Wednesday, February 2, 2011

US Television, White Collar, Episode 2.12 "What Happens in Burma"

White Collar
Season Two, Episode Twelve, What Happens in Burma
Original Air Date:  February 1, 2011

When the son of the Undersecretary of Asian Affairs is held in a Burmese prison charged with smuggling a rare and valuable ruby from the country the man contacts Peter and Neal for assistance.  He believes the case was fabricated.  They have one week to prove the young man innocent.  But did the Undersecretary contact Peter and Neal for reasons other than their ability for solving crimes by the book?

Neal and Peter discuss the many countries Neal visited while on the run and, when Neal questions Peter as to where he would go if he could choose any country in the world Peter answers "Sweden" because he "likes Vikings".  They arrive at their destination to meet with the Undersecretary of Asian Affairs, Adam Wilson.  Christopher Harlow, an American college student, is being held in a Burmese prison having been accused of smuggling a ruby from the country.  The State Department believes the charges are trumped up because Harlow has no criminal past or no contacts in the region and the tense relations between the U.S. and Burma.  There has been talk the ruby was smuggled out of Burma and is in Manhattan.  Finding the ruby will destroy the case against Harlow.  That's where Neal and Peter come in.

Peter briefs his team on the ruby Harlow is supposed to have stolen, The Mandalay Ruby.  It is a 237 karat "pigeon blood", which is a local description of the deep red color of the most prized Burmese gems.  It had been under armed guard at a state mining facility in the middle of a jungle for the last year.  Neal lays out the complications of stealing a prized gem in such a location.  It wouldn't be an easy task and makes a point to note it's one he's never thought of undertaking.  Peter instructs his team they are working under the impression Christopher Harlow is innocent.  He sends Jones and Diana to see if any of their usual gem fencers have been in Burma recently while Neal is to check with his contacts to see if anyone has tried to fence the ruby.

Peter and Neal pay a visit to the Burmese Ambassador who gives them a copy of a DVD of Christopher Harlow's confession which the Ambassador assures them will prove Harlow is being well-treated.  Peter asks if they can prove someone else stole the ruby if Christopher will be released.  The Ambassador admits he will take the evidence to their courts.  Christopher will be sentenced in one week.  After that, it will be extremely difficult to reverse the decision.  At their car, Neal stresses to Peter how important it is to get the evidence they need before Christopher is sentenced.  Once his sentence has been issued, no civilian court will overturn it.

Back at the FBI, Peter, Neal, Diana and Adam Wilson watch the DVD given to them by the Ambassador.  On the video, Christopher is being questioned and admits he stole the ruby and that he did it alone.  He says he crossed a stream to get into the base and bribed a guard to get the ruby.  Neal and Peter figure out that Christopher is Adam Wilson's son and that is why he enlisted the help of the FBI to find the ruby.  Wilson admits it's true and he worries that his son will be used as a bargaining chip if it his real identity is learned.  Neal noticed that Christopher was doing something with his hand that might have been a signal.  Diana, a diplomats daughter herself, tells them the children of diplomats are trained to use signals in the event they are in trouble.  They need to see the rest of the tape.

Peter tells Neal his father would have gone to the same lengths as Wilson is to save him were he in trouble then asks Neal about his father.  There's a gaping hole in Neal's life before his 18th birthday.  Neal reluctantly admits his father was a policeman which surprises Peter.

Neal arrives home to find Mozzie there wanting to know why Neal went to his arch rival about the ruby instead of coming to him.  Neal promises he will go to Mozzie first next time.  He asks Mozzie if he's ever curious about his birth parents, which Mozzie isn't in the least.  Mozzie asks if Peter knows about his father and Neal says he told Peter his father was a cop.  Mozzie wonders if Neal will tell him stating he could be useful.  Neal ends the discussion.

Peter and Neal go to see Randy, with Neal wearing glasses which he claims will make it better to see the gems (despite the fact he has 20/20 vision).  Neal explains about a trunk show Randy is having and how he likes stones that have an interesting story moreso than a valuable cut.  Neal wants to do the talking because Chris doesn't have time for a warrant and he's positive if the ruby is there, he will find it.

Randy greets Mr. Donnelly (Neal) warmly and they talk briefly about Donnelly's family, which Neal actually provides a photo of.  He introduces Peter as Nancy's (his wife's) brother, Mr. Satchmoknow about the ruby.

At the office, Neal and Peter bring Diana up to speed.  Randy didn't know the name of the man who sold him the ruby.  He was a British man and the first time he'd done business with him.  They need to make the man come to them so they decide to use the trunk show to host a showing of exquisite gems and invite the Who's Who of the jewelery world in hopes the smuggler will turn up.  Neal points out a problem that Randy's inventory is well-known and they will need something much more spectacular if they're to be successful.

Peter confides in Neal that the FBI has a gem vault.  He never shared the information before because "why give an alcoholic a drink?".  Jones brings a few gems into the conference room and Neal surveys them.  He agrees they are nice but none will threaten their smugglers corner on the market.  They need a pigeon blood to draw him out.  Neal tells them he'll need an oven that reaches 2000 degrees Celsius and some equipment.

With the equipment in place, Mozzie and Neal start working on creating their gems.  Peter arrives and questions if the gem will fool the smuggler.  Neal eventually agrees it will.  Mozzie thanks Peter for the equipment, which Neal promised him he could keep as Mozzie doesn't work for free.  Six hours later, Mozzie pulls the cooked ruby from the oven and Peter holds it while Neal does the cutting.  Eventually, they have a very large and very perfect ruby.  Neal hits it once with a mallet to give it flaw.  The show at Randy's is set for tomorrow night and Mozzie assures them that unless someone is looking at the ruby under a microscope they will be fine.  Neal thinks he has a fix for that.

The next night, Diana is all dolled up and wearing the fake ruby so she can take the runway with the other jewelry models.  Sure enough, the guy they are looking for shows up.  Neal strikes up a conversation with him and tells him he (Neal) discovered the ruby last month at a castle in the Scottish highlands.  The man knows right off it's a story and Neal compliments him on his Maharajah story as well but says the paperwork is suspect for such a high profile gem.  Neal admits to him that he arranged the show just to meet him and to think of the money they could make if they combined their efforts.

Neal and the smuggler go downstairs to talk business where the man pulls a gun on Neal.  Jones, Peter and Diana enter and the man is taken into custody.  Peter wants to talk a deal with him.  Back at the FBI, Peter compliments the man on the ruby theft and asks if he's ever seen Christopher Harlow, which he man denies.  The next day, Peter assures Adam Wilson that Christopher will be fine as the Ambassador promised to call as soon as the thief's statement to the Burmese authorities was taken and Chris is released.  Wilson admits the relationship between he and Chris is poor but that Chris made his choice and he didn't want to be with his father.  Neal tells him he should have kept trying because a 12 year old doesn't know what he does and doesn't need.  Diana brings news the Ambassador's aide has called wanting to see him.

The British ruby thief, in front of the Ambassador, has identified a picture of Christopher as the man who helped him with the theft.  Peter says he showed the man Chris' photo and that he denied knowing him to which the man simply replies he didn't recognize him at first.  When they met Christopher had a beard.  The Ambassador refuses to let Peter have Collins (the thief) back to be charged with attempted murder.  Collins will be able to go home while Chris remains in jail.  Peter promises the Ambassador it isn't over.

At his home, Peter tries to get Neal to talk more about his father, which he will not do.  Peter will not let the issue rest and Neal agrees to tell him everything his mother had told him.  His father died when he was 2 in a hail of gunfire taking out a gang of bad guys.  He grew up wanting to be just like him.  A call comes in from Diana that she was able to get a copy of Christopher's video.

At the office they watch the unedited video.  Christopher is touching letters on his shirt, letters that spell "rocker" which is his girlfriend's nickname.  They call Wilson back in.  The Burmese were able to get to Christopher's girlfriend first.  Someone broke into her place that morning and stole her external hard drive.  She keeps a backup flash drive.  Chris was in Burma getting information for a documentary about the democracy of the region he was making.  She shows them a video she got from Chris last week where he says he's going to see the KNLA with someone he knows there in Burma.  Wilson feels guilty that his son was taken.  His sons girlfriend shows him another video where he is quoting something his father said.  That video can be used to establish Christopher's whereabouts at the time of the theft.

Peter and Neal go back to see the Ambassador.  They want to search the vehicle of the Ambassador's aide as well as her since her car was at Christopher's girlfriends at the time she was robbed.  They can search all except her bag which is a "diplomatic pouch".  The Ambassador comes outside wanting to know what is happening.  He refuses to let them search the pouch and tells them to take it up with the State Department.  Neal gets a message and needs to leave.  He meets with Wilson who begs Neal to not let the hard drive leave the country.  He wants Neal to steal the drive back.

Peter asks Diana if her father knows Wilson and what other connections he could have to the Bureau.  He is bothered about why Wilson chose them.  They realize that Wilson wanted Neal from the get-go because of who he is and what he can do.  He tells her to get Neal's tracking information for the last 36 hours. 

Neal and Mozzie go over the details of when, where, who and how the diplomatic pouch leaves the country.  Mozzie warns him that anything in the pouch is property of Burma, stolen or not, and if he steals the drive from the pouch, he will create and international incident.  Neal must get the aide to remove the drive for him.  They will use the fake ruby to get her to open and dump the pouch.  Peter arrives and asks what they are doing.  Mozzie, who's coat is now smoking severely from the box containing the ruby, goes outside so Peter and Neal and talk.  Peter doesn't want Neal to do anything but Neal insists he can help Wilson.  Peter makes him aware of the dangers involved and Neal accepts them.

Neal is waiting on the aide when she leaves the embassy and shows her the ruby.  She takes it indoors and shows it to the Ambassador.  Diana takes Peter news that Neal is at the embassy.  Peter doesn't want him to get caught and goes to the embassy.  The Ambassador and aide come back outside and he and his aide go to the car.  Peter arrives and asks what Neal needs him for.  The smoking jacket isn't smoking so they need to stall the Ambassador and his aide.  Peter jumps into action using a parking ticket on the car.  The Ambassador hands his aide the pouch while he shows Peter the vehicle registration.  Peter continues to stall and the pouch starts smoking.  The aide opens and dumps it.  Neal rushes in and grabs the drive and gives it to Peter.

A new Burmese Ambassador arrives to meet with Peter, Neal, Wilson and Chris' girlfriend.  He apologizes for their inconveniences and Chris gets out of the back of a car.  Wilson thanks Peter and Neal for saving his son.  Neal tells Peter the truth about his father.  His father was a dirty cop.  Neal asks "If I'm not my father's son, who am I?  Certain things are in my blood."  Peter doesn't believe that.
There isn't too much to say about this episode other than it was excellent, as usual.

We got a little more insight into Neal Caffrey's mysterious past in this episode.  We learned a little bit about his father.  Or, at least we learned what Neal wanted to tell about his father.

Isn't Mozzie the best?  It was very funny to see him standing there in Neal's apartment with his jacket smoking.  Only Mozzie!

White Collar airs Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. (US Eastern time) on the USA Network.
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