"Pilot" Recap

Season 1, Episode 1 Air Date: October 23, 2009
white collar pilot

Neal Caffrey escapes from a maximum security prison by dressing up as a guard and walking out the door. He ordered the uniform off the Internet from a supply company using the warden's wife's American Express card. He then restriped a utility card using the record head off a tape recorder to get through the main doors. Once outside, he hot wires a van and drives down the road.

white collar pilot

FBI agent Peter Burke is in the middle of tracking down a criminal known as "The Dutchman," when the case literally blows up in his face. He is pulled from that case to track Caffrey down since he was the FBI agent that caught him almost four years earlier. Burke knows the best way to find Caffrey is to track down Caffrey's long-time girlfriend, Kate Moreau. Sure enough, Burke finds Caffrey at Kate's apartment. Kate has moved out leaving only a 1982 Bordeaux bottle as a "good-bye message." Caffrey missed her by two days.

Before Caffrey is re-arrested, he notices something on Burke's jacket (a remnant from the earlier Dutchman explosion). He offers to identify it if Burke agrees to meet him in prison in one week. Burke reluctantly agrees. Caffrey correctly identifies it as a security fiber for the new Canadian hundred.

white collar pilot

One week later, Burke meets with Caffrey at the prison. Caffrey offers to help Peter catch the Dutchman. The catch is Neal wants to be released into Burke's custody and a GPS tracking anklet to monitor his movements. Burke declines Caffrey's offer.

Three months after that meeting, Burke is reviewing Caffrey's file at home. He tells his wife, Elizabeth, that today would be the day Caffrey would have been released had he escaped from prison. Burke seems to be reconsidering Caffrey's offer.

Next we find Burke meeting Caffrey outside the prison. Burke warns Caffrey that the release is only temporary, but may become permanent if they catch the Dutchman. Burke also tells Caffrey he needs to let Kate go if this arrangement is to succeed and that if Caffrey tries to run, he will be put in prison for life once Burke catches him.

Burke takes Neal to a run-down hotel. Caffrey protests but Burke says it's only $700 a month and that if Caffrey can find better arrangements for that price he should take them. When Caffrey asks what he should do about clothing (he has none), Burke suggests he check out a thrift store down the block.

At the thrift store, Caffrey is looking at clothing when an elderly woman, June, comes in to donate some of her late husband's clothes. Caffrey goes to check them out and notices that one of the suits was made by Sy Devore. June says she has a closet full of her late husband's designer suits in her empty guest room.

white collar pilot

The next morning, Burke arrives to pick up Caffrey at the hotel and is given a note. The note explains that Caffrey has moved 1.6 miles away. Burke arrives to find Caffrey having breakfast on the balcony of the mansion. He is immediately concerned that this is a start of another of Caffrey's something-for-nothing schemes that got him sent to prison. Caffrey feels it is just sour grapes on Burke's part.

white collar pilot

Burke and Caffrey arrive at the airport where Burke's probationary agent, Diana, informs them that customs seized a shipment of antique books brought in by a book dealer named Tony Field. The books turn out to be 600 copies of Blancanieves y Los Siete Enanos (Snow White and her Seven Little Men). Before Burke has a chance to talk to Field, his lawyer arrives. Outside the room, Burke asks the Custom officers why they didn't tell him Field had called his lawyer. When the officers tell Burke that Field hadn't called anyone, Burke realizes something is wrong. He runs back to the room to find Field dead, a syringe sticking out of his neck.

Caffrey and Burke identify the books closer when Caffrey notices they were published in Madrid, Spain in 1944. Caffrey notices that the first page is a blank sheet of 1944 Spanish press parchment. He concludes that the Dutchman is planning on forging something that was originally printed on this type of paper. Burke looks through Field's wallet and discovers that he had visited the National Archives right before his trip.

white collar pilot

Caffrey and Burke go to the National Archives where an archivist named Vincent show him what Field was interested in: a Spanish Victory Bond. Caffrey looks at it closer and realizes that the Bond in the archive is a forgery that was replaced within the last week because the ink has not dried yet.

Back at FBI headquarters, Caffrey and Burke try to figure out what the Dutchman is doing. They quickly figure out that the Dutchman plans to forge hundreds of rare 1944 Spanish Victory bonds, and claim to find them. Because the bonds are still negotiable, each one would be worth about $250,000.

As Burke takes Caffrey home, Caffrey reminds him that Burke's wedding anniversary is coming up. Burke realizes that he has nothing planned, although every year he intends to do something special. He tries to get Caffrey to help him think of something, with no luck.

When Caffrey arrives back at the mansion, he sees a man sitting in the shadows near the stairway. When he approaches, he discovers his long-time friend, Mozzie. Caffrey asks Mozzie for help finding Kate and identifying the Dutchman.

white collar pilot

The next morning, Burke is getting ready for work when his phone rings. Caffrey has activated his anklet by going outside his two mile radius. Burke grabs his coat and rushes to the door… only to find Caffrey sitting on his couch with Elizabeth. Caffrey tells him he's figured out who the Dutchman is because he signed the Bonds with his initials. It is Curtis Hagen, a talented art restorer whose own work never took off.

Hagen is currently working on restoring a church in Manhattan, but when Burke and Caffrey go to check it out Hagen recognizes Caffrey. Hagen is spooked and makes plans to leave the country in a week. This means Caffrey has one week to catch him or else his deal with the FBI is up and he'll be back in prison.

Another tip from Mozzie leads Caffrey and Burke to a waterfront warehouse. Caffrey can hear a printing press running inside, but with nothing to connect Hagen to the warehouse, Burke can't get a warrant. They are at a dead end.

Caffrey is reading a book on warrant law at home when he gets an idea. He picks up a set of car keys. A short time later, Burke is awakened by a phone call that tells him Caffrey has decided to run. Caffrey drives to the warehouse and starts taking pictures of men standing outside it, claiming to be taking a photography class. The two men hustle Caffrey inside the warehouse where Caffrey sees the bonds being printed. When the put Caffrey in Hagen's office, Caffrey takes the opportunity to lock the door&madsh;keeping the men out.

white collar pilot

Meanwhile, outside Burke arrives with a fleet of FBI agents outside. He informs them that a fugitive hiding inside the building, which allows him to enter the warehouse. Once inside, "exigent circumstance" allows them to seize any evidence of other crimes in plain view. Burke walks over to where Caffrey is smoking a cigar to discover the original bond sitting in a (now open) safe. Burke hops on the desk to sit next to Caffrey and enjoy Hagen's arrest.

Later, Burke is leading a blindfolded Elizabeth on to the balcony outside Caffrey's apartment. He has the rooftop decked out like a beach scene and informs her that they will be taking a week-long vacation in Belize, finally taking the Caribbean vacation he's been promising her.

The next morning, Burke meets Caffrey on the same balcony. He hands Caffrey an FBI badge and tells him that their arrangement has been made permanent for the next four years.

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