"White Collar" In the Red (TV Episode 2010) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • The arrest of a jewel thief leads Peter and Neal toward a much more heinous extortion case against adoptive parents. To catch the heartless mastermind, Peter and Neal dive headfirst into the world of high-stakes gambling to force the criminal's hand.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Open with the gang busting a woman attempting to sell jewels owned by her employer. Neal (Matt Bomer) is the one used to make the exchange and he almost seems to try and talk the woman out of it. Once the exchange is made and agents move in, we see that her small child was in the back seat.

    Mozzie (Willie Garson) tells Neal he broke into Sara's place and stole the voice recorder from Kate's plane. He hands Neal the package and Neal realizes Kate's last words could be on the recording. Strangely Neal stashes the package and leaves for a meeting with Peter (Tim DeKay).

    Peter tells Neal the woman's child, Ollie, has been handed over to child protective services. His mother, Catherine, has no priors.

    Catherine asks to speak with Peter and tells him that she adopted her son from Chechnya with help from the international adoption lawyer Luke Donovan (John Larroquette). A month after the adoption was finalized, Donovan told her the birth mother was back and wanted $50,000. That wasn't enough and Donovan told her if she wanted to keep her son she needed to come up with $100,000 more. She never saw conclusive proof Donovan was telling the truth, but she was short on time.

    Neal tells Peter he thinks Donovan was extorting Catherine.

    Donovan tells Peter that birth mothers often return looking for more money. He offers only his Chechnyan contact as proof, suggesting Peter fly to the country and try to find the woman if he's not convinced.

    On his way out of the office, Peter passes Clark the Shark (Michael Aronov), the enforcer for Taz Abramoff, a Chechnyan mob boss. Peter is convinced there has to be a connection. Sara (Hilarie Burton) arrives on the floor wanting to give Neal a lie detector test to determine whether he was the one who stole the recorder from her place.

    Using a thumbtack, Neal is able to beat the lie detector test. Peter, watching from another room, is convinced Neal must have done it. Jones (Sharif Atkins) calls Peter with info. Clark the Shark was seen heading into the New York Room, an illegal card room. In his file Peter sees Donovan is an accomplished poker player.

    Neal is able to trick his way into the New York Room. Inside, he learns there is huge poker game taking place that Friday. He gets himself a seat in the $100,000 buy-in game and manages to see on a computer Donovan owes Taz $200,000.

    Outside Neal asks Peter: "You got $100,000 I can borrow?"

    Jones and Diana (Marsha Thomason) have had no luck finding dirt on Donovan. Peter's plan is for Neal to beat Donovan in poker to make him more desperate. The plan is for Jones and Diana to pose as a rich married couple struggling with the adoption process in hopes Donovan's financial straits will cause him to make a move.

    Neal tells Mozzie about Sara's interest. Neal seems nervous about listening to the tape.

    Diana and Jones get their story together and meet with Donovan. Donovan grills them about their connection to him but they are able to hire him as their attorney.

    Neal asks Burke for help finding Donovan's tell.

    Sara shows up at Neal's place with detectives and a search warrant. They quickly find the package.

    Peter brings Donovan into his office and asks him some questions. Afterwards he tells Diana that Donovan blinks twice when he lies. She tells Burke that Neal is being arrested.

    Peter shows up at Neal's place. After getting confirmation from Neal that Mozzie did, in fact, steal the package from Sara, he asks her not to press charges. When she hears about the adoptive children being used for financial gain, she agrees.

    Neal will not have any way to scam the poker game, so he will have to win fair-and-square.

    Eventually the winner-take-all $1 million game comes down to Neal and Donovan (duh). Neal beats Donovan by making a higher flush.

    Afterwards, Peter seems to think Neal cheated somehow. Neal attempts to snag $100,000 of the winnings for himself, but Peter and Jones quickly figure that out. Diana tells them Donovan made calls about her and Jones' fake adoptive child. An agent posing as a government official told Donovan their case was nothing more than an easily solved paperwork snafu.

    Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) tells Peter she thinks situations like Neal and Sara's often turn romantic. Diana calls to say Donovan wants to talk with her and Jones. During a phone call Donovan lies, saying the birth mother will go away if Jones and Diana pay her $200,000. He wants the money delivered the next day. We see Donovan was saying this with Clark the Shark holding a gun on him.

    Before the meeting the feds learn Donovan's plan is to take the money and fly out of the county. He doesn't plan to repay Taz. Diana goes to Donovan's place to make the money drop. On her way into the office, she is intercepted by Clark the Shark. When he makes a move for the money, she pulls out a gun and agents arrive on the scene. Burke walks over and tells Taz what Donovan is doing to Chechnyan kids. They seem to come to an agreement.

    Neal pretends to be a thief Taz has grabbed after he stole money from the mob. They pretend to loudly beat Neal in another room while Donovan waits. When they return, Donovan quickly admits his scam as the way he can get more money for them. Peter and agents arrive and we see Taz was wearing a wire.

    It turns out Catherine will not lose custody of Ollie.

    Sara arrives at Neal's place. After learning who Kate was, she is now interested in what happened. She gives him the voice recorder.

    Neal and Mozzie finally sit down and listen to the recorder. On it, they hear Kate made a phone call just before she died. They hear her voice, but nobody else's. Neal wants to know who was on the receiving end.

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