White Collar Boss Previews 'Bad Boy' Neal's Big Season 3 Dilemma

White Collar‘s central bromance is about to be tested in a big way.

When the USA Network series returns this Tuesday at 9/8c, Peter and Neal will have their hands full with a whole lot of treasure and an equally great amount of distrust — between each other.

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Having discovered that someone stole the Nazi U-boat treasure for him and placed it in a warehouse, “The big mystery going into Season 3 is, what’s Neal going to do?” creator Jeff Eastin tells TVLine. “The idea was: If you give the greatest con man in the world the greatest treasure in the world, what’s he going to do with it?”

Although it may seem like Neal, who has formed a bond with Peter, would want to preserve his relationship with the G-man, giving up the priceless art and jewels will not be an easy thing to do. “Every waking, breathing moment [for Neal] has been about the big, final score, and he finally gets it,” points out Eastin. What Neal chooses to do next – “Is he going to go the route with Mozzie the criminal, or is he going the route with Peter and put on the white hat?” posits Eastin – is at the core of Season 3 and the network’s “Choose a side” ad campaign.

“We’d softened up him up a little too much, got him a little too close to the FBI,” Eastin notes, “so we had the idea to take him back to the bad boy he always has been.”

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As a result, Neal’s relationship with Peter will be tested, and getting back to a state of trust will be a challenge. “The tough part of the show always is to try to get us back to some normalcy,” says Eastin. “Since the show began, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping the guys smiling at each other’s faces and then the second one leaves the room, them being distrustful. But the guys can still have a good time while they’re together.”

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While Peter and Neal’s relationship – and a bounty of booty – hangs in the balance, there is one mystery that will be resolved “very quickly”: Who stole the treasure for Neal? Eastin says there’s really only one suspect who could have done it.

“It just occurred to us that watching all of Season 2 back-to-back, there was one person that had wanted to do a long con all along, who’s wanted this forever,” he hints.

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Are you looking forward to the White Collar season premiere? Who do you think stole the treasure? And what do you think Neal will do with it? Hit the comments with your theories, and stay online with TVLine this summer as in the coming weeks we preview Peter’s great undercover adventure!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Alex says:

    So excited for the season premiere tomorrow! I think it has to be Alex that stole the treasure…should be interesting to see where the show goes now, since all that stuff with Kate and the music box is done, and they basically have a clean slate now.

  2. ell says:

    This show is great fun, but I hope Peter and Neal’s chemistry is what really makes it work so I hope they don’t fight too much.

    Can’t wait to see Diana with her girlfriend, she’s my fave after the main characters. :)

    • Suz says:

      I agree! I love Diana and want to see what her GF is like!

      • Caro says:

        No, he didn’t do it. My money is on June, since it’s a long shot and she’s the one you least expect it from. She seems like the kind of gal who’d love to pull off such a heist.

  3. Brian says:

    Mozzie totally stole the treasure. He was the one grooming Neal for the long con since the beginning.

    • Shirley says:

      I totally agree cause Neal and Mozzie were supposed to do a long con on Vincent Adler, and Mozzie kept pushing it.

      • GG says:

        I’ve thought it was Alex that stole the treasure this whole time, but thinking about it now, I’m totally on board with it being Mozzie. That really makes more sense considering Neal was working with him in the beginning when they were doing the long con on Vincent.

  4. tigersmurfette says:

    i am so excited for the show. but the whole nazi thing does kinda bother me.

  5. Riley says:

    My bet is that Mozzie stole the treasure – especially if Neal is the one who ends up with it. Alex wouldn’t hand it over, and Mozzie is the one who was interested in a long con.

    I hope that eventually, Neal sides with Peter. I do think it’ll take just about the whole season to get him there, though. And I can’t wait to see him in a relationship with Sara. They have great chemistry and something always seemed off about his relationship with Kate.

    • teniba says:

      His relationship with Sara won’t be easy since there will be a break up and during that break up Neal will have a fling with someone else…

      • ell says:

        I read that too, I hope it doesn’t mess with the show just so they can fit in a guest star. It seemed like Neal was already going to be torn between Alex (love her, his old naughty life) and Sara (new, law abiding life).

  6. TF says:

    Not watching this season because I can’t stand the irritating and untalented Hilarie Burton. I also know who took the treasure and it’s a boring answer which many people have already guessed. The very talented Bomer and DeKay deserve so much better than this show.

    • TF is an A.H. says:

      Get over yourself. It’s a hit show for a reason, and it’s not because some overweight internet troll knows what’s good for it. You’re just mad because Hilarie is sexy as hell, while you’re just some fat nobody in the middle of the country with no talent. Die, troll.

    • me says:

      You cannot know and if you say you do, why not share that information? You just don’t like the show, which I cannot understand because it’s great entertaiment.

  7. Ashley says:

    I think Alex stole the treasure, but for me that mystery is a distant second to how this will affect Neal and Peter’s relationship. Don’t mess with the beloved bromance, showrunners!

  8. Tiva4Life says:

    Thanks so much can’t wait for the season to start.

  9. Mark says:

    Duh, keep the loot.

  10. maggie says:

    I can’t wait for this season to play out. It sounds really awesome!

  11. tejas says:

    I get tired of the constant mistrust and was hoping that wouldn’t continue to be a theme. Yes, have Neal pulled in two directions because of his past and his present. Yes, have Peter need to be on watch in case Neal wavers, but stop messing with their trust in *each* *other*. That gets boring very fast.

    And please, ditch the gal currently attached to Neal. She’s tedious.

    • Caro says:

      I can see why you’d find that annoying but I think you forget about their characters and their lives. Both men are incredibly committed to their careers, so to speak. Peter to his FBI life and everything the law and honesty stands for, and Neal is a con man and a liar for so many years that he feels okay with it. He’s not just a thief but he lies about his name, life, manners, everything to just get what he wants. How could Peter know he’s not played by Neal? And how can Neal know Peter won’t be more loyal to the law and everything than he is to Neal? They are on opposite sides and that fact is very well played out in the series. So the writers are doing a terrific job here. Peter and Neal can only be torn and doubt each other about their motives. Because when is someone truly honest, wants to be honest? You cannot know when you are that different as these two characters. And still, a bond is formed… very interesting and nicely done!

  12. Tim says:

    Sara stole it.

  13. zoot says:

    wouldn’t it be cool if Peter stole the treasure to set Neal up? Maybe he is trying to test him and see what he will do?

  14. MamaLarson3 says:

    I originally tuned in because Neal’s hotness. I stayed with the show, however, because it was Peter that I ended up crushing on. Must be my age. :) If the producers are reading, I just want to say thanks for making an interesting and entertaining show that I can watch with my three tweenage boys. We all love it for different reasons, but the point is that we all love it! Can’t wait for this season…its a summer tradition for us.

  15. Umbrella says:

    This is such a great show :D I’ve had an opportunity to watch them film it on the streets of NYC and speak to Matt. He’s always so polite!