White Collar Characters: Neal's Anklet

The following is a run-down of the anklet's history including key moments from Season 2 involving the anklet as seen on White Collar. This is a continuation of the Anklet Season 1.

Season Two

Neal's Anklet season 2

Season 2 begins with Neal back in prison without his anklet, and it seems that the idea of being back on the Season 1 anklet is so abhorrent to him, he'd rather stay in prison. Peter tries to tempt him with the promise of a new anklet, better coffee and ties;

Peter: Listen. There's a chance I can reinstate our deal.
Neal: Put the anklet back on?
Peter: They've got a new one. Not supposed to chafe as much.
Neal: Wow. That sounds like a really great deal. From one prison to another.
Peter: Overstating that a little? I'll let you wear ties.
Neal: Coffee?
Peter: Negotiable.

Peter and the anklet

And, after robbing a bank, it becomes apparent that Neal has accepted the deal. He makes a big show of putting on his new anklet, and we get our first look at it. It no longer looks like a garage control opener attached to a strap. The newer model looks like something a techno Goth would wear as an accessory.

The Anklet's Power to Repel

anklet in Season 2

But the newer anklet might look more chic, it proves that looks can be deceiving. It has the power to repel, something Neal uses to his advantage. He uses its power to get out of a date with Whitney, the naïve secretary of billionaire Edward Walker in Withdrawal:

Whitney: Do you want to look at these back at my place?
Neal: Where is that?
Whitney: Gramercy Park.
Neal: Yeah. That's within my radius.
Whitney: Your what? Is that a tracking anklet?
Neal: Electronic monitoring anklet, actually. It's a... it's a funny story, though. A couple years ago, the feds came after me for everything from art theft to counterfeiting. The only thing they got me on was bond forgery.
Whitney: I thought you worked for the FBI.
Neal: Oh, yeah, yeah, with Peter. He caught me, both times. Oh. Anyway, this is a big day for me. You're the first girl I've had a drink with since I got out of prison.
Whitney: Wow.
Neal: That's not... That's not a problem, is it?
Whitney: I should... really go.

anklet in Need to Know

Already it seems this newer anklet is being relegated into the same role as the Season 1 anklet: casual mentions or appearances once an episode. In Need to Know, the anklet is not mentioned but Neal makes sure to strip off his pants to gives us a view of it in the hotel room. Why else would he have taken off his suit and put on the robe?

The Power Increases

But Neal can't seem to let go of the repellant nature of the anklet. In Copycat Caffrey, Neal is amazed that Alex Hunter went to Mozzie for help instead of coming to him. He immediately blames the anklet, although Mozzie is unconvinced:

Neal: She comes to you and not to me?
Mozzie: Far be it for me to act as therapist, but maybe Alex doesn't want to see you heartbroken over Kate.
Neal: Or maybe it's the tracking anklet.
Mozzie: Sure, the anklet.

As a result, Neal immediately tries to get out of his anklet. When Peter asks him to go and talk to a suspect, Neal requests that the anklet be removed even though there would be no reason for him to take off his pants or even show the anklet. Even more amazingly, Peter agrees:

Neal: Anklet?
Peter: I'll pull it for this one.

However, Peter doesn't feel the same way about the anklet as Neal. It's not that he doesn't agree that it is less than desirable, he enjoys that fact. In some weird way, Peter feels better about Neal's position knowing he wears it as is apparent when he says "I wear a badge. He wears a tracking anklet."

tracking anklet in Unfinished Business tracking anklet in In the Red

Then, the anklet disappears for an episode. It makes a subtle reappearance in the next two episodes. In Unfinished Business, Diana removes the anklet without any discussion and without the normal pomp and circumstances that usually came with removing the old anklet. Although we do discover that this anklet comes with a key that enables it to be removed simply, while the old one had to be cut off. The anklet is removed for a second time without discussion in In the Red, this time by Peter.

Back with a Vengeance

It seems that the anklet was saving itself. This new anklet refused to be relegated to a show piece; it wanted to have a more pivotal role in the series. (Perhaps it had negotiated a better contract than the Season 1 anklet.) In Prisoner's Dilemma, the anklet became a major part of the action in the show. For the first time, it's powers were used against Neal. Instead of providing Neal with an alibi, it allowed a corrupt U.S. Marshal, Peter Deckard, to track his and Peter's progress on a case.

Peter: How did you know that we met with Rebecca Vidal?
Neal: The marshals can track my anklet.
Deckard: I heard you were quick.

The only way to circumvent the anklet's powers was for Neal and Peter to separate. But in Peter's absence, Marshal Deckard taunted Neal about the anklet, rubbing salt into the wounds the anklet had already created.

Neal stealing the key

Deckard: Yes, one of these keys goes to your anklet. How do you like the new model, by the way?
Neal: You know, it's lighter than the last one. And sleek. I get a lot of compliments.
Deckard: And the GPS is more accurate, too, down to the yard.
Neal: Yeah, I noticed.

As if to add fuel to the fire, the anklet is also preventing Neal from seeing the White Bored exhibit at the Powell because it is two miles outside of his radius. Peter gives him permission to go, but only if he gets an FBI agent to escort him. But Neal is unable to find anyone willing to go with him.

The combined forces proves to be too much for Neal and, without Peter to reign him in, he manages to swipe the key for his anklet from Deckard's key chain. For the first time, Neal has the power to get out of the anklet without raising alarms. At first, it appears that Neal may use the key to see the exhibit, but then Agent Bancroft steps in and invites Neal to the exhibit. So Neal is able to save the key for another time.

The Key to Revenge

Neal removing his anklet in Point Blank

The "special time" proves to be two episodes later in Point Blank when Fowler resurfaces. Peter knows that Neal wants Fowler because he blames the agent for Kate's death, so he takes steps to stop him, by telling Diana "I want Neal's anklet monitored continuously." Peter is unaware that monitoring the anklet is pointless.

After setting things up to ensure that Fowler resurfaces, Neal returns to his apartment and takes the monumental step of removing his anklet. This is the third time that Neal has removed the anklet without Peter's permission and the second time that doing so didn't raise alarms. (The agent monitoring Neal's anklet must have taken a coffee break at that moment, since turning the anklet off should have shown up on the screen.)

Bugsy wearing the anklet

After taking the key out of a hollow book where he hidden it, Neal removes the anklet and places it around Bugsy's (June's dog) neck. Neal seems to have forgotten that the GPS is only accurate to the yard and, given the size of his apartment, Bugsy's movements would not show up.

A short time later, Mozzie arrives at Neal's apartment and discovers Neal's ruse. The anklet sans Neal has a strange effect on Mozzie, and he does something that he ordinarily wouldn't dream of doing: He calls Peter and reports Neal's actions.

Mozzie: Remember when you asked me to tell you if Neal was gonna do something stupid? Well, I regretfully report that he's out of his anklet.
Peter: Damn it.
Mozzie:But that's not the "stupid" part. He's got a gun.

Neal hurries to confront Fowler, while Peter hurries to stop Neal. While Neal gets Fowler in his crosshairs, he doesn't pull the trigger. Peter has Diana replace Neal's anklet with a pair of handcuffs and take him back to the FBI office. Once there, he has the U.S. Marshals reset the key on the anklet and puts it back on Neal.

Real Freedom

But like oil and water, Neal and the anklet just can't seem to mix. Despite the fact that bad things seem to happen to Neal whenever he is without it, he still dreams of removing it. In Burke's Seven, Neal is faced with the chance of getting his anklet off legitimately after Peter is suspended. Evidence found by the FBI has linked Peter to Mozzie's shooting and his past cases are being reviewed.

Peter: Department of Justice has pulled all my files.
Neal: That was fast.
Peter: Evidence tampering...Doesn't get any worse than that. Every case I've closed will be brought into question.
Neal: Maybe I'll get my anklet off sooner than I thought.
Peter: You might.

Rather than manipulating things to improve his own circumstances, Neal works to clear Peter's name, ensuring that the anklet will stay around his anklet for the full four years. It seems that the anklet's repellent power can be overcome by the power of friendship.

Near Fatal Mistake

anklet in Countermeasures

For some reason, after Burke's Seven Neal becomes resigned to wearing the anklet. After another episode no-show, an amazing thing occurs in Countermeasures. Something that has never been seen before: Neal goes undercover with the anklet. Neither he nor Peter remove it before Neal poses as a print man. It is only afterwards that Peter realizes his mistake. Peter says, "I'm gonna hold on to this for a while. If Ganz had seen this, you probably wouldn't be breathing right now."

Peter's long-time vigilance in keeping Neal with GPS at all times is gone. Peter not only removes Neal's anklet, but he doesn't force him to carry a pen or watch with a supplementary GPS device in it. He doesn't even keep Neal under surveillance, which allows Ganz, Neal and Ford to go off the grid. Once again, Neal is in trouble because he doesn't have his anklet on. Peter's only hope in finding Neal is to use good old fashioned detective work. Luckily, Peter has not lost his ability to track Neal down quickly and Neal and the anklet are reunited (although we do not get to see this reunion).

Coveting the Anklet

While Neal might hate the anklet, there are some who would gladly change his place. Namely, Neal's long-time rival Matthew Keller. Keller, now in jail, contacts Peter in the episode Payback. While it is obvious that Keller would love to be where Neal is, he quickly accepts that that will never happen when he tells Peter, "It's not like I'm asking to be let loose on the streets of New York with only an anklet to control my compulsions." Neal is not so convinced, but Peter quickly reassures him.

Neal: Don't tell me we have to make a deal with Keller.
Peter: Oh, relax, we're not gonna release Keller on an anklet...Unless June has a spare bedroom.

And it's true, Keller is not released with an anklet, perhaps because before that could even be entertained he escapes. Keller's coveting of the anklet seems to make it more tolerable for Neal. In Power Play, Neal ignores his anklet and misses the chance of having it removed when he poses as Peter. No one seems to wonder why an FBI agent would be wearing a tracking anklet and Neal seems to have accepted its role without a complaint.

The Past Comes Back to Haunt Neal

Neal and Peter kidnapped

In the Season Two finale, Under the Radar, Neal and the anklet are again separated when he and Peter are kidnapped by Vincent Adler:

Peter: What do you want with us?
Adler: I want Neal. But I'll bring you along since I can't let you go. Peter, you've got a key to Neal's anklet. Give it to him. Neal, take off your anklet.

Once again, without the anklet Neal's life is in danger. Thankfully, being kidnapped forces him to break a date. Sara, like any woman who is stood up, immediately contacts the FBI. Diana, a sympathetic female, pulls up Neal's tracking data (perhaps in order for the two women to track him down and shoot him?)

Diana: No answer from Peter or Neal. This isn't like either of them. Good thing is your boyfriend is wearing a tracking anklet.
Sara: Will you let it go? He's not my boyfriend.
Diana: Strange. Peter took off Neal's anklet.

Without the tracking anklet or Peter's supernatural ability to find Neal, the FBI cannot find him. Luckily, after two years of being constantly monitored, Neal appears to have become addicted to the feeling. Neal looks for a surrogate tracking anklet and finds one in the Nazi's fractal antennae. The antennae works and his life is spared.

To be continued in Season 3...