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Front Man
Season 1 · Episode 13
March 2, 2010 (2010-03-02)

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Front Man is the 13th episode of Season 1 of White Collar and the 13th produced episode.


Agent Kimberly Rice asks for Neal's help in a kidnapping case because of his connection to the suspect Ryan Wilkes, but Wilkes lures Neal right into a trap.


June announces to Neal he has a guest. It’s Alexandra Hunter. They have a discussion about the music box. Neal convinces Alex she needs him to help her get the music box. She replies as long as he works for the Feds, she will not have anything to do with him. She says she will be willing to help, if he can get his anklet off.

Neal then heads into the office and is greeted by Peter Burke who chastises him for being late. Neal makes an excuse but as he turns towards his desk, Peter lifts a long dark hair from Neal’s jacket which he slips discreetly into his own pocket.

Agent Kimberley Rice, a rising star in the FBI and part of the Kidnapping and Missing Persons division, is in Reese Hughes' office. She catches Neal’s attention and it becomes clear they are discussing him. Neal thinks he’s in trouble, but it turns out she wants his assistance on a ransom case she is working. Neal has a history with the prime suspect, Ryan Wilkes. When asked when the last time Wilkes and Caffrey saw each other, Neal responds "When he tried to kill me."

Act One[]

Agent Rice takes Neal to the Gless residence. Neal also has a history with Gless in breaking his “unforgeable bond” and ruining Gless’ reputation. There is some tension between Caffrey and Gless as they meet in his home study. Rice asks Gless to describe the events he is aware of and Neal starts to ask questions Rice does not approve of. Rice reprimands Caffrey and describes him as a “tool” in her “belt” and says he is not to make a move or say a thing without her okay first. Neal’s charms fail to convince her otherwise.

Back at home, Elizabeth Burke is having lunch with her husband talking about an event she organized at a gallery. Peter is distracted and not listening properly, when Elizabeth makes fun of him and breaks into his thoughts. He’s worried about Neal because he doesn’t trust Agent Rice. When Elizabeth suggests he go check on Neal, Peter says it’s bad form to drop in on another agent’s investigation. Elizabeth points out; this has never stopped him before….

Act Two[]

Peter knocks on the car window where Neal is sitting, having been sent there by Rice. Neal decides to stretch his legs while talking to Peter and they start discussing possible ways Wilkes may have used to break into the house and kidnap Gless’ daughter, Lindsay. They come across an alley giving a good view of the street. There is a coat-check stub on the stairs. Neal tells Peter it would be from a club or underground casino, one of Wilkes’ choice hangouts. When Rice exits the residence to find Burke and Caffrey talking together, she is clearly annoyed Burke is on her scene, a situation inflamed by the evidence Burke presents. She threatens to file a report if she finds him snooping about one of her scenes again. Burke scoffs and mocks her, much to Caffrey’s amusement.

Rice has arranged for Neal to enter this underground casino and he prepares for his undercover operation. Mozzie thinks he’s lost his marbles by allowing the “Pant Suit” (Rice) to use him as bait to bring out Wilkes, especially seeing as Wilkes wants Caffrey’s hide. Neal feels the risk is worth it. He will be able to remove the anklet during the operation and possibly get a chance to speak with Alex about the music box.

Rice does indeed advise Caffrey to remove his anklet. This alerts Peter back in the Bureau office who is surprised to learn Rice had this cleared. Peter is suspicious and decides to have a little chat with Gless where Gless explains his nervousness surrounding the “meeting”. Gless reveals this meeting with Caffrey is the ransom demand. Peter calls Neal’s cell phone and warns Neal to get out of there; he is the ransom. Before Neal can so so, he is hit by a taser and kidnapped.

Rice returns to the office with little evidence as to where Caffrey might be. Burke calls her out in front of everyone, claiming she had a backroom deal with Wilkes. Rice has to confess that was essentially the plan. However, she had agents covering every angle of the place keeping an eye on Caffrey. Reece Hughes interrupts their arguing to ask Rice how she lost Caffrey. She replies Caffrey was in the only blind spot of the operation. Hughes is not happy and puts Burke in charge. Rice is furious but can do nothing about it.

Neal comes to in the back of a van with Wilkes looking straight at him. Wilkes recalls his version of events when working with Caffrey whereby Neal ripped him off for $500,000 and says, normally, he kills people for that sort of thing. However he needs Caffrey alive to do some work for him.

The van pulls up outside a travel agency, inside is a receptionist from who Caffrey must obtain the personal itinerary of a "Thomas Loze" in a two minute time frame. Wilkes has him covered with a sniper on the roof in case of him pulling any tricks or of failure. Neal uses his alias "Nick Holden" when speaking with the receptionist and claims he is with concierge services and needs to make a week’s worth of 5 Star restaurant bookings for Thomas Lowes, but he’s lost his schedule and he needs a copy. Otherwise he’ll be fired. When she doesn’t fall for his initial charm, he then plays to her motherly side by talking about how his son will see him as such a failure for losing another job. This softens the icy receptionist and she brings up the itinerary. Caffrey also tells her he has somebody who might be interested in the rewards program offered by the agency.

Act Three[]

Mozzie and June are playing a game of parcheesi together when Mozzie receives a text message addressed to Dante Haversham offering him 30% off travel with Elite Voyages. He immediately recognises this as a signal from Neal and takes it to Mrs. Suit, aka Elizabeth Burke. Elizabeth calls Peter and after some discussion convinces him to come home to speak with Mozzie.

Neal delivers the itinerary to Wilkes who then demands another “favour”. Caffrey refuses to help any further until he has proof the kidnapped girl is okay. Wilkes employs the taser again and Neal wakes up in the holding room with Lindsay. She is in fair condition and being watched a by henchman. Neal assures her help is on the way. If anyone can find them, it’s Peter Burke.

Peter arrives home and Mozzie shows him the text message. He is convinced this is a distress signal and the Burkes agree. Peter makes a call and Rice discovers Thomas Loze is an alias for “Edward Reilly” a highly dangerous transporter.

Back in the van, Wilkes gives Neal the details of his next assignment. He must obtain a titanium briefcase attached to the wrist of “Thomas Lowes”. Once Caffrey completes this project, Wilkes claims he will set the girl and Caffrey free. Neal hops out of the van to find himself at the airport. Burke and Rice greet him as he enters. They give him the heads up Thomas Loze is Edward Reilly, Neal now understands why Wilkes didn’t want his face in the picture and is using Caffrey as the front man. They briefly discuss Lindsay's location and Neal says if they don’t find her first she will be shot – her handler has no facemask and was packing a silencer. Burke and Rice race off to go hard on the search for Lindsay, leaving Caffrey to deal with Rielly on his own.

Mozzie has also decided to meet Neal at the airport. When Neal explains his assignment, Mozzie is panicked and thinks he must be suicidal. When Caffrey shows he’s determined to go thorugh with it, no matter what, Mozzie suggests the “Zig-Zag” scam and pulls two fake police badges from his jacket pocket.

Neal greets Loze as the limo driver and starts walking him out to the car. Mozzie intercepts and they start claiming they’ve been tipped he’s bringing something illegal into the country and they will need to conduct a search – either here or somewhere more private. Neal cracks the case open and finds a concealed compartment full of loaded “Gold Cards”. It’s a portable fortune. Mozzie and Caffrey, in character, then put on a little performance pretending to be needy cops who may be open to a bribe. Reilly goes for the story, offers for them to keep the case and for him to just walk away. Operation Zig-Zag is successful.

Neal has to meet Wilkes with the case. Wilkes hasn’t kept his part of the deal. Lindsay is nowhere in sight. He opens the case to find it empty and pulls a gun on Caffrey. Neal tells him if he pulls the trigger, the knowledge of where all those Gold Cards are will die with him. He plays for more time, telling Wilkes he has turned his crew on him. Wilkes calls his bluff. Then, just in the nick of time, the FBI break into the warehouse where Lindsay is being held. Wilkes kicks the seemingly empty case in frustration and cracks open the secret compartment revealing the Gold Cards. He laughs, calling Caffrey obsolete but Caffrey points out he has sniper friends too.

Burke and Rice

As Rice and Burke discuss the wrap up of the case, Neal makes a sneaky exit without his anklet. Burke’s face breaks into a cheeky, knowing smirk and tells Jones they need to check the usual suspects.


Neal arrives at his home to find Alex waiting for him as planned. They make a deal to find the music box together. He says she can have it once he’s finished with it. However she wants to split it, 50-50. She gives him a paper flower. He opens it, smiles in amazement and says, “You go half way around the world chasing something and the whole time it’s in your own backyard.”

Neal goes back to the office, claiming to have gotten all the way home before realizing he was without his anklet. Peter hands it to him and asks what Alex had to say. Neal looks puzzled. Peter confesses he found long brown hair on his jacket this morning. Peter tells Neal, if he tries to steal the music box, he will catch him. Peter leaves the office and Neal is left with his own thoughts.


Neal (to Alex about his anklet): "I'm not wearing this as a fashion accessory."


Guest Starring[]

Special Guest Star[]


  • Mark Ellliot Wilson as Gless
  • Alexandra Socha as Lindsay Gless
  • Deborah Twiss as Kathy
  • Nathaniel Marston as Thomas Loze/Edward Reilly
  • Kari Nicolle as FBI Agent

Filming Locations[]