White Collar returns tonight to USA, and after leaving fans with the big reveal that Sam (Treat Williams) is actually Neal’s father, James, executive producer Jeff Eastin promises some payoff.
“We figure if you stuck with the show this long to where revealing Neal’s father was important to you, the next episode you’re probably going to be wanting to know a few things. So we were really mindful of that when we sat down to write the second half of the season, especially the first few shows back,” says Eastin.
And while fans will get a healthy dose of answers in tonight’s episode, we decided to take a few of your most urgent queries (submitted via Spoiler Room) to the man himself. Check out his answers below.
Will we get more Peter-Neal-El interaction in S4.5 (and beyond?) Their almost-family dynamic is one of the best things WC has, and it’s a pity we didn’t see much of it in S4.0. — Stiger
Not to fear! There’s plenty more on the way — and the reveal about Sam/James will play a bit part in that, says Eastin. In fact, Elizabeth very much plays mother hen in tonight’s episode and Peter, too, has an interesting reaction. “That was always a tough decision for me — how Peter would react to this,” Eastin says. “In a big way, Peter has become a surrogate father for Neal, and I played around with different options — [one of which was] Peter real upset that James has showed up. But I decide that’s not who Peter is. In the end, Peter tries to do what’s best for Neal even though, initially, Neal is pretty resistant to James trying to make inroads in his life. Its Peter who pushes him and says, ‘This is your dad. You don’t get this chance every day.’” Further down the line, he adds, James will definitely be a polarizing figure. “Neal and Peter — weve been tossing that relationship around quite a bit and really it’s James and what he beings to imply that initially begins to push Neal and Peter apart,” he says, “but then [it] brings them together in a really big way toward the end of the season.”
Will Neal’s mother be a factor next season? — Melissa
“She will, but not in the back half of season 4,” says Eastin
Is there any hope for Neal and Sara in the future? — Iara
All the Sara and Neal scoop you seek was touched on in a previous column. You can read it here. Warning: It’s quite spoilery!
Will season 4 end on a cliffhanger? if so, what kind…more of a “OK, now what?” or an “OMG!”– Ruth
Maybe a little bit of both. “It’s a pretty good finale [and] a very emotional finale for Neal,” says Eastin. “It’s the most emotional we’ve had, and it’s pretty big physically — we got permission to shoot in the Empire State Building.” Additionally, make sure you’ve read the Sara scoop above for a monster tease about a “spectacular” finale moment.
Hi! Will we see more of Diana’s and/or Jones’ private life? Really loved it when we got to see glimpses of their life outside the FBI! Thanks :) — Evelina
White Collar has typically given these two awesome actors to shine, but due to a heavy story load involving James and Neal, Eastin says they unfortunately weren’t able to give them each an episode as they’d planned. However, he says, “we decided that we would just incorporate their personal lives into the show.” It wasn’t ideal, “but it’ll be there.” Diana’s personal storyline will have something to do with an important relationship, and Jones, meanwhile, will be struggling with questions of the future. “For Jones, it’s more about career decisions and deciding where he wants to be in his life,” says Eastin. “Is he content being an FBI agent? Or does he want a change?”
How are you (Jeff Eastin) and Matt Bomer will accommodate Matt’s rising career in movies as White Collar takes away at least half a year? How do you measure his movie appearances from White Collar perspective? — Kuixian
Excellent question, Kuixian. And Eastin has some equally excellent insight. “We’ve talked and one of the great things about doing a cable schedule is that it still leaves a really huge hiatus for [Bomer] to go do features and stuff,” says Eastin, who affirms that Bomers’s current contract is for the standard seven seasons. “So I think we’ll end up doing more than seven seasons on White Collar.” As for the rest of the talented ensemble? “For them, I don’t think there’s a limit. Tim [DeKay] has jokingly said he’ll go ten seasons without even thinking….and I’d like nothing else more.”