White Collar Season 4 Expectations

by Ernie Estrella on February 29, 2012 · 19 comments

in White Collar

White Collar returns this summer, but the new tagline is, “Will Neal Return?”

I say no. Not right away. At least not back to the White Collar Division in New York. For the first time in the history of White Collar I believe that we will see a cliffhanger drawn out for a few episodes. Let’s see what’s happened and take a guess at what direction Jeff Eastin and the White Collar writers want to and maybe should take. I have nothing to base this on except for the episodes that we’ve seen, with a focus on the events of the Season 3 finale.

white collar 316 finale plane ride matt bomer

The Cliffhanger
By default, Neal had no choice but to run off with lil’ Leilana and Mozzie. The question is to where are they running? Europe? Paris specifically? This is still a satisfying end as a cliffhanger to season four. We can cheer that Mozzie and Neal felt like they’ve pulled a great escape. Peter just bought them enough time to get out of the country. Peter did not react when Diana told him that they left and that leads me to believe that Mozzie explained earlier to Neal that nearly half the Nazi treasure is out of the country, which they could live on for the rest of their lives. Now that’s forward thinking.

EDITOR’S PICK: WHITE COLLAR Season 3 Finale “Judgment Day” Thoughts and Review

Still we watched Neal turn him down at his initial offer, saying he didn’t want to run anymore, that he had found a place where he had a good home, a good job, a best friend, and a family. But Agent Kramer became the new nemesis. Burned by his C.I., Kramer went after Peter Burke’s, for his own selfish reasons, disguised in the concerned welfare of his friend.

white collar 316 finale neal notices trouble

The Next Step
But I expect both Neal and Mozzie to lay low for a while in France. Why France? Well for one, the wine is good. Maybe they’d get in touch with Gordon Taylor who is planning a French getaway in the coming months and he’s a man who hires locally. It seems like a place that Alex (Gloria Votsis) would run off to also, giving Taylor another man for his big heist.

I realize this is a risky wager given that White Collar always moves right along with cliffhangers. It happened when Mozzie was shot, remedied in the mid-season return in Season 2. We saw a similar brisk resolution when Elizabeth was kidnapped, and when we were all left wondering who had stolen the U-Boat treasure for Neal. Also USA is not known for straying too far away from their formulas, especially when they’re winning with them in the ratings. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a change-up for a few episodes, a temporary reprieve for Neal that could help him value freedom even more.

And that convinces me more that Peter wanted this to happen; he went through the motions of recommending Neal so that he appeared to not know about Neal’s plan. As for what happens now, what does Peter love to do? As a job, he gets to do exactly what Neal does, but legally. So he has to pull off a con on Kramer, who’s become #1 bad guy and backed Neal into this desperate move. Now, as good as Kramer is, he never caught Neal. That’s one instance where the student has become the master.

White Collar Matt Bomer Tim DeKay 316 Finale

A Confidence Game of Cat and Mouse
So… how can Neal flee and be allowed to work with Peter again? With his reputation on the line, Peter has to actively pursue Neal Caffrey again, because he’s been the only one to catch him, and has done so twice. Peter must capture Neal to prove he is the only one who can handle him and keep him away from Washington D.C. It would add a level of pursuit, a cat and mouse shake-up amongst friends, who still desire to work with one another. Mozzie was Neal’s best option to escape, how much he’ll influence Neal now that he’s free is a major question moving forward.

Maybe get to see White Collar work without a C.I. for a few episodes, and see Jones and Barrigan come forward perhaps and spearhead new cases. Meanwhile, we could see Peter on his best game to find Neal, and perhaps working against the clock and Kramer, who will likely be in pursuit of Neal as well. On the flip side we would see Neal working with Mozzie with other cons for a bit, just like in “Stealing Home.”

If this were to play out, I could see Neal doing one of two things. The con man in him gets recharged and he has enough fun before Peter tracks him down, even leaving Peter clues to find him (and Mozzie). Or Neal purposely botches jobs, or THE job with Taylor so that he’s caught. In the process, Peter gets Taylor too, one of the most heavily targeted con men.

white collar 316 finale Neal and Peter Talk

Trust in Trust
Ernest Hemingway once said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

Peter and Neal put a lot on the table and were sincere with where they stood before they had to hit the eject button. This isn’t just Eastin and company wanting to hit the reset button. The central theme of trust has been put to the ultimate test. Neal chose to run free as an outlaw and risk being put back in jail if caught. Peter would rather have him running for his life than working with Kramer in what would likely be inferior working conditions, while never being given a chance at freedom.

Is that selfish on Peter’s part? Professionally speaking, yes. Although it’s clear that Kramer was being selfish too while wanting to prove to Peter that criminals never reform. Maybe Art Crimes in D.C. needs help and that 94% conviction rate is something Kramer wanted for himself.

Who is the better friend to Peter? One is masquerading as a friend with selfish motives, while the other is sitting on a plane to where ever after saying those close to him speak well and testify for his freedom. The camera stayed on Bomer long at the end “Judgment Day.” There seemed to be a combination of contemplation, disbelief, and elation on his face. Was he portraying the look of a man who was feeling true freedom for the first time years and following what his friend told him to do while on the mound in Yankee Stadium–to live in the moment? No, what Peter didn’t realize is that Neal can’t think that way because he’s not a free man. He’s a con man, who is always thinking about his next step. To me it looked like Neal is already thinking of the next con–to get back into the White Collar.

Pictures Courtesy of Matt Bomer Fan

  • Sandy

    Nikkistrauss96 – Bad characters on WC have LAST NAMES that end in “ER” like Keller, Fowler, Kramer, Adler.  Sorry for the confusion.

  • Nikkistrauss96

    and that means that PETER is also dirty… or bad per say! :/

  • http://twitter.com/DreamCougar Helen Callahan

    With 2 weeks left before the new Season 4 of WC, I will venture a guess that ELLEN PARKER lied about Neal’s father being a dirty cop.  Why is she in Witness Protection?  Jeff Eastin has said that the “bad” characters on WC have names that end in “ER”, like ALEX HUNTER and KELLER.  Add to that PARKER!  I think that TREAT WILLIAMS will turn out to be Neal’s father and he was actually working Undercover all those years instead of being a dirty cop, and Neal’s mother was told that he died so that she and Neal would be protected.  Someone is also going to die in Season 4 before the midterm Finale - hopefully that is KRAMER so that Neal will not have to go back to DC.  TREAT will be in 6 episodes.  It would be sad if they killed him offf after Neal found out that he was his father.  But it might also be JONES who dies as he has never been an official cast member like the others because he wanted to be available for other parts in shows or movies.  Can’t wait until July 10th comes!!!

  • Cristal_mask

      i think, must be the writer going back to the real story about Kate and not rely she die but she is have big con forever and the escape of nail cause Kramer he rely working to Kate to make nail to escape and finally begin another puzzle to another trigger and find real love and another choice between Sara and Kate then freedom & prisons and Mozze must play big role in this adventure . and go to surface history of nail secret ,dad,brother ,teacher in his childhood ..etc 

  • http://twitter.com/DreamCougar Helen Callahan

    Jeff Eastin has already said that the hula skirt of Mozzie’s doll is a hint to where Neal & Mozzie are going.  The filming for the first show could be in Hawaii and they could call it Samoa, Tahiti, Bora Bora, etc., as long as the island has no extradition treaty and Neal is protected.   For Peter to find Neal, he will have to work with Sara because she is the only one, besides Mozzie, who knows that Neal has the new passport with the name: VICTOR L. MOREAU.   I think Mozzie’s passport is “BOB” something.  Kramer does not know any of this so he will not be able to find Neal without tracking Peter.    The bromance between Peter and Neal is what makes this show as great as it is, so that must continue, or it will be another crime show.  Can’t wait for Season 4!

  • Niels W

    I was thinking the same thing, my guess was Samoa.. Hawai and Samoa have the same ‘Pacific island culture’ and the name Leilani (the doll) is Hawaiian/Samoan.. And.. Samoa has no extradition treaty with the US!

  • Deborah Curran

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts – I love WHite Collar and was totally surprised about the ending – can’t wait for the next season!!! @treetrout1

  • Deborah Curran

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts – I love WHite Collar and was totally surprised about the ending – can’t wait for the next season!!! @treetrout1

  • Katy

    I’m really inclined to agree with Lilian. I love the show and the characters but I am so tired of the ‘romance’ going on between Peter and Neal. Lets move past that for some character development between the other characters please!

  • S.Hannon

    After thinking about it, I’m canceling my Grecian island theory. Since season 4 starts “not on American soil”, it can’t be Hawaii, and in an interview the writer indicated that Leilani is a clue, maybe some Polynesian island? Since Neal is such a big fan of the classics, maybe the island from South Pacific?

  • S.Hannon

    After thinking about it, I’m canceling my Grecian island theory. Since season 4 starts “not on American soil”, it can’t be Hawaii, and in an interview the writer indicated that Leilani is a clue, maybe some Polynesian island? Since Neal is such a big fan of the classics, maybe the island from South Pacific?

  • S.Hannon

    After thinking about it, I’m canceling my Grecian island theory. Since season 4 starts “not on American soil”, it can’t be Hawaii, and in an interview the writer indicated that Leilani is a clue, maybe some Polynesian island? Since Neal is such a big fan of the classics, maybe the island from South Pacific?

  • lilian

    I would love to see a season designed as “Catch me if You Can” I am so tired of the romance *cough* sorry bromance between Neal and Peter.

  • Niels W

    Europe.. or specifically Paris.. My guess would be a tropical island, as Neal said to Mozzie at the end of the ambulance get away when he tosses him the coin; If I don’t make it you and Lil Liana will need that to get to the Island without me”

  • S.Hannon

    It would be fun to have a few episodes of Neil on the lam and Peter in pursuit, but I hope they won’t stretch it out too long – the city of NY is as integral to the show as any other character, so they need to get Neil back there before too long.  I think Neil said something to Mozzie about “getting to the island”, and I thought the gold coin looked like it might be Greek, so I’m guessing they’ll be lying low on a private island in the Mediterranean or Adriatic. Can’t even begin to figure out how they are going to get past the escape rap. Maybe by bringing Taylor in, as suggested in this article. Succeeding in that would certainly be a coup that might merit a reward. I’d like to see Kramer get his for pushing Peter and Neil into this no-win scenario, and I hope we are going to get to see his downfall with extreme humiliation. Most art crimes have a statute of limitations of 6 or 7 years, so for most of Neil’s past crimes, they should be already expired or approaching expiration after his 4 years in prison and 2 years working with Peter. Forgery is 10 years, but I think that was the crime he was serving a sentence for, so unless Kramer has evidence of another forgery, it shouldn’t come into play. It would be very fun to see Kramer thinking he’s on the point of securing his permanent slave and finding out that all those crimes he now has evidence of are no longer of any value to him. As long as Neil and Mozzie don’t get caught with what’s left of the U-boat treasure, they should be able to come back to NY as free (or in Neil’s case, semi-free) men. I don’t expect the commutation panel to give Neil a pass on his escape just because he was facing a lifetime of enforced unpaid labor in DC as Kramer’s whipping boy, but it would ruin the show to have him go back to prison. Where would be the fun in that? So he will probably be on Peter’s leash for another 2 years, or maybe even a few more if the board of corrections adds to his sentence because of the escape. 
    I know the show is called “White Collar”, not “The Adventures of Neil and Pete”, but it’s the relationship and history between the two of them that makes the show what it is, so I do NOT expect to see Neil sent back to jail forever and the White Collar unit going forward with a different CI/criminal consultant on an anklet.

  • http://twitter.com/DreamCougar Helen Callahan

    I was overwhelmed by Judgement Day!  After a season of hurt, distrust and no bromance, I never thought the finale could be as good as it was.  The script by Jeff Eastin was brilliant.  The acting was great and everything fell into place beautifully.  There is a saying: ”If you really love someone set them free and if it’s meant to be they will come back”.  Peter was hesitant about releasing Neal so soon, and he realized that he didn’t want to lose Neal, both professionally and as a friend, but Peter cared enough about Neal that he was willing to set him free and risk his own reputation rather than have Neal  be a slave to Kramer for the rest of his life.  After seeing what Kramer had become, Peter in a way just didn’t make a decision on Neal’s commutation, he made a decision for the kind of person he, himself, wants to be with the people he cares for.  I thought all the testimonies were true to each character, June’s testimony even brought tears to my eyes.   Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay are wonderful actors and show every emotion on their faces.  White Collar, to me, is the best show on TV.
        As for Season 4, I think Peter will venture to some exotic place with no extradition where Neal and Mozzie are, and then a few episodes can be devoted to Neal’s childhood and family and future plans, while at the same time solving a case or two.   Peter will force Kramer to go back to DC without Neal after proving all the things that Kramer did forced Neal to escape and  I think the Committee will vote for commutation.  I believe Neal will work with Peter again in New York, but not with an anklet on.  Neal has the leverage with his half of the treasure to set his own rules.   Can’t wait for Season 4!  

  • http://twitter.com/DreamCougar Helen Callahan

    I was overwhelmed by Judgement Day!  After a season of hurt, distrust and no bromance, I never thought the finale could be as good as it was.  The script by Jeff Eastin was brilliant.  The acting was great and everything fell into place beautifully.  There is a saying: ”If you really love someone set them free and if it’s meant to be they will come back”.  Peter was hesitant about releasing Neal so soon, and he realized that he didn’t want to lose Neal, both professionally and as a friend, but Peter cared enough about Neal that he was willing to set him free and risk his own reputation rather than have Neal  be a slave to Kramer for the rest of his life.  After seeing what Kramer had become, Peter in a way just didn’t make a decision on Neal’s commutation, he made a decision for the kind of person he, himself, wants to be with the people he cares for.  I thought all the testimonies were true to each character, June’s testimony even brought tears to my eyes.   Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay are wonderful actors and show every emotion on their faces.  White Collar, to me, is the best show on TV.
        As for Season 4, I think Peter will venture to some exotic place with no extradition where Neal and Mozzie are, and then a few episodes can be devoted to Neal’s childhood and family and future plans, while at the same time solving a case or two.   Peter will force Kramer to go back to DC without Neal after proving all the things that Kramer did forced Neal to escape and  I think the Committee will vote for commutation.  I believe Neal will work with Peter again in New York, but not with an anklet on.  Neal has the leverage with his half of the treasure to set his own rules.   Can’t wait for Season 4!  

  • Anonymous

    With Lolanna as their guide, I think they’re heading somewhere tropical. And since most of Neal’s history that we know about was in Europe, I think it makes sense for him to avoid the Continent for now.

    I *know* they’ll find a way to get Neal back to New York, but I’m still puzzled about how that might work. If Diana had whispered the news about Neal’s cut anklet to Peter, instead of announcing it in front of the board, maybe the commutation would have gone through. If Peter wasn’t exaggerating in the pilot, and a new escape charge really would put Neal back in prison for good, that’s a big hurdle to clear.

    I don’t want to watch a whole season of Peter chasing Neal, or Neal consulting from a prison cell. That would kind of dampen the bromance! And even if they put him back on the anklet, I just can’t see a life sentence working out very well. Neal was willing, and able, to complete the last 2 years – but to know he could NEVER leave New York even for a vacation? I’m not sure even the bromance could sell that one.

    Of course, we’ll have to see if Kramer tries to make waves for Peter – and if so, how successful the attempt might be. I wonder if Sterling Bosch is hiring…

    So much to ponder, and months to go before we know!

  • http://twitter.com/DALESULLIVAN DALE SULLIVAN

    KRAMER NT REALIZE SLAVERY-OR AT THE LEAST-INDENTURED SERVITUDE-IS OVER? UNLESS, OF COURSE, WE’RE TALKING BIG BUSINESS. OH, WAIT, GOVERNMENT IS BIG BUSINESS!

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