"White Collar" What Happens in Burma (TV Episode 2011) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • The desperate UN ambassador to the UN called a favor from the FBI to help his estranged son, a human rights activist, who was arrested in Burma and faces an atrocious sentence for ruby theft. Neal, who grew up fatherless, convinces reluctant Peter to condone dodgy means against the Myanmar junta. After finding out the true master thief, Andrew Collins, Neal has an irresistible fake made by Mozzie as a trap for greedy Burmese ambassador Kyi, but it can only work if they find a way around the inviolability of his diplomatic pouch confided to his assistant Suu.

  • When the son of an American diplomat is detained in Burma for a crime he didn't commit, Peter and Neal delve into the exotic but dangerous world of jewelry smuggling to prove his innocence. But when the Burmese government roadblocks their investigation using diplomatic laws, Peter and Neal must find a way to use those same laws to their advantage.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Open with Peter (Tim DeKay) and Neal meeting (Matt Bomer) with the State Department's undersecretary of Asian affairs bureau named Wilson. A young American, Christopher Harlow, has been charged in Burma with stealing a ruby. Based on the man's background, State doesn't think he did it. But the jewel does seem to be in Manahattan. If the White Collar team can find the real thief, it will allow them to prove Harlow's innocence.

    Peter briefs his team. The stolen item is a 237-carat pigeon blood jewel. It was held at a secure vault deep in a jungle and would have been very difficult to get to.

    Peter and Neal visit the Burmese ambassador, who gives them a copy of Harlow's confession video. He says Harlow will be sentenced in a week. Neal tells Peter that if Harlow's found guilty, there will be no way to overturn the decision.

    They watch the video with the State agent. Neal thinks it will be hard to refute. After the guy from State refers to Harlow as Chris, Peter correctly guesses he is the man's son. He is quasi-estranged from his son and doesn't want the Burmese made aware of the connection in case they might use it as a bargaining chip.

    While talking about Wilson's handling of his father, Peter asks Neal about his father. Neal replies that he was a cop.

    Mozzie (Willie Garson) is upset Neal is going to a guy he doesn't like trying to find about rubies that might be in town. A guy named Randy is who Neal plans to meet with looking for info. The two talk family.

    Peter and Neal use aliases and meet with Randy. One of the items is clearly the stolen ruby and Peter whips out his badge and threatens him with prosecution if he doesn't tell him where he got the stone.

    Randy tells Peter he doesn't know the name of the ruby thief. The plan is to put together a trunk show with flawless gems in order to draw out the crook.

    Neal isn't impressed with the gems the FBI has in its stolen jewels locker, none are pigeon bloods. The plan is to make a synthetic ruby.

    Mozzie and Neal cook a perfect fake stone. After hitting it with a hammer to create an imperfection, Mozzie determines the stone will fool anyone without a microscope. To avoid that problem, they decide to have models wear the stones down a runway.

    Diana (Marsha Thomason) is chosen to wear the ruby. A man is clearly staring at the ruby on her neck. Neal sidles up next to him.The man admits to having stolen the Burmese ruby. Neal suggests they work together and they meet downstairs. The smuggler pulls out a gun, but it taken down by the rest of the team before he can get off a shot.

    The smuggler signs a statement explaining the theft and tells Peter he's never seen Harlow before.

    Wilson tells Peter and Neal it's been eight years since he's seen his son. He told his son he didn't need him anymore. Neal seems a little ticked at Wilson for not sticking with his son.

    They arrive at the Burmese mission and it seems the smuggler has changed his story. He is now saying Harlow helped him and the Burmese government is giving him political asylum.

    Peter and Neal talk fathers some more. Neal says his father died in the line of duty when he was 2-years old.

    Diana has obtained the entire feed of Harlow's confession. He was signaling using his hand and letters on his t-shirt. It spells out 'Rocker,' his girlfriend's nickname.

    They meet with Rocker. She's been broken into, with someone having stolen her hard drive. She does have a flash drive back-up. She shows them video of Harlow having acquired info on some Burmese rebels the government dislikes. The government faked the ruby theft to shut Harlow down. She also shows video where it seems like Harlow doesn't actually hate his dad. An ATM camera shows the Burmese did indeed steal Rocker's hard drive.

    Peter and Neal meet with the Burmese ambassador's assistant. She allows them to search her and the car but won't let them touch her bag, which the ambassador says is part of Burmese soil. Peter is angry and Neal leaves after getting a phone call.

    Neal meets with Wilson, who asks him for some off-the-books help getting the hard drive back.

    While talking to Diana, Peter realizes Wilson must have sought him out because of Neal. They pull the records from Neal's anklet.

    We see Neal and Mozzie discuss their plan. It is for Neal to give the assistant the stolen ruby. Once closed, the box it is in will begin to smoke, causing her to dump the pouch's contents on to the street and allowing it to be snagged as stolen property. The only problem is that Mozzie's box is taking too long to produce smoke. Peter arrives, but despite knowing what Neal is up to, he doesn't try and stop him from helping Wilson.

    Neal gives the assistant the jewel as planned and she heads inside to show the ambassador.

    Cut to Diana telling Peter that Neal's tracking device has him at the mission. Peter heads there to help.

    When the Burmese assistant returns outside she is with the ambassador. The bag still isn't smoking and they are about to get in the car. Peter shows up. Neal asks him to help stall. Peter starts asking about parking tickets until the plan finally works and Neal grabs the hard drive.

    Harlow is returned to his father by a new ambassador and the two embrace. While they watch this Neal tells Peter his father was actually a dirty cop. He thinks he must be "my father's son. Certain things are in my blood." Peter says the work accomplished with Wilson's son means he is different.

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