White Collar Season Finale Preview: 'The Last Scene Shocks Me Every Time I See It'

Like the best season finales, White Collar this Tuesday at 10/9c not only serves up satisfying resolution, it plants a provocative seed for its next run of episodes.

“We kick it to a whole new level,” executive producer Mark Goffman told TVLine at a PaleyFest event tributing the USA Network series. “We wanted to pay off everything that’s been set up so far — and it’s been a great ride for all these characters as they look into the music box — but the last scene is something that every time I see it, it shocks me. I am riveted when I watch Neal’s face and see his reaction to what is to be in Season 3.”

And what exactly is it that Neal will be left to react to as Tuesday’s finale draws to a close? Goffman offers but one hint: “It’s everything he possibly could have dreamed of.”

It seems the White Collar cast’s collective jaw was left on the floor when they read that final scene. As Tim DeKay, who plays Peter, puts it, “Just when you realize you are satisfied with every single question you had about the music box, in the last 10 to 15 seconds it will be flipped around and you’ll be amazed. You’ll realize, “Oh, that’s Season 3!”

Adds Matt Bomer (Neal), “We get set up for the next season in one very short scene, and the fact that [series creator] Jeff Eastin was able to pull that off in a really interesting way is a testament to his abilities as a writer. It’s pretty amazing.”

Co-executive producer Jeff King teases the finale cliffhanger and prospects for Season 3 thusly: “It’s like the music box on steroids. That’s what we’re after.”

While you process all those vague, previewy tidbits about the finale, here’s a sampling of what else the White Collar cast and producers revealed about what’s to come:

* DeKay says that although Peter “goes to the greatest length that anybody could to help Neal catch Adler” in the finale, the closing moments will dictate that their relationship be visited anew. “It makes you think, ‘Everything we think of Neal, is it not true? Is it true?’ It’s a great flip.” Which is par for the course on the zig-zaggy USA series. “There’s always a rubber band between Peter and Neal,” DeKay notes, “and that rubber band is [left] very, very taut.”

* Willie Garson says that Mozzie plays a key role in the season finale, creating a device that helps the gang track down the elusive Vincent Adler (played by Andrew McCarthy). And come Season 3, count on an outing that further illuminates Mozzie’s shadowy past. Says King, “We’re going to be going back to what made Mozzie who he was when we saw him in the previous flashback episode, ‘Forging Bonds.’ We’re going to explore his roots in Detroit.”

* Neal’s love life promises to get all kinds of complicated as he tries to juggle his past with what could be his future. Goffman says an “interesting triangle” forms with Alex (Gloria Votsis)  – “who features pretty heavily into the finale” – and Sara (Hilarie Burton, a series regular as of Season 3). “Neal is trying to move beyond his past, but Alex is a reminder of it, and he has a lot of feelings for her that he was never able to explore before.” Meanwhile, Neal’s nascent romance with Sara “is going to have fits and starts as they both figure out what they want from each other.” Wait, didn’t their coitus interruptus outside the card catalogs hint strongly at what they [ahem] want…? Says Bomer, “I think they’re just going to have a good time together and see where it goes from there.”

(With reporting from Vlada Gelman)