White Collar: Wow! Peter has a very boring new job, but Neal has an extremely interesting past! (My thoughts on episode 4×03 Diminishing Returns)
Let me start off by saying that except for the parts of the episode where more details about Neal’s past were revealed, I personally found this episode rather dull for the most part. I don’t know why exactly, but I just didn’t think that the case that they were working on in this episode was all that interesting.
Peter was reassigned to the FBI’s evidence warehouse AKA The Cave because he had been trying to search for Neal while he was on the run against the bureau’s specific orders. His new job was rather dull and his boss was a major hard-ass who told him that if he was just a minute late for work or he left work just a minute early he would put it in his report to the bureau, which would make it even harder for Peter to get his old job working for the white-collar division back. His new supervisor also made him end his one-hour lunch break thirty minutes earlier than he was supposed to because new evidence had just come in that he needed to catalog. I feel really bad for Peter having that guy for a supervisor, especially since I’ve had to deal with several assistant managers who are like that at my job. It’s not fun, not fun at all.
As for the case of the week, Neal decided to investigate an old case involving a criminal mastermind who had a history of robbing banks and jewelry stores that Peter had wanted to revisit before he had been reassigned because it was getting close to the time when the criminal mastermind would strike again since his previous pattern was to strike every five years. Since Peter isn’t working in the white-collar division anymore, Neal and Diana were the ones who worked on the case officially with Peter helping them when he wasn’t on the clock. Neal and Peter quickly discovered that guy who was behind the crimes was left-handed, which helped them narrow it down even more to a man named David Cook. Part of Peter’s previous investigation for the case involved working undercover at a bank several years using the name Peter Morris as his alias where he had met David Cook. Peter got in touch with him again and as a part of his plan he played Squash with him at a rec center while Neal broke into his locker in the men’s locker room to search for evidence. Based on the evidence that Neal found in David’s locker they figured out that he was targeting a jewelry store for his next heist.
Like I said, I found this whole storyline rather dull for the most part, but I liked that Elizabeth was able to offer some information about what jewelry stores David might try to rob and which ones he probably wouldn’t based on their security systems. She knew about several jewelry store’s security systems thanks to her experiences working with clients for her event planning company when they went shopping for wedding rings. I always like it when Elizabeth gets involved with Neal and Peter’s cases. Diana was also able to rule out a jewelry store because of her knowledge of the jewelry store where she and her girlfriend went shopping for wedding rings.
Neal was surprised to discover that Mozzie had returned to New York City after he had told him in the previous episode that he was going off on his own for a while. However, Mozzie told him that he realized that retiring from a life of crime at this point in time wasn’t what he wanted after all. Mozzie also told him that he could retire when he wanted to at some other time in the future. Thankfully, Mozzie returned clean-shaven, which makes me ecstatic because Willie Garson’s facial hair was beyond gross.
In the end, they managed to catch and arrest David by tricking him into believing that Peter was meeting up with a fellow criminal, Rina, since the FBI had given Peter’s cover for his job at the bank a fake criminal record. Because Peter had been busy working on the case he hadn’t finished cataloging all the evidence in the warehouse himself, but when he showed up for work he was surprised to discover that everything had been cataloged. At first Peter didn’t know how that was possible, but he quickly noticed Mozzie dressed up in an FBI warehouse worker uniform as he was leaving the building and realized that Mozzie was the one who had done all of the cataloguing. It really surprised me that Mozzie catalogued all the evidence for Peter given his distrust of law enforcement. If I had to guess why Mozzie did that for Peter, I’m guessing that Neal asked him to do it so Peter could work on the case when he wasn’t on the clock.
The most interesting part of this episode to me was what was revealed about Neal’s past. We learned that his father’s name was James and his father was convicted of murder for killing another police officer when he when was working on the police force. Neal grew up in witness protection with Ellen who was Neal’s father’s partner on the police force. Ellen basically raised him because his mother apparently checked out mentally and emotionally after they went into witness protection. Neal lived in witness protection under the name Danny Brooks. When Neal was eighteen he took his mother’s maiden name, Caffrey, as his last name. The episode ended with Neal asking Ellen to tell him everything she knew about his father.
Personally, I thought it was really interesting that Neal had wanted to be a police officer when he was younger, because he wanted to be like his dad. I thought it was really heartbreaking when Neal said that he did end up growing up to be like his father in the sense that he became a criminal. I’m glad that Peter told him that wasn’t true since he wasn’t a murderer. One thing is for sure though, Neal’s past is even more interesting than I had originally thought.
All in things considered, while I didn’t really find the case of the week all that interesting, it was great getting to learn more about Neal’s past. I really like that the writers are having Neal try to learn more about his father this season so he can learn more about who he is as a person. The writers of White Collar as well as the writers of a lot of the USA network’s other shows, such as Suits, have always done a great job of creating shows that are very character driven, which as a writer is something that I can really appreciate.
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