Neal Caffrey, a con man, forger and thief, is captured after a three-year game of cat and mouse with the FBI. With only months left serving a four-year sentence, he escapes to look for Kate, his girlfriend. Peter Burke, the FBI agent who initially captured Caffrey, finds and returns him to prison. This time, Caffrey proposes a deal with the FBI, as part of a work-release program. After some hesitation, Burke agrees, and thus begins this unconventional arrangement where Caffrey helps Burke apprehend white collar criminals.
"Pilot" is the debut episode of the of the American comedy-drama television series White Collar. It was first broadcast on USA Network in the United States on October 23, 2009. The episode sets up major story arcs for the series, including Neal Caffrey's collaboration with FBI Special Agent Peter Burke, and the significance of the disappearance of Neal's girlfriend, Kate Moreau. The episode was written by Jeff Eastin and directed by Bronwen Hughes. The original broadcast ran 90 minutes. The cast includes Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey, Tim DeKay as Peter Burke, Willie Garson as Mozzie, Marsha Thomason as Diana Lancing, and Tiffani Thiessen as Elizabeth Burke, Peter's wife. The pilot features the introduction of recurring characters Special Agent Clinton Jones, Kate Moreau, and Neal's landlady June. Guest stars include Mark Sheppard as the Dutchman, Michael Gaston and Stephen Singer. It is also the only episode in the series not to have a title sequence, with the opening credits rolling on as the episode progresses. According the Nielsen ratings system, an estimated 5.40 million household viewers watched the original broadcast of the pilot; this is the second-most watched episode of the series to date, behind "Free Fall". The episode received mostly positive reviews.