Post Mortems

Post Mortem: White Collar EP on Neal's Deal, Peter and Elizabeth's Surprise

Warning: The following contains spoilers from Thursday’s season premiere of White Collar.

White Collar‘s final season debut on Thursday delivered some unexpected news for Peter and Elizabeth: They’re going to be parents!

As delighted as the couple was by the discovery, the bundle of joy will also place “a little different strain” on the husband and wife, creator Jeff Eastin tells TVLine.

RELATED White Collar Creator Reveals Scrapped ‘Broken Hearts’ Revenge Plot

Meanwhile, Neal struck a deal with his FBI mentor: He’ll help Peter take down the notorious Pink Panthers in exchange for his freedom. That plan, however, will hit more than one obstacle. For starters, during next week’s episode, Neal discovers a surprise within the Panthers’ ranks — his ex-pal Keller (played by Ross McCall)!

Below, Eastin talks about the Burkes’ upcoming arrival, Neal’s intentions when it comes to post-FBI life and Keller’s role in the con man’s final arc.

TVLINE | Lets start with Neal’s final line in the season premiere, “Who says that’s all I’m after?” What should we take away from that? Is that a hint that he’s not planning to live a clean life?
Oh, that’s a touchy one without giving too many spoilers. I would say that the best thing you can take away from the line is that with Neal, nothing is ever exactly what it seems.

TVLINE | Is he looking at the Pink Panthers as a possibility to assemble a nest egg for himself?
That’s a possibility. Yeah. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Can you talk about the dynamic that we’re going to see between Neal and Keller as Neal’s infiltrating the Pink Panthers?
I would say that beyond Mozzie and Peter, the most important relationship for Neal this year is going to be with Keller. The thing I loved about Keller in the first place was that this was a guy who was sort of Neal’s alter ego. For Raiders fans, there’s a Lost Ark scene [where] Belloq comments that Indy and him were just shadowy reflections of the other, and that really was the design of Keller, that he is Neal. He’s just down a different path. The thing that saved Neal from becoming Keller was Neal did have a heart, and Keller didn’t. But really, their skills are almost equally matched. This will come out further as the season progresses, and we’ve touched on them in prior episodes, but really, Neal and Keller were friends for a while. Kate came between them, and it was inevitable that their friendship would fall apart. But for a long time, they were close friends. I would say best friends at one point. So that begins to come back, and Neal does do a lot this year in terms of looking at himself through that lens [of], “What if I became Keller?” Because really, the idea was that Neal always kind of existed in that twilight zone between wanting to be Peter, but realizing he is Keller. For Neal, it was always really that yin-yang fight that he has within himself. In terms of his relationship with Keller, that’s really what comes out this year is Neal’s spending a lot of time really trying to reflect on that and figure out exactly who he is. The entire series really has been that journey for Neal, figuring out exactly who he is.

White Collar Season 6 SpoilersTVLINE | The one relationship that’s been so fantastic from the start has been Peter and Neal’s, and Episode 2 is a great one for them.
Every year, the real challenge has always been, how do we keep Peter and Neal fresh? There’s X amount of testing that always says, “No more secrets between them. Just get rid of that angle, and just have them be two buddies solving crimes.” To keep it in a point where Neal and Peter can be working together, and Neal can still have those secrets and Peter can still have that suspicion yet maintain that friendship, has always been probably the hardest thing that the series has tried to do…

A long time ago, Jeff Wachtel – he was president of USA at the time – said to me, “What is the essence of the show?” And I said, “These two guys, Peter and Neal, really complete each other.” Neal’s always wanted to be Peter. He’s wanted that white picket fence. He’s wanted his Elizabeth. And Peter is this guy [who’s] got the white hat on, and there’s always been a little part of him that envies Neal, that envies that ability to walk into a room and just charm everybody. Even going back to the pilot when Neal walked in and got June’s mansion and everything else, Peter just didn’t understand. So there’s always that evolution towards Peter and Neal really figuring out who they are and realizing what the other can bring to each other’s lives. Especially this year with Episode 2 [and] moving forward, you’ll really see the evolution toward the end of the season, especially with the finale.

TVLINE | Peter promised Neal that he was going to get him his freedom, he gave him his word. Is that contract as ironclad as promised?
As ironclad as Peter can make it, you know? We had seasons where Peter can promise anything he wants, but the FBI is a different story. That promise does figure in relatively heavily toward the end of the year. Keller does ask Neal, “How many times has Peter promised you this? And how many times has it failed?” That becomes a pivotal moment in the finale.

White Collar - Season 6TVLINE | Fans have been wondering for a while why Peter and Elizabeth didn’t have kids. Was the timing just right now that you knew you were going into your final season and you wouldn’t have to deal with a baby on set indefinitely?
Pretty close, yeah. When Tiffani [Thiessen] first called me and asked me who Elizabeth Burke was, I got this big, old chuckle when I compared her to Abigail Adams [from] the John Adams miniseries at that point. One thing I really liked about that was Abigail Adams was this woman who knew who her husband was. That’s who Elizabeth Burke is. She knows. For Peter having a kid, the real problem for us as writers was suddenly Peter being late, suddenly Peter not showing up on time… Yeah, going into the final season, we said, “You know what? This is the time to do it.” So now, not hinting at where Peter may end the season, but yeah, having a kid at this point seemed like a natural evolution.

TVLINE | And Neal will be the godfather, right?
Of course. [Laughs]


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  1. Mike says:

    awesome start to the final season

  2. amy says:

    Any chance there will be a time jump at some point long enough for us to get to meet baby suit?

  3. M3rc Nate says:

    Elizabeth to Peter: “I’m pregnant….and its Mozzie’s” :O *Dun Dun DUNNNNNNN* lol :P

    Good premier, liking the Pink Panther ultimate thief’s angle, liking Keller coming back (wish they would tie up Neil’s love live as well as they are gonna tie up him and Keller). I like that Elizabeth and Peter are going to be parents in the final season, makes me wonder if there will be a time jump in the last episode or last 20 minutes…seeing Peter and Elizabeth with a 3 year old or something.

    Overall i’d say im worried about two things….1) 6 episodes? Damn thats so few, i would have loved 10 or 13, i worry this season will feel VERY rushed, connections being written between people but not earned over time and felt 2) I dont know what i want to happen in the finale. Do i want a happy ending? A sad ending? Neal to be free? To die? To be on the run? To be in jail? I guess the big question will be has Neal changed, what does he really want in life now after all these years working with Peter? Or is he still a law breaker that will end up a on a Wanted poster/in jail/dead?

    BTW this former President of USA….if he okay’ed White Collar, get him back…cause whoever is in charge that okay’ed Rush & Satisfaction? They need to be fired and get a job back on network TV where the garbage shows are.

    • jag says:

      Good point. It’s still not late to add new eps if all are in. i supposed Matt is now up for grabs or have been grabbed already. I’m sad this show ends.

    • Quinn Mallory says:

      Concerning just 6 episodes, past White Collar seasons does balance a crime of the day with the season long arc. I don’t think with the focus only on the season long (6 episode) arc, they will be able to tell a good story…at the expense of not wrapping Neal’s love life, of course.

      • Weezy says:

        Your statements seem contradictory to me. Wouldn’t they be able to tell a great story in 6 episodes BECAUSE they won’t be having to balance crime of the day cases? If you think about USA shows, the season long arc’s really boil down to just about 2-3 whole episodes (when adding up the minutes spent on the arc over the course of a season) anyway. I’m really happy they are doing this way and excited to see its fruits. I think the pace is going to be much faster and they are going to pack all kinds of action into it. Yes we won’t get as many Mozzie/Neal scenes at June’s or Peter/Neal/Elizabeth dinners, but I feel like those characters have already been developed enough that the viewer understands how tight knit and important they are. I anticipate this season being a non-stop action fest full of capers and complex thefts, just like the first ep.

    • abz says:

      I really don’t want Neal to die or be in jail or be on the run or any open-endings where the fans can choose what they want to think happened (eyeroll) by the end of the show. I want Neal to be free, but I also want them to consider his growth over the years and not regress him. Mozzie said it perfectly this episode when he figured out why Neal likes working with Peter (he gets the thrill of figuring out the heist without the jail time). I loved when he said that because I think that is what Neal’s future should be like. I was upset at the end of the episode when Mozzie brought up the fact that they are who they are. It kind of annoyed me a bit because here we have a Neal Caffrey who is really believing that he doesn’t have to end up like all the other criminals in jail or dead like Rebecca and once again someone is getting him to believe he can’t change. Neal does have a future and I want him to continue believing that he can have a real life with a real job. He has every right not to trust the FBI, because they’ve lied to him and trapped him. I want them to free him and have him remain a FBI consultant BY HIS OWN CHOOSING on his own time whenever HE feels like it.

  4. Joey Padron says:

    Great season premiere. I was surprised Rebecca killed herself at end. It’s great Peter and Elizabeth are gonna be parents.

    • Weezy says:

      See I wasn’t surprised at all that Rebecca was killed off. With 6 episodes, you have to distance yourself quickly from the previous season’s main “big bad”. It doesn’t make any sense to keep her alive as Neal must be 100% focused on infiltrating the Pink Panthers (since there are only 6 eps).

  5. V says:

    I always liked that having kids was a non-issue with Peter and Elizabeth. They never talked about it, and there was no sob story about how they couldn’t have kids or anything like that. It seemed like they just made a choice not to and they were happy with that choice. It’s rare to see a happily married couple on TV without kids, so it’s kind of lame that they’re forcing them to go down this route during the last season. Some people really do just choose not to have kids.

    • Allergic to children says:

      I totally agree. They were my favorite couple on television and I could relate to them in part because they didn’t have kids. When the writers made their characters “always want kids but it just never happened” it felt so inauthentic. If that was true, we should have known that about them already.