"What Happens in Burma" Episode Guide

White Collar What Happens in Burma
Season 2, Episode 12 Air Date: February 1, 2011

A diplomat from the United Nations approaches Neal and Peter about a college student, Christopher Harlowe, who was arrested for stealing pigeon blood rubies in Burma. He wants them to find the real thief in order to clear Harlowe's name.

Neal contacts an old colleague of his who is a gem expert and discovers that he is offering a similar ruby for sale. In order to uncover the thief who sold the gem, Neal and Peter must stage a gem show. The ruse works and the thief, Andrew Collins, is caught, but the Burmese ambassador makes a deal with Collins to change his story. Instead of freeing Harlowe, Collins confession implicates him.

After doing some further investigation, Neal and Peter contact Harlowe's girlfriend in New York. She reveals that Harlowe has been video-taping rebels in Burma and sending clips back to her. The Burmese authorities are trying to force Harlowe to reveal the rebels identities. And since the Burmese broke into his apartment and stole his girlfriend’s hard drive, it appears they may succeed.

The only option left is for Neal to manipulate the Burmese authorities into releasing the hard drive. As long as it is in their possession, it is on Burmese soil and Peter can’t touch it. Luckily, with a little help from Mozzie and Peter, Neal succeeds and Harlowe returns home. For more information, check out Quotes from "What Happens in Burma" or Nitpicks from "What Happens in Burma".

“You asked me about my dad. I think my mom told me what any kid would want to hear. … He wasn't [a hero]. He was a dirty cop. … If I'm not my father's son, who am I?” – Neal Caffrey


The Con

Neal uses an old alias of his, George Donnoley.

Neal and Mozzie make a fake pigeon’s blood ruby to get the attention of Andrew Collins.

Neal cons Su Raam into putting the fake gem into the pouch which causes it to smoke and for her to dump the contents on the ground.

Interesting Facts

Peter states that one of the FBI's gems could buy a loft in SoHo with change left over. In 2003, a 1,300 square foot loft sold for $1.3 million.

Character Information

The Bad Guys

Ambassador Than Kyi and the Burmese government hold Chris Harlowe, an American college student, on false charges. They want him to reveal the identities of several rebel leaders that Chris had met with. Ambassador Kyi convicted Collins to change his story to implicate Chris and sent one of his henchmen into to steal Chris's girlfriend's hard drive, which had images form Chris. At the end of the episode, Mr. Nyi Tar replaced Mr. Kyi as ambassador of the Myanmar Mission after Kyi had to return home for health reasons.

Andrew Collins is a gem smuggler. He stole a valuable pigeon's blood ruby and smuggled it into New York where Randy Morosco cut and attempted to sell it. Neal lured him out into the open using a fake ruby. Peter managed to get a full confession out of him in order to free Chris. But once Collins got to the Burmese embassy, he changed his story. The Burmese government end up giving Collins political asylum.



"No, thanks, Dr. Freud."

Dr. Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry.

"The man can slice a gem like Marcel Tolkowsky himself."

Marcel Tolkowsky was a member of a Belgian family of diamond cutters who developed the American Standard, which is the diamond-cutting benchmark in North America.

"I haven't had this much fun since I tripped Noam Chomsky."

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, author, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and political activist. He is considered by some as a political dissident and an anarchist, but refers to himself as a libertarian socialist.

"You need to get out more, Flashdance."

Flashdance is a 1984 musical. (Editor's note: This reference confuses me and I'm not sure exactly why it is said.)

"It's my own improvement of Auguste Verneuil's flame fusion apparatus."

Auguste Verneuil was a French chemist best known for inventing the first commercially viable process for the manufacture of synthetic gemstones.

"Close enough for government work."

This is a phrase that typically means less that perfect work. Its origins are unknown.

"You must owe your friend at Amnesty International a seriously expensive dinner."

Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organization. Its stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."

"All right, let's walk through this, Liz Taylor."

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor is an actress known for wearing large gems.

"Discussing Hegel and his rational realism."

Georg Hegel is one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.

Reviews & Links


Writer:Hy Conrad Director:John T. Kretchmer
Regulars Guest Stars
Neal Caffrey
Peter Burke
Elizabeth Burke
Clinton Jones
Diana Barrigan

Matt Bomer
Tim DeKay
Tiffani Thiessen
Willie Garrison
Sharif Atkins
Marsha Thomason

Adam Wilson
Ambassador Kyi
Randy Morosco
Andrew Collins
Christopher Harlowe
Maggie 'Rocker' Sheldon
Ni Tza, Burmese Diplomat
Su Raam
Cotter Smith
Reggie Lee
Danny Mastrogiorgio
Richard Short
Ryan Lane
Vanessa Ray
Jojo Gonzalez
Tess Paras

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