'White Collar' Season 3 premiere: A 'Phoebe Cates' and the stolen Nazi loot

white-collar-S3-premiere-320.jpgAfter last season's cliffhanger of priceless Nazi-plundered art seemingly going ka-boom, then popping up in a storage locker from an anonymous source, the "White Collar" Season 3 premiere is back and guess who stole the art? Mozzie. Which should have come as less of a surprise than it did, I think.

Mozzie comes clean as the thief to Neal and they decide to run with the loot. Peter's big clue to who stole the stuff is the scrap of one of Neal's paintings he saw at the explosion. It turns out Mozzie used Neal's art in the swap so the forensic tests would find paint and canvas in the warehouse and Neal is sweating. Peter can't go to the Bureau with his suspicions yet, so Elle offers to call in a favor at a gallery to test the scrap and see if it's old or new.

Neal and Moz decide to swap the scrap out for one painted with 1930s paint. To make the switch, they run a con called a "Phoebe Cates," which is hilarious. Obviously it is named because a beautiful girl takes her top off as a distraction. "Fast Times," anyone? Love it. They use June's super-cute granddaughter as their Phoebe.

Neal slips in, dupes the painting using samples they took from the old collection and slips away. Seems hard to believe, but we'll go with it because it's awesome and it's for slick stuff like that that we watch this show in the first place.

Meanwhile, the case of the week is David Lawrence, a guy wanting to smuggle $60 million out of the country that he stole from the treasury. He wants Gary Rydell's help (one of Neal's aliases) to get the money out and the Bureau sends in Neal as Gary.

Neal and Moz are going to use David's smuggling arrest at a shipyard as their cover to fly away with the loot. But when David makes Agent Jones tailing Neal and is going to kill Jones, Neal sacrifices his getaway plane to Lawrence as a "back-up plan" in order to save Jones' life. Aww. Neal's such a good guy.

The Feds converge on the getaway and Lawrence is taken down. Moz is a hero and we eagerly await his aubergine-colored cape.

The test comes back authenticated as being a scrap of a 1930s painting and Peter is still a smidge suspicious, but he goes to Neal's place and they make up. Except - dun dun dun. The u-boat manifest was found and there are 21 paintings that the Bureau knows for sure were on the boat. Peter tells Diana to keep it between them, Jones and the evidence guys.

Meanwhile, Mozzie and Neal have to fund their escape, so now they are trying to figure out which painting to sell first. Will it be one of the paintings on the manifest? We're so eager to find out.

So does this mean that all season will be Neal and Mozzie trying to figure out how to run off with the treasure? How does the show resolve it, since there's no show if Neal runs off? Or if Neal runs off and Peter spends a season chasing him, then where are they? That doesn't end well at all. We are very intrigued to see where the show takes this. What do you think?
Photo/Video credit: USA