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‘White Collar’ recap: Neal’s back to old tricks with the Pink Panthers

USA Network’s “White Collar” continues to prove there’s not a pinch dapper con artist Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) can’t wiggle out of as the cop-buddy drama enters its sixth and final season with the premiere of “Borrowed Time." 

After being kidnapped in season five’s last moments, Caffrey’s now taped to a chair in an abandoned New York building eyeing his captor, con man Jim Boothe (Toby Leonard Moore). Boothe may have blown his audition with the Pink Panthers -an elusive network of criminals - after not snagging the Hope Diamond’s twin with Caffrey’s love interest Rebecca Lowe/Rachel Turner (Bridget Regan) last season.

Caffrey suggests stealing from Pink Panther leader Alan Woodford (Gavin Lee). 

“Your options are prison, death or trusting me. What’s it going to be?” Caffrey asks. 

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At FBI headquarters, Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) contemplates whether or not Caffrey is on the run again. After Caffrey’s trusted friend Mozzie (Willie Garson) shoots down the idea, Burke turns to Rebecca for answers. 

“I know you love Neal. Both of us would do whatever it takes for the people we love,” Burke tells her. “There’s still time to save Neal so...you need to give me a name." 

Moments later, FBI agents swarm the abandoned building, but find only a message from Caffrey carved in a wooden chair: the word “Kessman,” a towering building of lucrative tenants and the heist’s location.

Mozzie fills in and realizes Caffrey can access the guarded building by only a zip line, entering through the roof door. The reveal forces Mozzie to expose his connection with a guy named “Fat Charlie,” who has the materials to pull off the job. Burke “fills in” for Fat Charlie, much to the surprise of an arriving Caffrey who slyly confirms the Pink Panthers as the target. 

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During the heist, a quick-thinking Mozzie pretends to be a bike messenger and clips a side mirror on a Ferrari, much to the dismay of its owner, Woodford. The stall buys Caffrey time to switch his passport with Woodford’s inside a secret office vault. 

In a covert FBI van, Agents Diana Berrigan (Marsha Thomason) and Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins) realize Caffrey’s now expendable. At the rendezvous, Boothe points a gun at Caffrey but not before Berrigan clips Boothe in the shoulder with a bullet.

Caffrey reveals his audition for the Pink Panthers to Burke, but uses the FBI’s eagerness to infiltrate the network as leverage. The Pink Panthers in exchange for his freedom. 

“I want a contract...it has to be ironclad. No wiggle room from the FBI,” Caffrey states. 

“You deserve to. I will make sure that happens,” replies Burke.

The scene cuts to FBI headquarters where Caffrey learns why Rebecca, who tricked him last season, helped. 

“People like us, we live on borrowed time. We either end up behind bars or dead,” she said before agents lead her out.

Caffrey realizes too late Rebecca’s last words were a final good-bye. Outside, Rebecca reaches for an agent’s gun, prompting a “suicide by cop.” Caffrey sinks into agony, an all-too-familiar state that dates back to the first season when a jet explosion killed then-girlfriend Kate Moreau (Alexandra Daddario). 

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That night, Caffrey and Mozzie talk over wine at the balcony apartment. Mozzie confesses he sees the intrigue of working with the FBI, but it’s all an illusion. 

“We are who we are, as are they. They promised you freedom before, what makes you think, this time, they’ll deliver?” Mozzie asks. 

“Who says that’s all I’m after?” Caffrey answers back. 

Burke heads home to find Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) who left for D.C. last season to work for the National Gallery of Art. “El” has news. She’s pregnant. 

To fans of the beloved couple, cue the hashtag #BabyBurke.


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