White Collar Boss Previews the Season Finale That 'Changes Everything'

White Collar Matt BomerJudgment Day has arrived for White Collar‘s Neal Caffrey. In this Tuesday’s season finale (airing at 10/9c on USA Network), the suave con man will learn whether he’ll go free or continue to be tethered to the FBI. Either way, though, the tense hour “will change everything,” says series creator Jeff Eastin — and yes, that includes Neal’s bromantic bond with handler Peter Burke.

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on the White Collar Season Finale and More!

TVLINE | Every year, the finale is this big cliffhanger that shakes things up. How does this one measure up?
I’m probably biased, but I think it’s the best one we’ve done. It’s pretty exciting. … We’re going to hold on Matt Bomer’s face for nearly a minute [at the very end], and it changes everything.

TVLINE | How different will Peter and Neal’s relationship be by the end of the hour?
Their relationship will come full circle. But at the same, what happens after that will change everything.

TVLINE | What’s going through Peter’s head as he prepares for Neal’s commutation hearing?
The hour presents Peter with the biggest choice he’s ever had. He’s essentially the key to Neal’s freedom, and it’s a big decision. He goes back and forth on it a couple of times before making his final decision.

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TVLINE | And how is Neal dealing as he awaits the outcome?
For Neal, this is also the biggest decision he’s ever faced since he’s known Peter. It took me a long time to write his speech that he gives at the hearing. He sums it up nicely [by saying], “But to wake up tomorrow and only have to answer to myself? That means everything.” Just like anybody else who’s facing a big decision like that, he’s doing what he can to maintain [his sanity]. But at the same time, it’s really something that’s out of his control.

TVLINE | We’re seeing a lot of things coming into play with Kramer (played by Beau Bridges) and these coded letters to Kate. How is Neal’s past going to factor into the finale?
One of our working titles for this episode was “Sins of the Past.” Neal has changed quite a bit. And one of the things that he really has struggled with – which, at the beginning of Season 4, we will confront head on – is this idea of who he really is. Peter’s really pushed him toward the light, and in Neal’s mind, he has become a much more responsible person for that. Yet, the things that are hurting him in this episode are things that happened years and years ago, when he was a different person. It’s very tough for him to reconcile that, because he’s like, “You guys are trying the person I’m not anymore.” That’s also tough for Peter. But from Kramer’s point of view, the guy’s a criminal and you thought wrong.

TVLINE | How big of a threat is Kramer to Neal’s freedom?
Quite a big one. Kramer really poses the most serious threat to Neal’s freedom that anybody [ever] has. For Kramer, it becomes a lot less about putting Neal Caffrey behind bars, because he respects Neal and is absolutely blown away by his skill. A lot of the question Kramer is asking himself is, “Why are we letting him go? Why are we taking this person that has such an amazing skill set and setting him loose? Why not harness that and use it for the FBI?”

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White Collar Tim DeKay Marsha ThomasonTVLINE | The two people who’ve worked the most closely with Neal behind Peter are Jones and Diana. What role do they play in his hearing?
That was something we struggled with quite a bit – what would Jones and Diana say? We constructed the episode so that each act begins with somebody testifying. As far as June goes, Diahann Carroll did a spectacular job; she actually sent me a nice note saying that was one of the best, most exciting acting challenges she’s had in a while. I was very impressed. [But as far as] Jones and Diana go, it was a real wrestling match to decide who was going to say what. There was a lot of sitting down with Marsha [Thomason] and Sharif [Atkins] and going back and looking at the characters we created for them and deciding what they really feel. Each of their decisions will probably surprise people.

TVLINE | Matt and Tim [DeKay] told me they couldn’t imagine these characters’ lives without each other in some way. Is the possibility of them being separate something they’re struggling with?
Quite a bit. Neal knows that, left to his own devices, he’ll probably get himself into some trouble. At the same time, he doesn’t want the comfort of the anklet anymore, knowing that Peter’s there to pull him back if he goes too far. The same thing for Peter – he’s come to rely on Neal so much that if Neal’s free, [it’s like], “I don’t know what that looks like.” Does that mean Neal living on some island somewhere, phoning Peter, and Peter emailing him stuff on the case? For both of them, it’s a big transition no matter what happens.

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  1. Alex says:

    My bet is that the big cliffhanger involves some family member of Neal’s showing up…

    • Cynthia says:

      Oh I would love that!

    • Rach says:

      His brother, played by Darren Criss?

    • Gabriela says:

      His Brother Hopefully! at least his back, and then on S4 we will See Tom Welling as his brother #neverlettinggo

      • sabrina says:

        If the cliffhanger does involve Neal’s family I definitely agree that Tom Welling should play his brother and not Darren Criss.

        • Deena says:

          I think she was kidding because Matt is playing Darren’s brother on an upcoming episode of Glee.
          I love that they do cliffhangers because I feel like a lot of shows don’t do them anymore, or at least don’t do them well. I know with White Collar my heart drops and I go, “NOOOOOO!” when I realize I have to wait months to see what happens. It’s torture but I love it. Can’t wait until tonight!

  2. TFD says:

    Cannot wait to see this.
    Consistently one of the best shows on TV.
    Really hope the hearing/freedom situation has a proper resolution in the finale, unlike Red John in The Mentalist, which has more than ran its course.

  3. Icaruz says:

    Neal has a 4 year sentence so mathematically it ends when season 4 ends, right now, he wants an early release so when u look at it, next year he will be free

  4. peter says:

    the episode last week neal said it’s only 2 years
    so is 3 seasons but only 2 years

  5. lolana says:

    I just hope that when he “confornts the idea who he really is” the answer is not going to be that he has changed and is now a reformed, proper citizen.

  6. Dale Sullivan says:


  7. James says:

    I have a feeling when the camera is focused on NEAL’s face for a minute he will be on a plane or other means of transport out of NY. I say this b/c in an interview MATT said that JEFF told him they planned to film the S4 premiere away from NYC. MATT joked he would be either freezing in a speedo on Staten Is. or they were really going somewhere like P.R. depending on the budget.
    I immediately thought when he said they might shoot S4.1 out of NYC that if was b/c NEAL ran at the end of S3 as much as it will break my heart.
    This is all surmise on my part, I guess we will know for sure in several hours.
    I an very excited to watch.
    I trust Jeff Eastin & #WHITECOLLAR writers to take the show & keep me as entertained as they have these first 3 seasons for the next 17 at least.

  8. James says:

    Both Jeff Eastin & Matt Bomer have said that in NO uncertain terms will NEAL all of a sudden be mister goody two shoes & be on the right side of the fence. He is NEAL. He has some ‘con’ in him. That will never come all the way out. He looks idolizingly (word?) at Peter & El’s white picket fence relationship but knows deep down it could never be his.