On the midseason premiere titled "Family Business", Neal was given a sneak peek on his father's life as a cop. Agent Burke's team targeted a resurrecting Irish Mob. And Mozzie shared his skills in creating fake booze.
Please join me as I dissect this installment of White Collar! To begin with, Neal finally knows that Sam is his real father and as to be expected, the early minutes rolled with Sam explaining his side to Neal about how he turned into a filthy cop. (with Peter on the side for moral support, of course.)
Apparently, Sam who is now identified as James Bennett, took a bundle of cash from a police operation they infiltrated years ago. Unfortunately, he wasn't as good as Neal in sneaking loads of money. He was caught right on the spot by his supervisor. Boohoo. But hey, atleast his reason lies on the side of being righteous. He did it for his family and all that "economy is bad" crap. On the heels of that tiny mishap, he was forced to be one of the bad guys because of the classic blackballing scheme that series villains love to do. His superior told him that he will let his stealing slide if he participates in helping out an Irish mob headed by a Dennis Flynn. The man whom we find out later is the father of Ellen's killer.
What was interesting on this revelation was, Ellen didn't know that Sam was his long lost friend, James. This sounded particularly absurd to me, do aging really makes people unrecognizable? Well, apparently for Ellen it does.
Meanwhile, Neal who's still looked lip-smacking sexy while infuriated with the news that Flynn Jr. is still at large, wants vengeance for Ellen. Presently, the Flynn family is known to be on the bootlegging business. So Peter and Neal brainstormed on how to make their way in. At first, Neal was adamant to arrest Flynn Jr. for murder but Peter contradicted that the bureau has no solid evidence yet. So, to get things going, the initial plan was to take him down first for distribution, a stepping stone for them to have a search warrant on his place of biz. With their plan fully-instigated, their new operation called for two elements: a) cheap booze and b) the best ingenious friend ever, Mozzie!
Well, I'm sure you can almost smell what happened next. Neal and Mozzie hang in his loft playing scientists as they formulate the best fake booze there ever was. And since our hero is Neal, he once again seized the moment. To those who are fantasizing to see Neal intoxicated with alcohol, this is your episode! Devour the upcoming three minutes of all-drunk-Neal!
On the next act, the White Collar team is set. In a classy, alcohol-palooza event spearheaded by the Suits' wifey, Elizabeth -- Peter and Diana are on the surveillance truck while Neal went incognito as a guy whose expertise is replicating whiskey. With Jones backing his cover, he was able to make an impression to Flynn Jr. Unfortunately, their target didn't take the bait. Neal appeared too legit. To resuscitate the operation, Elizabeth channels her inner Agent Peter Burke and stepped in. She kicked Neal out of the event, aggressively making Neal appear as a fraudulent entrepreneur. Moments later, we see the target finally taking the bait! Touche, El!
Meanwhile, the Burke household invited Neal and his father to dinner. Things were remarkably eerie between the two estranged father and son. Soon after dessert, James told Neal and Peter more about his involvement with the Irish mob and how his family was sent to WITSEC. James revealed that on the day he told Dennis that he's quitting, he threatened him by showing a box of whiskey with a murder weapon he used to kill another cop. Yes, the same exact gun that was used to kill Ellen.
This sets the team agenda to a new direction: to find that whiskey box. On the day Neal penetrates Flynn Jr.'s bootlegging biz, his target gave him a tour inside his office. And voila! In plain sight, the whiskey box was just displayed on the bar. How convenient huh? Neal, now more than eager to bring down Flynn Jr. stepped up. He convinced him that not only can he replicate the booze, he's also a master in forging ancient whiskey bottles. (Cue for Mozzie to exercise his virtuosity)
In their pursuance of charging Flynn with distribution of counterfeit materials, Peter must go undercover too! He will play a member of the Conroys, the family that used to run Flynn's whiskey distribution, and his mission is to make an official deal with Flynn Jr. so the FBI can charge him legally. Since James is very much knowledgable of the Conroys, he gave Burke a few tips. Later on, he continued to reveal more about his past to Neal. The big question on why he plead guilty to a crime he didn't commit is finally given an answer. Apparently, the Flynn mob is NOT the boss of the police. Instead, someone superior from the police force is the one pulling the strings. When Ellen excavated evidence that proved that James was framed, he received a threatening phone call from his prison cell that puts his life and his family in jeopardy. Hence, the WITSEC. I hope I made that pretty clear!
On the day of Peter dressed up as a Conroy, things turn sour when Flynn Jr. alluded that Neal and Mozzie are just collateral damage. He needs to get rid of them. Peter, unable to trick him out of it, summoned for his team and finally arrested Flynn for intent to distribute. Moments later, Diana reveals that Flynn was stabbed to death inside the prison. Due to this incident, Neal decided to send his father away from NY for protection. And for whatever its worth, they end the scene with a schmaltzy hug! Leaving our gorgeous con man a tad teary.
There you have it! Just like that, Neal Caffrey's family secrets are now out in the open. It's amazing how the writers wrapped it all up in just a mere 40 minutes. However, whoever killed Flynn Jr. is obviously a new arch nemesis for Neal Caffrey. And though I don't want to speculate, I hope that season 4 won't end with James Bennett getting a visit from the Grim Reaper. Do you think this new mystery man's next target is James?
This episode airs on Tuesday, Jan. 22 on USA Network.