'White Collar' season finale: Jeff Eastin on Neal's tough choices and season 3

white-collarImage Credit: Kevin Parry/WireImage.com; David Giesbrecht/USA Network[SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the season 2 finale of White Collar, freeze, pivot, and walk away. Return after viewing.] The rest of you may proceed to my chat with White Collar creator Jeff Eastin, in which we break down the crazy finale you just watched. And remember to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So I watched the finale, and as you had previously promised me, it was Neal (Matthew Bomer) in a room. But there’s so much more to it than that! So tell me a little bit about how you came to this ending creatively with the U-boat and the music box and this treasure and… everything!
JEFF EASTIN: Even before I sold the show to USA, I knew how that moment would play out. I’d initially pitched the show and I had certain points in the show. I knew when Kate [Alexandra Daddario] would die, I knew they’d find a music box, and I knew Mozzi could decode it. And I knew what it lead to the treasure sub. A long time ago, I had seen this thing about Nazi U-boats that were found off the East Coast and, you know, just in terms of what ultimately be the greatest treasure out there that would be a lot of fun, that was it. Going into season 1, I knew this season would end with Neal standing in that room with the greatest treasure in the world. This idea that the greatest conman in the world now has the greatest treasure and seeing that smile on his face was really what I was trying to build to.

He obviously has a huge choice in front of him.
That’s exactly what it was. Season 3 was [always] going to be about choices. Moving forward, as the shows evolved, there’s really always been that choice for Neal. On one hand, there’s Peter’s [Tim DeKay] life — its the white picket fence and Elizabeth [Tiffani Thiessen] and that perfect life. On the other hand, you have the life of a conman. We’ve tried to hit that pretty heavily. In “Countermeasures,” there’s a nice moment at the end between Mozzie [Willie Garson] and Neal where they’re discussing that. How’s it all going to end. Mozzi says, “The big score, the big house.” And Neal says, “And there’s the other option — there’s true love.” That’s really been the driving force for Neal’s character. We’ve also played up that at the end of “Payback.” Keller calls him a lawman. It’s like, “Who are you, Neal?” That’s what the treasure represents. Neal has this choice. Here you go. Here’s the greatest temptation in the world. What are you going to do with it?

Is there any line between those existences that he’s going to walk in season 3? Or does he make a definite choice?
That’s a lot of what season 3 is. How do you walk that line? How are you going to manage that? What do you really want?

Let’s talk about that kiss between Alex and Neal. There are so many Alex/Neal fans who are going to be excited about that one. But then Sarah came along and forgave him for it. Where’s he going to be romantically next season?
Thematically, all the women in Neal’s life represent the same choices. Kate represented that white picket fence and idyllic life that Peter had. Alex [Gloria Votsis] was the id — the wild child. The idea of Sara [Hilarie Burton] when I introduced her was that you have someone in the middle. You have someone who could walk that line. Thus, she’s become fairly attractive to Neal. As we move forward, you’ll see that what Neal is at the most is impulsive. In the finale, when he kisses Alex, in my mind — and in Bomer’s mind when we discussed that kiss — there wasn’t too much thought into it. It was a moment; it was a rush. She was there, and he kissed her. That’s ultimately Neal’s greatest asset and his greatest curse. Interestingly, in “Power Play,” as it was scripted, when the lights came on, they were supposed to pull apart and be embarrassed. As Matt and I talked about it, I said, “What’s it feeling like?” And he said, “I feel like I don’t want to stop.” So I said, “Try that!” So that’s exactly what he did. So what ended up on screen was she said, “Sorry,” and he said, “Don’t be.” And he keeps going. [Laughs]

So the treasure was from Alex, though, right?
Well, do you know that?

That’s mean.
That’s one of the big spoilers as to who left the card. You find out in the return episode, but I won’t tell you.

Well, here I was thinking I had it all figured out.
Let’s put it this way: There’s a reason it was typed out.

Speaking of season 3, will Neal feel like he finally has closure on Kate’s death? It seemed like he got plenty in the finale.
He’s accepted the fact that Kate is dead, but what he can’t let go of is the idea of Kate. That will still haunt him. Although, I will give you a little spoiler. (Ed note: This was revealed to Spoiler Room readers last week… ) I’ve been talking to Anne Rice about co-writing an episode with her next year. So she and I have been discussing the possibility of one more Kate episode, bringing her back Anne Rice-style.

Wow. But Neal doesn’t really need another girl, right? Ha. I feel like you’re already setting up a love triangle.
It’s a little bit of a triangle, but ultimately it is Neal’s choice.

Lastly, we saw Neal had his ankle monitor taken off in this episode, but I didn’t see it put back on. Is he without it in season three?
No. He’s got it. I constantly get comments that we should just let Neal off his anklet already, and I say, that’s like having House without his limp or his addiction. Without that, it’s really just two guys solving crimes. [Laughs] So Neal will have his anklet on for a little bit longer.

Any final words on season 3?
What we really looked at for this season is a simple plan. For Neal, the entire season is about figuring out what’s important to you. This is it. Your life’s work was to get a treasure like this, you got it, now what? What do you do? What choices do you make? That’s what we really explore in season 3.

There you have it, TV Insiders. What’s your take on the season finale? What choice is Neal going to make? Would you dig a love triangle story? And who do you think swiped the treasure for Neal?

Comments (144 total) Add your comment
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  • Sean

    I love this show! I can’t wait to see how this season ends and will anxiously await season 3. Hopefully the romance with Hilarie Burton’s character continues into season 3, as Neal deserves some happiness. White Collar, why can’t you come sooner!

    • Sean

      Loved the Finale! I’m for the Sara/Neal relationship, so I hope it plays out more in season 3. Damn that last scene though, where he smiles, now season 3 can go either way. Kudos to the writers for this one!

      • tvfan

        Loved the ending!! That devilish smile of Neal’s made me think that he would steal all of the treasure from the room. Really great episode. I think it was Alex that led Neal there for the treasure.

      • Hanoverfiste

        I too loved the ending but how the heck did Mozzie { Oh it was Mozzie } get that treasure out so fast?

    • A

      Ohhh I’m disappointed I thought WC would go all J.J Abrams on me and make it Kate who pulled the long con.
      From the moment they killed her I lost the desire to watch it. Killing characters is always a cop out especially when they’re as beautiful as Alexandra Daddario.

      • Diddy

        She may be beautiful, but I don’t know of an actress more wooden.

  • Allison

    It is such a fun show… I loved the flashback/intro to Adler episode.

  • Hope

    Less than half an hour… I’m already squealing in my chair. All of White Collar’s finales have been outstanding and I’m expecting no less than Peter sitting in a big bad chair.

    Also, yay for that accompanying pic. I do so hope Alex and Neal get together, they rock so totes hard.

    • Billie

      That pic of Neal and Alex is hotttt!!

  • LP

    Nice finale. The show always has been about that choice- sometimes steering towards Neal being done with the game and sometimes hinting that you can never really be done with it. Sara really is in the middle- she’s smart and together, but it only works if he goes that way. I think Alex is perfect for being a bad boy… but with all that said, as awesome as Neal is, the ladies are beautiful and have tons going for them, so I hope they’re not just always forgiving him and waiting around to see who he’s in the mood to kiss. He’s supposed to be a romantic in the end!

    • Kelsie

      Matthew Bohmer is such a gorgeous specimen of a human being, what I imagine a Greek God to look like, I would pretty much forgive him anything and take his kisses whenever I could get them.

      • jamie

        Greek Gods had small penises.

      • Lily

        replying to Jamie…not this Greek God.

  • VE

    I think Mozzie left the card. Mozzie is the one who kept saying that Neal was becoming a fed. By giving Neal the treasure, Mozzie is tempting him back into the game.

    • Anna

      I Agree,i think it was Mozzie too. He always says “you’ll thank me later” which gives credit to him typing the note.

      • Shawn

        I have 3 ideas who i think it may be, mozzie due to mozzie always saying youll thank me later, plus he was there when neal spoke about painting for stress relief, and also mozzie has access to warehouses. Alex because she did tell neal he is like the treasure a desire you cant have, plus the dude that had the gun in the boat who she attacked also had keys on him, what if we thought she went for the gun, but actually went for the keys??? or it may be a whole new character, people have been popping up from neils past, this may be someone who also knows him as well, a conman always has a blackbook full of names.

      • chad

        i think it is kate or sara kate because it is the same warehouse it looks like where neal got busted by peter right as he found kate again. and sara to test his will and stay with the feds, also because sara is in insurance she can get anything she wants

    • Jenn

      Mozzie was also there when Neal commented to Peter that he paints as stress relief and has enough to fill a warehouse. (Or something similar.) But something tells me it’s not Moz.

    • Miz

      THe most obvious choices are Alex and Moz, but since it was someone who had access to the storage room that Neal put his ‘practice paintings” in, it might also be June….. that would make for some interesting development, but something of a reach…

      • Ally

        My initial thought was June as well, though you’re absolutely right in saying that’s even less believable than Mozzie’s hairpiece.

      • Kate Potter

        It has got to be someone who knew Neal was doing all that painting. Who knew about the Chrysler Building painting?

      • Trenton

        It could be Sara. She was there in the apt w/ Mozzie for her “date” It’s like a test. To see who Neal really is, and she isn’t the person you’d think of in doing this which makes it interesting.

      • jamie

        The storage room with the paintings isn’t the same as this storage room; otherwise the person wouldn’t have had to give Neal the key.

  • Matt Ledford

    I loved the finale, but immediately when watching I thought personally Neal should have lunged at Adler when he said he himself caused Kate’s death, thus gettin him shot in the belly, it would have added some more drama in cracking the U-Boat, with him blacking out periodically diffusing the xplosive’s, all-in-all though great stuff!!

  • jalane

    for seasone three i really want to see neal come out and tell peter where the treasure is and then i want him to finally become a real agent and see him and peter working side by side it would make the show the best ever

    • Lucy

      That would completely destroy the show, so I hope you’re joking.

      • Nil Kafertie

        I’m a big fan of wite coller! I hope Nil and Piter becom best friends! I hope Sara and Piter’s wife become best friend’s too!

  • Katie

    ConNeal FTW! I missed him.

    I don’t get how Sarah’s in the middle. Alex is a conwoman while Sarah’s an insurance agent. To me, Sarah’s more like early Kate.

    • Lexiie

      I agree, she’s just like another Kate with fancy clothes, she has confident but is not so smart and independence like Alex.

      I dont have anything against Sara but definitely Alex and Neal have a sparkle and both are sexy with a very special relationship…They remind me a little to Ms. & Mrs. Smith cause they are totally hot together

      • Linda p

        Add my name to the Alex/Neal hopefuls. I don’t like Sara and him together – they don’t have any chemistry.

    • Lucy

      I agree. And as this finale episode proved: ZERO chemistry between Neal and Sara (except maybe awkwardness). I find it amazing that the White Collar producers/writers apparently cannot see how bad the actress is.

      • Tarc

        That would be because she’s amazing.

      • chadito

        and she is really cute and she has a nice butt and rack

  • Will Sigmon

    I love the show.. I thought the finale was great, i cant wait for season three.. I think sara or mozzi are the one who left the note and took the treasure cause they where the only two at neals with the photo that got burned.. But we will have to wait for season three which i am sure will be just as good as the past two.. Summer needs to get here fast so we can have more white collar…

  • jeremy

    loved the finale! hope neal and sarah’s relationship grows it just seems to fit, hopefully neal doesn’t turns the treasure over to peter. im not real thrilled about the thought of neal ruining everything he has accomplished by going back to a thief on the

  • NLP

    I was confused as to what the envelope said. I know it said, “You’ll thank me,” but I thought there was more I couldn’t read (believe it or not, not everyone has pausing/freezing/rewinding DVDs to read Chuck Lorre’s vanity cards & the like).

    I was assuming it was Mozzi who did it, didn’t even think of Alex.

    As for Neal’s love life, I’m not taking sides again. I can’t even watch House anymore, now that the show might as well be named, “Huddy.” Bleechh!

    • Irishgirl

      It was just the address. 77850 Ganesvoort St, Unit A, New York, NY You saw the important part of the card….which was the ‘YOU’LL THANK ME’

  • CJ

    Awesome finale – lots of closure, and lost of new complications.

    I’m hoping things cool off again between Neal and Sara. He needs some time to play the field before settling into another relationship. I’d love to see how he plays the anklet when he’s really trying to pick someone up at a bar or a club – after the first drink? The third drink? When they’re getting naked…

    Kind of hoping he keeps a little of the treasure for himself for all the trouble it’s caused, and then comes clean to Peter about the rest. I don’t want to see the Peter-Neal relationship that’s been created get lost.

  • annette

    I would love it if it was Kate with that sent Neal to the treasure! He would have his true treasure of his life and a choice of a family life with the ankle bracelet working w Peter. Perhaps keep a piece or 2 from the treasure and hand the rest to Peter.

  • MissA

    EXCELLENT season finale! I went from being bummed that The Good Wife was a rerun to being thrilled that I’d get to see this finale on the first airing! I love the temptations Neal faces now with both the strong, smart women and with the treasure. I’m impressed with the series’ writing and look forward to seeing Neal’s choices in the next season. Thanks for sharing this interview.

  • mchouse

    From, reading about what Eastin had to say about the card, I think Alex left the card. It was typewritten with a typewriter right? There was the typewriter from the U-Boat. Just my theory.

    And, tbh, I prefer Alex over Sarah. Something just doesn’t sit me with Sarah.

    • tvaddict70

      I agree, Alex is more of a match for Peter and Alex is the better fit for stealing it all and leaving it for Neal, although Mozzie is an interesting thought…

      • tvaddict70

        Alex is a better match for NEAL…lol

    • Yasmin

      Alex is a better match for Neal all round. The minute Gloria Votsis appears on screen, there is great presence, and fantastic chemistry with Matt. This may sound odd, but everytime Hilarie comes on all i see are her eyes which are just continually expressing no emotion! Just look at me I am beautiful, but wooden. There is abosolutely no chemistry with her and Matt.

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