Episode Title: "Countermeasures"
Writer: Jim Campolongo
Director: Michael Smith
An old friend of June’s (Diahann Carroll) named Ford (Billy Dee Williams) comes into town, stoking suspicion from Neal (Matt Bomer) about the admitted con man’s intentions. He has Diana (Marsha Thomason) run Ford’s prints off a coin but she comes up with another criminal, Jonas Ganz, an old cellmate of Ford’s.
After looking in the pocket’s of one of Byron’s old suits, which Ford had mentioned, Neal finds a faded receipt. Moz (Willie Garson) determines it’s from a table Byron has custom built. Neal checks out the table and finds a counterfeiting plate in a secret compartment. Moments later, it goes missing, presumably taken by Ford.
While watching Ganz, Diana sees Ford leave the building. When he’s brought in for questioning, he claims that he was trying to protect June, as Ganz is after the plate. But after Ford and Neal go undercover to incriminate Ganz, Ford goes missing.
Ganz shows up at Neal’s place and forces him to aid in taking down a truck carrying paper for printing money. He then takes Neal to an old speakeasy where Ford awaits them. The two print the money, which Ganz claims he’s taking for himself. The cops arrive and Ford tells Ganz he’s set him up. He switches suitcases, thinking Ganz has the one with the old paper clippings. When Neal offers him the choice to quit running and settle down with June, Ford declines and leaves with the suitcase while Ganz is arrested outside. Ford later discovers the paper clippings inside the suitcase.
After meeting up with Moz, Neal reveals that he’s torn between living a life of crime and settling down like Byron did. But he confesses to still holding Ford’s counterfeiting plate.
"White Collar" tries to be funny often and fails usually, in my opinion. But "Countermeasures" was the exception to the rule. In particular, the scene where Neal drools over a printing plate while Peter compares him to a teenage boy looking at lingerie in the Sears Catalog, hit my funny bone. The show succeeds at humor when the dapper and distinguished Neal gets cut down to size. And Moz is always good for a few giggles, as well.
As for Billy Dee Williams’ guest spot, the man made a name for himself playing a smooth talking scoundrel so it’s no wonder he fit right in as Byron’s old partner-in-crime, Ford. Watching Neal and his new adversary put the moves on each other (in the non-sexual, con man sense of the word) made for a good time. And the return of Neal’s benefactor, June was welcome. She seems to bring out the best in Neal. Will he follow in Byron’s path and ultimately give up "the life?" Of course, that’s a question that will only be answered in the series finale.
While "Countermeasures" was an episodic hour, we did learn that Moz is making progress on building the antenna from Adler’s fractal. But I don’t mind taking a break from that storyline for just a little bit. Especially if it means we get an episode with Billy Dee Williams.
The case of the week was a bit more believable than the usual "White Collar" capers and it’s always fun to see the light in Neal’s eyes when his relationship with the FBI affords him special access to the playthings he could only dream of getting his hands on, on the other side of the law. And we further explored the divide between his yearning to settle down and the part of him that lives for the thrill of upscale grifting. With the loss of Kate, it’s a quandary I hope the writers continue to exploit.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.