Being part of an FBI task force to take down criminals is a risky profession. While there is skill involved, not to mention a serious amount of training, some things can't be known beforehand. Take the case of the missing merchandise. Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) should have the easy part. Meet with a woman who has offered to trade expensive jewelry for $200,000. If the items are the ones stolen, strike up a conversation using a specific codeword so the FBI team can make an arrest. After a problem arises with the woman's son in the back seat, both Neal and FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) realize there is more to the story.
It's not long before Catherine, the suspected thief, leads the duo down a completely different path. It seems she is trying to adopt a child from overseas, but runs into a legal snafu with the birth mother. At least that's what the attorney, Luke Donovan (John Larroquette, Night Court, Boston Legal), said. He asks for one hundred grand to fix the problem. Alarm bells are quickly raised.
Larroquette is an actor well known for a variety of roles. Those viewers familiar with his work on Night Court will appreciate just how sleazily he plays his character. There is a scene early in the episode with DeKay which is compelling.
The adeptness with which each holds ground without giving way to the other shows how strong these two are as performers.
Depth is added with the element of organized crime. Watching Bomer and Larroquette at the poker table is a visual feast. The look is authentic, but the fascination comes with seeing each actor play with intensity. Both understand how high the stakes are.
Hilarie Burton is back as Sara Ellis, the insurance investigator who is under the distinct impression Neal has stolen a painting. Since the painting has yet to be shown, the question is debatable. However, Sara is even more determined to nail Neal after a package disappears from her apartment. This is not the typical parcel. It's the voice recording, aka "black box," from the plane Kate Moreau died in the midst of an explosion ("Out of the Box").
The contents of the recording are best not revealed here. I will say the mystery deepens a bit. Here's a small hint - another person is involved. Who, exactly? Hard to tell. The sound effects team does a decent job of creating a muffled piece of equipment. A little too well might be the better description. It is quite garbled, to the point of being easily misinterpreted. This being said, the options are open as to John or Jane Doe.
Article first published as TV Review: White Collar - "In The Red" - Page 2 - Video - Blogcritics on Blogcritics.