White Collar – Season 1 – Episode 1 – Pilot

WC1x01-BurkeCaffreyWhite Collar Rewatch Recap – Season 1 – Episode 1

This is a rewatch so it may contain SPOILERS for any part of the series.


The pilot opens with a close up of Neal trimming his facial hair and then shaving. Neal then just walks out of the prison dressed in a guard’s uniform. He then hotwires a truck, buys a yellow valet jacket and gets a convertible from the airport. He then drives across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan in the scene that becomes part of the opening credits.
Neal_Caffrey_1Important Moments:

Peter is trying to catch a criminal called the Dutchman when Diana walks in to tell him that Neal Caffrey escaped. Peter wonders why Neal would escape with three months left on a five-year sentence. Peter asks questions of the prison guards to figure out how Neal escaped, and smiles at how clever Neal was and how stupid some of the guards were. He then sees video of Kate visiting Neal in prison and it looks like the meeting went badly. This leads Peter to the empty building where he finds Neal alone with a wine bottle.

Neal reveals that he knows about Peter’s case, and he makes a proposition to Peter that he work with Peter to help him solve the case. Peter doesn’t appear to think it’s a great idea, but then talks to his wife, Elizabeth, later. Cut to the next morning, where Neal is walking out of prison where Peter is waiting for him.

They figure out that the dead book dealer was bringing in old copies of Snow White from the 1940s for the front page, which was a blank page. They find out that he visited a Goya bond. While Neal and Peter are looking at it, Neal tells the archivist that it’s a forgery. They realize the Dutchman is going to say he found boxes of the bonds, and they would be compared to the original, which is now the forged copy, at the archives.

Neal finds out that Hagen is working out of a shell corporation that is located down by the docks. (I guess they mean the Brooklyn docks?) Peter believes that Hagen is the one forging the bonds, but they have no way of getting in.

Curtis Hagen AKA the Dutchman.
Curtis Hagen AKA the Dutchman.

Peter recreates a tropical island on the roof of June’s house and presents Elizabeth with plane tickets to actually go to Belize for their anniversary.

The next morning, Peter brings Neal his official FBI badge that lists him as a consultant. He has to work with Peter for the next four years.

Best Moments:

Peter finds Neal alone in an empty building, holding an empty Bordeaux bottle. They talk and Neal sees the fiber from the previous case on Peter’s shoulder. Neal asks for a meeting in prison if he tells Peter what the fiber is.

The 1982 Bordeaux.
The 1982 Bordeaux.

June walks into the thrift store where Neal is unhappily browsing for clothes after being given a room in a very seedy hotel. He appreciates the clothes she is donating and it is kismet, because she also has a guest room that she hasn’t used for anything other than storage in years, and she even lives nearby. Neal smiles. It’s a smile worth noting.


Peter and Neal have an argument because Peter doesn’t think people who do normal things should have a fantastic house and all the stuff Neal has managed. His speech actually does have a real life point, but then that is kind of the point of Neal’s character.

Peter hands Neal a copy of Warrant Law, explaining they have nothing to obtain a warrant to go into the warehouse where Hagen is working. Neal takes it home and reads it on the couch, shirtless, as you would, but there’s no complaining here.
The next scene has Peter getting a call that Neal ran. We then see that Neal is taking photographs outside the warehouse to draw attention to himself. It works and he is brought into the warehouse and put into Hagen’s office. Neal locks himself into the office and sits down with his feet up on the desk. Peter and the police arrive. Now they have probable cause to enter because they have a fugitive hiding in the building and they have legal cause to seize visible evidence and can now arrest Hagen.

Peter/Neal Moments:

Neal asks Peter about his anniversary and Peter forgot. Neal tries to help and they have a conversation that shows the beginnings of the friendship that will build between Neal and Peter throughout the series.

Neal opens the office for Peter after they get into the warehouse and arrest Hagen. The pair of them sit on the desk and enjoy Hagen’s cigars.

Neal and Peter after arresting Hagen.
Neal and Peter after arresting Hagen.

In Which We Meet Mozzie:

Neal walks into June’s house and thinks someone is inside. He looks in the dining room, where his old friend Mozzie is sitting at the dining room table in the dark. Neal asks Mozzie to help him figure out who created the forged bonds.

Funniest Moments:

Neal thinks he’s flirting with Diana. Peter informs him that he’s not. Diana isn’t into guys. Neal’s facial expression is hilarious.

Peter goes downstairs the next morning to find Neal on his couch, petting his dog. Peter says he’s putting Neal back in prison, but then Neal reveals that he knows who the Dutchman is. Curtis Hagen, an art restorer who is particularly good at Goya restorations.

Neal and Elizabeth.
Neal and Elizabeth.

They go to the church where Hagen is working on a restoration, but the priest says the church is closed. Neal tells the priest that Peter is tempted by his assistant, making an elaborate story about Peter, and the priest relents and lets them in.

Peter has compiled Elizabeth’s visa bills, eBay bids and that sort of thing to figure out what to do for their anniversary. Neal is wary of his methods, leading to an amusing conversation.

Mozzie is smoking as a way to talk to Neal. He says he tears off the filter (a clue) and then says, “but I’m hardcore.” He then immediately begins to cough.

The Kate Situation:

I don’t know about everyone else, but I never understood why Neal was so infatuated with Kate. But he is, and in the pilot, Mozzie finds a picture of Kate in San Diego going under the pseudonym Kate Perdu, perdu being the French word for lost.

Soundtrack Moment:

“The Good Life” by Frank Sinatra plays as Peter walks into June’s house in complete disbelief that Neal lives somewhere nicer than he does.

Neal looking "classic rat pack" or "like a cartoon," depending on your perspective.
Neal looking “classic rat pack” or “like a cartoon,” depending on your perspective.

Best Lines:

“You know I don’t like guns.” – Neal

“We surrounded? How many?” – Neal
“Including my agents and the marshals? All of them, I think.” – Peter

“That’s the same suit you were wearing the last time you arrested me.” – Neal

“Did you get the birthday cards?” – Neal
“Nice touch.” – Peter

“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?” – Elizabeth
“It’s a working theory.” – Peter

“It’s perfect. Even the freaking coffee is perfect.” – Peter

“You look like a cartoon.” – Peter
“This is classic rat pack. This is a Devor.” – Neal

“I will find out where June buys her coffee if it’s that important to you.” – Neal
“It’s not about the coffee.” – Peter

“You are way out of your league.” – Peter
“Oh, harmless flirting. It’s like a dance.” – Neal
“No, there is no dance. You’re not even on her dance card. No dancing for you.” – Peter

“Were you chasing the ambulance or did they give you a ride? You must have thumbed.” – Peter

“I thought the FBI had a policy.” – Neal
“That’s the military. We don’t ask. We don’t care.” – Peter

“Let’s problem solve. What’s she into?” – Neal
“Sexually?” – Peter
“Ew, no, no! Existentially. What makes her feel alive?” – Neal
“I’m drawing a blank.” – Peter
“How could you not know? When you were chasing me, you knew my shoe size, what time I woke up in the morning.” – Neal
“That’s the job. Very different.” – Peter
“So a relationship isn’t work?” – Neal
“Oh, no, no, 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. [Moment of silence.] That was harsh. I didn’t mean that.” – Peter
“Yeah you did.” – Neal

“What am I gonna do?” – Peter
“Nope, no more relationship advice from this side of the car. Call Dr. Phil.” – Neal

“Listen to the spirit, son, not the flesh.” – priest, to Peter
“What was that about?” – Peter

“So you’re stalking your own wife?” – Neal
“Wanna compare notes?” – Peter
“Touche.” – Neal

“Make Elizabeth any promises, Peter? Or do you think what she really wants is oleander candles?” – Neal

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  3 comments for “White Collar – Season 1 – Episode 1 – Pilot

  1. April 24, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    I absolutely LOVE White Collar! I wish I could some how (legally) get hold of seasons 4& 5 in the UK! 🙁

  2. April 24, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Such a fun show! I don’t know if netflix instant streaming is available in the UK yet, but if so, season 4 at least is available on it.

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