'White Collar' recap: 'Empire City'

By Drew Barile,

The episode of White Collar was not as intense as last, however it did set the stage for the evolution of the over arching plot. Neal and Peter, with Mozzie, in this episode solved a case of a fraudulent taxi scheme involving a Jazz club as the setting. More importantly the case helps Neal figure out what section of cityscape the mysterious key matches.

At the start of the episode we are introduced to Mozzie working as a cab driver. Mozzie was a taxi driver because he was convinced that he was able to get information, maybe even about the key. Neal and Peter were still trying to find the cityscape. Neal inside the cab expressed his frustration with being unsuccessful in solving the key.

Neal and Mozzie discussed how they have looked at so many places and with no success, and we have a cut scene to Peter, who also is empty handed regarding progress with the key. However, he was not working as proactively as Neal, rather tracking Neal by his ankle bracelet hoping Neal would have answers.

However, as Neal and Mozzie are driving, Mozzie noticed another cab with his numbers. He become enraged and told Neal that he paid for his cab legally and this was a crime in progress; one that had to be confronted. Mozzie chased the cab and went through consecutive red lights and was arrested. Peter was called by Neal for help, because Mozzie was arrested. Peter then was informed by Neal and Mozzie that this duplicate numbered cab was a case worth taking.

Peter took the case of course. Peter went as an undercover TLC employee to question the Taxi Cab Company owner. And in typical Mozzie fashion, he was already there trying to be "Columbo" and solve the case. Peter frustrated, light-heartedly though, told Mozzie to quit it and let him handle it. Peter confronted Luke DeSark the operator of the Cabs incognito.

Mozzie, Neal and Peter managed to get access to the phony cab's GPS. At Neal's apartment all three looked at the GPS list of destinations. One location caught their eye as Mozzie never had fare to that location. The location was the The Cotton Club, a jazz cigar club in Harlem. They immediately went to the club to snoop. Again Neal and Peter were pretending to be other people to draw out information for one of the two club owners. They discover there was reopening on Friday.

While Neal and Peter were inside Mozzie gets a fare. The customer was the other owner, turns out the two owners are brothers. Inside, Neal and Peter convinced him that they can offer a singer for opening night as Mozzie chatted up the one brother in the cab. Turns out the brother, Angelo, in the cab works for the Taxi and Limousine commission.

Diana went undercover as a cigar girl in the club. While there she snuck from her a summed duties as cigar girl to snoop. She went to the cellar under the guise of getting more cigars and overheard the brothers talking. She listened to them, thought they had left and tried to get into their office. Obviously she was caught by the one of the brother, Delman. She created a lie that she was looking to sneak a peek of the old record collection in the room. She was successful at persuading the brother. She even chatted with Delman and they talked music and the Cotton Club.

While in the basement office Diana spotted a safe and figured it was holding something of value (as that is the purpose of a safe). The safe however, was voice activated and most certainly presented an issue.

June was recruited by Mozzie and Neal to help create a fake vintage album so Neal can convince the Delman and they can get access to the club on the opening night. It worked of course. At the opening, Neal snuck down to the cellar activates the voice safe with a recording; and replaces the taxi medallion Angelo's brother was selling DeSark with a phony one. The switch offered them the opportunity of luring Angelo's brother to meet DeSark at the club and see them enter into a illegal transaction to bust them.

They witnessed the exchange and pounced on the unsuspecting perpetrators. Peter arrests DeSark and Angelo downstairs in the cellar office. Peter goes to arrest Delman, knowing he wasn't the orchestrator and Angelo stepped in and took full blame for the illegal activity as his brother was unaware of what was truly going on and just a pawn in his scheme.

Cut to Neals' house. Neal and Mozzie were sitting discussing the key mystery, when something about the case they just solved sparked a thought. Neal realized that the vantage point for the cityscape was regarding a perspective in his life, not Ellen's. He had been looking for all the wrong things, and the wrong way when approaching the mystery. He explained to Mozzie that when Peter was closing in on Neal before he was arrested he saved corks. Corks from wine bottle he drank at the pier, the corks represented day he was still free. The two went to the pier and noticed that the cityscape for the key was seen from the vantage point of the pier! The cityscape matches but the key doesn't cover one particular building: The Empire State Building. And the episode ends.

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