White Collar – S03E13 – “Neighborhood Watch”
White Collar meets Rear Window in this tale of suspicious neighbors. Elizabeth overhears something that makes her suspicious and after a little investigation she’s convinced her new neighbors are criminals. Enlisting the help of Mozzie and Neal, can Elizabeth prove that she’s not being paranoid since her experience with Keller… or is she really being paranoid? A fun, simple caper with a lot of laughs but not enough pizzazz.
Score: 3 1/2 of 5
Peter happens to leave some scanning devices at home and Elizabeth manages to overhear two men talking about what sounds like a heist. She tells Peter and he checks out the date, time and location of the supposed crime but nothing happens. Elizabeth is convinced she’s not being paranoid and enlists Mozzie and Neal to help prove her neighbor is up to something. (Nice though to see that Peter and Neal didn’t just completely write her off at the beginning as being paranoid.)
Casing the neighbor’s residence, Neal spies an illegal lock pick kit and while it’s against the law, it’s not solid proof of heinous wrong doings. Meanwhile, Jones and Diana do their due diligence in checking out Elizabeth’s lead but ultimately they admit that nothing is amiss and their own significant others have had their moments of paranoid delusion.
Tricking her way into a dinner with the neighbors, Ben (Joe Manganiello) and his wife, Elizabeth hopes to get Peter to see the lock picks. Instead she gets herself locked in a room with no way out. Neal has to talk her through picking a lock, another nod towards the blurring lines between the good guys and criminals. Neal is also having second thoughts about his impending freedom. In a ‘grass is always greener’ moment, Neal misses going on stakeouts with Peter, even if it’s nothing but potted meat and the game on the radio the whole time. As Neal leans towards good guy, the line is slowly disappearing.
Of course, Peter finds out what’s going on and he’s not happy, at all. However, when Elizabeth mentions a phone company uniform that she found, he’s able to put two and two together from an earlier report by Jones and Diana about phones going out during the time Elizabeth though a crime was going to occur. Ben and his partner went through a dry run.
Needing more evidence, and to find out who Ben’s partner is, Neal goes undercover as another ‘ex-con who is getting the shaft by the system’. It’s enough to get Ben to trust him to the point of Neal getting close enough to discover a clue that will later tell them exactly how the crime is going to go down, but not exactly where. They figure it out but get there in time to find a missing safe and the robbers getting out of Dodge via a hail of bullets.
Elizabeth, who is keeping eyes on Ben’s wife, decides to follow her when she leaves and they all end up at a club where the money is being divvied up. Fearing the group will be scattered and gone before Peter can get there, Elizabeth and Mozzie storm in, pretending to be Feds. This is possibly the most awkwardly painful but hilariously awesome moment of the entire show.
Successfully stalled, Peter gets there in time to arrest the felons and all is right with the world. We get another ‘on the nose’ moment when Neal has this exchange with Ben.
Ben: I thought you were one of us.
Neal: I used to be.
Yeah, we get it, leading up to Neal going legit. But hey, at least it wasn’t a long speech so that’s something.
Overall an enjoyable episode and great to see more Mozzie and Elizabeth, but it was soft with no real twists. Definitely worth watching but you could literally stick it anywhere in the last three seasons and it would work. Still, let’s hope this is only the beginning of Mrs. Suit going slightly-rouge. It suits her. (pun intended)