Episode Title: "Deadline'
Writer: Alexandra McNally
Director: Michael Smith
Peter (Tim DeKay) asks Diana (Marsha Thomason) to translate the U-boat manifest outside of the office and hand it over to art crimes agent, Melissa Matthews at the end of the week. Neal (Matt Bomer) watches her leave with the document and texts Mozzie (Willie Garson), who is waiting outside. Neal and Mozzie's plot to swap out her briefcase is foiled when Diana's girlfriend shows up.
Peter briefs Jones (Sharif Atkins) on threats to investigative journalist, Helen Anderson (Jayne Atkinson), whose boss is chummy with the head of the White Collar division. The agents meet with Anderson, who's not happy about the FBI involvement. Despite all the threats against her life, she refuses to let the feds trail her, for fear it will interfere with her work. Outside of her office, Anderson's boss insists Peter and Jones keep a security detail on her. Peter decides to send Diana undercover as Helen's new assistant. He and Jones warn her that Helen is a harsh task master.
Sara (Hilarie Burton) stops by Neal's apartment to ask about beating an alarm system for a client. He tells her about the dinner party Diana's girlfriend has invited them to.
Diana meets with Helen for her interview and gets the job. She gives Neal and Peter a tip about a man named Paul Sullivan, the head of new product development for a pharmaceutical company facing numerous recalls and bad PR.
Peter and Neal bust into Paul Sullivan's office, posing as FDA agents. After distracting Sullivan's secretary, Neal sneaks into her office and steals a mostly blacked out document about a drug recall.
Peter calls Diana to check in on Helen. She receives another threat in the mail, which reveals whoever is after her has been inside her home. Diana listens in on Helen's call with a source. Meanwhile, Peter and Neal look over the research Jones pulled on the recalled drug, Zybax. Diana asks Helen to take her to the meeting with the source. She agrees to let her drive her if she handles an enormous laundry list of tasks beforehand. Diana enlists Peter and the team to help her tackle the list.
After taking Helen to the meeting, Diana spots a man with a gun tailing her. The source runs and Diana tells Peter he gave Helen a flash drive. Later, at the dinner party, Neal has Sara distract Diana so he can find out where the U-boat manifest in. Later, he tells Moz that Diana already handed off the list to Agent Matthews.
The numbers the source gave Helen match up with a batch of Zybax samples from a hospital database. Peter explains that reps from the pharma company swapped out the bad samples with clean ones via an undercover recall. Helen's source may have been trying to warn her about the bad batches still on the market.
Diana tells Peter about a Zybax promotional party Helen is attending to get the evidence about the recall. At the field office, the team discovers the identity of the source, the head of R&D at the pharma company. After learning that the source is dead, Peter calls Diana to tell her that Helen is being set up. Diana busts in and stops Sullivan's crony before he can kill Helen.
Helen stops by the field office to thank Diana and hire her back, but she passes. Diana tells Peter that Neal was at her place but the U-boat manifest never left Agent Matthews sight. At the airport, a panicked Moz tells Neal that Matthews took an earlier flight.
If you've seen "Lost," you know what a badass Marsha Thomason is. Which is why this "Diana"- centric episode was such a fun hour of "White Collar."
Not only did we get to see Diana in action, but Manchester-born Thomason got to whip out her natural accent, going undercover as Helen Anderson's assistant. Oh, how meta!.
The case of the week wasn't as sensational or glamorous as some of the recent numbers the team has handled ( see: hidden treasure map in billionaire's will) but there's nothing wrong with ripping from the headlines when the story is well-executed.
It's also a nice change of pace when we get to spend some off-the-clock time with the "White Collar" team. Watching Sara and Neal work Diana's dinner party, in hopes of getting access to the U-boat manifest, not only moved that little subplot along, but also let us into the character's personal lives. And Neal is always at his best when he's charming the ladies over a bottle of wine.
As for that pesky manifest, now that it's on its way to D.C., that little complication should put the Neal/Mozzie brain trust to the test. And with Neal getting closer to Sara, will he let her in on his priceless art stash? It seems inevitable. The question is, can Neal make off under Peter's watchful eye with the booty…and the booty?
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.