"White Collar" On Guard (TV Episode 2011) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Despite successfully escaping after having robbed the Federal Reserve, a notorious thief returns to retrieve the stash he left behind. Peter and Neal must put their differences aside to capture the criminal before he disappears for good.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Open with Neal (Matt Bomer) and Mozzie (Willie Garson) attempting to take off in a small plane, which is filled with boxes. SUVs approach and Neal says "it's the feds." Peter is in one of the vehicles and he yells for them to get in front of the plane. Mozzie doesn't think they'll make, to which Neal responds: "we have to make it."


    Jones (Sharif Atkins) and Peter (Tim DeKay) have Neal hooked up to a lie detector test. They ask him all relevant questions: "Did you steal the Nazi treasure?" "Do you know who did". Neal says 'no' and the machine responds he is telling the truth. Peter doesn't seem satisfied. He wants them to keep at it.

    The next day Neal tells Sara (Hilarie Burton) she may be questioned as to his whereabouts when the treasure was stolen. He tells her only to tell the truth. He tells her he doesn't know who took the art work. It's clear their hook-up wasn't just a one-time thing.

    When Neal arrives home, Mozzie is waiting.. Mozzie admits he was one who stole the treasure and put it in the warehouse where Neal found it. He didn't tell Neal anything in order to give him "plausible deniability." The plan is for them to leave the country with the treasure sometime in the next few days, though Neal worries it be will be tough with Peter on his scent. The two toast to their best "and last" score.

    Peter is still convinced Neal took the treasure. Peter seems almost offended his partner has turned against him.

    In the office, Peter asks Neal about his old alias, Gary Rydell. Rydell was a world-class fencer and smuggler. Another bad guy, David Lawrence (Neil Jackson), sold some stolen paintings to Neal/Rydell. Lawrence has reached out to Rydell, looking for help smuggling $60 million in stolen cash out of the country.

    Neal tells Mozzie he thinks Peter must know something to be on his case so tightly. Mozzie comes clean. He switched some of Neal's artwork with the treasure. Mozzie doesn't think anything could have survived the fire but admits he can't be sure.

    Peter tells Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) he's convinced Neal is involved because of the small piece of the Chrysler Building painting he found at the scene. The exact same painting hung in Neal's apartment, but Elizabeth points out it was a common painting and the building is old enough that the painting could have been on the Nazi ship. She offers to have it tested for age at gallery where she used to work.

    Neal (sans anklet) meets with Lawrence at a fencing club. Lawrence agrees to give him 20 percent of the money if he can help him get it out of the country.

    Neal tells Peter his plan is to move the money out of the country via boat.

    Neal and Mozzie's plan is to take their treasure out of the country by plane, using the Lawrence sting as a distraction. Mozzie has already procured a plane.

    Neal is still worried about what Peter may know, so he pays Elizabeth a visit to dig for info. She doesn't think Peter's mistrust is a recent phenomenon. While she turns away, he snaps a quick photo of a book sitting underneath something on a table.

    Using the book he found in Elizabeth's apartment, Neal figures out Peter must have a piece of his Chrysler Building painting. He and Mozzie also figure Peter won't use the FBI and guess Elizabeth's art background could come into play.

    Neal explains the gameplan to Lawrence. He has the boat they will use, paid off a dockworker and forged routing papers. There is one step of the process Neal refuses to divulge.

    Neal will be off-anklet for this sting. Peter tells him he needs to check-in with them every two hours. Peter asks about his visit with Elizabeth. Neal assures him they are on the same team. Mozzie calls to confirm he's spotted Elizabeth speaking with her old boss at the gallery. He watches as she hands him the piece of Neal's painting. Neal's plan is to swap it out. When Neal leaves the office, Peter nods at Jones to follow.

    Neal realizes he has a tail and doesn't go to see Mozzie, who is struggling to get paint and canvas for the swatch without help. Neal ditches his cell phone.

    Mozzie brings everything to Neal. They have a 30-minute window to switch in the swatch the following morning. Their plan will involve June's granddaughter, Cindy.

    Neal is able to lose his tail.

    Mozzie (with help from Cindy) distracts the security guard as Neal moves past the cameras and into the building.

    Inside the gallery, Neal forges a replica of the swatch of his painting. Peter calls Neal, who says he slipped the Jones tail because he thought it might be Lawrence. Peter is now going to have Jones sit on his apartment.

    Lawrence sends Peter a text and it is "go-time." Peter and Mozzie make their final preparations for leaving their U.S. life behind. Neal leaves his ID in the apartment and heads out.

    Neal meets with Lawrence at the fencing club. Lawrence had the money hidden in the air ducts. While the money is being counted, Jones is spotted by one of Lawrence's men. Lawrence interrogates Jones, who says he followed Lawrence on a hunch and is by himself. Lawrence thinks the entire plan is ruined and thinks they should kill Jones. Neal stops him, saying he has a back-up plan: "I've got a plane."

    Neal calls Mozzie and, in code, tells him the back-up plan is being activated and he should bring Peter. Mozzie calls Peter and tells him to meet them at the airstrip.

    As Lawrence and his men load Jones onto the plane, Neal slips him a handcuff key.

    We're back where we left the opening scene. Neal orders Mozzie to jerk the wheel, allowing Neal and Jones to get the jump on Lawrence and his men. Peter tells Neal "nice work," then hands him back the anklet.

    Elizabeth tells Peter the canvas came back as made in the mid-1930s.

    Peter goes to Neal's apartment and finds it empty. Inside he finds the Chrysler Building painting. Neal tells him he's clearing out things for storage and offers him the painting. Peter wants to call a truce, saying "I may have rushed to judgment." Peter gets a text and says he has to leave.

    Diana (Marsha Thomason) tells Peter they've found part of the original U-Boat manifest and can make out 22 of the paintings on board.

    Mozzie tells Neal they need to sell something from the treasure in order to fund the second escape.

    Peter and Diana note the getaway plane was ready too quick. Their plan is to wait Neal out, and if anything from the list pops up, they will catch whoever stole the art.

    Mozzie asks Neal what he thinks they should sell first.

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