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Upper West Side Story - Recap

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The episode begins with Neal trying to get back on Peter's good side with sports tickets and coffee, but Peter is on to him. Neal profusely apologizes to Peter, for Elisabeth being put in danger because of him. Peter wants them to focus on work, if Neal really wants to get back on his good side. A prep school kid named Evan Leary meets with Peter and Neal, telling them that his financial aid is being yanked and he thinks somebody is embezzling money from the fund; he hands them a presentation explaining everything to that effect. The two are pretty impressed by his through research of things. Evan informs them that, the money began disappearing the year Andy Woods (whose daughter attends the school) took over the fund. Peter briefs the team about Woods, who has been suspected of laundering money for the Cartels, through investment portfolios. Neal hands over the visual aids prepared by Evan to the team.

Woods it turns out recently lost a ton of money in a divorce but kept custody of daughter Chloe. Peter is going to approach the school as a wealthy parent Alistair Stone, a wealthy Hong Kong banker looking to relocate; with Neal playing his assistant. Meanwhile at the school Neal tells Peter that he might join school and get his master; if his sentence is commuted. Inside the two begin their charade; while Peter meets with the Headmaster as planned; Neal waits outside. He strikes up a conversation with a kid sitting outside the office, who is worried about being expelled. Neal gives him ideas about how to get out of trouble. He is mistaken for a sub by one of the other teachers, and handed a list with the names of his students. He plays along when he sees Chloe’s name on the list. Neal is directed to his class, by the teacher. The principal introduces Peter and Woods, and then leaves. Peter and Woods bond as men who have had to work for everything they have. Woods confesses to Peter that “nothing sets you up like a school with connections”. Woods also tells Peter how; his daughter is quite a handful. Peter shares the sentiment; telling Woods that his son is a handful too. Woods says that Manhattan Prep will help get him into shape.

Meanwhile, Neal sees the real sub coming in and convinces him that there has been a mistake. Neal tells the actual sub, that he is the permanent who the sub was going to replace; but as he is going on his vacation a week later, the substitution isn’t required; thus sending the actual sub packing. In class, Neal begins by reading some Byron, and Chloe seems smitten. Evan, who is in the class, notices. Parents at the school are asked to donate above and beyond tuition and Peter asks Woods about the endowment. Woods says the fund has taken the expected hit with the down economy. Peter wants to see the numbers if he's going to get on board. Woods has looked into the fact Peter never checked into his hotel with bags and he covers by saying he's having an affair. Peter pops into Neal's class and starts asking questions related to Neal changing the game plan. Peter and Neal part ways after school. Mozzie and Neal are worried that if Keller's bogus confession isn't allowed to stand they will be in trouble.

Neal's short-term plan is to remain an asset. Neal tells Mozzie about Evan having a thing for Chloe and her having a thing for Neal. They want to direct her feelings towards Evan. Peter's theory is that investments are where Woods is being shady. He thinks he might be underreporting. They think Headmaster Slater must be in on it. Peter tells Elizabeth he's bothered by having to sign off on Keller's testimony. They are the only two that know Neal was involved. Peter is conflicted, but Elizabeth thinks "the right man is behind bars." Neal watches Slater place an envelope into his pocket as a leaves his office. He tails him and sees him place it into a textbook and into a locker. Peter pulls a fire alarm, allowing Neal time to break in to the locker (which belongs to Chloe) and look at the envelope. It turns out that Slater is showing Woods quarterly reports through Chloe (so as not to create a paper trail), giving Woods the information he needs to be able to siphon the correct amount of money from the endowment.

Chloe asks Neal if he does home tutoring. They arrange something for the following afternoon. Neal gets Evan invited. Peter arranges to also be there at Woods' place during the tutoring session, provided he brings his girl on the side (to be played by Diana). The plan is for Peter to accidentally open a door in the apartment, getting Woods to shut off his alarm temporarily. Evan drops by Neal's place for a pre-tutoring session with him and Mozzie. They fix his clothes and give him a pep-talk about how to 'get the girl.' Woods instructs Neal that he is to remain in a particular room for the entire hour-long session. At the prescribed time Neal ducks out of the study session while Peter and Diana pretend to get into a fight. Peter opens an exterior door at the same time Neal goes into Woods' office to copy a file. While he's working on copying the file Chloe walks in to talk to him. She 'butt-dials' Woods, who is able to listen to her chat-up Neal.

Woods storms into the room, demanding what is going on. At the last minute Evan provides a cover that somewhat diffuses the situation. Chloe seems to have finally noticed Evan. The Bureau was able to get good information off of Woods' drive. Peter and Neal reference Keller's testimony and Peter makes it sounds like he hasn't made a situation. Woods' looks into Evan and figures out that he had been looking into the school's finances. Out of fear Evan tells him that he has "powerful friends" looking at him. He tells Neal this and Neal realizes that Peter's cover has been blown. As Peter is about to give a large check to the school, Woods interrupts, charging that this is a trap. Woods grabs him and leads him to the shop class. Even after Woods finds out Peter is FBI he is still prepared to torture him to find out what he knows.

Mozzie happens to be in the school working on something to help Evan with Chloe, and Neal asks him for help creating a distraction. Neal runs into Chloe and pretends to be entering his phone number into her cell phone. Instead he dials Woods and lets him hear him tell Chloe to meet Evan in his office. Woods stops the interrogation and heads to Neal's office. Mozzie fashions a smoke bomb of sorts and hands it to Neal, who uses it to help Peter get free of Woods' bodyguard. Woods is arrested outside the school by Peter and Diana. Neal tells Chloe this could be an opportunity for her to start over. It looks as if something could be starting between Evan and Chloe. The episode ends with Peter telling Neal, he thinks there's a chance "this partnership can work," but hasn't decided about commuting his sentence.

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Warning: White Collar season 3 episode 12 guide may contain spoilers
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