right there, killing that chance. Caffrey said that he had to see the FBI agent so as not to arouse suspcicion. Before he left, he made Hagen call Lowe and he talked to her. Well, he talked at her, since she was gagged and couldn’t say anything more than “MMPH! MMMPH! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMPH!”

While Caffrey was with Burke trying to suss out wheter a painting was a forgery, Mozzie and Hagen were having a snark-off, with both actors leveraging their smarminess to the hilt. Hagen showed that he had the upper hand by revealing that he knew Mozzie’s real name of Teddy Winters. At the art dealer, Caffrey found that the painting was indeed a fake and that it had Hagen’s initials hidden on it. This set Burke on Hagen’s trail, which couldn’t happen. Caffrey decided to put the tracking device on Burke instead so that he could track him and know if and when he might be going after Hagen.

After hearing that Burke had pinpointed Hagen’s location to where they were currently (and also some damning things about his moral character), Caffrey turned the tables on his nemesis. After having Mozzie “Rain Man” the Mosconi Codex pages, he dumped them on the ground, poured gasoline on them and then after Hagen freed Lowe, set them on fire. While Hagen spluttered, the two men dashed away, with Caffrey splintering off to meet Lowe in a harrowing scene that had me expecting her to be shot in front of him. That didn’t happen as they had a long embrace. A few minutes later, Burke and Jones came in and found Hagen, smoking a cigar and seeming quite full of himself. Another problem – Jones decided to check Caffrey’s anklet … which would place him in Hagen’s hideout for most of the day.

Caffrey and Lowe were sharing what they knew while hunkering at his place – and Lowe insisted on not telling the police the true story, since that would land Caffrey in jail. They decided to keep working on it together and they figured out that Mosconi may have been hiding a diamond that was the equivalent of the Hope Diamond.

In the interrogation room, Hagen, after telling Burke that Caffrey had probably framed him for that painting, took both of them to a park. A whole phlanx of police accompanied them. He began brazenly telling Caffrey and Burke to ‘beg for his freedom.’ Then everything turned sideways. A sniper’s bullet hit Hagen, killing him instantly. As Keanu Reeves is fond of saying in his movies: Whoa…

Burke and Caffrey found the apartment that Hagen had been staking out, The address and apartment number matched the one on Siegel’s card. They found that it was a home office that had impeccable records not only on the two men, but everyone in Burke’s division … and the late Agent Siegel. On top of that, Caffrey found an area where paintings had been created, and Hagen’s initials practiced over and over. In another room, there was a dressing room area, with pictures of Rebecca in various stages of costumes, and the area where Rebecca had allegedly been held hostage by Hagen earlier. The two men stood there gobsmacked as the episode ended.

Immediate thoughts:

Bomer got a chance to flex some acting muscle: his near-frenzied run when Caffrey was trying to meet up with Lowe was a perfect showing of how the usually ultra-cool man was this-close to losing it.

Well, now Sheppard can go back to just playing the dastardly Crowley on Supernatural.

Was Hagen collaborating with Rebecca and got betrayed by her? This is the first time in a while that the show has made my head spin.

Caffrey: It looks like the con man got conned.

It looked like there was a bit of thawing between Burke and Caffrey at the end when they realized that Hagen may have been a pawn too. Hopefully the show can get back to the friendship of sorts they had in the early seasons.