White Collar Season 3 Episode 12 Review: “Upper West Side Story”

White Collar

“Romeo and Juliet” comes to life in modern times, albeit briefly, in this episode of White Collar. Peter and Neal go undercover at a prestigious private school called Manhattan Prep after Evan Leary, a student at the school, comes to the FBI, telling them that his financial aid is being taken away. Evan says that a man named Andy Woods (guest star Dylan Baker) is the person responsible for embezzling money from the school’s endowment fund after being put in charge of the fund.

Peter is able to meet with Woods posing as a wealthy parent looking to enroll his teenage son at the school, while Neal, posing as Peter’s amanuensis, a literary or artistic assistant who takes down dictations, is mistakened for a substitute teacher named Mr. Cooper by another teacher. Caffrey goes along with it, when he sees Chloe’s name on the class roster, and is able to deter the real Mr. Cooper later on in the episode, saying that he is the actual teacher, Mr. Brooks (which has nothing to do with the Mr. Brooks portrayed by the great Kevin Costner in the film of the same name).

It was nice of Neal (with assistance from Mozzie) to help Evan get the girl, given that the kid has a secret crush on Woods’ daughter Chloe, who doesn’t notice his existence. The two of them give Evan lots of advice on how to make himself look good so that Chloe will notice him. I laughed when Mozzie changed the subject when Evan asked him about how many woman he has wooed by quoting Victorian literature.

The plan to get these metaphorical star-crossed lovers together kind of goes sideways when Neal’s cover is almost blown, thanks to Chloe who pocket-dials her dad when she catches Neal in her dad’s office after he had copied Woods’ computer hard drive with a portable cloner/USB device. Evan tries to take the blame by saying that Chloe told him that Woods had an old map of Paris in his office, and he had wanted to see it. Neal, of course, goes along with the lie, but Woods isn’t convinced when he tells Neal to get out of his house. So much for your little scheme to make your father think that Neal was breaking the house rules and that he was going to make a move on you, huh, Chloe?

The truth comes out in the end as Woods finds out who Peter really is. I cheered when Neal saved Peter from being sawed into pieces, again, with some help from Mozzie as he puts something in Chloe’s locker, which is revealed to be a large pile of red roses. I have no idea how the poem that Neal forged using Evan’s handwriting got into Chloe’s gym bag. However, both the poem and the roses work as she grasps Evans’ hand, and the two walk down the halls of Manhattan Prep. Justice is then served as Woods is arrested for attempted murder and fraud.

In all, this was another great episode of White Collar. I liked the Harry Potter reference that Neal made in the beginning of the episode when he and Peter see Evan sitting in a chair at the office. As soon as Peter said “10 points for Gryffindor,” I mentally clapped for the writers of White Collar for working in this infamous quote. I also liked the part at the end when Peter gave up his Yankee tickets, courtesy of Neal as an attempt to get back into Peter’s good graces after what happened to Elizabeth, back to Neal who then gave them to Jones. The look on Peter’s face, when Jones came in and told him that Neal gave him a pair of Yankee tickets, real ones and invited him to go to the game with him, was priceless. Enjoy your baseball game, Special Agent Peter Burke, you deserve it. I also hope that Neal, after he gets his well-earned freedom, will go back to school like he said that he would when he and Peter arrived at Manhattan Prep.

[Photo via USA Network]

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