Discussion is on Season 1, Episode 7, entitled Free Fall. Hosted by Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard.
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Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 00:00
[Titles] This is White Collared: The Podcast. Season one, episode seven, Free Fall.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 00:12
[Intro] This is White Collared: The Podcast, a retrospective commentary on the USA Network Television series, White Collar. My name is Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 00:24
I want to thank you for joining me for this episode of the podcast, and we'd like to remind you that if you'd like to help grow this podcast, let a friend know about it. Reviews and ratings--those are nice, but they really don't help spread the word. But telling a friend about the podcast--that does. So if you'd be so kind, just let a friend know about it. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 00:49
Let's jump right into the episode. Free Fall first aired on December 4, 2009, it was written by show creator Jeff Easton, and directed by Kevin Bray.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 01:01
[Episode Summary] An exotic 42 carat pink diamond is stolen. Things begin to get hot for Neal when an agent from the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility shows up pointing the finger at Neal. Things get even hotter for Neal when the evidence points to him as well. Meanwhile, Mozzie may have found evidence which will lead Neal to the man with the ring.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 01:23
[Act 1] The episode begins with Mozzie and Neal walking down the street, discussing the allegation that the man with the ring is an FBI agent. That was the claim made by Meilin, the Interpol agent from the previous episode, All In. Now, of course Mozzie sees this as an affirmation that his paranoia of the man--as he calls it--is justified. He also seems to suggest that Neal's association with the FBI has somehow corrupted him, or at least has contributed to the current situation with himself and Kate. And Mozzie says, Well, if you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas. And I do have to say that every time I hear that line, I can't help but think of the song,"You Lie Down With Dogs", from the…
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 02:08
[Alan Parsons Project] …Alan Parsons Project album, Eve. If you are not familiar with Alan Parsons, you might want to check it out. It's good album, and the entire Alan Parsons Project catalog is actually very good.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 02:21
[Act 1 Continues] While Mozzie and Neal are talking, Peter calls and informs Neal of a possible jewel heist. After hanging up with Neal, Peter and Elizabeth are talking about the possible theft, and at this point, it's pretty clear he does not know anything about the Pink Diamond or the the promotion that's been held at this clothing boutique. He says, 'I don't know what could be so valuable at a clothing store', and that's when Elizabeth informs him that they are displaying the world's most exotic pink diamond.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 02:52
At the clothing boutique, Neal is enjoying the scenery of the attractive models. Of course, he's Neal, that's what he would do. Peter equates the living mannequins with the guards at Buckingham Palace. And of course, Neal thinks this is better than Buckingham Palace. The Boutique Manager reveals that they apparently had a break in the previous evening, as evidenced by recordings on their security camera tapes. But they can't seem to know for certain if the diamond was stolen or not. A masked intruder is seen entering the vault, the screens on the camera go black--presumably the cameras were covered--then the cameras come back on and the thief is seen leaving the vault. The manager seems to be somewhat ambivalent as to whether or not the diamond was stolen and what they have is genuine or counterfeit. And of course, their expert is still on a plane so she does not have that information to fall back on. Peter says not a problem, I've got my own expert, and then he has Neal examine the diamond. Although there seems to be some confusion as to whether he's inspecting the diamond or the model's cleavage. Peter tells Neal, hey, just take the diamond off...off the models neck.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 04:04
So it's removed, Neal inspects it and declares it to be synthetic. The manager says there's no way there's no such thing as a synthetic Pink Diamond of that size, and that's interesting because she was the one who called about the possible theft. If she didn't believe it was possible to synthesize a fake pink diamond to that size, why..why was she concerned about the diamond possibly having been stolen? Granted, understandable that she would be concerned that somebody had been in their vault, but based on what she's saying here, she doesn't really believe it's possible that the diamond was stolen. So she seems to be at least of mixed mind on this matter. Of course, Neal says no, it's it's doable. It's difficult to achieve and it can only be done by irradiation, but it's doable. And if you look you can find evidence of that in this diamond.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 04:54
[Pink Diamonds] Let’s talk about pink diamonds for just a minute. A pink diamond is a type of diamond that has a pain color. Seems kind of obvious. Pink diamonds belong to a subcategory of diamonds called fancy colored diamonds which is, I guess a generic name for any diamond that exhibits any sort of color. The source of the pink color is greatly debated in the gemological world. Numerous theories have been posited as to how the pink is formed in those diamonds, with the prevailing theory being that the pink is caused when the diamond is subjected to enormous pressure during its formation. A similar theory is being tested on pink diamonds that originated in the Argyle mine in Kimberley, Western Australia. The theory posits that a seismic shock propelled colorless diamonds to the surface and altered their molecular structure causing them to appear pink.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 05:47
Now, Neal refers to the diamond as the Steinmetz Diamond, or the as the Steinmetz Pink. Now the Steinmetz Pink, also known as the Pink Star, and then briefly the Pink Dream, is a diamond weighing 59.6 carats, not 42 carats, as Neal says. It is rated in color as a fancy vivid pink by the gymea...Gemological Institute of America. The diamond was mined by De Beers in 1999 in South Africa, and weighed 132.5 carats in the rough. It is the largest known diamond having been rated vivid pink. As a result of this exceptional rarity, the Benny Steinmetz group called Steinmetz Diamonds took a cautious 20 months to cut the pink. It was unveiled in Monaco in May of 2003 in a public ceremony. In 2013, under the name Pink Star, it was auctioned in Geneva, and received a winning bid of $83 million dollars from a New York diamond cutter, Isaac Wolf, who then renamed it the Pink Dream. Unfortunately, Wolf didn't have the money to pay for it. So in 2017, Sotheby's again auctioned the Pink Star--it reverted to its original name apparently, after Wolf defaulted--and in that auction, it sold for a record 71.2 million.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 07:08
[Pink Diamonds: Record Price per Carat] Now even though that diamond set a record for selling price, it's not the most expensive diamond per carat. In December of 2009, Christie's sold the Vivid Pink, a five carat, potentially flawless type IIa fancy vivid pink diamond for $10.78 million, or $2.1 million per carat, which set the record for the highest price paid per carat at an auction.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 07:37
[Pink Diamonds: Chemical Vapor Deposition] Now, lab grown diamonds are chemically the same as a diamond that has mined from the earth but its value is proportionally lower. Therefore a lab grown pink diamond does not have the value of a natural pink diamond. And currently the only successful method to grow an artificial pink diamond is the chemical vapor deposition method, also called CVD. CVD is a method that is used to produce high quality, high performance solid materials. The process is often used in the semiconductor industry to produce thin films. In the typical CVD process, the wafer or substrate is exposed to one or more volatile precursors which react and/or decompose on the substrate surface to produce the desired deposit. CVD can be used to produce a synthetic diamond by creating the circumstances necessary for carbon atoms and a gas to settle on a substrate in a crystalline form. CVD diamond growth involves feeding varying amounts of gases into a chamber, energizing them and providing conditions for diamond growth on the substrate. The gases always include a carbon source, and typically include hydrogen as well, although the amounts used vary greatly depending on the type of diamond being grown. Energy sources include hot filament, microwave power, and arc discharges, among others. So microwave power, irradiation; hot filament, arc discharges and other sources, not irradiation. So Neal had that a little bit wrong.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 09:06
[Act 1 Continues] Back to the episode. The manager tells Peter that their security cameras only record what happens on the sales floor and in the vault itself. They have no security cameras covering the hallways, and though they have a backdoor the alarm was never triggered. The question then becomes, how did the thief get into the vault? Neal confirms that one option would be to find the cameras blind spots, sneak past and hack the alarm. But he seems to hint that there might be more ways than that for the thief to have accomplished entry.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 09:35
When Peter and Neal arrived back at the office, Peter is told that OPR is there. Neal asks, what's OPR, and Peter says, well, the police have internal affairs. We have OPR.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 09:47
[OPR/Office of Professional Responsibility] OPR is the Office of Professional Responsibility. In 1975, following revelations of ethical abuses and serious misconduct by senior Department of Justice officials during the Watergate scandal, Attorney General Edward Levy issued an order establishing OPR. That order directed OPR to "receive and review any information concerning conduct by department employee that may be in violation of law, regulations or orders, or applicable standards of conduct". Now, that is a quote directly from the OPR website. However, elsewhere on their website, it's a little bit different version because elsewhere they say that OPR is primary mission is to "ensure that Department of Justice attorneys perform their duties in accordance with highest professional standards, as would be expected in the nation's principal law enforcement agency. In addition, through investigations of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints, OPR seeks to ensure that current, former and prospective FBI employees who report what they reasonably believe to be misconduct are protected from retaliation".
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 10:54
That second mission statement is significantly different from the first because the first in...would include investigating FBI agents. The second...and again, that is from OPR's official website...the second limits...or the second only says that they would investigate FBI agents in the case of possible retaliation against whistleblowers. That's a very, very limited scope of investigation on FBI agents. So which is the truth, or which is accurate? The accurate version may be somewhere in the middle. According to a Frank Figliuzzi, who identifies himself as a former FBI Special Agent... and this is via a post on Quora...he says "the FBI has a robust internal affair structure which helps contribute to the lack of systemic corruption in the FBI. The structure includes the Office of Professional Responsibility [OPR], which investigates allegations of serious misconduct against FBI personnel". Based on this statement, if we can take it as being accurate...I have no reason to doubt it...OPR is part of the structure that is intended to investigate allegations of FBI misconduct, but it is not the only part of the system to investigate that.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 12:20
[Act 1 Continues] Anyway, back to the episode. Peter's told that Hughes wants to see him in his office and there, Peter meets agent Garrett Fowler. He has Peter's file and Peter seems concerned that he is perhaps under some sort of investigation. Then Fowler says he wants to talk about the jewelry heist.
Garrett Fowler 12:39
Well, the only people that knew that diamond was going to be placed in the vault the night before the show, where a few key NYPD brass and a handful of FBI agents.
Peter Burke 12:48
You think it's an inside job. And you already have a suspect, don't you?
Garrett Fowler 12:54
You know where Neal Caffrey was last night?
Peter Burke 12:57
Caffrey didn't do it. He wears an electronic monitoring anklet. It records everywhere he goes, just pull it up.
Garrett Fowler 13:03
Yeah, we did that.
Peter Burke 13:04
Garrett Fowler 13:05
And some of the data from Caffrey's anklet is missing for last night.
Peter Burke 13:07
Garrett Fowler 13:08
Went dark for six hours.
Peter Burke 13:10
So that's impossible. That anklet can't be tampered with.
Garrett Fowler 13:12
No, it can't. But evidently, the database where the information is stored, can be. Someone wiped out six hours of tracking data.
Peter Burke 13:19
Then I suggest that you look around the US Marshal's office, because they're the people who monitor that anklet.
Reese Hughes 13:24
Caffrey belongs to the bureau. That makes him our problem.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 13:29
According to Fowler, only a few FBI agents and a few key New York Police Department brass knew in advance it the diamond would be in that vault. It doesn't seem that Peter was one of those who knew. After all, he didn't seem to know about the diamond until Elizabeth told him the morning of the theft, after he had been called and told about the theft, and after he called Neal and told Neal about the possible theft. And up to that point, it was even just a possible theft. It wasn't even a confirmed theft. So if Peter didn't know about it, presumably then none of the agents under him would have known about it. There's also nothing said to suggest that even Hughes knew about it. So then how would Neal have known? Well, maybe his criminal contacts, but Fowler doesn't even seem to suggest that as a possibility...doesn't even seem to consider it. Because he says the only people who knew about it were a few key New York Police Department brass and a handful of FBI agents. So Fowler's not even considering the possibility that Neal found out about through some other...through some other means. He is entirely focusing on the possibility that Neal found out about it through his contact with the FBI, and presumably through his contact with Peter.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 14:48
When Peter points out that, hey, he's wearing an anklet, just call up his data, Fowler says well, the data has been deleted from the database. And that database is is the responsibility of the US Marshals office. Well, that's where the investigation should start. You don't start an investigation trying to say, well, we think this person did it, we don't have any evidence, we don't even know how the crime was done, we don't even know how this person's tracking information--because he's on an anklet--would have been deleted, we're just going to assume that he's guilty. And build our case based on that. When you start investigating a crime based on who you want to be guilty, you are no longer objectively looking at evidence. You are looking only at and for evidence that proves or supports your preconceived notion. And anything that is contrary to that, even though it might be valid evidence, you're going to reject because it doesn't support your preconceived notion. This is not how you investigate a crime.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 15:58
So the starting place for this investigation should have been with US Marshals database, if they think that Neal was involved. Because there's questions that have to be answered. Was there evidence that their system was hacked? Or was it an inside job? If it was hacked, how was it done, and is there any evidence that might indicate who hacked it and how it was hacked? If it was an inside job, who would have had the ability to access the database? Who would have had the authority to delete data from that database? All of these are questions which should, and actually need to be asked and answered before you start investigating Neal specifically. Because if you don't have all this as...as the foundation for that investigation, you've automatically got an invalid and corrupted investigation. Because you have to start building with evidence from the foundation up. You don't start building from the top floor down. But Fowler doesn't seem to be interested in running a legitimate investigation. He seems to be interested specifically in pinning it on Neal.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 17:06
And unfortunately, Hughes seems to be willing to go along with Fowler on this at the at least at this point. He tells Peter, Caffrey belongs to the bureau that makes him our probable. Well, he's not wrong in that. But he is ignoring the questions that should be obvious at this point about the legitimacy of OPR's investigation and the legitimacy of starting by saying this person did it and then trying to backfill the evidence to prove that contention rather than saying this person is a suspect, let's see if it's possible before we start making accusations. Now, the fact that Fowler doesn't seem to have any actual evidence that anyone from the FBI was involved, and no actual evidence that Neal was involved, that I would think would give Hughes grounds to challenge the investigation at this point. But perhaps, OPR so feared that any appearance of lack of cooperation or any questions about their investigation and its legitimacy, might be viewed as suspicious. So perhaps that's Hughes's concern at this point.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 18:11
After Peter and Fowler and Hughes conclude their conversation, Peter and Neal talk about possible suspects. Neal says that they're most likely suspect is Adrian Trulane. Peter and Neal go to question Trulane, and Neal's excitement is uncontained. So much so that Peter actually comments on it, and Neal tells him that for him, meaning Trulane would be like Peter meeting Eliot Ness.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 18:35
[Eliot Ness] Eliot Ness is not necessarily a particularly well known individual at this point in history. But Eliot Ness was a law enforcement official in Chicago, who was best known for leading team of prohibition enforcement personnel known as The Untouchables, which was assembled to combat the activities of gangster Al Capone. Ness joined the Chicago branch of the US Treasury Department in 1927, where he became an agent. He was then transferred to the Justice Department in 1928 to work with the prohibition Bureau, which was responsible for cleaning up the practice of bootlegging. During the 1920s, bootlegging grew into a multimillion dollar business for Chicago gangsters. While working in Chicago's Justice Department Ness received an assignment to serve with a special unit designed to bring down the notorious mobster Al Capone. The Italian gangsters reputation had even reached Washington DC, and President Herbert Hoover was furious upon hearing reports of the rich gangster breaking the law with his tax evasion and bootlegging practices. Now, this information comes from the Biography.com website, and I find it interesting that they specifically indicate that Hoover was furious with Capone's tax evasion and bootlegging, not with his acts of violence, his murder, his corrupting of government officials through bribes and extortion and blackmail, all the other things that he did that actually harmed the citizens of Chicago. Hoover was just upset that he wasn't getting his cut.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 20:10
By October of 1929, Ness had selected nine agents to work in this unit, and Ness's plan was to injure Capon, where it hurt the most: his wallet. If the squad could severely damage the mobsters source of income, Capone would lose the power to buy protection and services. The goal was to destroy the breweries affiliated with Capone and gather evidence associating Capone and his followers with the bootlegging. Within the first six months of operation Ness's crews seized 19 distilleries and six major breweries, putting a severe dent in Capone's wallet to the tune of approximately $1 million. One of Capone's men actually paid Ness a visit in Chicago's Transportation Building, offering Ness $2,000 to stop ruining Capone's business and promised an additional $2,000 each week following if he continued to cooperate. Outraged, Ness ordered the man out of the office and immediately called the press. That day in 1930, Ness announced that neither he nor any of his men can be bought by Capone and their mission was unstoppable. The next day Chicago Tribune reporter referred to the special squad as The Untouchables, which was a name that eventually became the title of a 1960's TV crime drama about Ness, as well as the popular 1987 feature film that starred Kevin Costner. In June of 1931, Ness went before a federal grand jury and accumulated indictments against Capone and 68 members of his mob for conspiracy to breach the Volstead Act, specifying 5000 different offenses against prohibition laws. Again, nothing about the violence or the corruption, or any of that.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 21:54
In the end, Capone was never brought to trial on the prohibition charges because Treasury agents had already presented evidence on the fifth of June to indict Capone for income tax evasion. The US Attorney decided to put the mobster on trial for the Treasury charges and save neces prohibition violations in case Capone escaped conviction on the Treasury charges.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 22:18
After a long and successful career Chicago and Cleveland Ness's greatest challenge came when his reputation as an irreproachable investigator was questioned. While operating successfully for a long time as the safety director in Cleveland, Ness's character was questioned after he assembled a team of policemen who used their clubs on strikers, creating chaos and injuries that resulted in over 100 hospitalized strikers. Another incident occurred which forced the public to begin questioning his character. The torso murder in which a serial killer dismembered his victims and threatened the city of Cleveland from 1935 to 1938, caused citizens to become outraged. With pressure increasing, Ness decided to conduct a raid of an area where homeless people gathered and where the criminal was suspected of living. Finding no evidence there, Ness ordered all of those gathered there to be arrested, and their places of settlement burned. Later, while holding the position with federal social protection program, he was again the object of criticism. Critics claimed that he had become at ease in his duties and paid more attention to his personal interests than his job. His reputation was more severely damaged when news of a car accident that he was involved with due to intoxication was released.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 23:32
[Act 1 Continues] Back in the episode, Trulane had been expecting a visit from the authorities. He says, "Whenever something like this happens, I get a visit from someone like you. That's why I try to be prepared". He hands a folder to Peter that has documents that he says will demonstrate that he was out of the country and that it wasn't possible for him to have stolen the diamond, which actually sounds reasonable, and not necessarily suspicious. Unless one is inclined to be suspicious of somebody who is their most likely suspect and just happens to have an ironclad alibi, pre-prepared. But objectively speaking, if you know that somebody is always going to come accusing you of something, whether or not you had anything to do with it, you might be inclined to have...you might be inclined to keep an alibi kind of in mind anytime you're doing anything. Always keep track of where you are, what sort of documentation you have for it, what sort of witnesses you have to back you up. So in a way, it kind of makes sense. And of course, as they're leaving Neal fanboys out, telling Trulane that he's a fan of the latters alleged work.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 24:39
After Neal and Peter leave Trulane's apartment, Peter quizzes Neal as to his whereabouts the previous night and whether or not he can prove it. Understandable. They just lost their best suspect ,or seem to have lost their best suspect. Peter asks Neal straight out, did you do it? And Neal's response is essentially, well, you know I didn't, but he doesn't actually say that. And Peter knows that Neal tends to tell truthful lies, saying things that are intended to make people think he said something that he didn't really say. So Peter asks him again, straight out, did you do it? This time, Neal gives an unequivocal answer. I didn't do it. I am sure that Neal understands that Peter has to ask the question. But it's also clear that he's hurt by the question, and maybe not so much by the question itself but more by the fact that Peter seems to be having his doubts about Neal as to whether Neal might not have actually done it. I mean, it's it's obvious that Peter is having trouble accepting Neal's answer, particularly since they've just essentially eliminated their primary suspect. That pretty much puts Neal, as he says, as being the only one on the list. Peters apparent lack of faith in Neal, the the lack of faith that he has that allows him to be so easily led to be suspicious of Neal, that's got to hurt. That's got to hurt.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 26:09
Peter and Neal go their separate ways, and Peter returns to the office, and he's apparently called Jones in, and he hands Jones a file folder. It's the bonds that Neal was busted on. And Peter tells him to look at the bonds under polarized light for Neal's signature. He wants to know if Neal actually did sign them or if he was just kind of bragging. Of course, Jones asks if this is related to the diamond heist, Peter says I hope not. Which suggests at this point that Neal's...or that Peter is looking for Neal's signature on the bonds and would then look at the...the diamond see if Neal signature is there in the same format.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 26:52
In Neal's apartment Mozzie is relishing the situation and the irony of Neal looking into the FBI for connection to Kate while the FBI is looking into Neal, for connection to the diamond theft. And in a nice callback to Book of Hours, as...as Mozzie is going through his background research on various FBI agents that Neal works with, Mozzie gives Neela file for agent Joseph Ruiz and says, lots of skeletons there, but I don't think he's smart enough. I agree with Mozzie. Ruiz, not smart enough. Neal does seem surprised that Mozzie investigated Lauren Cruiz. After all, they're looking for a man with a ring and Lauren Cruz is definitely not a man. But Neal did say check everybody, so Mozzie did as instructed. Mozzie also has a file for agent Fowler which Neal finds interesting, in part because his official files with the FBI were sealed. And also because of how quickly Fowler appeared after the theft happened. Mozzie hopes it isn't Fowler that's behind Kate's disappearance because he's OPR. And OPR is accountable only to the Department of Justice, which as Mozzie views it, is just a euphemism for the military industrial complex. And big oil. And we also see that Mozzie seems to be eager to believe that Neal took the necklace, offering to help Neal fence it. Neal doesn't seem as offended that Mozzie thinks Neal might have taken it as he was when Peter thought he might have taken it. I don't know if that is a difference in his expectation of the two different people simply because of their past, their background, their relationships, or what. But it is...it is curious that Mozzie thinking that Neal stole the necklace didn't offend him as much as Peter thinking he did it.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 28:42
Later, probably the next day, back at the office, Neal, Peter and Hughes are discussing the case when Fowler enters and announces that Neal is under arrest. And he seems to want to ensure that Neal knows that Peter is responsible for it. He acknowledges that Peter was the one who directed him to check the diamond for a signature. And he's very deliberate in saying that in front of Neal. Peter is clearly not happy to have to arrest Neal. And when Neal tries to protest his innocence, he seems to go out of his way to almost warn Neal, remain silent, which is not what Peter would typically do with a suspect. I mean, typically, you would want a suspect to just run his mouth, say things that you could use against them. Clearly Peter does not want Neal to do that.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 29:31
Then as Peter and Fowler perp walk Neal out of the office, it looks like most of the agents there, with a few exceptions, have surprised and questioning looks on their faces. And in fact, in one shot, we see Hughes in the background up on the platform, and he doesn't really appear to be overjoyed development either. And that I think is is a sign that Hughes has progressed in his thinking about Neal, because early on he...he did not want Neal being involved in cases. We saw that where he told Peter flat out in the Book of Hours that Ruiz doesn't trust Neal and he's not the only one, which was kind of his way of saying that he didn't trust him either. And yet, in All In, he was the one who brought Neal into the case over Peters objections. So it seems that Hughes has come around and he's not...even if he's not fully convinced that Neal is innocent, I don't think he's fully convinced that Neal is guilty. And he's certainly not happy about circumstances of being what they are, if Neal is, in fact guilty. Because it's going to reflect negatively on him. So I think, at least to some degree, he wants to make sure or wants to at least believe that Neal is innocent, and it's all just something that will get cleared up.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 30:50
[Act 2] In the next scene we see Peter and Neal, in a prison interview room, and both are clearly disappointed in the other, each believing that the other violated their trust. When Peter tells Neal, that he let him down, Neal is...is almost angry. He...he's very resentful that...that Peter would accuse him of letting him down because he sees...from his perspective...he sees that Peter let him down by not believing him; By basically turning over to Fowler the information needed to pin this accusation on Neal the...the accusation of having stolen the diamond. But Peter just basically lays out the facts to him and says, look, you were the one who told me to look at bonds under polarized light, remember? And you signed them, remember? And the thief was associated with law enforcement. Your anklet was tampered with. You have no alibi. Your initials are on the diamond. What am I supposed to think? That kind of calms Neal down. He's still obviously not happy. But I think it's enough that he...he realizes that okay, you know, from Peters perspective, yeah, I can see where he got to the conclusion that I might be guilty. He's still disappointed that Peter believes he's guilty, or...or at least has his doubts about his innocence, but he...he clearly...he backs off. And when Peter is leaving after Mozzie comes in, Neal says to Peter, he says, I didn't let you down. And we can see the look on Peters face is...is it's like, I wasn't expecting that. That's not what somebody who's been accused of a crime will normally say. Normally, they'll say I didn't do it. But Neal said, I didn't let you down. He's...Neal's obviously more interested in convincing Peter to have faith in him than trying to protest his innocence. Not that he's...he's given up protesting his innocence. But at that moment, he was more interested in Peter believing in him than believing him. If you understand the difference I'm trying to...trying to distinguish there.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 32:54
I want to talk briefly about Mozzie being Neal's lawyer. Mozzie cites a law degree from the University of Phoenix, or at least he says he's got an online degree from University of Phoenix, doesn't say it's a law degree. Which is good, because from what I can find, they don't offer any degree which would qualify anyone to be a lawyer, they don't even offer a law degree course. Now, they do have an Associate of Arts in criminal justice, which gives an understanding of the agencies, systems and procedures involved in criminal justice--now an Associates is a two year degree--they do have a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice administration, which gives skills to prepare for administrative responsibilities in law enforcement, criminal courts, and corrections, and they do have a Master of Science in administration of justice and security, which gives administrative training, policy development, and problem solving skills to prepare one for roles in law enforcement, corporate security, and infrastructure security. None of those really seems to lead to a law degree.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 33:55
Further, to become a licensed lawyer to practice law, a person must pass the bar exam, which is an examination administered by the Bar Association of a specified jurisdiction that must be passed in order to be admitted to the bar of that jurisdiction. So if you want to practice law in New York, you have to go to the New York Bar Association, and take their exam, and pass it to become qualified to practice law in New York. Having done that, you're not qualified to practice law in Florida, or California, or Washington or anywhere else, because each one of those places has their own Bar exam requirements, which include passing the test that they administer. So even if Mozzie did have a law degree, the degree in and of itself does not automatically grant Mozzie--or anybody for that matter--the right to act as a lawyer.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 34:45
With Peter back in the office, Fowler seems to take an inordinate amount of pleasure in reminding Peter that Neal is a criminal. And he seems to take a great deal of pleasure in rubbing salt into the wound by telling Peter, hey, he did a great job on this, of turning on your own guy, and of course Peter resents it. He tells Fowler that, hey, Neal was a great asset to this organization. He helped us solve a lot of cases. Then, after Fowler goes into a conference room, Hughes comes up to Peter and says, we have a problem. Caffrey his lawyer just requested every file the Bureau has on him and the judge ordered us to comply. Now, when he says that he sounds sincere in his concern that this is a problem. And yet, when he's done saying it, and when he and Peter look over at Fowler, I see what seems to me to be a bit of a sly grin on his face. Gives me the impression that maybe he doesn't like OPR in general, and Fowler in particular, and that even if Neal is guilty, Hughes wouldn't mind having Fowler made to look like a fool, as long as it doesn't come back on himself at any rate. But he seems to take a little bit of perverse pleasure in knowing that Neal and Mozzie are going to get all this information to kind of counter Fowler.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 36:01
Back in the prison interview room, Mozzie gleefully tells Neal about how the judge verbally slapped down the prosecuting attorney, and how Fowler disposed of shredded documents and other information that Neal and Mozzie had apparently requested of the judge on the case. Neal also asked about the judge in particular, and noted that he has a private office not connected to the federal building. On Mott Street. So it sounds like Neal is familiar with that area, and familiar enough that he tells Mozzie he needs to liquidate some of Neal's assets and buy a bakery. Now that's very specific request. There was a discussion of this on the White Collar Fandom Facebook group, which I'll get into here shortly, but it's it's an interesting point of discussion, and we'll get back to that in just a minute.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 36:54
Back to the office. Jones and Cruz update Peter on Mozzie's activities which really doesn't amount to much since they are limited by attorney/client privileges. And as Lauren, says it covers a lot of sins. The most that Peter learns is that Mozzie bought a bakery somewhere in Neal's name. In the meantime, we see that Neal is working to piece together one of the documents that Fowler had shredded that Mozzie had snagged, and it turns out to be a transcript of the conversation that Peter and Neal had at the beginning of the episode when Peter had called Neal to tell them about the possible jewel heist.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 37:27
Now it's time for Neal's hearing. Peter and Elizabeth meet outside the court.
Peter Burke 37:32
Elizabeth Burke 37:34
Oh, hey, you got my message
Peter Burke 37:35
I did. Thank you. Mwa.
Elizabeth Burke 37:37
I wanted you to have a familiar face here.
Peter Burke 37:40
I'll take yours anytime.
Elizabeth Burke 37:43
You're sure Neal did this?
Peter Burke 37:45
Yeah, I am. Of course, he says he was framed.
Elizabeth Burke 37:49
Maybe he was.
Peter Burke 37:50
wish it was true. Hey, what's up?
Lauren Cruz 37:53
Hi. So the arraignment's been moved.
Peter Burke 37:55
Lauren Cruz 37:56
Neal said he's gonna confess.
Elizabeth Burke 37:58
I guess you were right.
Peter Burke 38:00
Neal never confesses.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 38:03
Again, it seems that Elizabeth does have a degree of faith in Neal that seems to go beyond the evidence. Although when Cruz says that Neal is going to confess, she does seem to accept that at face value. I suppose that could be a sign, at least to her, that although he may have strayed, Neal is willing to accept responsibility for his actions. Peter, on the other hand, is clearly suspicious. As Peter says, Neal never confesses. So he knows something's wrong, something's up. And of course, Neal is true to his word, although not in the way that the judge was expecting. He confesses that he didn't do it. When he knows who did steal the diamond, he'll let the judge know. And then he climbs out a window and jumps down onto the awning covering a sidewalk for The Greatest Cake Bakery.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 38:51
Now, I mentioned that there was a discussion in the White Collar Fandom group about the bakery. Now, when Mozzie and Neal are in prison and...and Mozzie, you know, showing him all the records that he had gotten through the open discovery ruling by the judge, and Neal recognizes the address of where the judge's chambers are going to be located, he tells Mozzie very specifically, I need you to buy a bakery, which suggests that, as I said, Neal is familiar with the area around the courthouse, familiar with that street side where the judge's chambers are, and knows that there's a bakery right there. An existing bakery. But although the direction to Mozzie to buy a bakery seems to imply that he's buying an existing bakery, the scenario gets a little bit fuzzy. When Mozzie and Neal are in the waiting room or whatever room that is there, the interview room, getting Neal dressed and ready for the the hearing the...the arraignment, Neal asks Mozzie, is the construction done? It sounds like he's talking about the construction on the bakery, and presumably construction wouldn't need to be done on a bakery if he's buying an existing bakery. And then, of course, when Neal jumps out of the judge's window and lands on the awning, the awning says grand opening, which implies that it's a new business. So the the discussion was centered around whether or not there was actually a bakery there that Neal bought, or whether he bought an empty space or, or you know, what exactly the scenario was there? Because after all, if there was a bakery there, and it wasn't already for sale, how would Neal have bought it? There is an argument that goes something to the effect that anything can be bought for a price. And if it was an existing business, if Neal offered enough money, maybe the...the owner would have sold it. Or maybe he made some sort of arrangement where he would buy it for a short term period of time, and then sell it back to the owner for $1 or something, who knows. It's possible that it was a former bakery that had closed or it's possible it was just an empty office space, or an empty space that Peter...or that Neal had Mozzie buy and turn into a bakery. It's not really clear which of those is the case. I tend to lean more toward the notion that it was an already existing bakery and that Neal had Mozzie buy it, you know, offer the the owner deal that he just couldn't pass up, whatever that entailed, and then do a little bit of construction to make sure it had an awning out front, maybe change the name of the business to make it more difficult for the FBI to...to link it to Neal because not only was the address redacted, but now he's also changed the name of the business. So who knows? I don't know. But I'm, I'm more towards the side that he bought an existing bakery because when, as I said when he when Mozzie was telling Neal about the location, or given him the information about the judge and the judge's chambers and location of it, Neal immediately recognized the situation, he knew exactly where that judge's office was, and seemed to know exactly what was around there and was very specific when he said, buy a bakery.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 42:07
Back to the episode. Peter sees Neal take the swan dive out of the judges window, land on the awning, and when he's...when he sees that, Peter takes maybe a half step toward Neal and then stops. It seems like he's...he's starting to head toward Neal to maybe stop him, but he doesn't. And of course, Neal sees Peter and he kind of gives a shrug, and heads toward a van.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 42:30
Well, after the van drives off, Hughes, Jones and Fowler arrive at the scene.
Peter Burke 42:35
Get to the city planners office. Find out where these tunnels lead.
Garrett Fowler 42:40
Reese Hughes 42:41
Peter Burke 42:43
Who approved moving the arraignment?
Garrett Fowler 42:44
The marshals guaranteed the security of the room.
Peter Burke 42:46
Never assume anything would Neal. You know, I've been working my ass off keeping this kid on the straight and narrow. He's been helping us win cases until you came along.
Garrett Fowler 42:53
Oh, don't put this on me.
Multiple Speakers 42:54
Reese Hughes 42:56
Hey, let's focus on the problem here. What do we know?
Peter Burke 42:59
Did we stopped the van.
Lauren Cruz 43:00
Yeah, the only person in the van was the driver. He claims he was hired through an anonymous internet posting. 500 bucks in an envelope to pick up the van and park it at the spot.
Peter Burke 43:08
Did the van have a floor panel that was removable?
Lauren Cruz 43:11
How'd you know?
Peter Burke 43:12
Caffrey every wasn't in there for more than a few seconds. He's gone underground.
Lauren Cruz 43:17
Can we track his anklet?
Peter Burke 43:19
They removed it when we arrested him.
Reese Hughes 43:21
Okay. Burke find him. Again.
Garrett Fowler 43:24
I'm not comfortable with Agen Burke running this operation.
Reese Hughes 43:26
I don't care whether you're comfortable or not. Burke knows Caffrey better than anyone. Now get to work.
Garrett Fowler 43:34
Alright, perfect. What's your plan?
Peter Burke 43:36
Set up roadblocks, put up wanted posters.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 43:42
Once again, the US Marshals are the key point of failure. Only this time Fowler's in the thick of it. He was the one who accepted the marshals' assurances that the judge's office was secure. In addition to placing the blame for the escape on Fowler because of his acceptance of marshals' assurances, Peter presses his attack on Fowler and Fowlers responsibility, basically for the entire situation. He says Neal has been helping us win cases until you came along. And then after that, he throws Fowler further under the bus when he points out that they can't track Neal because the anklet was removed when Fowler had Neal arrested. Hughes puts Peter in...in charge of capturing Neal, or recapturing Neal, or re-recapturing Neal and then Fowler objects. Well, Hughes pushes back... hard telling Fowler he doesn't care whether or not he's comfortable with Peter being in charge of the manhunt. I see this as as Hughes finally being in a position where he can...he couldn't he couldn't really do much about Fowler's investigation prior to this, but this is where he can push back. This is where he can kind of fence Fowler in. And then of course, in a nice callback to the pilot episode Peter essentially quotes to Fowler the lame plan that the US Marshals had initially created to capture Neal, or recapture Neal, which of course wasn't much of a plan at all, because as Peter said in the pilot, "we're not going to catch Caffrey using roadblocks and wanted posters". I think Fowler realizes this isn't a real plan either. And that Peter is telling him this as much to insult his intelligence as to cast a slight on the marshals.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 45:23
After he makes his escape, Neal calls the personal cell phone of one of Elizabeth's assistants, and he appeals to Elizabeth for help. I think this is a clear indication of the relationship that has developed between Neal and Elizabeth. He seems to trust her enough to not only believe that she won't turn him in, but that she will run interference for him with Peter. Then of course, when Peter arrives home, he seems to very quickly sense that something's up.
Peter Burke 45:51
Elizabeth Burke 45:52
Peter Burke 45:54
Still haven't found Neal. We got a detail outside.
Elizabeth Burke 45:57
Yeah, I saw.
Peter Burke 45:59
As if he be careless enough to come here. Where do you think he did go, Ell? Is he in the kitchen? Neal.
Peter Burke 46:17
Of all the places you could run, you go to my wife.
Neal Caffrey 46:17
Neal Caffrey 46:25
You're saying that like it's a bad thing.
Peter Burke 46:26
You helped him sneak in.
Elizabeth Burke 46:28
Well, I wouldn't have had to sneak him in if there weren't those people sitting at our house.
Peter Burke 46:32
You lied to the FBI.
Elizabeth Burke 46:34
Honey, I did not lie to the FBI. There was just a lot of milk and cookies and pleasant, distracting conversation while Neal slipped around the back.
Peter Burke 46:43
I love this. You've turned my wife into an accomplice.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 46:47
It seems to me that there's something there that tips Peter off. Now granted, Elizabeth is not acting quite like her normal self. And that would be a clue. But it seems to me that he sees something on the chair to her left. But what that might be I don't know. I've tried to see if there's something there but I don't see anything. But when you see the look of suspicion appear on his face, he isn't looking at her. He's looking to the side. And then of course, he sees movement through the glass of the door leading to the kitchen. And Peter doesn't seem to know who he's more upset with: Elizabeth or Neal. When he scolds Elizabeth, he's, you know, and he says you helped him sneak in, she uses a curious logic to excuse it. She says I wouldn't have had to sneak him in if there weren't those people sitting at our house. It's as if the problem is not so much that she snuck him in, but that the problem is she wouldn't have had to do it if people weren't watching their house. so it's those people's fault. That's a little bit like saying, I wouldn't have had to rob the bank if they had just given me the money I asked for. It doesn't...it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But that's her logic. Then Elizabeth leaves Peter and Neal together, and Peter gives Neal just one minute to explain...presumably before he arrests him and takes him in.
Neal Caffrey 48:05
I told you I was set up by someone very close to you. I couldn't tell you the first because I thought it was somebody in the FBI. Now I'm positive. It's Fowler.
Peter Burke 48:13
Fowler. That's not.
Neal Caffrey 48:14
I've got fifty-two seconds left. Had a little free time on my hands past few days, so I've been putting these together. They're documents Fowler shredded after I requested access to my files.
Peter Burke 48:28
I made that call from my home.
Neal Caffrey 48:29
Peter Burke 48:31
My God, they tapped my phone.
Neal Caffrey 48:32
No, they didn't tap it. That would require a court order. Look at your phone. It's a bug. Standard bureau issue. Activates when you pick it up.
Peter Burke 48:43
They've been inside my house. They couldn't have had authorization. Not within the window of the crime and his suspicion of you.
Neal Caffrey 48:51
Exactly. Peter, I have access to every file the FBI has on me. You had Jones process a request to look at my initials on the bond forgery. After you check the forgery to see if I was telling the truth, one other person checked it, too.
Peter Burke 49:04
Neal Caffrey 49:04
Fowler is dirty.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 49:08
We had already noted that Neal had realized that Fowler had shown up too soon after the jewelry heist, and so he was already suspicious of Fowler. Apparently it didn't occur to Peter, perhaps in part because Fowler kept his attention distracted from giving it any thought, perhaps it was because it never occurred to Peter to question the integrity of a fellow FBI agent. And even here, while Neal is telling him it was Fowler, telling him about the evidence that he had, and had found, Peters first instinct was to not believe it and to trust the fellow agent. But Peters trust and his sense of security is damaged by Neal's evidence and it's damaged even further when he sees the bug on his phone. Peter and Neal continue their talk long after Neal's minute is up. Neal confesses that he's been looking for Kate and that he's also been in contact with her. He also reveals that Meilin told him that the man who has Kate is FBI and that he now believes that that man is Fowler. Neal tells Peter that they need to investigate Fowler and when Peter tries to protest that it's suicide, Neal points out that Fowler's already investigating Peter. The tacit warning here is that one of them is going to go down. Peter or Fowler. And Peter would be better off going down fighting then just to let Fowler come at him and do nothing.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 50:26
Peter, lets Neal leave, and then the next day at the office, he has a brief conversation with Fowler where Fowler almost...almost tipped his hand because he...he questions Peter. Peter says, Well, if Neal smart, he's he's already trying to leave the country. And Fowler says, Well, you sure there's no reason why he wouldn't stay in New York. And the way he says it, it's almost like he doesn't believe Neal would leave because there's something that would keep him here, instead. And so I think Fowler's is not as good at covering his tracks as he thinks he might be. Because we we've already got pretty good reason to believe that Fowler's behind the Kate kidnapping, or I don't know if you want to call it kidnapping, but he's behind whatever's happening with Kate. And so he would know that Neal wouldn't be leaving. And he kind of let it...let it slip there, I think. And then, of course, Peter reiterates his so called plan of roadblocks and wanted posters, and of course, Fowler doesn't buy it. After Fowler walks away, Peter instructs Jones to keep an eye on Fowler and his goons as he calls them, telling Jones something isn't right. Then after Peter gives his tail the slip with the help Jones, he and Neal return to the jewelry store to recheck the scene of the crime.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 51:49
[Act 3] While inspecting the vault, they discover what appears to be an old prohibition tunnel. The probable escape route they think, used by their suspect, and of course, Peter throws the responsibility for it being overlooked, if it was really overlooked, back on to OPR, who had taken over the investigation and was responsible for conducting the search of the vault. So having discovered the escape route, it was simply a matter of checking security cameras to catch Trulane, who showed his face to the camera because he just simply couldn't resist a pretty face.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 52:23
Later, back in the office, Fowler starts raking Jones over the coals for having helped Peter disappear. Now, again, this is a curious statement by Fowler and a curious accusation. After all, if Neal was the target of the investigation, which is how he presented it up to this point, why would he have somebody tailing Peter? Now arguably, one might make the case that Fowler thought that Neal might get in contact with Peter, so following Peter might lead him to Neal. But Peter was the lead on the search for Neal, not Fowler. His...his following Peter, or having Peter followed would be an act of overstepping his authority on the case and a breach of protocol and admitting it even by merely suggesting that he might have been having Peter followed would, I would think, potentially open him up to being investigated himself. Because Hughes was very clear, Peter was in charge. At that point, Fowler was in the backseat as far as the search for Neal goes. Fowler could investigate Neal's activity in terms of the theft of the jewel robbery, if that's that was what Fowler was really looking at, but as far as trying to recapture Neal, that was out of...out of bounds. And so for, for Fowler to say something like that, to...to essentially admit that he had done something that was out of bounds, you have to wonder if Fowler was maybe angry enough at being outsmarted that he let it slip up. Again, like I say, I'm not sure he's as smart as he thinks he is.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 53:52
After Jones directs Fowler up to the conference room, or the interrogation room, where Peters questioning Trulane, Fowler walks into the interrogation room, and when he does Trulane turns to look at him. Now, that could simply be a natural reaction to somebody entering room, but Fowler seems to look worried. And then Trulane says, "the more I learn, the more I think this whole case is a setup", and he's looking over toward Fowler when he starts saying that. Perhaps it's reading things into it because we know that Fowler's dirty, or we...we highly suspect the Fowler's dirty, but it almost seems as if Trulane knows, or suspects, that Fowler was his benefactor. Then as Trulane is being escorted out, Fowler just coincidentally happens to be leaving as well. Peter takes the opportunity to give him back his phone bug and it's clear that Peters not only telling Fowler that he knows what Fowler's up to, he's warning him that he's coming after him. And of course, that is reinforced when Fowler says that he's not done with his investigation and Peter responds, well, neither am I.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 54:57
[Act 4] Later, as Peter, Neal, Jones, and Lauren are having a small celebration, Kate calls. I find it curious, maybe even significant, especially in the context of the case--Fowler, Fowler's involvement in the attempt to frame Neal--I find it curious that she not only calls shortly after Fowler leaves, but that she calls the FBI office where Neal is at. I mean, I don't know what that means, but I can't believe it's just fortuitous. And that she just happened to dial the right number to get the right office and the right extension. I suppose it's possible, but it just it's, it's too coincidental for me, it's too. It's too pat. It's..it just fits too well.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 55:43
Back at the apartment, Neal tells Mozzie that Kate called, and Mozzie tells Neal about the hotel room that Fowler's secured for some reason, but that Mozzie can't find any reason for it, because it doesn't appear to be linked to any operation that he can find reference to. Now, normally I think Mozzie's paranoia serves him and Neal well. But in this case, I think it causes a problem. Mozzie seems to assume that because he can't find any...any reference to the operation, or to any operation that would explain why Fowler would have set up in this hotel room, and any explanation as to why Fowler would have done it before the heist, Mozzie seems to assume that it must be a rogue operation. Off the books. But the mistak in Mozzie's logic is that Mozzie...in order for that that reasoning to be accurate Mozzie would have to have access to all the relevant data regarding Fowler, regarding any operation that was going on. And it's a mistake to assume that that was the case. And very well is likely not the case at all. After all, he and Neal were granted all the documents that the FBI had on Neal, the operation that Fowler's running out of the hotel room would not show up in the documents that Mozzie had secured if the operation had absolutely nothing to do with Neal. So I think Mozzie may have created a problem unnecessarily, potentially created problem unnecessarily.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 57:12
But as a result of Mozzie sharing this information with Neal and sharing his his presumptions and his conclusions with Neal, Neal runs off to the hotel to confront Fowler. When Neal begins calling for Kate, Fowler begins mocking Neal. And I'm not sure if Fowler was really surprised that Neal thought that Kate was there, because the operation that he was running there had nothing to do with Kate, or her whereabouts, and so he was mocking Neal for being so obsessed about it, that he would run off on a wild goose chase and bust into an operation that...that Fowler was running that had absolutely nothing to do with Neal, or if he was taunting, Neal precisely because he knows about Kate and where she is, and he just took the opportunity to basically make fun of Neal, and as I said to taunt him.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 58:04
Then of course, we have the biggest surprise that we've had of the series so far. Peter has found where Kate is staying. He's waiting for when she returns to her hotel room, and he tells her, "we need to talk about Neal".
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 58:16
[Closing] And we're going to talk more about Neal in the next episode that's coming up. But until then, just as a reminder, you can help grow this podcast by telling a friend and a fellow White Collar fan about show. I would appreciate that.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 58:28
All the notes and reference material that I used will be linked to on the official website which is at www.WhiteCollaredPC.com.
Eric Alton-Glenn Hilliard 58:39
So again, I want to thank you for listening to this episode, and be sure to join me for the next episode as I share my thoughts on season one, episode eight, Hard Sell. Until then, take care and God bless.