White Collar Review: Knockdown

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It's official: It's "Gloves Off" for Peter and Neal on White Collar.

From the mutual distrust they can't seem to shake to Sam apparently going to ground, these two just can't seem to get on the same page. Nowhere was that more evident than in the boxing ring.

Neal Punches Peter

The episode began with perhaps my most favorite heartfelt moment so far, the playing of Ellen's tape to a young Neal in the event they were never to see each other again. What surprised me about this big reveal is how little, if any, new information was gleaned from this much-anticipated film.

We did learn that Neal's father was a cop in D.C. That was something we didn't already know. Similarly, we discovered that the DCPD is clearly wrought with the corrupt officials, who apparently had it out for Neal's dad. Why did his father admit to a crime he didn't commit? Only time will tell.

Back to the emotional side of this moment: To see Neal tear up as he heard Ellen leave him a message really got to me. We don't get to see Neal emotional very often, but it seems to be something that's come up a lot this season.

No case more obvious than when Neal went after Peter in the ring over Sam being compromised as well. Neal was angry, and rightly so. It does seem that Peter can never just trust Neal.

I know that, for the most part, Peter wants nothing but to protect Neal in whatever way he can, but that desire to protect is bordering on a desire to micro-manage even that which he shouldn't have the authority to control.

Yes, Neal has made some questionable choices in the past. But unless Peter stops trying to pull on the reins, the horse is going to continue to struggle against his master.

According to Neal, he's already reached a point of no return in his relationship with Peter, and it seems like these two will have to overcome a few more obstacles in order to solve their next case.

Props to the writers for timing it such that Neal was able to release this anger immediately on Peter. What a fight! I would have put all my money on Neal had he not yielded to the greater cause of outing the illegal boxing ring.

Other highlights from the episode:

  • Elizabeth bringing delicious desserts to Neal's place.
  • Neal banging around awkwardly to try and drown out any and all mentions of the tape.
  • Mrs. Suit spying, giving a play-by-play to Mr. Suit over the phone.
  • Mozzie and Jones helping choreograph the fight between Neal and Peter.
  • Shirtless Matt Bomer for an extended period of time.
  • Neal and Peter in sweats. Surprisingly good look for both. Though I still prefer them in Brooks Brothers.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (782 Votes)

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


Oh, Peter and Neal could resolve so many things if they would just TALK! Still, I was disappointed that Peter, once again, jumped to conclusions about Neal. Peter set the "pact" guidelines himself, and they only involved the tape. And Neal specifically said he needed time to figure out how all of them could work together, which would probably mean talking to Sam. So I am disappointed in Peter's reaction - again. Still, the fight was an impressive interlude - both guys looked great in action. And despite his (justifiable) anger, Neal came through in the end and took the fall. But Neal's pain at the very end in Sam's apartment was heartbreaking. I may be mad at Peter, but serious kudos to Matt Bomer and Tim Dekay for the work they did in this ep!


For those who think Peter is wrong; let's not forget what he has given up to help Neal, including nearly his career. Also, Neal was still running a con on Peter with his "word games". He told Peter he wouldn't show Sam the tape knowing Peter didn't want Neal seeing Sam without back up and when Peter realized Neal was seeing Sam he jumped to a familiar conclusion. Word games from Neal! They are dealing with, potentially, corruption raining down on them in torrents & Neal's life being in serious danger & Neal is playing word games. Right now both Peter & Neal are being watched closely after the island escape and Neal could be sent back to prison & Peter could be demoted or fired in disgrace. No room for word games or secrets between them & Peter is in the doghouse with Neal & some viewers for trying to keep Neal out of prison. Neal can be his own worst enemy at times & keeping Peter at arms length & out of the loop is extremely dangerous!


I agree that Neal and Peter need to get on the same page, and soon...they both have trust issues, but their friendship shouldn't be severed over this, especially since Sam is obviously not who he says he is (I am wondering, like everyone else, if he is Neal's father) The one thing that really disappointed me about this ep was that we didn't get to see Mozzie very much, and I love him! It was good to see more of Elizabeth, because she is a great character, too, and yes, seeing Peter and Neal with no shirts was truly a sight for sore eyes!


I disagree that Peter is trying to micro-manage Neal. I believe that it is his way of protecting those that he cares about...even Mozzie agrees with Peter. From the previews I think we will all know that Sam is the one who doesn't trust Neal.


I was thinking Sam was Neil's father, but it doesn't make sense for him to string Neil along, almost abusively. There is something nefarious about his behavior.


I agree that Peter is a controller and this trait is pushing Neal away. Love Neal in the fight scene, he really showed his hurt & frustration with Peter. Love "Mrs Suit" who is so classy & understanding of Peter's job and Mozzie with all his conspiracy theories. I'm a little sick of Jones & The woman agents snide remarks about Neal. I think it's jealousy. I have really lost all respect for them.


who was the actress who play the younger verison of Ellen I agree that sam is either neal father or one of the cops


They did reveal in the trailer for the summer finale that Sam may or may not be who he says he is. My money is on a corrupt cop impersonating Sam, or Neil's father. Either way I'm excited to see how it turns out (or hangs on a cliff more likely... but still)


I think sam isn't who he says he is. I think he is one off the DC corrupt cops and came to see what neal had on them. Trashed his own place and gained neals trust. Because we don't really know who he is, didn't have a photo in his file only a name


oh come on! peter has every right to NOT trust neal- exactly how many times has neal gone behind peter's back? He actually at one point broke into his house! neal has been a criminal for so long, and peter is an FBI agent. the idea that peter has control issues? Neal is not a normal consultant, he's a criminal. Has he been less criminally in the past? yes, but every couple of episodes Neal tries to run a con on Peter. It's amazing Peter hasn't severed the partnership yet.

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White Collar Season 4 Episode 9 Quotes

Call the Harvard crew! we need to make it look like a hedgefund.


I get to have a private life!