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WHITE COLLAR 4.02 ‘Most Wanted’

Collins is on the hunt for Neal when Peter discovers a bigger fish on the island.

Episode Title: 'Most Wanted'

Writer: Mark Goffman  

Director: Paul Holahan

Story:

Peter (Tim DeKay) and Mozzie (Willie Garson) search for Neal, who's held in a cage inside Dobb's estate. Neal (Matt Bomer) manages to escape his handcuffs and unscrew part of the cell but when Collins (Mekhi Phifer) discovers Neal's handiwork, he shoots him in the leg.

Peter and Mozzie spot Dobbs and Collins talking and come up with a plan to free Neal as he's taken to the airport. With help from Hector, they devise a roadblock that stalls Collins. While Mozzie distracts him with a turned over fruit stand in the middle of the road, Peter frees Neal and drives off with him moments before Collins realizes his captive is gone.

After swiping Dobbs' boat keys, Neal suggests they use it to escape. When Neal and Mozzie tell Peter that Dobb's collection of ships-in-a-bottle are all named after women, Peter recalls a rhyme the cadets learn at Quantico about a famous fugitive named Robert Macleish. Peter suspects Dobbs may be him. A biometric scan of Dobb's photo proves Peter's theory.

The three come up with a plan to make the local authorities think Dobbs is planning to skip town with their money. Neal teaches Peter the art of bartending so that he can infiltrate Dobb's party as a bartender. As for the matter of Dobb's high-end safe, Neal and Mozzie come up with a plan to make it look empty.

Collins finds Peter, presumably drunk. Peter tells him he's done looking for Neal. Collins notices the glass Peter's drink is in which leads him to Maya's cafe. Later at the party, Peter helps spread the word about feds on the island and Dobb's plan to flee. Mozzie arrives, posing as a window repairman and sneaks Neal inside the estate. The two plan to use a painting of Dobb's wall to make it look the safe is empty, but when one of Dobb's ship-bottles falls, they're forced to improvise.

Collins talks Maya into giving up Neal's location, but she's in on the plan. At the party, the sheriff and his men corner Dobbs and demand to see where their money is. When he brings them to the safe, the money appears to be gone. Moments later, Neal announces to the party that Dobb's sold him out and that's he really the fugitive, Robert Macleish. Just then, Collins busts in and arrests Neal as Dobbs makes his way to the airport. 

As Collins prepares to board a plane with Neal, Peter tells him about Macleish and the deal he made with Reese. If he brings in Macleish, Neal can have his old job back and Collins will get credit for apprehending Macleish. Collins takes him up on the offer and the three board the plane. Mozzie choses to stay behind.

Back in New York, Neal gets his old job – and ankle bracelet back. Peter learns he's been taken off the White Collar unit and Neal gets a visit from Ellen, who tells him she's being moved by the marshals. Neal tells her he wants to know the truth about his father before she goes.

Breakdown:

An intricate con with more moving pieces than a chess board. Mozzie running interference, Peter getting some lessons in the gentlemanly arts from and Neal getting an assist from a beautiful female accomplice. 'Most Wanted' was vintage 'White Collar' with a few game changing twists.

Unfortunately, Neal and Mozzie's island adventure has to come to an end. Though it's inevitable Peter will get the band back together in New York, I was hoping they'd take their time getting there. And I may have gotten my wish, with Mozzie not ready to come out of retirement and Peter off the White Collar task force. It's definitely a shake-up, but one I'm afraid will be resolved in an episode or two.

As for the particulars of 'Most Wanted,' it was great to have Moz and Peter thrown together for a good part of the episode. As the angel and devil on Neal's shoulder, it's always fun to see these two share scenes. And Mekhi Phifer's Agent Collins turned up the nasty, putting a bullet in Neal's leg and attempting to turn his lady friend, Maya, against him. But as we know, the ladies are usually Neal's most loyal accomplices.

Now back in New York, things aren't going to be the same for Neal or Peter, at least for a little while. Reese and the Bureau are fed up, if you will, with the boys' antics and have decided they should no longer work together. And Neal's decided it's time he learn the truth about his father, which could set up an interesting season long storyline.

Whether or not Neal's quest for the truth shakes things up enough this season remains to be seen. At the very least, we'll get more insight into Neal and his origin story, which I'm all for. And I'm glad Mozzie is hanging out off-shore just a little bit longer. After pushing Neal to run with him for so long, it wouldn't make sense for his character to just pack up and return to the life he so definitively abandoned. But is a life without Neal one Mozzie is ready to embrace? We'll have to wait and see.