White Collar Creator Previews Final Season's 'Dangerous' Foes, Reveals Scrapped 'Broken Hearts' Revenge Plot

White Collar Season 6 Spoilers

White Collar has saved the best and baddest criminals for its last, grand con.

The USA Network drama’s final season (premiering Thursday at 9/8c) finds Neal and Peter — not to mention, all their loved ones — in harm’s way as they aim to take down the world’s most infamous and threatening group of thieves, the Pink Panthers.

RELATED Scoop on White Collar‘s Father-Son Charade

But before the unforgiving Panthers took center stage as the Big Bad for the show’s swan song, Neal was in danger of being attacked by… his ex-girlfriends? ‘Tis true! Here, series creator Jeff Eastin previews Season 6’s familiar villains and dangerous new enemies and teases the storylines that almost were.

TVLINE | How would you sum up White Collar’s farewell season? What do you want fans to know going into it?
I think we had a really good ride. Instead of looking at it like six episodes, we decided to look at it as a little miniseries. We wanted to bring back a lot of the bad guys that I, personally, loved, with Keller (played by Ross McCall) and Hagen (Mark Sheppard). We just wanted to make this last season a real tribute to the show and, hopefully, make it enjoyable to the fans who have really stuck with us through all these years.

TVLINE | What can you say about the Pink Panthers plot that carries you through this last run?
The Pink Panthers are actually based on a real group. We’d actually toyed with this idea earlier in the run of the show. We thought it would be a really cool way to put Neal up against bad guys who were his equal. The thing about the Panthers that will figure heavily into the end of the series will be that these guys never, ever forget a slight. So if you double-cross them, they go after you and they go after everybody you know about or have ever met and/or are related to. So that’s the other big part of it, that these guys are probably the most dangerous group that Peter and Neal have ever gone up against.

TVLINE | Is this one of those plots, because of how infamous the Pink Panthers are, that you couldn’t really do until you reached the climax of the series?
You never know quite how long the show’s going to go, and the Panthers are one that we really thought, like you said, would be a fun group that we can have our guys go up against once we’ve exhausted the other villains in the show. Once we realized this was the last season, we said, “Alright. Let’s do it. Let’s pull them out and go for it.”

TVLINE | How are Peter and Elizabeth handling the long distance relationship?
I was just talking to somebody about this the other day. We were debating how on Graceland the relationships are completely different than the ones on White Collar. I was really surprised that Peter and Elizabeth became this really almost perfect TV couple, that they were there for each other, because they didn’t have the crazy drama that a lot of television couples have. People did react well to it, and so ultimately we started evolving in that direction… Let’s put it this way: the Burkes don’t handle their separation well, so they move pretty quickly to solve that problem.

TVLINE | You have a lot going on in this final season and it’s only six episodes, but is there room for romance or love for Neal?
There is not a great deal of room. [Laughs] Honestly, that again was by design. What we wanted to do in this final season was make it about our guys, really focus on that core group, which is Peter, Neal and Mozzie. So we backed off Neal’s usual romantic entanglements this year and decided to [focus] on his relationships with Peter and Mozzie.

whitecollar_nealsara300TVLINE | Does that mean we won’t be hearing of or seeing any more of Sara (played by Hilarie Burton)?
I don’t believe we see Sara this year.

TVLINE | What about the other woman from Neal’s past, Alex (Gloria Votsis)? Is that somebody who you might check in with, since she is a thief herself?
Honestly, we debated quite a bit on it. In one incarnation, we had Neal going up against the entire group of women. [Laughs] We were going to have Kate, Alex and Sara combine forces against Neal, but ultimately, we decided to focus on the three guys. So we don’t get to check back with Alex either.

TVLINE | Were they out for revenge for broken hearts? Or was this like a criminal type of thing where they were plotting something?
It was a little bit of broken hearts. [Laughs] That was a bit of the idea. When we were diving in early, trying to figure out what we wanted to do with this season, that was one idea that came up. Ultimately, we didn’t think they would get along that well.

TVLINE | Were there any other plot points you wanted to include but just didn’t have room for?
Oh, yeah. I mean, there was a million of them, honestly. It was funny because the first year of White Collar – I think it was around Episode 10 – I remember sitting there with Joe Henderson, Jim Campolongo, Channing [Powell] and a lot of the writers, and we just said, “My God, we’re out of stories. There’s nothing else we can possibly do.” There was a bad week there, and we came back and suddenly we realized we can tell these stories until the end of time once we sort of figured it out. The one I really regret not doing was going to be Keller’s death. Ross McCall’s always done a great job playing Keller, and the idea was that he was going to come in and say that somebody poisoned him. He was going to die within 48 hours and wanted Peter and Neal to help him solve his own murder. At the end of the day, Keller was going to give Neal some big piece of information right before he died. That was one we really, really wanted to do. You’ll see how the finale plays out this year — Keller’s involved. But ultimately, that was one I’ll always regret not doing.

TVLINE | Does the finale leave the door open for a TV-movie some day?
I can’t say. Let’s put it this way: there’s always a possibly of doing a prequel. So, sure.

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  1. Tran says:

    Really going to miss White Collar especially Tiffani Thiessen who was smokin’ HOT during her Saved By the Bell days.

    • Big Mike says:

      If you’re into teenage girls, then yes. She’s a gorgeous WOMAN now though. I’d take her now over then any day.

      • Me says:

        To be fair the OP could have been a teen at the time. But she really is stunning at any age.

      • lechatnoir says:

        SMH! what does that even mean , “being into teenage girls” , is that some sorta fetish ? anywho I love Tiffany but she really didn’t have much to do in the show .she was just peter’s wife.

  2. Big Mike says:

    Wish they could’ve gotten the full 13 eps, but grateful for getting what we’ve got.

  3. Big Mike says:

    Wish we got a full 13 eps, but grateful for what we’ve been given.

  4. M3rc Nate says:

    I am VERY glad they decided not to do that “Exes go after Neal” story line…wow that would have been bad. I have always felt hes such a nice guy (and the looks dont hurt) that none of them really have a issue with him that is beyond skin deep (they might be ticked or something but not betrayed or vengeful).

    I will say while i might love this last season, i hope they dont avoid a love story completely….i know that i personally am a shipper, and that i love watching shows for many reasons but especially awesome relationships…but its a fact that this show premiered (its pilot) and the entire plot of its first season was a love story…it was about Neal and Kate…so to say something like “it doesnt really matter who he ends up with or w/e” in the final season doesnt really add up with how this show was presented in the beginning and even during its entire run (with multiple pretty good love stories/romances).

    I’m not asking for much by the way, maybe something like in the last 30 minutes of the last episode someone like Sara shows up and they decide to be together for REAL, like he moves to (England?) to be with her for real, or she moves to NY to be with him or SOMETHING that can be believable and fun.

  5. Ella says:

    Such a consistently entertaining show. I’m looking forward to these last episodes but wish they had been given a full 13 episode final season.

  6. Susan says:

    When he says that they could always do a prequel, does that mean that someone doesn’t survive this season? Therefore, they couldn’t do a follow-up, or sequel. Just wondering…….

  7. Doc755 says:

    Damn. I bet my friend all the way back in season 1 that Kate wasn’t actually dead. The way the plane explosion went down it seemed really suspicious. But I can live without seeing Kate again. I would have loved to see Hilarie Burton come back though. The introduction of Sara is what really turned the show around for me. Her and Peter’s photo session was worth the first two lackluster seasons

  8. JBC says:

    Glad that they scrapped the exes revenge plot. The show should have ALWAYS FOCUSED on Peter and Neal.
    My draw to this show was it’s premise: the unique relationship between the smart FBI agent and charasmatic Conman solving cases… Mozzie as a side character was perfect in so many ways., Diana & Jones fit in so well and Elizabeth and June were just great as supporting characters. A touch of romance with a great storyline is much more interesting and entertaining!
    I know some fans will disagree, but for me adding Sara, as a full time girlfriend made the show get a bit dull. It wasn’t meant to be the Neal and Sara show. or Neal and Alex show etc.. Sara should have been in maybe 4 to 6 eps and done.. I liked Alex in S1&2 because she flowed in and out of the show, had a place because she was a criminal friend, and didn’t overwhelm the story like Sara Ellis did. It was so obvious that the writers had to write silly eps or scenes just to fit the Sara Ellis character in when HB became a regular. The other ladies, Maya, Sophie, Kate had just enough air time, and the character of Rebecca/Rachel was fantastic because it meshed with the season storyline and it was exciting to watch it unfold.
    Less romance is more in a show like White Collar, the character development of the 2 main leads should have always been the biggest focus… I do like ALL the lady loves, but the relationship with Peter and Neal is the true HEART of this show. I will miss White Collar, and am so sad that it ended prematurely. 7 seasons would have been so nice..

  9. Joey Padron says:

    Good interview with Jeff. Gonna miss the show a lot. Can’t wait to watch season premiere tomorrow night!

  10. aaj says:

    At the very least, it would have been nice to have Neal ride off into the sunset with Sara . . .

  11. Dee says:

    Would it have killed them to have Alex come back for one episode?

  12. Ella says:

    I’m seriously hoping that “I don’t believe we see Sara this year” is a fake-out. That would suck so hard is Neal and Sara didn’t get their happy ending. I love the bromance but Peter has a wife, why can’t Neal conclude the series by being with his most consistent love interest too?

  13. rainey13 says:

    Even in an interview about the end of White Collar, we have to hear about Graceland. But even beyond that, Eastin has lied/misled so many times in interviews, it’s hard to know what to even take seriously. There were so many intriguing stories out there if the show had stayed the course of Season 1-2. I just hope we get at least a semi-satisfying conclusion.

  14. wasim says:

    I hope they make a prequel of this show

  15. This show shouldn’t end. I’ll really miss it. I hope the end brings happy endings for all the characters.

  16. Odessa Wells says:

    Getting back to the questions about the ladies (girlfriends) coming back, he said Sara was not coming back and Alex was not coming back BUT he did not say Kate was not coming back go back and read that comment. So for me it could still mean Kate is not died and she will show up.

  17. jen says:

    Damn I was hoping Neal would get his happy ending. He’s always searching for that special someone. Peter has El so why can’t Neal find someone too? Not Sara though. She never worked for me. Neal deserves someone way cooler. Any of his girlfriends would’ve worked, other than Sara.

  18. So, SO glad that Sara is NOT coming back. Please, no love interest for Neal, at least this season. Focus on Peter and Neal. Especially since Elizabeth will apparently become pregnant, based on other interviews and spoilers *sigh* Why? I really loved that they were a happy couple WITHOUT a child, that was a really nice change, that a female character wasn’t all oohing and aahing about her biological clock and they were two happily married, career-focused people!

    • T says:

      I hate Sarah. Worst plot ever. Erase her, replace w an actual good actress, n white collar. Sara sucks. As an an acress n fucckkk she sucks in wc. She ruins the scenes.

  19. chabbyleeta says:

    I wish White Collar never ends Please;;;!

  20. Alva says:

    Am I the only one that thinks Neal is going to fake his death in the finale

  21. meg says:

    I really wish they could have done the 13 episode, but glad they are ending it instead of just cancelling. I think Neal is going to die, saving Peter. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see it ending another way for Neal. He doesn’t want to be a thief, but he doesn’t want to be an fbi agent either. I think it will end with Peter naming his baby after Neal. It sucks it’s ending, it actually hurts! Don’t know if I’m right, but if I am, I’m gonna look like a genius, Lol.

    • Annie says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking! Especially with how strange Neal has acted so far through this 6th season. It would fit with all the times they keep quoting, “Your sins catch up with you eventually,” and possibly stem from whatever seemingly dangerous secret he’s keeping from both his best friends. At the same time, I’m not so sure they would be willing to kill him off, even though the show is ending. It would make a lot of fans really mad, but I honestly don’t think it would be a bad ending. It would make sense, actually. If he dies, I hope it’s a sort of hero’s death.

  22. Kathie Ashley says:

    I really like Hilarie Burton on the show with Matt the best. I really like the show & don’t know why it is being cancelled, I know there is nothing else I care to watch. I have bought all the seasons dvd’s so I may watch it again. I would really like to see it come back on again. Tiffani & Tim are also such a great acting pair together.

  23. Mike Camire says:

    I really hope they do a prequel. It would be cool to see more of Neal and Mozzie pulling cons with Peter trying to go after Neal.

    As for the women on the show, Alex is still my favorite, so damn sexy!

  24. Thomas Blake says:

    I absolutely loved everything besides two things. 1: I wish he wouldve ended up falling in love with a girl at the end. 2: I hate to see how he got so attached to everyone throughout the series than at the end have to leave it all behind. He was alone his whole life and finally got to a point where he was surrounded by people that cared about him. Thats kind of why I wanted him to end of falling in love because with his former lifestyle that would never have happened.