White Collar Review: Next Chapter

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After a very long few months away, White Collar’s Neal and Peter were back in the game in "Checkmate." But in this game, the stakes were more than the treasure that Neal and Mozzie took such care to conceal, as Elizabeth’s life hung in the balance.

Following the midseason bombshell that was Elizabeth’s kidnapping, White Collar wasted no time in pushing the intensity of the show and its characters to a new level.

White Collar Return Photo

Perhaps the most infamous villain, Keller, went from running the game to being a manipulated piece in it. The most surprising element was not the turned tables, but who chose to turn them, as Peter seemingly tapped into con-mode, emulating Neal’s quick thinking and scheming to reclaim the treasure.

It was no surprise, given Peter’s motivation to save his wife and partner-in-crime. Of course there were no limit to how far he would go to get her back. 

I would argue that this episode was Tim DeKay’s best performance as Peter Burke. He went from distressed husband to convincing ringleader in a very delicate con with ease. Peter has progressively become more open to alternative tactics when it comes to taking down criminals, but the assertiveness with which he took the reins here was a welcome sight.

As much as Peter’s mission to save his wife was compelling, so were Elizabeth’s efforts to save herself. I have always maintained that Elizabeth Burke is one of my favorite leading women on television for her strength and resolve both as a wife and as an asset to her husband and the team in previous cases.

I think her decision to psychologically toy with her captor was a nice touch. Even better, she was successful.

Above all else, I appreciated that, in the end, Neal’s decision to do the right thing and come clean coincidentally resulted in his opportunity to become a free man. Particularly reassuring was the fact that even though Keller took responsibility for the treasure’s theft, Neal struggled with - but ultimately rejected - the impulse to do anything about it. I am really starting to have faith in him.

Then again, remember that Neal made a comment earlier in the season about truly having to hit rock bottom in order to change. I don’t think Neal has truly hit rock bottom yet, though the argument could be made that his connection to the treasure and Elizabeth’s abduction could qualify as dangerously close to that.

Other highlights:

  • Neal’s recollection of the story of the pigeon who saved 200 lives.
  • Mozzie’s part in the con which required him to rat out deserving colleagues.
  • The slightly cheesy but still epic gladiator showdown between Neal and Keller.

It’s going to be quite an exciting season 3.5! You have NO excuse NOT to tune in! Do you think Neal will be a free man in three months? Can he be fully redeemed? Watch the official preview for next week's episode now!


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (550 Votes)

C. Charles is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


As a wife of an FBI agent, I don't get involved in my husband's cases. Elizabeth's involvement is so unrealistic. I guess it is for TV drama/action. Needless to say, I still enjoy watching it for entertainment value. Did not enjoy Neiborhood Watch episode, though. Again, too far-fetched. I enjoy Hilarie Burton/Sara Ellis and her repartee with Neal. I like her as an actress. Good choice making her a regular.


The big lesson from this episode was....ALWAYS invest in the highest quality jewelry you can afford. ;-)


Loved this episode and the fact that all the characters are on the same page again. Hopefully Peter and Neil will become true and sincere friends again...I didn't get the feeling that Peter totally forgave Neil (and Mozzie) for keeping the treasure hidden for so long. It will be an interesting 3 months left of Neil's probation. I do have one question....was the painting that was sold, then recovered due to a Neil fake, in the show last season that led to Keller's reappearance and a disappointed Peter learning that Neil really hadn't reformed, ever put back into the treasure hidden container? Or does Mozzie (and Neil) still have one true priceless piece of the treasure? I watched the recap earlier this week and didn't see that it was resolved -- only that the raid revealed an excellent reproduction was in the gun runner's possession.


Loved the show.....loved the episode.....cannot wait to see what is going to happen next


This was a very good episode to come back to after a 5 month break. Everyone had something to contribute. Jones and Diana proved themselves very competent on their own as they spearheaded the search for Elizabeth. Mozzie had to come clean and admit he cared. Elizabeth herself was anything but a helpless damsel in distress. Peter and Neal... well the cop and robber team were excellent. Tim DeKay and Matt Bomer each showed some stellar work in this episode. And personally, I hope Neal does get the anklet off - watching him try to stay on the right side of the line with nothing holding him there would be a lot of fun. It definitely seems to be the side he's chosen.


Very good. Something will happen before the 3 months are up.


I liked this midseason premiere episode of White Collar. The acting from Tim DeKay and Matt Bomer is always impressive. The rest of the cast rocks too, (except Hilarie Burton, which I had really hoped wouldn't have become a regular, she is not the best of actresses, really glad she wasn't in this episode.)... I hope that they don't take Neal's anklet off too soon, because the premise of this show has always been unique to other crime solving shows. I am sure that they will explore Neal's background more and I think there will be many more opportunities for new twists and turns to come about.
I have watched this show from Day 1 and except for the Sara intrusion, I think it is top notch and very entertaining.


1st why still no hart or dixie review
2nd wth is hilarie burton she is a regular
3rd I loved everything about lastnights ep well except hilarie wasn't there


The episode was fantastic. Mostly because I was pleased to have it back to begin with. I love that Elizabeth is that character to bring them all together because everyone lives her. I just knew mozzie would drop everything for her and of course Neal would too. I moved that he actually told Peter how he has a nice thing there. Such growth. And him getting his butt kicked and Peter heping him but then him helping Peter by soiting Keller was good. I actually would have loved to have seen Neal unite more with el.


IT'S BACK!! After watching the long awaited return of White Collar I am excited to have Neil Caffrey back in my life. Although this episode was a little short on wit, the intensity definitely kept everything going. I already knew Mozzie cared about Elizabeth or should I say Mrs. Suit, but when Mozzie basically admitted that he cared about Peter it made my eyes light up. Dekay did an amazing job as Peter this episode. I enjoyed seeing all the different sides of his character in one episode, and I'm glad to see a little Neal has rubbed off on him. The lead into the the next episode is a little worrisome, because I agree with Delena - Neal shouldn't completely reform! A lot of the essence of his character and intrigue is based on his thiefing ways. But I do have faith in him being a good person. Can't wait till next week!

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White Collar Season 3 Episode 11 Quotes

Peter: So you're saying you care.
Mozzie: About Mrs. Suit....and....

In three months, you could be a free man.