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Diminishing Returns - Recap

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The episode begins with Neal looking at himself in the mirror and thinking about recent events that have transpired. He shaves, puts on a suit and smiles at himself. It's Neal's first day back and it is also revealed that Peter is going to be re-assigned. He'll find out where, later in the week. Later, Peter is informed that he is being sent to the evidence warehouse ‘The Cave’. Peter is also informed that, Jones and Diana will handle his caseload and his team will manage Neal. Peter is visibly displeased with his new assignment, but plays along. Later, on his first day, Peter meets supervisor Agent Patterson, who seems to be a stickler for the rules from the look of things.

Peter’s first assignment as per Patterson’s instructions is cataloging thousands of cell phones, much to Peter’s dismay. Later, Neal pays Peter a visit in his new workplace. Peter says his plan is not to make any waves, and instead keep his head down and quietly work. Peter then points out that Neal made a promise to tell him everything. Neal tells him Helen was his father's partner and she arrested him. He also tells Peter that he is planning to get to the bottom of the whole thing. Later, Neal tells Jones and Diana about Peter wanting to open an old case that mattered to him, and hence they should look into it. The files pertaining to the case is three full boxes and has been unsolved for 20 years.

The case is of a bank robber who surfaces every five years and has stolen millions in all these years. He is trying to avoid the statute of limitations. If his pattern continues he'll resurface in the next week, is what Neal estimates. Neal goes undercover to try and find out if any of the jobs were inside jobs. Later, Neal tells Peter he thinks he has a lead in the case. A water delivery truck was stolen in Jersey and Diana had it brought to The Cave. It contained traces of tobacco. Neal breaks into the car for Peter, who begins snooping around, to see if he can find something pertinent. They determine the suspect's height and that he is left-handed; from all the evidence that they gather. Later that night, Neal knocks on Peter's door with a possible suspect.

It's a man named David Cook who worked at the bank when Peter was undercover. Cook was a teller and Peter remembers him being a control freak, who didn't make friends and stuck to routines. Elizabeth tells Peter to go after his case, even if it means running afoul of Patterson. Later, Peter shows up at the surveillance truck and Neal suggests, he go in and pretend to run into Cook at the gym where he plays squash so as to distract Cook, while Neal tries to get a look in his locker so as to see if he can find anything that might be pertinent to the case. Peter and Cook later begin to play while Neal works on Cook's locker trying to open it. Cook meanwhile wants them to bet $1,000 on the game. Quickly the bet becomes five grand, as the competition between the two heats up.

Neal meanwhile, finds a video on Cook's phone, just as Cook hurts his shoulder while giving it his all to the game. Neal meanwhile, is somehow able to lock up and get the phone back in Cook's bag at the last minute, with Cook being none the wiser. Later it is revealed that, the video on Cook's phone was a live feed from a video he hid on a water cooler, allowing him to study his mark in real time. Turns out, it is some diamond shop. Cook has ducked their surveillance, which brings them to the conclusion that the job is happening that very night. They are then able to narrow the target to a single diamond shop, which they think Cook is planning to rob. The shop ends up being hit 20 minutes before they arrive, much to their dismay.

It is a clean crime scene and Peter thinks it will remain that way, as he is sure Cook would leave nothing to chance. He also thinks he shouldn't have gotten involved. Later, Neal comes home to find Mozzie hosting a card game. He's back because "good partnerships are hard to find". Neal tells Mozzie about Cook's latest job. Mozzie plans to look into it and find out what he can do about. Meanwhile, Neal calls Peter with a plan to grab Cook the next day. It involves his fence, a woman named Rena. Peter's alias will make Rena a better offer and the FBI can bring them both down. His appointment is for 8 in the morning, allowing him to get to The Cave on time. Neal gives him three real stones from June, along with a handful of fake ones, in order for him to make the deal. Peter uses Cook as a reference, as that would make the whole thing look credible.

When Rena calls him to check, it makes him angry, as he thinks Peter is a competition, just as Neal had assumed he would. He had also anticipated that Rena is smart enough to assume that Cook is agitated because Peter is a competition. Rena next assumes just what Neal had anticipated. Then, using techniques learned from Neal, Peter gets Rena to check the three real stones first, so as to dispel any doubt she might have in her mind. This allows enough time for Cook to arrive and complain, just as Neal had told Peter that, Cook would. Then, once Cook pulls out his stones and makes a slightly better offer the team moves in and arrests both Cook and Rena. But Peter sneaks out just before the bust is made, so as to avoid revealing the fact that he is in anyway involved with the case.

Later Peter arrives at work, thinking he missed his deadline for the cell phones. He mentally prepares himself for a dressing down from Patterson. Therefore he's stunned when Patterson compliments him on getting the work done the previous evening. Peter smiles a knowing smile, suddenly realizing who it was that helped him out. Mozzie is meanwhile seen walking out of there disguised as a deliveryman. Later Peter tells Neal how this case had been nagging him for 10 years, and how he has at last achieved closure. Neal then reveals to Peter that he grew up in witness protection. He tells Peter that, his father "admitted that he was a murderer", but Neal doesn’t know who his father had killed, as no one ever told him. He also tells Peter that, Caffrey was his mother's maiden name.

He then tells Peter he wants to know the truth about his father and whether, he actually committed the crime. Later, Neal meets up with Ellen, who tells him there was a dead officer and a gun was found with his father’s fingerprints. James, Neil’s father told Ellen that he was innocent. She too didn't think he was capable of such a crime, and began her investigations, but then he confessed while she was still investigating the case. Neal then tells Ellen that, he needs to get to the bottom of this. The episode ends at this point.

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Warning: White Collar season 4 episode 3 guide may contain spoilers
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