White Collar Characters: Neal's Anklet

The following is a run-down of the anklet's history including key moments involving the anklet as seen on White Collar. If you'd like to see the anklet's range, I've got a map you can check out.

Season One

The Pilot is when the anklet's rules are established. It is tamper proof, never been skipped on. It is set up for a two mile radius around his home. His first thought is to attempt to break free from his restraints.

neal caffrey's anklet in pilot

Neal: Can you pick it?
Mozzie: No way. No way. You flew too close to the sun, my friend. They burned your wings.

Neal first activates the tracking anklet in the episode when he visits The Burke home is outside Neal's 2 mile radius. But Neal learns to make use of his new leash. He activates it when he is brought into The Dutchmen's warehouse, which enables Peter to enter the premises. It was called exigent circumstances: A situation that allows law enforcement to enter a structure without a warrant. It must be a situation where people are in imminent danger, evidence faces imminent destruction, or a suspect will escape.

In Threads Neal was focused on get getting the anklet off, although Mozzie thought he should look at the bright side of things. After all, it could have been much worse.

Neal: You're not getting this thing off me?
Mozzie: I'm working on it. You're lucky. They have you on a 2-mile tether. That's a lot in New York. Remember Jimmy Dimako? The Feds had his anklet set at 22 feet. He had to take a shower with one foot out of the tub.
Neal: That's not true.
Mozzie: Okay, maybe 30 feet.

Taste of Freedom

Neal caffrey's Anklet

In Book of Hours Neal experienced freedom for the first time. To prove he was not working with the FBI, Neal cut his anklet and ran off with Maria Fiametta. Luckily for him, it was all a ruse. And by the end of the episode, Neal was back in chains.

In The Portrait Neal learned how much the anklet restricted his freedom when Peter let him know that he constantly checks up on him.

Neal: You know I didn't steal it. You checked my anklet?
Peter: I always check your anklet. I pull a map up on you every day so I can see exactly where you've been. What was so interesting about grand central station?
Neal: Oyster bar — it's the best in town. I stayed within my two-mile radius.
Peter: I wonder if we've been a little too generous on that.
Neal: Oh, yeah.
Peter: What are you gonna sulk now?
Neal: You don't trust me.
Peter: What did Reagan say? "Trust, but verify."
Neal: That was also the motto of the Soviet secret police.
Peter: Get used to it, comrade.

neal caffrey's tracking anklet on white collar

With All In Neal found an all new freedom when the FBI removed his anklet so he could go under cover. Sure, it meant that he would nearly get killed, but anything was better than the anklet.

Less than Perfect

Or so he thought until an OPR agent named Garret Fowler entered his life. For the first time, instead of the anklet giving him an alibi, it made him suspect. In Free Fall, Neal was the prime suspect theft of a pink diamond and the anklet was as perfect as he thought.

Peter: Caffrey didn't do it. He wears an electronic monitoring anklet. It records everywhere he goes. Just pull it up.
Fowler: Yeah, we did that.
Peter: And?
Fowler: And some of the data from Caffrey's anklet is missing for last night.
Peter: Missing.
Fowler: Went dark for six hours.
Peter: Well, that's impossible. That anklet can't be tampered with.
Fowler: No, it can't, but... Evidently the database where the information is stored can be.

Instead of the alibi proving his innocence, it was used as proof that he was guilty. According to Peter, "The thief is associated with a law enforcement, your anklet was tampered with, you have no alibi, and your initials are on the diamond. What am I supposed to think?" Neal was arrested and his anklet removed. But his freedom from the anklet allowed him to escape from the watchful eyes of the FBI and clear his name...which led him to being released with the anklet back on.

The Pros and the Cons

Almost immediately, Neal learned that the anklet had a good side. It allowed Peter to find him and come to his rescue in Vital Signs. He was finally starting to accept the anklet, to forget about it and learn to tolerate its continual presence.

But others were not so forgiving. In Home Invasion, Neal found the anklet had formed a wall that would keep past associates, like Alex Hunter from dealing with him. Neal tried to make it look like the anklet wasn't quite the leash it really was:

Neal's tracking anklet in White Collar

Neal: Okay, every now and again, they go after some Madoff-type guy and ask me how he did it. Other than that, I barely communicate with them.
Alex: Then why the anklet?
Neal: They don't like me much. They use the anklet to track me remotely so they don't have to deal with me in person.

But while Neal trying to find a way to get Alex to trust him, he was forced to violate Peter's trust when the women he had tried to con paid him a visit and forced him to cut his anklet. While everyone at the FBI assumed Neal was running, only June believed in him. Luckily, she managed to convince Peter. Sure enough, when Peter pulled up Neal's tracking anklet information, he found Neal had left him a message. Once again, the anklet became Neal's salvation instead of a hindrance.

History Repeats Itself

Until his past started crashing down around him. First, it was with Matthew Keller, who used Neal's anklet to hold Neal back during a confrontation in Bottlenecked:

Keller: I should've warned you, but we're, uh...at the edge of your leash here. Might want to take it easy.

Then it was Ryan Wilkes, who manipulated FBI agent Kimberly Rice to removing Neal's anklet in Front Man so he could force Neal to steal a bunch of gold credit cards from a dangerous thug.

Neal's tracking anklet in out of the box

And then there was Alex, who refused to help Neal steal the music box as long as he wore the anklet. In Out of the Box, Neal had only one choice, go to the same man who manipulated the anklet in the past: Garret Fowler.

Fowler: This better be good.
Neal: I'm close to the music box.
Fowler: That supposed to mean something to me?
Neal: Well, you flew in from D.C., so I think it does. My window to get the box closes in the next week. I need my tracking anklet off now to make it happen.
Fowler: You're not suggesting something illegal, are you, Caffrey?
Neal: Of course not, especially to an upstanding federal agent such as yourself.

Neal's tracking anklet Neal's tracking anklet

Fowler came through. While sitting with Alex, Neal noticed that the green light was no longer glowing. He was so excited he had to show Peter Burke. But he waited to finally cut the anklet off until Mozzie was beside him. Without the anklet, Neal was able to steal the music box. But his plans to ride into the sunset with his lost love Kate blew up in a fiery explosion with the plane.

Continued in Anklet Season 2.