Post Mortem: White Collar Boss Talks Neal and Peter's Daddy Issues

White Collar Tim DeKay Matt BomerWARNING: If you have yet to watch Tuesday’s summer finale of White Collar, avert your eyes now. Everyone else, you may proceed…

Tuesday night’s mid-season finale of White Collar finally unmasked Neal’s father, and the mystery man was much closer than the con artist realized. Peter’s discovery that the real Sam had actually passed away a while ago blew Treat Williams’ character’s cover. And when a DNA matched confirmed it, Neal realized he’d been working alongside his pops for a while.

The big twist wasn’t a complete shocker, admits executive producer Jeff Eastin.

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“We’re going to get a lot of, ‘Oh, I knew it!’” he tells TVLine. Such is the price you pay for having savvy, intelligent viewers. But there is one thing the audience doesn’t know for certain: whether Sam really is the man Neal has been seeking for so long. Could he actually be a bad guy who has somehow gotten his hands on dad and his blood?

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” replies Eastin coyly, only allowing that “things can happen. You never know. I won’t dissuade any of the crazy theories. They may be right.”

If the show isn’t pulling a fast one on fans, then the former cop’s motives for keeping his true identity secret will be explored when White Collar returns in January, says the EP, adding that Williams appears “in a good chunk of the second half” of the fourth season.

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White Collar Matt Bomer Treat WilliamsWhether  Sam’s presence will be a positive or negative for his son in the episodes ahead remains unclear. “Neal goes back and forth on that,” previews Eastin. “For a good portion of the season, he thinks it’s a very good thing, finally getting to know who he is. And then there will be some twists and turns in that as the [Season 4 winter] finale approaches.”

In the process, Neal’s relationship with Peter will continue to take some hits. “In a lot of ways, Peter is a surrogate dad [to Neal],” explains Eastin. “Now that real dad is on the scene, some of those issues start to come out – not just for Neal, but for Peter, also. On Peter’s side, there’s a little bit of, I wouldn’t call it jealousy, but almost concern. It’s sort of like Neal is his adopted son, and the birth father shows up and is taking him back.”

Having a new paternal figure step into the crime-solving partners’ lives will be “very tough for both of them,” he continues. “A lot of the trust issues that they have come from that.”

White Collar fans, do you think Sam is really Neal’s dad? And what do you hope this means for his other “dad,” Peter?

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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39 Comments
  1. Templar says:

    AHA! I posted weeks ago that I thought Sam was Neal’s Father. I win! I win!

  2. Emgee says:

    I did predict that “Sam” (huh! Saaam!) was his father, but it was still a great episode.

    Season 5 pickup news soon!! Please!

  3. TheDude says:

    Decent twist, but it still sucks that Ellen had to die for it to happen. Wish they coulda just put her in a coma or something. Her and Neal’s scenes were some of the best the show has done. RIP Ellen

  4. Suz says:

    I told my husband the scene where “Sam” was tied and getting hit looked like a set up for Neal to find and therefore trust “Sam” more,,,I didn’t think about the blood being planted also,,,interesting thought,,,,,I can’t wait to see what happens!!

    • Alichat says:

      Hmm….I did see the Sam is Neal’s dad thing coming from a mile away, and I don’t trust him. So, I too thought the Sam tied up scene may have been staged. He didn’t look as beat up as I expected, and I feel like Mozzie and Neal would have heard something sooner upon entering the safe house. The blood being planted is interesting, although it seems more plausible that records were switched that show Sam’s blood as Neal’s father, yet he’s not really his father. Or….he is Neal’s father and he’s corrupt.

      • Chester says:

        Sam was really concerned that the Irish mob not find out about Neal, so I don’t think he is trying to set Neal up for anything.

  5. Kate says:

    I hope there is a twist because this was way too obvious. I like when I can’t see things coming a mile away.

    • Lisa says:

      I agree. If that is WC’s idea of a big twist, then wow. It was a letdown for me. I love Treat but there has been nothing about this storyline which has been terribly interesting or engaging. Also this mistrust and constant tension with Peter and Neal is wearing thin and becoming an overused plot device.

  6. Vishal Thakrar says:

    This was by far the worst summer finale that I have seen throughout the four seasons of white collar. It was a letdown and many could have predicted that sam is neil’s father. It will be interesting to see how Peter and Neils relationship evolves with this new discovery, however I just dont understand what Jeff Easten is trying to do with Season 4 as the story line is not as engaging as before and WC will eventually lose its spark if it continues this way….

  7. Keenan says:

    I like Treat Williams but i can’t stand this character. Dad or not i hope he doesn’t hang around.

  8. Sabina says:

    I too predicted that “Sam” was Neil’s father… however, a part of me thinks that he isn’t …since it ended with Neal saying to Sam, why didn’t you tell me, you are my father? We do not know what Sam says, because it ended there. There is more to this than just that. Jeff Eastin, will not disappoint in the second half of Season 4..
    I do agree with overused plot device of Neal and Peter “trust, no trust” issue…
    We will have to wait until January 2013…..

  9. Hope says:

    I think Treat Williams did a great job with the character of “Sam”, playing the part of a concerned dad who would want to protect his son. Good acting! It sold me!
    What I wonder is, if there is more of a con being played here. The blood being planted, I hadn’t thought of that?? How would that work?? Is Neal’s real dad being held hostage and then they plant his blood on fake Sam’s face, for Neal to clean off. Is Treat Williams character really Neal’s dad, but is a bad guy for real? So many possibilities.
    I agree with TheDude about Ellen too. She could have just been put in a coma. Or maybe she is in witness protection. (Judith Ivey is a great actress, and I appreciate good acting..)Maybe this is all a long con for some reason or other??
    Oh well we won’t know till months from now.. hate the way USA works their seasons. If they had 24 episodes it wouldn’t be so bad but to have 2 short seasons for a 16 episode season, months apart is terrible.

  10. Kim R says:

    No plot twist here. :) Of course he is Neal’s dad. And the “trust, don’t trust” thing has got to be put to bed. Please! It is starting to annoy me. A lot! :)

  11. Nancy says:

    They’ll never get rid of the tension between Neal and Peter because that’s what makes the show unique otherwise it would just turn into a buddy-cop show, and there are plenty of those on TV.

    I like the tension. I like that the characters don’t turn into each other. Neal is a con man. He’s always going to think that way, for the most part. And Peter is an FBI agent with a pretty strong core of values. That combo of them being different and yet also very similar and looking at a problem with each of their unique views is fantastic.

    I don’t think the writers thought it would blow people’s minds, but it does leave you thinking….I think that was the point. I know I’m curious how this will play out and will tune in in January.

    • MT says:

      This level of tension is becoming absurd. After several years of backing each other up and saving each other’s lives and loved ones, the level of trust should not deteriorate this deeply and easily. It makes both the characters and their relationship seem shallow, and a bit unlikeable.

  12. Bella says:

    It didn’t occur to me that Sam was Neal’s father until I saw the promo for this week’s episode, with Neal saying, “Why didn’t you tell me?” Then, it was obvious. I really wish the networks wouldn’t telegraph so much in their promos, because it takes away the suspense. I don’t want to know what you’re giving me for Christmas – I want to find out when I open the package!

  13. JR says:

    I agree with Bella that USA needs to limit what it shows in the promos. I saw on Twitter that Jeff and writers were upset with that as well.
    I like the tension between Neal and Peter and agree it is the heart of the show. It would not be as interesting if they were open and trusting all the time.

  14. Susan says:

    Like most, I thought Sam was really Neal’s father…no big surprise. I’m disappointed to hear that the relationship between Peter and Neal will continue to “suffer some hits” because it’s kind of ruining it for me. This season Neal has acted like a spoiled brat. If it continues, I’ll quit the show.

  15. IIz says:

    Neal has acted like a spoiled brat? I don’t agree with Susan. Neal has every reason to be sick of Peter’s self-righteous attitude.

    • Bella says:

      I completely agree with you! The last few episodes Peter has been going behind Neal’s back to find out things from his PERSONAL life. I think Peter needs to learn to trust neal a lot more and wait for Neal to tell him things instead of going behind his back

  16. Jackie says:

    I hope he’s not really Neal’s dad, but that’s mainly just because I decided last year that it should be Kramer (they have the same eyes, which is the key clue Ellen gave us). Also because the promo people totally gave it away the week before, so it wasn’t an exciting ending. Would be much more satisfying in the long run if it is a misdirect, like the very first midseason finale was!

    • andi says:

      I agree with Jackie… i think Kramer is Neals Dad, for some obvious reason, same blue eyes….
      donno how its gonna play, but its definitely gonna be interesting..
      which if that is the case, then season 3, when Kramer wants to keep Neal with him is actually to save him from Sam, which probably try to get to Kramer via Neal.
      Or vice versa.. interesting plot… i love the show.

  17. Dale Sullivan says:

    I WAS THINKING HE COULD BE HIS UNCLE; STILL A CLOSE MATCH. I THINK NEAL WILL REALIZE THAT PETER HAS BEEN THERE WITH HIM AND FOR HIM MORE TIMES THAN ANYTHING SAM POSSIBLY COULD. AND STILL IS.

  18. Megan says:

    I was just wondering if anyone else has thought of what the locket will lead them to finding. I feel like the locket holds a big twist but I have no ideas myself what Ellen left for Neal in the folder. Lastly- if the corrupt cop theory holds water I think Agent Collins has something to do with it. He just seemed like he had way to much angst towards Neal & he also visited Ellen before Peter did.

  19. Krystal says:

    I figured out that “Sam” was most likely Deal’s father when Ellen said “trust Sam”, implying that she herself trusted this Sam person with Neal’s life even though they’d aparently never met. She was so adamant about doing everything in her power to protect him that she wouldn’t take a chance unless was someone she was positive Sam wouldn’t hurt him…like his father. Kinda made a lot of the Sam info after that anti-climactic but I just love watching the Neal angst. Can’t wait for January!

  20. Ventus Astrum says:

    Actually, I thought it was rather refreshing to have a non-cliffie cliffie for once. I don’t have to worry about obsessing over yet another horrible thing that has occurred.
    I also agree that maybe Sam isn’t actually James. Sam/whoever could have been casing Neal for weeks and saw how he & Peter interacted with Ellen. Killing Ellen would have allowed him an opening to get with Neal so he could find the locket & box. Any corrupt FBI agents on Sam/whoever’s payroll could have falsified the DNA match report.
    I suppose we shall see when January gets here.

  21. Sandy says:

    When Ellen told Neal to find Sam, you can trust Sam, I think she was talking about the real Sam who died in Florida, not Treat W. I think as his partner, she was in love with him but he was married and had a wife and son, Neal. So she stayed close to protect Neal and helped raise him. I think Ellen is still alive in WITSEC and they couldn’t tell Neal so that his grief would look real when he found out she had “died”. Treat was at the cemetery so he could see how upset Neal was. Ellen has said that Neal still had his father’s eyes and Treat has beautiful blue eyes, but they should check if Sam in Florida had blue eyes.

    • andi says:

      Agree…. check the eyes.
      it will be interesting to see how Kramer comes into play… as part of Neil family.
      well looking forward to see the next of WC

  22. Sam says:

    luckily it was renewed for another season so we are getting 5 seasons of white collar

  23. Adnan says:

    What happened to Neal’s commutation? He didn’t run away he just helped the black suit for the secret investigation in cape verde

  24. Adnan says:

    It would be better if he didnt have the anklet.

  25. Jessica says:

    Prediction: that James is his father no false DNA matches and that his father is a baddie.
    Both Ellen and Peter have told us on the show. Ellen told Neal, ” the evil came later….” Also if James’ is a good guy why didn’t she give him the “box” instead of leaving it to Neal-doesn’t make sense otherwise. Peter also told Elizabeth that his gut was telling him that ” Sam” is here to get his hands on the box because he’s in the box. Peter is rarely wrong on the show. James was a dirty cop who is now using Neal to get his hands on the box otherwise he would have told him who he really is after all he knows Neal is looking for him.

    I think when Ellen told Neal to trust “Sam” she meant someone else the undercover cop that knew about the box also why not tell Neal who his biological father is. There is no reason of her not to have told Neal, she knew Neal was looking for him. Also isn’t it odd how Ellen is killed but James keep having narrow misses ie Neal saves him in t he safe house & his place is ransacked.

    Jeff Eastin has told us, ” Neal was born bad but wants to be good.” Neal wants to be like Peter (the toast Neal makes when Peter is reinstated in the FBI) but he thinks him being bad is in his blood. The show’s dynamic will change if James is a good guy therefore James is a baddie, IMO no other way around it.

    I’m actually more intrigued about Neal’s relationship with his mother they’ve hinted often enough that “she was around but wasn’t ” it must be worse onNeal then his father Mozzie knew about his father being a dirty cop but knows nothing about her, Neal was quick to silence Ellen over his mother meaning his mother hurt him more than his father IMO. Hope we learn more about her in season five.

    • Laura says:

      Totally agree w/Jessica (above): I’m really much more interested to learn about Neil’s mother, who he keeps saying was “not really there” for him (is she still alive?). Having grown up in a family where this dynamic was exactly the same (dad dying young, mother w/emotional problems and either not supportive or downright abusive, that would have a major issue on a young person; as Neil said (about his father/supposedly corrupt cop) to Peter, “You have no idea how much it messed with my mind.”

  26. Yvonita says:

    Wow i saw sam was neals dad 4rm so many miles away gve us sthn else mek us wana watch suspense is everythng

  27. susan says:

    Read everything but personally i don`t want Sam around . i just would like the assurance of Neal & Peter back together handling everything everyone throws at them. they r great together and thats the the it sho9ud b oh and lets please get rid of the new corrupt head of fbi she`s just a pain. neal and peter need to b together, their relationship is good. as for Krammer get over things didn`t work for u but they do work for Peter & Neal deal with it. this will b a rough yr to watch since i really enjoy the two of them together so much , hope things go back to somewhat normal quickly. good luck White Collar. Susan

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