The first official episode of White Collared, a podcast dedicated to the USA Network series White Collar. Discussion is on Season 1, Episode 1, entitled Pilot. Hosted by Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard.
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Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 0:00
[Titles] This is White Collared: The Podcast. Season one, episode one, Pilot.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 0:06
[Intro] Hey, I want to welcome you to this the first official episode of White Collared: The Podcast, which is a retrospective commentary on the USA Network Television series White Collar. My name is Eric Alton Glen Hilliard.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 0:26
Now, this is the first official episode, however, there is a special introductory episode zero, it's not necessary for you to listen to that. However, in that I do provide a little bit of background information on the podcast, some thoughts about where I would like to take it, and a little bit about myself. So if you haven't listened to it, and you're interested in any of those things, be sure and check it out.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 0:50
Now, a couple of notes about this particular episode in the series, it is the pilot and was used as the first episode of the actual series. Now, there are two different versions of this pilot episode.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:04
There is a version that I believe was probably the sales pilot version. The sales pilot version would have been the version shown to network executives prior to them having purchased the show for the purpose of convincing them to buy the show. This particular version had a total running time of just under 80 minutes, and until recently was not particularly commonly available or seen.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:32
Now the second version, which is the actual aired pilot version, is the most common version, I think that is available. It was edited to be just over 60 minutes in running time, that would allow it to fit into a 90 minute broadcast time slot. And this is the version that is on the DVD sets. That is available for download from places like iTunes or Amazon Prime. And the version that was shown for several years when the series was on Netflix.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 2:07
Now, when the series moved from Netflix to Hulu, Hulu chose to go with the longer version of the pilot, which they broke down into a two parter. So with that move from Netflix to Hulu, that original version, the longer version, the one that I call the sales pilot is getting some air and more people are seeing that. However, since this shorter version is the one that's been released officially on the DVDs and for purchase through other online streaming services and so on. I think we can call that one the official version. And since that is the version that pretty much everybody has seen. That is the version that I'm going to be using as the basis of my comments here in this episode.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 2:58
Well, now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let's get into the first episode entitled pilot, which first aired on October 23 2009. was written by the show creator Jeff Easton, and directed by Bronwyn Hughes.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 3:13
[Episode Summary] Inexplicably with a mere three months left on a four year prison sentence con man for sure and thief Neal caffrey escapes from a maximum security prison. FBI agent Peter Burke, man who chased him for years and had finally caught him, is called into tracki him down.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 3:31
Back in prison and with four years added to a sentence, Neal makes a deal with agent Burke to use his knowledge to help Burke track down another criminal called the Dutchman, in exchange for the limited freedom have been released into the FBI custody wearing an ankle monitor.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 3:45
Meanwhile, Neal begins his search for his girlfriend Kate, who suddenly broke off their relationship for months before us due to be released then disappeared.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 3:53
[Act 1] As the episode begins, we see Neal in a small room, inside the prison shaving his beard and mustache, putting on prison guard uniform, slicking his hair back and then walking out into the cell block area through the—it looks like the prison shop down the hall. He approaches an electronic door and then uses a magnetic card to swipe and unlock the door and then walks out in front of everybody.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 4:31
It's—it's really a very daring escape. It's literally walking out the front door in front of the people whose job it is to keep him inside. That is very gutsy, and it seems to be very, very well planned out. After all, he did have to come up with some way to get a guards uniform. He did have to come up with some way of getting a pass card to unlock the security door. He had to know that there would be a utility vehicle outside the doors that he could hotwire. He obviously was familiar with the airport valet service and what they looked like, so that he knew he would have to find that yellow rain slicker in order to blend in. So it all looks very, very well planned out. However, I think it would be a mistake to assume that he's a good planner, simply based on this—this event
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 5:40
It's a single moment in time out of his his life—it's out of context. And so we don't really know anything about him yet at this point other than what's shown, and because it is out of context, I think it's easy to draw the wrong conclusion. And I think that the evidence will show as we go through this episode—and I will point out what I think supports my contention—what I think is that he is a very poor planner.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 6:12
He plans tactically, he doesn't plan strategically, he plans for the immediate issue, but he doesn't consider how that that plan serves his ultimate goal and the greater purpose that he's he's attempting to achieve. So like I say, as we go through this, I will point out the things that I think support that position. You may not agree with me on this, and that's fine. If you have another take on it, just send me a comment and let me know where I'm wrong. And would like to hear those.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 6:44
So, after we see Neal's escape, we then switch to a bank vault, where agent Burke and his team are attempting to enter, it looks like a it's not really a safety deposit box, it's some sort of a larger vault. It's a vault inside of a vault. So it's a large storage area inside of larger vault. And so they're trying to break into that because they believe that there's evidence in there that will lead them to the Dutchman.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 7:15
Now we see Burke in the outer portion of the the vault area, while Safecracker is working on the combination lock of the smaller vault that contains the evidence or that they believe contains the evidence. And as he's working it, he's calling out a series of numbers which presumably have something to do with the combination required to get in. But the number of sequences three to four, and that catches Peter Burke's attention. He's not sure why at first, but there's something about that, that has him suspicious. And he realizes what it is and orders the agent at the vault door to stop Don't open it. But the agent either had already started to open it and and just was unable to stop the process. By the time he got the word or he didn't get the word in time due to a radio communication delay or, or what have you. But anyway, for whatever reason, he opens the ball, there's an explosion and whatever contents may have been in there is destroyed.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 8:31
And Peter Burke is not happy.
Clinton Jones 8:36
Peter Burke 8:37
I said wait, you didn't wait 10,000 man hours to get this quote to the document and you blow up my evidence.
Clinton Jones 8:44
Agent Burke, how do you know what's gonna do that?
Peter Burke 8:47
Three-two-four. Look at your phones. What's that spell?
Clinton Jones 8:53
Peter Burke 8:55
Clinton Jones 8:56
Apparently knew we were coming.
Peter Burke 8:57
You think so, Copernicus? Somebody wanna—wanna to tell me what this is, huh? Anybody? Nobody knows what it is. Great. Look at you. How many of you went to Harvard? Don't raise your hands. Don't.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 9:13
Now, it's understandable that Burke would be upset. I mean, after all, as he says, 10,000 man hours trying to chase down this—this criminal and they blow up his evidence. Understandable why he would be upset. But his response is more personal—it's more personal than professional. If you look at the way he talks to the other agents, he really has a clear contempt for them. A clear disrespect for them. And it's all seems to focus on and be centered around their credentials, their breeding their their pedigree. They're Harvard graduates. They're supposed to be smart. But as—as we see with with the agent who we later learn is Jones, they have a firm grasp of the obvious. 'Oh, I guess he knew we were coming.' 'Oh, really? Copernicus, you think so?' That—that was just clearly a sarcastic statement. And then his question, how many of you went to Harvard? Again, sarcastic. It's, it's as if he's saying, 'Okay, you guys think you're so smart? You're a bunch of idiots. You couldn't even figure something out like that out. Because you're so textbook, by the book, you have no real world experience. Everything you know, came out of a book. And you're just checklist guys: nine to five, you check off the list, and then you're out of here.' And he he really seems to have a problem with them, based on the fact that they're Harvard grads, that they've got diplomas, they've got a piece of paper that says they're smart in criminology. And that seems to be the focus of his—his animosity toward them.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 11:16
So it's not just that he lost his evidence, it's how he lost his evidence, and that—who the people responsible for that were. And then of course, the top it all off. Another agent, who we learned later, is Diana comes up and says, Hey, Neal Caffrey's escaped. Great, just what he needs to hear on top of having his evidence blown up.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 11:38
So now Peter goes to the prison meets with the US Marshal and the warden. And that really doesn't go any better than the rest of his day's been going with the loss of all the evidence.
Michael Gaston, Director, US Marshals 11:51
This Warden Haskley. Agent Burke. FBI.
Peter Burke 11:54
You're the guy dropped the ball.
Warden Haessly 11:56
You've all people should know what Neal Caffrey is capable of.
Peter Burke 11:59
I know I spent three years of my life chasing him, and you let them walk out the front door.
Peter Burke 12:05
Caffrey came out of the e-block staff bathroom dressed as a guard. Where'd he get the uniform?
Michael Gaston, Director, US Marshals 12:09
Uniform supply company on the internet.
Peter Burke 12:12
He used a credit card?
Warden Haessly 12:13
He used my wife's American Express.
Michael Gaston, Director, US Marshals 12:16
We're tracing the number case he uses it again.
Peter Burke 12:18
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 12:22
So right away, he goes after the warden and tells him, you know, oh, so you're the guy that dropped the ball; let Neal escape. The warden tries to excuse himself; he says, Well, you have all people know what Neal Caffrey is capable of. And I think that's really a big mistake. This is—this is really—this puts him on the same level as those agents back at the bank vault as far as Peter's concerned. Because essentially, the warden is admitting that he knew that Neal was clever—to use his own words, what—what Neal was capable of—and yet he didn't seem to anticipate anything out of Neal other than compliance, sitting around doing nothing; the the warden didn't see or do anything to anticipate Neal possibly trying to escape for some reason, and he didn't anticipate the type of escape that Neal would—would plan.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 13:26
The warden probably figured either nothing would happen or if it did, he—that Neal would follow the the usual and customary methods of trying to escape: out of backdoor where nobody can see you, in the back of a laundry van, or, you know, any of the typical escape plans that you you expect from an inmate, or maybe something a little more direct, you know, get somebody's gun, take a hostage and go out that direction. But he, Neal didn't do any of those things, and the warden didn't anticipate anything.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 14:02
And so, again, it's this is just another thing that Peter seizes on as evidence that people who are in positions who should know better, don't seem to be able or willing to be creative in their thinking, and they're just checklist, by the book, procedure type people. And Peter really seems to have a problem with people who don't look beyond the obvious. And of course the capper on it is when the warden has to admit the Neal purchased the guards uniform using the wardens wife's credit card, you can you can see the grand just cross Peters face and hear him thinking, yeah, figures, figures, but an idiot. None of this helps the wardens position as far as Peter is concerned. And again, I think it all just illustrate rates that Peter has a real problem with by the book type people who just can't seem to go beyond the expected and the obvious.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 15:11
But as with Neal, this is a slice out of time and out of context. And I think as we go through, we will see that—that Peter really doesn't have the problem we think he does with people who are checklist and by the book, and un—non-creative. I think it's really a different problem. It just expresses itself in that way. And as we go through again, as with Neal, I will point out the things that I think support my my contention, and see if you agree with me, or if you have some other interpretation of the facts.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 15:57
Now, since we've already had a little bit of an introduction to them, I will just briefly talk about Jones and Diana here. They don't really figure extremely prominently in this episode, although they do have some—some function within it. So we can go ahead and talk to him here and basically, for the most part, be done with them.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 16:21
Jones, last name, obviously, no first name is given in the episode. Presumably, he's a full agent. Now, he really doesn't seem all that impressive at his introduction here, you know, in the bank vault scene. But we have to presume that he's qualified because Peter seems to be in charge of his team, so presumably, he could get Jones transferred if it wasn't up to Peter standards, and the fact that he's not only there at the bank vault, but stays on the Dutchman case even after the the fiasco at the bank vault, suggests that Peters at least satisfied with his work on the team. He may not be the greatest example of an agent, but he's at least good enough that Peter's keeping him around.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 17:14
Now for Diana, in this episode, we don't get her last name; We don't learn a lot about her. We do as the episode goes on, learn that she's a probationary agent, which means she's doing all the things that Peter dumps on her—things that he doesn't want to do or doesn't have the time to do, or the patience to do. So basically, she's she's a gopher, a glorified gopher. But she does come off as a go getter. And we will see a little bit of this later in the episode, so I will save that for then.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 17:49
Now, after Peter inspects Neal's cell, looked at the videotape of—of the last several months of the the videos that they take every morning as the cells—or as the prisoners leave their cells, Peter realizes they need to go find Kate, or he needs to find Kate, and so that leads him to the loft that was presumably Neal's and Kate's, and we have the first interaction between Peter and Neal that we see in this episode.
Peter Burke 18:31
I see Kate moved out.
Neal Caffrey 18:39
Missed her by two days.
Peter Burke 18:41
She leave you a message in that?
Neal Caffrey 18:44
The bottle is the message.
Peter Burke 18:48
What's the message?
Neal Caffrey 18:52
Peter Burke 18:55
They're going to give you another four years for this, you know.
Neal Caffrey 18:58
I don't care.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 19:00
Now, we see here what I think is the first bit of evidence to support my contention that Neal is not a very good planner. He just tries to wing it and improvise and hope things work out.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 19:18
Let's look at the timeline here real quick. Four months before the end of his sentence. Kate calls it off—disappears. She tells him it's over, I'm leaving, Adios, goodbye. Out of here. Neal plans his escape, and it takes him a month and a half to accomplish that. Now earlier it was referenced that he escaped with three months remaining on the sentence, which would make it seem as if it only took him a month to plan and execute his escape. But here Peter says that took him a month and a half. So the earlier reference to his escape being three months before his sentence was scheduled to end was just kind of a rough number. It wasn't the actual detailed number. I think we can go with the month and a half to execute the plan on this. Because that's what Peter actually says. So that means that he really only had two and a half months remaining on the sentence. Now, presumably Neal, having experience in this sort of thing, knew roughly how long it would take him to execute the plan. After all, part of the plan involved growing a beard to change his appearance, at least enough that—that the guards would not expect him to be clean shaven, and hopefully wouldn't recognize him once you put on the guards uniform, and had shaved the beard and mustache. So he must have known as he started planning this, that the escape would take place at most, a couple of months before his sentence was due to run out.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 20:54
So here is the problem. You escape and right away, you're a fugitive. No matter what happens—success or failure of his attempt to contact Kate, his attempt to find Kate and stop her from leaving, or to meet up with her—regardless of how that works out, he's still a federal fugitive. Means he's running, keeping an eye over his shoulder. Or he could wait the four months from the time she left, the two and a half months from the time he escaped, be out, be free and clear, probably on probation, but still, essentially free and clear, would not have the feds chasing him down as a fleeing or an escaped federal fugitive, he wouldn't have any of that hanging over his head and he could spend his time looking for Kate.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 21:49
So right away, we see that he really didn't plan this out because that—that latter choice is the really the better choice. Escaping that close to the end of your sentence and having the whole thing hanging over your head as a result is not a good plan. We also see that he didn't have a plan as to what to do once he got out. I mean, here he is sitting in the loft doing nothing. Kate's gone and his response is, I'm just gonna sit right down and have myself a cry. Where's the plan in that? There wasn't the plan. He was betting that he would catch Kate and be able to stop her. And that he somehow manage to make everything work out. He didn't consider the possibility, which I think was a very strong possibility, that she would be gone. After all, she—she told him goodbye, it took him a month and a half to get out. What did he figure she was going to do? She was going to sit there and wait for him? No, she was—he probably knew she was going to pack up and take off. But he didn't plan for that because when he got there, and she wasn't there he didn't execute a plan to try and find her in catch her, he just sat down and gave up. And then Peter tells him, Hey, they're gonna add another four years to your prison sentence on this. And Neal's response is, I don't care. Again, where's the plan in that? All of this shows me that he didn't have a plan.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 23:20
Now I want to talk about Peter in this scene.
Neal Caffrey 23:32
That's the same suit you're wearing the last time you arrested me.
Peter Burke 23:37
Classic number never go out of style.
Neal Caffrey 23:50
You know what this is?
Peter Burke 23:51
No idea. I got it from a case I was supposed to be working on before they yanked me off to find you.
Neal Caffrey 23:57
You think you'll catch him?
Peter Burke 23:59
Don't know. He's good. Maybe as good as you.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 24:05
Well, let's do a little math here. We know that Neal had a four year prison sentence, which was literally within a few months of being over. So, he was incarcerated four years prior to this. Now that incarceration came after his trial, and of course, the trial came after his arrest, and the time between an arrest and trial is typically measured in months, sometimes longer, ao if we take all of this into account, we can presume that Neal's arrest was probably closer to five or maybe even six years prior to this scene. And Neal's comment, and Peter's response to the comment really makes it easy to believe that he's probably worn that same suit every day at work for those five or six years, and maybe even longer. This suggests somebody who isn't comfortable with change, who is someone who is all about routine and predictability and not the sort of person you would typically associate with creativity.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 25:16
So when we think back on the bank vault scene, three-two-four, FBI, well, that was a pretty creative leap...or so it seems. Because after all, it was totally out of context. There's nothing in the scenario of a bank vault that would lead you to associate combination numbers of three, two and four with the letters on a telephone keypad. That seems to be a very creative, intuitive leap. But here we're seeing that Peter's one of those checklists by the book double grinded out routine type of investigators. I think we see here the first bit of evidence that is going to pile up to show that that is exactly what he is, which makes his response to the other agents at the bank vault, and his response to the warden all the more perplexing because he seems to have a problem with the people who are essentially the same type of investigator that he is.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 26:20
But clearly, Peter has a lot more experience than some of these other agents. And he's not a creative guy, but he's more of a computer type guy: he catalogues a lot of information, and is able to process it and, and associate little bits of evidence here, there and other places with other bits of evidence in other places, and see a pattern or see a relationship between those bits of evidence. And I think the other agents are lacking in that and I think that's part of what frustrates Peter, but I think he's also—and I think I can make the case for this as the episode goes on—I think he's also frustrated at himself, because he sees the type of person he is in turn as a not only as an investigator, but as a person. And that brings some frustration to him, because of the effects that that has on himself and those around him. And as we go through this episode, I think I can point out the things that support that contention.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 27:27
Now, I—I want to talk about the interaction between Peter and Neal in the scene. If you go back to the beginning of the scene, we see Peter walking in, and we see Neal sitting there, with his back against the post, and ultimately with his back to the doorway. I think both of these things is very, very telling. Because when Peter goes in, he just walks in. He doesn't go in with an offensive or defensive posture, he doesn't have a gun out, he's not trying to work the building to provide cover for himself, he just simply casually walks in. And the fact that Neal is sitting there with his back to the door isn't a good defensive position, it's not—it's certainly not an offensive position. He hasn't set himself up to be confronted by somebody who he feels is a threat. And when Peter walks in, and is talking to him, and Peter is talking to him as he enters his room—Neal knows who it is because he recognizes the voice, I'm sure—but he doesn't move. He doesn't make any kind of defensive move. He doesn't assume any kind of defensive posture. He just sits there, stationary.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 28:50
Now, what this tells me is that, even though their professional relationship, if I can call it that, is pursuer and pursued, they have a personal aspect to their relationship that is beyond the professional relationship. Peter is trusting that Neal isn't going to do anything that is going to—to present him with any harm. And Neal is doing the same thing toward Peter, he's presuming that Peter isn't going to do anything toward him that presents any harm to Neal. That is not how a regular FBI officer and a regular criminal would behave toward each other—and an escaped convict at that. So this shows that they have a relationship that over their time of Peter chasing him has really developed into a kind of personal respect and trust.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 29:51
And Peter really kind of emphasizes that when Neil spots the thread on his shoulder and asks him about it and people says, Well, you know, it's from a case that I was working on before they pulled me off to come chase you down again, and Neil asks, Do you think you'll catch him? And Peter's responses he's good, he may be as good as you. That is showing Peters level of respect for Neil's capabilities, because he's using Neil as the standard against which he is judging other criminals. So there's more than just a pursued and a pursuer aspect to this. He actually has a sense of respect for Neil's intelligence and capabilities. And we see that in that one line right there. So there's, there's really this bond of some sort. It's, it's kind of a weird bond because of—of their professional relationships to each other, but there is this sort of a bond underneath all of this, that is pulling these two guys together.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 30:58
Now, Neil's identifying of the thread to Peter is kind of the lever that he uses to get Peter to agree to meet him back in prison. Peter does because he says, Well, you know, if you're right about this thread, I will do it. Neil, of course, was right. And so Peter goes back to the prison and has this meeting with Neil, and Neil tries to persuade him to get himself released into the FBI's custody. And, of course, Peter isn't buying it.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 31:32
Now, there are a couple of kind of humorous moments in this scene. One is when Peter admits that, yes, Neil was right about the thread and and that discussion carries on, and Neil asks Peter, you know, how did the Canadians feel about it? Were they very upset? And Peter's comment was very—well, well, you know, as upset as Canadians get. And I—I, you know, this is not the first time I've heard a joke about the Canadians and their laid back attitude, and I have to wonder if they're not sort of getting tired of that, being the butt of that joke. Or if they take pride in it. I don't know, I'm not Canadian, but it would be interesting to—to know what their attitude is about that ongoing joke in Hollywood. And then, of course, there's a comment Neil makes about, did you get the birthday cards I sent? You know, again, this—this points to the relationship between the two, Yes, I know, you're saying well, that could have just been Neil taunting him, and there may have been an element of that in there. But I suspect that—that there was as much kind of a—a sense of a greeting from Neil, in those cards as there was a sense of taunting. So but that's that's another interesting point that that does actually get referenced later on in the episode.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 33:04
But as I say, Peter doesn't doesn't really buy into the plan and he leaves Neil there in prison.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 33:14
And then we see Neil back in his cell, it's lights out, and he's got his little crayon or marker or whatever it is that he's using to create his wall calendar of hash marks, and the frustration, the anger, whatever it is, that he's experiencing overwhelms him at that point, and he just starts slashing at the wall, slashing at the calendar, marking it up. And in the process, he hits the light fixture and breaks the bulb. Now it's an interesting bit about that, is that as I understand the commentary to say, that was not part of the script, that was something that happened during the filming and they decided to go with it and leave that in as part of the scene and incorporated into that scene. And I—I would say, kudos to Bronwyn Hughes for going with that and—and making that part of the—the—the scene here because it really amplifies his sense of frustration because here he is, he's in a lit room—not well let but lit nonetheless—there's there's a ray of light coming from a point in his room that he can see with and then it's gone. It's dark. He's—He's left sitting in the dark because the last bit of light that he had there is extinguished. It's really a very nice touch on that. That scene and if that is in fact the case that it was not scripted that way, kudos to the production team for for going that route. Very nice touch.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 35:11
The next scene we see Peter, sitting at his dining table, we see one of the birthday cards Neil referenced having sent to Peter as well as some other photographs and documents and parts of the file folder of evidence that he has in front of him, plus an old Blackberry phone. I missed those things. I don't know about you, but I really liked the classic Blackberries. But then as he's sitting there working his wife, Elizabeth comes down, and so we finally meet Peter's wife.
Elizabeth Burke 35:48
Peter Burke 35:50
Elizabeth Burke 35:53
Don't tell me it's Neal Caffrey. I've competing with him for three years.
Peter Burke 35:59
He'd be out today.
Elizabeth Burke 36:01
What's the problem?
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 36:03
This is not the way it's supposed to go. You get caught, you do your time. There's more to this. More to this than some lost love. Some side angle he's playing.
Elizabeth Burke 36:14
So you're suggesting he escapes a maximum security prison, knowing full well that you'd catch him, just so he could trick you into letting him out again?
Peter Burke 36:23
It's a working theory.
Elizabeth Burke 36:24
Yeah, keep working. Is it so hard for you to believe a man would do that for the woman he loves? If you were Neil, you wouldn't have run for me?
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 36:36
So right away, there's, there's some things here that we can learn about the relationship between Peter and Elizabeth. The first thing is that Peter clearly talks to Elizabeth about his work. Not just in general terms, but in detail. The first thing that comes up is that she looks at the file, and she almost immediately recognizes that it's Neal Caffrey. It's not that she looks at and says, Uh, what's this? Oh, who's this Neal Caffrey character? It's, oh, Neal Caffrey. I've been competing with him for three years. So she is familiar with the case. Not only that, but she is familiar with the deal that Neal proposed to Peter, because her comment is, are you thinking about taking his—taking him up on his offer? Well, she would have to know what the offer was in order to be able to make that statement. So clearly, Peter talks to her in detail about his cases.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 37:37
First of all, you know, I would have to think that the FBI probably wouldn't be too happy about that if they were aware of it. So that tells us something else about their relationship. It tells us that he trusts her discretion. So not only is he using her as a sounding board, and talking to her about the details of his case, but he's doing so because he knows that she won't go around blabbing about it. Because if she did, he could be in some serious trouble. So he trusts her—her discretion.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 38:12
And it seems that he also trusts her feedback, Elizabeth asks him, shat's wrong? And he starts telling her the problems that he's having with with this whole situation of—of Neil's proposal, he says, Well, you know, this is the way it's supposed to go. And that there's something more to this than some lost love. He's telling her his frustrations and his concerns and his thoughts about the case. And she is guiding his thinking by asking him questions in return or making comments. She says, so you're suggesting he escapes a maximum security prison knowing full well that you'd catch him again, just so he can trick you into letting them out again. His comment that there's something more to this than some lost love some angle, he's playing, she—she shoots it down basically, and says, Come on. This is dumb thinking on your part. You're you're letting yourself go down a wrong path here. You need to back up, rethink. And then she—I think she really hits into the heart of the matter here, the fact that Peter is trying to think of this situation from a strictly analytical point of view, that is about facts and details and checkboxes and and lists and procedures. Because she says if you were Neal, you wouldn't have run for me?
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 39:39
She's not telling him to set aside his chest—checklist, and his procedures, and his by the book approach to things, but what she's telling him is, you have to factor in these other things. And he listens. He doesn't react negatively, you know, hey, I'm the FBI agent here. I am know what's going on here. You're not—you're not an FBI agent, you know anything about this. Now he, it provokes him. You can see it in his face and his—his—his manner. The thought provokes him. It's like, oh, maybe there is—maybe it is almost as simple as that. He's not dismissing the other elements of it. He's just adding one back in that he had dismissed. And that is all as a result of his willingness to listen to Elizabeth feedback because he trusts her.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 40:35
I think this this whole scene, as an introductory scene for Elizabeth does an excellent job of setting up their relationship as a very, very good relationship between the two, and emphasizes Peters reliance on, and trust in, Elizabeth and her understanding of him.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 40:58
[Act 2] But as a result of this, he decides to agree to Neil's proposal, he meets him outside the prison gates, and Peter sets out the guidelines of how it's going to work. You don't run because if you do, I'll catch you, you'll be back in here for good. Don't try and chase after Kate, because all that's going to do is lead you down the bad path, it's going to cause trouble for you, you're going to wind up back in here.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 41:31
Peter takes him to a fleabag motel, it's obviously a very, very seedy place, very rundown. And of course, Neil isn't all that thrilled at the prospect of staying there. Peter tells him, Hey, you know, this is this is, this is as good as it gets $700 a month, what the cost tells you on the inside. That's all we're going to pay for you to live. And if you find a better place for 700 bucks a month, hey, go for it. You won't find it. But go for it. And that's what Peter's thinking is, he won't find it. He's gonna—he's not gonna have any choice. He's gonna have to stay here. And then, of course, Neil says, What do I do about clothes. I'm wearing my entire closet here. And Peter says, hey, go hit thrift store. Right down the street. It's within your two miles, you're good.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 42:22
And so that leads Neil to the thrift store and there we meet June, played by the lovely Diane Carroll. Now very quickly, we learned some things about June. She's a widow, she is very well off financially. her late husband Byron was a good card player. He loved to take June dancing, and just a little while we learned he was a felon. We also learned that she and Byron were friends with Sy Devore.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 42:55
[The Rat Pack ] Now there might be a few folks out there that are not familiar with that name. Who didn't go and look him up after they heard it in the episode. So if you are one of those people, let me give you just a little bit of information about Sy Devore. An author named Michael Quintella wrote an article in the LA Times entitled 'The Man Who Dressed the Rat Pack'. And in there he wrote, "Known as the tailor to the stars until his death in 1966, Devore was almost as famous in Hollywood as the men he dressed. But he made his biggest fashion impact with the martini gulping, wisecracking, Hollywood-Palm Springs-Las Vegas hopping Rat Pack. They came to Devore's on Vine Street near Sunset Boulevard, just around the corner from the Brown Derby restaurant, to shop as well as to hang out."
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 43:41
Now the Rat Pack was a loosely formed group of entertainers focused on the late 1950's and early 1960's Las Vegas casino scene. It originally included Humphrey Bogart as its—I guess you could say—founding member and his circle of friends which included actress Judy Garland, actor David Niven, actress Angie Dickinson, talent agent Swifty, Lazaar, and restaurateur Mike Romanov. Oh yeah, and some guy named Frank Sinatra. Later incarnations of the Rat Pack also included Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. According to Steven Bogart, who was the son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren McCall, the name Rat Pack came about when his mother walked down on his father and the rest of the group during a particularly drunken weekend in Las Vegas, looked at 'em and said that they look like a Rat Pack. So, it was as simple as that.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 44:41
[Act 2 Continues] The introduction of June does a couple of things for us. First of all, it gives Neil a place to live that's a little more suited to his personality, and his lifestyle, and his tastes, and it also highlights his style and tastes, and his appreciation of the classics. And I like to think that his misguided appreciation of the classics—art, documents, and so on—and the craftsmanship of the work that went into creating those things, those things that existed before our current utilitarian and throwaway society—I like to think that all of those things may have been a factor in leading him into his criminal life because he wanted to be surrounded by those things, to be in touch with those things, and presumably, crime was the easiest or best way that he could think of, to acquire those things. But that's just my interpretation.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 45:49
So after Neil meets June, he gets set up in her house, in an apartment type room, and then Peter comes the next morning to find Neil, pick him up, discovers that he's not at the hotel, follows the note that Neal left, and finds himself at June's house. He is brought into the house and he goes upstairs and has a little chat with Neil and says, hey, look, we got to hit on our bolo, which is Hollywood cop speak for beyond lookout—we got to hit on the bolo for Snow White, we got to work, let's get going, Neil goes down to get dressed, and after he's finished getting dressed, he comes down and meets Peter in the alcove, or the front sitting room of the house. And that brings up an interesting and interesting conversation between the two of them.
Peter Burke 46:42
Come on, let's go.
Neal Caffrey 46:44
Peter Burke 46:46
I work hard. I do my job well, and I don't have a $10 million view of Manhattan that I share with a 22 year old art student while we sip espresso. The amount of work I do equals certain things in the real world, not cappuccino in the clouds.
Neal Caffrey 47:01
Look, I will find out where June buys your coffee if it's that important.
Peter Burke 47:03
It's not about the coffee.
Neal Caffrey 47:04
I think it is.
Peter Burke 47:05
No, it's not. This is what gets you into trouble. This is the start of those something for nothing schemes that lead to the fraud that got you locked up.
Neal Caffrey 47:19
I think it's some sort of Italian roast.
Peter Burke 47:21
Get in the car!
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 47:23
Now I mentioned earlier that the relationship between Peter and Neil had a very strong personal aspect to it. And this scene for me really highlights one of the—one of the aspects of that personal relationship. Every time I watch it, it's very father and son-ish. Peter's the frustrated dad whose kid is misbehaving, he's got these grandiose ideas, and they're not exactly strictly kosher, and he's scolding the son, and the son—he's a bit of a smart aleck and he comes back with the smart comments—and the father is getting more and more frustrated until he gets to the point where he just says the line that I—I imagine every kid has heard a variation of, just go get in the car. You know, it could be go get in the car, or go to your room, or whatever it was. But I think every kid has heard something like that from a parent at some time in their life when they were a kid. To me this entire sequence, this entire scene just really highlights that not only the personal nature of the their relationship, but also kind of the parental feeling that Peter has, even if he's not aware of it, toward Neil. And, again, it's one of those scenes I think it's a great scene because it does such a good job of highlighting that aspect of the relationship without making it—without being over the top without being unbelievable. It is very believable. It is very much a father and son going at each other.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 49:10
So the reason Peter had gone to pick up Neil's because they had gotten a response to their bolo for the keyword Snow White. They arrive at the airport meet Diana and discover that what triggered their bolo was a rare book dealer bringing in a couple hundred copies of Snow White in Spanish.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 49:30
Just a little bit here about the Snow White in Spanish. The version of the book that they show here I'm sure was created specifically for the show because they didn't want to get into copyright issues by showing an actual published edition. But I did do a little looking and found a 1942 edition listed on eBay. It of course had different cover art. It was edited by a Ramon Sopena, illustrated by Eduardo Vicente and came from a seller in Spain, and was listed as a $100 purchase price. That's not quite the few dollars that Diana termed it when she said you can find them on eBay for this, but that's not terribly expensive, especially to a collector for a presumably rare book—although this is presumably not a rare collectible, because he had 600 of them. How rare can it be?
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 50:34
Tony Field, I think we can safely say he's not a rare book dealer. First of all, he was very nervous about having been stopped by the authorities, very nervous, despite having all the right paperwork, and I think we can pretty much safely, safely conclude that he's he's just a mule, who's been given a little bit of information to just throw out as kind of throwaway lines if he gets stopped or questioned by anybody or anybody raises an eyebrow. And one of those lines is, well, Snow White was not created by Disney. You know, there are a few stories that predate Steamboat Willie. I think Disney might disagree with that, but anyway, that's the line. Peter—I think Peter is a lot more knowledgeable than Tony field gave him credit for. Because Peter sets field up. Beautifully. First of all, he responds to the Steamboat Willie comment by saying, Well, I'm a federal agent. It seems like a pointless statement but I think—well, it could be just a subtle warning to Tony Field about lying to a federal agent—but I think that what he's doing is he's setting up Field by trying to suggest that well, he's a federal agent. That's all he is. He's not particularly sophisticated, he doesn't know books, he doesn't know collectibles, he you know, he, he's, he's, he's just a federal agent.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 52:08
But then he slips the knife in. He comes up with something that you might not typically expect from a mere federal agent when he says,
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 52:17
[Tale of the White Princess] Oh, you mean like the folklore of the virtually pure Queen like Alexander Pushkin's tale of the white princess"? Now, I'm pretty certain that this is a deliberate trap, or at least a test being set up by Peter. I mean, he obviously doubts Field's story. Got plenty of reason to. Now the reason I think it's a test, or—and a trap is because it to begin with Pushkin's story is—or his poem actually—is not called the tale of the white princess. It's called the "Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights". What Peter's referencing is one phrase from a single line of the poem. But the way he does it is kind of ambiguous. It's an implied multiple choice quiz, because it sounds like he could be referencing the actual title, but a rare book dealer would know that it's not, and then the question becomes, well, is he simply misquoting the title? Or giving a one line summary? Of course, if he's not aware book dealer—if he's not legitimate rare book dealer, then there's the question, is he making all this up? Now, presumably, a legitimate rare book dealer with an obsession for pre-Disney-ized Spanish versions of Snow White would also be familiar with the Pushkin variation of the story, and would probably say something to correct Peter, or at least give some sort of—some sort of appropriate response to what Peter says. But Field doesn't know what say, I mean, he's got that look, it's it's the proverbial deer in the headlights look. He's—He's like, uhhh, okay, this was never covered in the material that I was given, you know, as a cover story. Now, what do I do? So it's obvious that he's—he's trapped. and the only thing that saves him at this point—or seems to save him—is the appearance of the lawyer who, as it turns out, probably wasn't a lawyer, because he came equipped with a hypodermic syringe with some sort of something in it that would would kill Field in a quick hurry.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 54:32
[Act 3] After the suppose lawyer kills field, Peter and Neil and Diana are going through the suppose that book dealer's ID and paperwork trying to find some clue as to what's going on,
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 54:46
[The 1944 Spanish Victory Bond] and that leads them to the National Archives, which in turn leads them to the 1944 Spanish Victory Bond.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 54:55
Now as far as I can determine the 1944 Spanish Victory Bond is Fictional. I could not find any reference to any such bond actually being produced by the Allies during the war. But even though the bond may be fictional Goya is not. Now according to Wikipedia, Francisco Goya, who actually has a longer name that I'm not even going to try to mispronounce, was a Spanish romantic painter, and printmaker, and is considered by many to be the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Successful in his lifetime, Goya is often referred to as both the last of the old masters and the first of the moderns, and he was also one of the great contemporary portraits—portraitists, sorry, I get tongue tied sometimes.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 55:46
[Act 3 Continues] So after they figured out that the inside leaf paper from the books was going to be used to forge the bonds, they're trying to figure out what the whole plan was. They know what was happening. They just don't know why yet, because they figure the why will possibly lead them to the who. Kind of makes sense. So they are in the office discussing the bonds and what the plan is. And Peter's phone rings.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 56:16
It's Elizabeth. And he gets that look on his face like, Oh, I'm in trouble. And yeah, he's, he's, he's kind of in trouble.
Peter Burke 56:27
Would you believe me? If I said I was pulling up right in front of the house now?
Elizabeth Burke 56:31
You lost track of time. That happens.
Peter Burke 56:34
I hope you didn't make dinner.
Elizabeth Burke 56:35
Did you forget who you married? I am smarter than that. So how's Neil doing? He helping?
Peter Burke 56:43
We're onto something here, El.
Elizabeth Burke 56:45
So I won't wait up.
Peter Burke 56:47
I'm leaving. Ten minutes. I promise. Twenty at the most.
Elizabeth Burke 56:51
Peter Burke 56:52
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 56:54
So, to start off with Peter tries to use the old 'Get Smart' line, Would you believe...? It doesn't work. It didn't work from Maxwell Smart either. Then he tells her, Well, I hope you didn't make dinner. And then she responds. Did you forget who you married? I'm smarter than that. Well, yes, she is. But I think she's also very much an optimist, because we can see she has dinner ready. Not only is it ready, but it's on the table. So we can see here that you know, Peter tends to get a little obsessive about his work and kind of forget that things are happening in the real world outside of work. And it does have an effect on his relationship with Elizabeth. But she seems to be very understanding of that, very understanding of him and his personality. And I'm sure she's probably not happy about it, but she does seem to be not only accepting of it, but makes allowances because of the relationship. She doesn't want him to feel bad about having forgotten, she's not going to rub it in his face, she's not going to get angry, she just—okay, it happened, don't worry about it. That's, that's her her response.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 58:14
But it's enough to get Peter realizing, whoa, hey, I need to get home. So he and Neil take off, and as they are headed back to presumably drop Neil off at June's house, they have a conversation in the car. And in the conversation in the car, things go from bad to worse for Peter because Neil reminds him that it's his anniversary this weekend. And Peter has forgotten it.
Peter Burke 58:42
I see this stuff coming from six months out and then I take it right in the teeth every time.
Neal Caffrey 58:46
Relax, man. You still have a few days.
Peter Burke 58:48
No, this is what happened last year. I said I'd make up for something special.
Neal Caffrey 58:53
Okay, Romeo, let's, let's problem-solve. What's she into? What makes you feel alive?
Peter Burke 59:01
I'm drawing a blank.
Neal Caffrey 59:02
How could you not know? When you were chasing me, you knew my shoe size, what time I woke up...
Peter Burke 59:07
That—that's the job. Very different.
Neal Caffrey 59:09
So a relationship isn't work?
Peter Burke 59:10
Oh, no, no, you do—you don't get to lecture me on relationships. My wife didn't change her identity and flee the country to get away from me. What am I gonna do?
Neal Caffrey 59:21
Nope, no more relationship advice from this side of the car. Call Dr. Phil.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 59:27
Peter is understandably upset at himself. Not only did he forget to go home for dinner, and yeah, I'm thinking that he knew that Elizabeth had the food on the table, knew that it was sitting there ready—at least in the back of his mind he probably thought that—but then now to be reminded that he had forgotten their anniversary, he'd forgotten it so badly that he didn't even have anything planned, despite having made promises to Elizabeth to have something special for their anniversary. So when—when Neil puts puts the screws to him and says, asks her, What makes her feel alive, and Peter doesn't know, and Neil responds, well, how could you not know? Neil obviously hit a sore spot Now Neil—Peter tries to defend himself by saying, you know, hey, when I was chasing you, okay, yeah, I knew your shoe size, what time you woke up in the morning is how Neil put it, and Peter says, well, that's a job that's different. And Neil says, what a relationship isn't work?
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:00:28
And so it's just, it's just piling it on a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more. And Peter snaps, he snaps at Neil. It's—it's really that he's angry at himself but Neil makes himself a target, or Neal's—Peters angry at himself, but Neil's in the way. And so Neil gets the brunt of it. Because he's the one that's that's really kind of needling Peter about it. And then as soon as he's done it soon as he said it, Peter, clearly feel some regret. But it's, it seems like it's too late. Neal doesn't want to forgive him. The conversation is over, and Peter is no better off than he was just a few minutes before. In fact, if anything, he's, he's worse off because now he's even more frustrated.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:01:16
Well, the next thing that happens is that we meet Mozzie. Neal walks into June's house, it's dark, he hears something, he comes down into the—I guess, dining room—and there's mozzie sitting in the dark, because the lights how they find your man. So right away, we learned something about Mozzie. He's paranoid. We also can kind of conclude that he's been a friend of Nils for some time, and that he's loyal. After all, when Neil says, hey, thanks for coming, Mozzie says what what was I going to do, not come? He also seems to have some criminal talents and connections because Neal, first of all, asks him if you can help him get the ankle monitor off, and he says, no, that that one ain't going to happen. So so Mozzie clearly knows enough about things like ankle monitors that Neil thinks he can have—he has a chance of helping him bust it loose. It's also obvious that Neil has talked to Mozzie about Kate because he moves right from the conversation about the ankle monitor to Kate and asking, where'd she go? So Moz has obviously been looking for her up to this point. And then, of course, the conversation gets around to the the victory bond.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:02:35
But this brings us back to a point I made earlier about Neil and his lack of planning with regard to his escape. Now, like I said, Mozzie's obviously been looking for Kate, on Neil's behalf, because Neil doesn't preface the conversation about Kate with some sort of request to find her. It's, where is she? So Mozzie's been looking for her. Now, here's my question, if he was going to have Mozzie do the work of looking for Kate because he was stuck in a two mile radius with an ankle monitor, why couldn't he have had Mozzie do that same thing while he was sitting around in prison. There would have been no difference in the process. Mozzie's doing the work, Neil's not because Neil can't. The difference is that now Neil is stuck basically on a two mile radius for the next four years, versus being stuck on a smaller radius in prison for two and a half months, after which he would have been free and clear to go help Mozzie find Kate, and then go get her once they had found her. So why did he throw away the nearly four years that he spent in prison for something that he could have had accomplished simply by getting Mozzie to do the work while he finished the sentence? It's because he didn't plan. He planned his escape, he didn't plan what he was going to do to accomplish the goal; the larger goal which was to get back together with Kate.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:04:17
Well, after the conversation between Neil and Mozzie, we see Peter the next morning, getting ready for work, and then kind of casually walking down to the bedroom and trying to poke through all Elizabeth stuff, trying to get an idea of what to do for the anniversary. This is the plodding investigator trying to get a clue from her CDs, her DVDs her books, her knickknacks on the shelf, anything he can find something on her laptop, something to tell him what he could do for their anniversary for Elizabeth.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:04:56
As he's doing this, of course Jones calls him and says, hey, Neal's out of his radius, is he there? No, he's not. And he goes downstairs in a panic and oh, there's Neil talking to Elizabeth on the couch.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:05:09
And what it comes down to is, Neil has found out who the Dutchman is: Curtis Hagen, an artist whose work never took off, who has become an expert in restorations of old paintings, and whose specialty is Goya's. And he says, This is him showing off Peter, of course, Peter says, yeah, interesting theory. Prove it. Oh, he's signed it. And of course Peters skeptical. Where did he sign it? And Neal shows him and Peter's still skeptical and, and Neil reveals something here that I—I'm going to come back to at the end of the episode, and that is that he signed the bonds that Peter caught him on. But Peter doesn't realize that Neil had signed the bonds. So Neil says, look at the seal under polarized light sometime.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:06:03
So they take off because Hagen's doing a church restoration, or doing a painting restoration at a church nearby, and they go up behind the pulpit on the platform, or whatever they call it up there and Neal spots the C and the H hidden in the paintings—they're reversed, they're mirror imaged, but they are there—Peter, still kind of skeptical, but then Hagen walks in.
Curtis Hagen 1:06:30
Can I help you gentlemen? Your face is familiar. Maybe I've seen it on the news, or perhaps on a most wanted web page.
Neal Caffrey 1:06:41
Curtis Hagen 1:06:43
Forgive me, if I don't shake hands with an art thief.
Neal Caffrey 1:06:47
I was never arrested for art theft.
Curtis Hagen 1:06:49
Not arrested, but, as I recall, you're known as quite the renaissance criminal, so you can understand my concern of having you in my space.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:06:58
Now, the interesting thing is Hagen seems to be worried about Neil being in his workspace, as if he's afraid that Neil is going to steal the church? I mean, that's the impression he gets is that he's worried about the painting that he's working on. And literally, the only way to steal the painting would be to steal the church. That's obviously not going to happen. I guess we can conclude here that Neil's presence there is causing Hagen to worry about his bond scheme. He hasn't admitted to it, we don't really have any evidence to tie him to it yet, but that's the only conclusion that you can come to is that he's concerned about Neil's presence there being an indicator that Neil is somehow aware of Hagen's scheme for the bonds. He just frames it as being uncomfortable about Neil being in his workspace.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:07:55
Now, it is interesting that Hagen seems to know who Neil is, or at least recognized his face. Because there's nothing that Neil has said that gave any indication that they had met before, Hagen doesn't say anything that gives any indication that they had met before, but he does seem to be familiar with Neil, at least by sight.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:08:15
[Act 4] After they leave the church, they are back in the office, and Peter calls Neal in, and it turns out that what he's done is he's gathered copies of Elizabeth's credit card bills, her eBay bids, her video rentals, her library books and so on. Neil says, Hey, you know, you're not gonna, you're not going to find what you're looking for. You're not going to find your idea for an anniversary gift in this. This is the wrong place. And he doesn't really say what Peter should do, he just says this, isn't it. But Peters frustrated and so he tries to solicit help from Neil.
Peter Burke 1:08:55
[1982 Bordeaux] Then help me out here. You're the romantic I mean, what's the deal with the bottle?
Neal Caffrey 1:09:02
It's an '82 Bordeaux.
Peter Burke 1:09:04
Yeah, costs 800 bucks a pop.
Neal Caffrey 1:09:06
It does when it's full. I got it empty.
Peter Burke 1:09:09
Neal Caffrey 1:09:11
When Kate and I met we had nothing. I got that bottle and I used to fill it up with whatever cheap wine we could afford, and we'd sit in that crappy apartment drink it over cold pizza and pretend we were living in the Côte d'Azur.
Peter Burke 1:09:27
How'd that work out for you?
Neal Caffrey 1:09:28
It didn't because that bottle was a promise of a better life. What Kate got was a guy locked away for half a decade. Make Elizabeth any promises, Peter? Or do you think what she really wants is oleander candles?
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:09:46
[Act 4 Continues] Like I said, Neil doesn't really have any answers here for Peter. He just asks questions. And really it's kind of the same approach that Elizabeth has with Peter, of saying, hey, you're looking at the wrong things. So let me ask you a question that will get you thinking about the right things.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:10:11
And it's interesting, because I think we catch a glimpse of the deep Neil here, when he's talking about the bottle. Up to this point, Neil has been kind of a casual, smart-alecky, indifferent kind of guy who's shallow and self centered. But in this conversation he shows a very—it's still a controlled reveal—but he reveals an emotional underpinning to him—his—his—his attitude that I think it's one of those things where it's there, and it scares him. And it's so deep, that if anybody gets to it, it will, it will be a deep wound. And that's really what he's—he's trying not to expose. But he's really, really is exposing it here, because he's telling the story—he's still got a little bit of emotional distance, as he's telling the story. But when Peter asks, How did that work for you, Neil's response is—it's not the response of somebody who is trying to hide behind a façade, it's a very simple and deep, it didn't, the bottle was a promise.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:11:30
The implication is here that when Kate gave him back the bottle, she was giving him back his promise, because, like, the bottle, hie promises were empty, there wasn't anything to them. They weren't backed up with any kind of content, back to the lack of planning. It's obvious in his response that that thought hurts him. The thought that he hurt, Kate, that his promises weren't fulfilled, and that she got a guy who was locked away for half a decade bothers him. And he really takes that feeling and I think he uses it to empathize with Peter. Because he turns it back and says to Peter, he says, Did you make Elizabeth any promises? Or do you think this is what she wants? Just because that's what her eBay bids and her credit card purchases tell you? You know, and so I think he's really genuinely interested at this point in helping Peter—not not necessarily in helping Peter solve his his problem as far as what to do with with the anniversary present—but it's, it's more about Neil saying, I understand what you're dealing with, but it's a bigger issue than this. It's a bigger issue than just the anniversary promise. And—and, you know, something I didn't mention is that when Peter asks, Neil, you know, how did that work out for you? The bottle trick how'd that work out, he seems genuinely interested in how that worked for Neil, not because of him looking at it and saying, hey, maybe here's a solution to my problem, hey, maybe this will give me an idea of what to do about my anniversary gift, but because he's genuinely interested in how it worked out for Neil and Kate, because he's interested in them. And so this whole scene is just, it's about two guys who have this personal relationship that shouldn't be there because of their relative positions in life, but they've got this relationship and there's, there's a depth to it that is a genuine caring relationship between the two, when they will let themselves admit it. And we see that here and this is—this is such a well written, well acted and well directed scene. You know, it's my hat's off to everybody involved in this—this scene alone. It's just a fantastic bit of reveal of that relationship between Neil and Peter.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:14:06
Of course, after they're done with her conversation, Diana comes in, she's got information about Hagen, he's bought tickets to fly out of the country in a week. They don't have anything that they can pin him on. Because he keeps himself out of the muck. He's keeps his hands clean. He has other people do the work. And Peter—Peter knows it's time to get desperate it's time for a 'Hail, Mary'. So he gives Diana some direction on how he wants things to go from here on out.
Peter Burke 1:14:37
You get every available agent on this you know the good ones dealing with you have to I want to know every single thing about this guy and I don't want any excuses. Anything gets in your way...
Diana Barrigan 1:14:45
...forge your signature. Always do.
Peter Burke 1:14:47
That's what I want to hear. If you're right about Hagen, we have one week to connect him to the bonds. If we lose him on the 19th...Neal, if we lose him, you're back in. I can't save you.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:15:06
Now, we learned a couple more things here about Peter and about Diana.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:15:12
First of all, Diana, yeah, she's willing to forge Peters signature to get things done. So she's obviously a go getter who doesn't mind bending the rules, as long as it's for a good cause. And Peter's okay with it, as long as it's for the cause. And as long as he can say he didn't do it, which is, I think, an interesting contradiction in his character, because he seems so straight laced, and like I said, by the book, checklist, procedures, everything done right type of guy. And yet he's okay with bending the rules, as long as it's not too far, and as long as it's for the cause. After Diana leaves, Peter says, you know, we've got one week, if we don't get him, I can't, I can't save you, you're back in. And you can see the regret on his face, you can hear the regret in his voice. Again, just back to this whole personal relationship between the two. I really think that there's a—a parental sense, coming from Peter, toward Neil, if, for whatever reason, Peter seems to have some sort of a parental type feeling toward Neil. And that's right out in this regret that Neil may have to go back inside. And even though Peter might want to do something to help him to prevent it from happening, just as any parent would. There's their their child. There's nothing they can do. And they just have to live with it.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:16:40
Now, Neil and Mozzie have a conversation. And it begins by Neil telling mozzie that, hey, we've only got one week to come up with some information on—on Hagan, that's going to put them inside, give the FBI a basis to arrest him. And his explanation for it is, well, we were right about Hagen, but I was stupid, impulsive, and he saw me. I have a problem with Neil's interpretation of this. I understand why he feels it. But I think he's misreading the facts because why would Neal think Hagen would recognize him. as I said, at the time of their meeting at the church—and actually even before that back at Peter's house when Neil was there on the couch, and they were talking about the bonds and Hagen signature contained within the bonds—there's no evidence that Neil knew Hagen. And if Neil doesn't know, Hagen, there's no reason to believe that Hagen knows Neil. Now, clearly, Neil knows of Hagen. Or at least he did some quick research on him once they got the name. And perhaps Hagen even knew about Neil, but there's been nothing presented to suggest that they had ever met, and so there's no reason for Neil to necessarily anticipate that Hagen would recognize him. So it's—it's—it's interesting that Neil seems to be taking some responsibility for something that really isn't his responsibility, taking the blame for something that really isn't his to take the blame for. But then Mozzie hits him with even more news. And that is what he's found Kate, she's in San Francisco, she's going under an assumed name. And of course, Neil is worried that he may lose her all over again, not because he can't get to her, but because somebody else got to her first. I don't know who it is. all we see is a hand on the shoulder in a photograph taken from an ATM. But it's enough that Neil is worried. He does the reasonable thing. He cuts the photo of Kate so that the hand isn't visible and shows the photo to Peter and says, look, look what I found. Hey, we just had this great conversation about our relationships and what what we've lost and promises that we haven't kept to our significant others. Look and look, this is my chance. I can keep the promise. I can I can go get Kate and I can I can do all the things that I said I was going to do. I mean, that's the undertone there. But again, Peter doesn't take well to it.
Neal Caffrey 1:19:07
I just need a couple days, okay, after this Dutchman thing is over—a couple days ago to San Diego, you can send an agent with me, you can come with me...
Peter Burke 1:19:13
Stop it! How many times you gonna screw up your life for this girl? I hate to break it to you, buddy but she dumped you. With prejudice. Exactly what is your plan if you find her?
Neal Caffrey 1:19:29
I know there's more to our story because she disappears in the dust? No, that's not and ending.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:19:35
I think I said San Francisco. I always mean—I always do that. I don't know why. I've got San Francisco on the brain. But San Diego, San Diego ATM. Obviously Peter doesn't take well to the news. And you know, he confronts Neil, he says look how many times you're going to go down that same path, doing—making the same mistake, doing the same stupid things? And Neil—Neil just won't give it up and Again, we're back to Neil not having a plan because Peter says, Okay, let's, for the sake of argument, say I do let you go to San Diego. And let's say that, for the sake of argument, you find Kate, what's the plan?
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:20:16
Yeah, that's what I thought, no plan.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:20:18
Again, it's this is Neil going off half cocked, trying to improvise, solve the immediate problem, don't worry about what happens after that, because somehow it'll, it'll just magically happen.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:20:30
The fact that Peter won't let him go doesn't sit well with him. But I think also the fact that he realizes he really doesn't have a plan doesn't sit well with him. And ultimately, he just kind of throws his hands up and surrenders the conversation. And you know, he says, Okay, yeah, Peter, you're right. You know, I, I'm a smart guy I should know and I've been dumped. He doesn't really mean it. It's a tactical retreat. He's telling Peter what he thinks Peter wants to hear, and he hopes Peter will believe that he's sincere. I don't think Peters that dumb. I think he knows that it's disingenuous. But, Neil—he doesn't seem to appreciate the fact that Peters trying to help him from from taking a bad situation and make it worse, because that's not what Neal wants to see, that's not what Neal wants to hear.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:21:21
And understandably, he's getting desperate because the screws are getting tightened on his thumbs. He's, he's in a situation where if something doesn't happen in a week, he's back inside prison. So there's, there's a lot of desperation going on there.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:21:35
So after that little confrontation, they change the subject, they're walking down the street talking about Peters anniversary, and if he's come up with anything yet, and Neil spots Mozzie, trying to act casual, trying not to look suspicious, and he goes over and talks to him and course Mozzies really bad at being—at acting casual and trying not to look suspicious; he would make a terrible spy. So he, without trying to say so tells Neil Hey, you know, check inside the cigarette filter wrapper. It's pretty obvious there's something going on. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. But nobody says anything about it. They let it slip for now.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:22:23
Next, we see Peter in his office in concentration thinking, trying to figure out something we don't know what, we're gonna guess that it has something to do with his anniversary. He turns on his computer and it hits him. It finally hits him. The desktop wallpaper on his computer is the same image that Elizabeth had as her desktop wallpaper on her computer. And when Neil walks in, Peter says, with a big grin, I found my bottle. And of course Niels says I found Hagen.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:22:54
Of course Peter considers that to be a little more important at the moment than the anniversary plans. Neil leads Peter down to a warehouse down by the docks, they hear a printing press going on inside and Peter is convinced, Hagen's their guy and this is the scene and they know everything that's going on, but back in the office, they're discussing the fact that they don't have any proof. And of course, Neil says, well, the proof is right there. Let's just go get it.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:23:24
So Peter slides a book across the table to him book on warrant law and tells him hey, we don't have enough. The only way to make the connection is through the guy that gave you the the information about the warehouse. And Neil's kind of tries to play dumb and you know, Peter says, luck. Jones isn't that dumb. We know that. It was the guy with the cigarette. He gave you the information. You know, like I said earlier about Jones being on the team, he is a good competent officer. Neil reluctant reluctantly agrees to try and arrange a meeting between Peter and Neil. But it gets left there.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:24:02
And so later that night, he's at home reading the book, 'Statutes and Limitations: Warrant Law, Fourth Edition'. And as he's reading, he comes up with an idea. Something in the book triggers an idea, he looks at the ankle monitor, and next thing we know, Peters getting a call that says hey, Neil's busted his radius. He's—He's gone somewhere.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:24:24
And so we see Neil's plan, inspired by the book, and that is basically he sets up a situation where by breaking his two mile radius, Peter will come after him, and if he's inside the building, then Peter has an excuse to come in and get him and while he's in there, he can pick up all the evidence. Seems ingenious, but it has two major problems.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:24:46
And the first is, as is typical for Neil, he has no real plan. He's improvising. He's hoping it will work out. It's a daring thing to walk in to the proverbial den of thieves, and daring to confront them hoping the backup will be there in time, but he didn't plan it because it could have gone an entirely different and more fatal direction. It's just a matter of luck and circumstance that it didn't, not not any element of planning on his part. Yeah, he knew what Peter's response would be that they would come looking for him, he had a pretty good notion that it would be Peter himself that would come looking for him, but he didn't know that. He didn't know what the response would be, he didn't know how long it would take them to respond. And he didn't know what would happen in the time that it would take them to respond.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:25:38
[Exigent Circumstance] And then the other problem is with exigent circumstance.
Peter Burke 1:25:46
This is what the law calls an exigent circumstance. Any of you Harvard grads know what that is? No hands? Diana?
Diana Barrigan 1:25:55
Exigent circumstance allows us to pursue a suspect onto private property without obtaining a warrant
Peter Burke 1:26:00
And to seize any and all evidence that has been discovered in plain view, regardless of the connection to the original crime.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:26:09
Well, it's corrected into exigent circumstances do allow authorities to pursue a suspect fugitive onto private property without obtaining a warrant. The problem comes in with that suspect, fugitive part? Is Neil a fugitive? Well, if— if he's a fugitive, it's because he went to the warehouse, which was outside of his allowable radius without the approval in advance of Peter or the FBI, and so he violated the terms of his release. So that would make him a suspect fugitive, or at least a fleeing fugitive. But if he were a fleeing fugitive, who was in violation of the terms of his release, he should have immediately been returned to prison. But he's not. And why isn't he? Well, it's because he's an FBI consultant. So given that he's an FBI consultant, and that he's not returned to prison for violating the terms of his release, I would think that a halfway decent defense lawyer could make the argument that he wasn't a suspect fugitive, he wasn't a fleeing fugitive, and that the entry into the warehouse, and all the evidence that were seized, would be inadmissible on the grounds that the entire scenario was fraudulent. Maybe even concocted by Peter. Now, the fact that it wasn't concocted by Peter is really irrelevant to the argument, the argument only has to convince a judge that it could be true. And, frankly, on the face of it, that sounds more reasonable than the fleeing felon part of it. So, it seems like a good solution. But I don't really think it is.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:27:46
And I think Peter realizes that. In fact, when Peters outside the warehouse, it seems pretty clear that Peter realizes what Neil did. A by the book guy would have to realize the legal quagmire that would result from him following through on it. Now granted, he might be able to make the claim that well, you know, Neils life could have been in danger so it was a safety issue, you know, we were we entered without warrant because of the possibility of—of somebody being injured or killed. But that's, I would think that's a stretch. And I think Peter would understand that. But he goes ahead and does it, and and even seems to take some pleasure in doing it, because you can see the smirk on his face when he tells the agents that there's a fugitive hiding in the buildings so take down the doors.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:28:38
So, I think the solution that Neil comes up with, all those seemingly ingenious, is really not going to work in the long run.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:28:46
[Act 4 Continues] And again, it comes back to Neil's inability or unwillingness to look beyond the immediate need, and to look at where it's all going and does this path of action, or does this course of action that we might take in the short term, get us closer to our destination ultimately, or does it actually take us the wrong direction?
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:29:08
And then, of course, here at the end, Peter again, reveals his his problem with college graduates, because he reprises his sarcastic comment about Harvard graduates here, when he's talking to the the criminals in the warehouse, and he says, do any of you Harvard graduates know what exigent circumstances are? So he he's still back onto that, that bit about Harvard graduates, that still seems to get really get under a skin.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:29:36
Now, there was one other thing that I wanted to mention here and it it goes back to the comments I made earlier about Neil having signed the bonds that he was caught on. When he's in the office and Hagen is railing against him, Neil says you shouldn't assign the bonds. I'm no stranger to vanity myself so I understand the impulse. Now, it was the signature on the bonds that really ultimately led Neil and Peter to Hagen, so you can understand that part of the comment. What is interesting, and what I find curious, is the reference to being no stranger to vanity himself. My question is, is he referring to a specific instance in his past? Or just talking about his vanity in general? We know he isn't referring to anything with regard to the bonds that Peter caught him on, because Peter didn't know that Neil had signed them. So I'm just curious as to what this refers to. It's not answered in this episode. At least I don't see anything that really suggests what he's referring to here. So it does lead to a curious question: What's the vanity he's referring to? I don't know. I'd like to find out.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 1:30:45
[Closing] But anyway, that's the end of my comments for this episode. If you'd like to connect with the show, leave comments, provide feedback, head over to the website, that's WhiteCollaredPC.com, and from there, you can find contacts where you can reach me on Twitter, you can reach me by email, and that's for both the podcast and for myself personally. I will be providing links on the website and in the show notes for various things that I've mentioned are in my comments here. So if you're interested in those, again, check out the website at www.WhiteCollaredPC.com. I want to thank you for listening and please be sure and join me for the next episode as I share my thoughts on episode number two, entitled threads. Until then, take care and God bless.