Episode Title: "Vested Interest"
Writer: Jeff Eastin
Director: Russell Lee Fine
Previously on "White Collar":
Peter (Tim DeKay) tells Neal (Matt Bomer) the two have been asked to head up a FBI panel on handler and CI relationships, he asks him to put their differences aside for the time being. Neal agrees, however their panel is interrupted when the moderator gets word of a security breach in the building. Peter asks to be let in on the case as the feds scramble to find the perp.
Neal returns home to find Mozzie (Willie Garson) and Sam (Treat Williams) in his apartment. Neal agrees to keep Peter out of things going forward and the three come up with a plan to draw out the person after Sam. Neal plans to steal an embeddable tracking device from the FBI conference. He'll then get Peter to sign a surveillance authorization form for a safehouse where Sam will be. When the person after Sam arrives, Neal will embed the tracker into their skin.
Back at the office, Peter and the team learn that there's a person posing as a federal agent at the conference. With a number of high tech gadgets set to be unveiled, they suspect the impostor is after one of them. Later, at the conference, Peter asks a colleague to look into Sam.
In order to get Peter to sign the form, Neal creates a diversion by releasing Mozzie's pet rat in the office. While everyone is distracted with the rat, Neal swaps out one of the surveillance authorization forms Diana gave him for his.
The team learns that a former Marine named Ted Anderson, now working in corporate espionage, is the impostor. Meanwhile, Peter's colleague tells him that Sam Phelps retired to Miami. When Peter makes a call, he learns that Sam died three years ago. Peter tells Neal, who thinks Sam might have faked his death.
Jones (Sharif Atkins) and Diana (Marsha Thomason) find out what panel Anderson is interested in by posing as conference coordinators and staging an argument over a rescheduling issue. Anderson asks Jones about the time for a panel where a high-tech bullet proof vest will be unveiled.
Unable to get the tracker chip, Neal tells Mozzie to stall Sam at his apartment. At the conference, surveillance shows Anderson placing plastic explosives in a stairwell. The building is cleared but when they check the stairwell, Jones and Diana find nothing there. The team realizes the footage was faked but the vest is still in the room. That's when Neal realizes it's the doctor who created the vest Anderson is after.
The team races to the parking garage and a shootout ensues between the feds and Anderson. Neal finds the doctor and uses a car for cover. He puts it in neutral and the two push it forward, allowing the doctor to get to safety. Neal then jumps across the tops of several cars while Anderson fires at him. He shoots Neal, but is taken down himself in the process. Neal is fine thanks to the the bullet proof vest.
Moz tells Neal that Sam left and they assume he went to the safehouse to confront whoever is after him. There, they find Sam tied up and beaten. While his captor is distracted, Neal frees Sam. Peter than arrives and Neal directs him to the man but he's gone. Neal gives Peter a rag with Sam's blood on it to find out who he really is via DNA testing.
Back at the office, the team uses a drawing of a tattoo Neal saw on the man to identify him as the son of the Irish mobster Neal's father put away. That night, Diana gives Peter the results of the DNA test. Peter calls Neal and gives him the news. Shocked, Neal asks Sam why he didn't tell him that he's his father.
"Neal, I am your father." Well, he didn't exactly say it and in fact, when Neal asked "Sam" why he didn't tell him, Sam looked genuinely puzzled. But when you've been in hiding for decades, denial becomes a survival tactic. And his son is a gifted con man, so there's that to consider.
"Vested Interest" ended "White Collar's" summer run with one heck of a reveal. When the show returns in January, it's likely we'll see Neal and his long-lost Daddy team up to take out Ellen's killer and the ring of corrupt cops that took him out of the game way back when. It'll definitely make for an exciting premiere.
But learning the truth about Sam was just one of part of what made this a great end note to the first half of the season. The heaviness of Neal's quest to nab Ellen's killer and find out more about his father was offset by some characteristically fun "White Collar" moments. There's been some serious tension between Peter and Neal, thus the opportunity to showcase their "great working relationship" to a room full of stuffy feds came at the perfect time. Yes, they work well together, but Peter and Neal's relationship is an endless circle of trust and mistrust. "As long as Peter has faith in me, I'll have faith in him," Neal told an audience of federal agents. Peter, in turn could say the same thing, which is what makes this relationship so dysfunctionally entertaining.
A few additional observations about 'Vested Interest:'
- Using Mozzie's pet rat to create a diversion at the FBI headquarters has got to be one of the silliest scenes in this show's history. But it was also pretty great.
- Peter comment about Diana not being a "fan of bulge." Uh, yea I guess that's true, but of all the bad jokes Peter makes, this one was actually…pretty funny.
- "I brought a corkscrew to a gunfight." Of course you did, Mozzie.
- Neal's passive-aggressive coffee snub was funny stuff. Neal's a nice guy, but he sure does know how to be a jerk when the occasion calls for it.
- Jones and Diana's fake fight was almost as ridiculous as Peter's staged hook-up with Sara. This show has "silly" down to a science.
As finales go, "Vested Interest" more or less hit all the marks. A couple of sentimental moments, some good action and a big reveal right before the closing credits. My only complaint is that unlike last summer's game-changing closer where we saw Neal and Mozzie flee the country, we more or less know where things are headed. But if not, it won't be the first time "White Collar" has pulled one over on us.