Agent Peter Burke and his fellow agents are looking for Neal, who Burke believes has left town. As they search the apartment, they note that he’s too smart to leave any clues behind, and realize that Neal and Mozzie are probably “long gone” by now. They continue their search, and much to their surprise, Mozzie walks right through the door! Mozzie seems taken aback by the FBI presence, and Burke is very eager to question him about Neal Caffrey.
Seated in the bureau office, Agent Burke and Mozzie discuss Neal’s whereabouts. Mozzie stresses that he doesn’t know where Neal is and tries to convince Burke that even if he did decide to run, he wouldn’t have done it with any loose ends. Mozzie also comments on the fact that Neal would have brought Mozzie with him.
Because the ankle bracelet was cut off, they know he wanted to be off the grid, but Mozzie’s comments make the two of them realize that someone else must have taken Neal and cut his anklet.
The episode dramatically flashes to Neal, being held captive in what appears to be an abandoned warehouse. He is chained and taped to a rolling chair, which is sitting a little too close to an open elevator shaft.
Neal starts to calmly converse with his captor, thanking him for doing the dirty work of finding a place for him to hide from the FBI. As he talks to the man more about the situation, he learns that the man is the guy from the helicopter and that he must have spoken with Rebecca.
Neal starts to piece together why he has been abducted, trying to figure out what the man wants from him. The man tells Neal that he is supposed to get something for him; he wants the whole prize for himself. To try and seem threatening, and continue to hold power over the situation, the man inches Neal’s chair closer to the steep drop of the elevator shaft.
He explains to Neal that he wants a diamond from the FBI, but Neal has other plans to help free himself from his abduction. Neal realizes that the man is working for someone else, and Neal is hoping that he can change the man’s plans. As the capturer takes a phone call, we see Neal struggle with his handcuffs behind the chair.
Back at the bureau, Burke is still torn over whether he should trust Mozzie. He tells Mozzie that he believes him, but tries to get him to leave the office. Mozzie thinks that he is being removed from the situation and rebels again Burke’s wishes. As he turns, he sees Rebecca, in a prison uniform and handcuffs, being escorted into the office. Mozzie immediately wants to be in the room for her interrogation.
Neal continues to try and un-cuff himself, at least, that’s what the viewer is led to believe he is doing.
Taking charge of the conversation, Neal explains that he knows the man is after a spot with the Pink Panthers. Realizing that he can either join them or die, Neal throws an idea on the table and offers to help him impress the Panthers in an alternative way, in lieu of stealing the diamond from the FBI.
Burke uses emotion to persuade Rebecca to help him find Neal. He knows that deep down she will take the opportunity to be able to save him. Rebecca seems to agree with him, and Burke says he needs a name from her before he would be able to offer her an actual deal.
Neal wittily tells his captor that his options are “prison, death, or trusting me.” Taking the latter, the man listens to Neal and agrees to his plan of robbing the Pink Panthers themselves for his audition into the exclusive group. That, and Neal also tells him they need to leave quickly before the FBI finds him and takes them both.
Watching the FBI raid the warehouse a few minutes later, Neal proves to the man, who turns out to be Jim Booth, that he is someone who can be trusted.
Burke wants to determine if Neal had been there, and upon seeing some wood shavings on the floor, he figures out that Neal had made some sort of marking on purpose (knowing that the FBI would find the site). They know that Booth may have been there and connect the situation to the diamond. Further investigating the wood shavings, Burke flips the chair and sees that the word “Kessman” is carved into the frame. Relief washes over Burke’s face, knowing that Neal was still looking to communicate with him, and hadn’t been trying to run.
Trying to solve the Kessman puzzle (which turns out to be the name of the building) back at the office, the agents joke about needing to put the pieces of the case together without Neal’s help. Mozzie speaks up and offers a contact that might be able to help them. Mozzie also helps them work the angle as to how someone would rob the Kessman building.
As the agents determine how someone would break into the building, Neal is having a parallel conversation with Booth. Both parties decide on a zip-line option from an adjacent building.
Mozzie takes Burke to his contact, lovingly named “Fat Charlie,” who turns out to not quite live up to his description. Burke takes charge and tells the man he needs to disappear for twenty-four hours. When Neal arrives with Booth, seeking the same man a few hours later, it is Burke who answers the door as Fat Charlie.
Neal seems pleasantly surprised by Burke’s presence and passes him a message by using carbon paper to tell Burke about the Pink Panthers and Allen Woodford, the leader of the ring. Burke wonders if Neal might be considering joining the Panthers himself.
Up on the roof, Neal asks him why he wants to join the group, and Booth replies that working with them would bring in the “kind of score you only dream about.” As Neal and Booth prepare to rob Woodford, they realize that the facial scanners will pick up Booth and that Neal is the one who needs to complete the robbery.
Burke and Mozzie’s unique relationship develops further when Mozzie brings dinner to Burke’s house. Unexpectedly, Burke offers Mozzie and beer and encourages him to stay.
The next day, Burke and the tactical team are waiting on the ground for Neal to zip line and start the robbery. Adding to the suspense, Neal’s travel pulley breaks just as he is about to zip, and with some quick thinking, he is able to use his belt to fly across the city block, landing with ease on the roof of the Kessman building.
Neal finds the “secret” safe and looks through its contents, focusing on his passports. Mozzie comes to the rescue when it seems as though Neal is going to be caught by Mr. Woodford, pretending as though his bike crashed into Mr. Woodford’s car.
Neal is able to leave the building innocently and finds Booth around the corner. In a turn of events, Booth pulls a gun on Neal, who immediately takes control of the situation by telling Booth that he is the one who has auditioned for the Panthers, not Booth.
Burke swoops in and shoots Booth, freeing Neal from his connections to the man. Burke and Neal have a somewhat-distant, yet friendly reunion conversation about what happened in Neal’s disappearance. Neal is convinced that he can infiltrate the Panthers and wants to trade intelligence for his freedom.
Neal returns to Mr. Woodford’s office and playfully coaxes him into checking on his own safe, finding Neal’s passport in his own stash. Neal asks him to consider his skills as an audition to take (what would have been) Booth’s spot in the group.
Burke is excited to learn that Neal has passed the Panthers’ first test. Neal asks about Rebecca and sits down with her in the bureau office. Neal explains to her that he wishes he could now “call it even.” He is curious as to why she helped the FBI find him.
Rebecca has a very well-thought response, saying that she “live[s] on borrowed time” and that this operation was as “close as [they] would get to a happy ending.” She is escorted out of the office and Neal is convinced that Rebecca had just said goodbye to him.
He runs out of the building, with Burke close behind him, but it too late. Rebecca is lying on the sidewalk with a bullet wound. The officer explains he had to shoot her because she reached for another officer’s gun. Burke lets Neal have a moment with her, and Neal respectfully closes her eyes, which also provides closure to their past.
Burke arrives back home and is excited to see his wife waiting for him. He wonders if something is wrong and playfully jokes about her drug test results getting her fired. She admits that blood-work was an issue, but reveals that she is pregnant. Burke is elated and the two embrace lovingly.
In the final scene, Mozzie and Neal are lounging on the balcony, debriefing recent events and giving Neal a chance to explain why he believes Rebecca killed herself. They debate whether or not her actions were brave, and Neal isn’t convinced that she was, because in his eyes “there is always another way” out of a situation.
Neal explains to Mozzie that he has made a deal with the FBI to provide intel about the Panthers in exchange for his freedom. The episode ends with a brilliant hook in Neal’s comment about being after more…
You can catch White Collar, created by Jeff Eastin, on the USA network Thursdays at 9pm EST.
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