A running theme through the first five seasons of “White Collar” has been Agent Burke (Tim DeKay) acting as a father figure to his con-man consultant, Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer). In Thursday’s (Nov. 13) episode, this journey comes to a head in a lovely way, starting with a case of the week where Peter actually plays Neal’s father for some undercover work and ending with maybe the most beautiful scene of the entire series.
“That’s definitely the most common fan observation, that Peter is Neal’s father figure,” creator Jeff Eastin tells Zap2it. “We did that entire season
with Neal’s dad, and the parallel we were trying to draw there is he may
have a biological father, but really Peter is the person who most
shaped who Neal is now. Neal’s always had a soul, but Peter really gave
him the morality to go with that soul.”
Check out this exclusive sneak peek of Thursday’s episode, which features a hilarious nod to the fans about how Peter has been acting like Neal’s father for years.
As the series comes to a close, there’s a feel of transition for Peter, especially since Elizabeth just revealed that she’s pregnant. It’s a whole new chapter in the Burkes’ lives and one the writers didn’t want to introduce until close to the end of the show.
“The Burkes being childless was a decision I made pretty early on,” says Eastin. “There’s a moment in the pilot where Elizabeth makes dinner for two and Peter doesn’t come home because he’s working late. That becomes the motif throughout the series, and we were always afraid of giving the Burkes a kid and suddenly he’s an irresponsible father as opposed to a dedicated lawman.
“But everybody always asks why the Burkes, who are this great couple, deeply in love, why don’t they have kids? We always said if Peter got closer to a job where it’s more feasible, they would. This final season we were able to make that happen.”
As Peter moves away from acting as Neal’s father figure to becoming a father in his own right, it raises the question of whether the FBI man and the con man can be in each other’s lives when the series ends.
“Without spoiling too much — I can’t say,” says Eastin. “Somebody asked me if we would ever do a ‘White Collar’ TV movie or something, and I would say you can always do a prequel. That’s all I can say without being too spoilery. … But you don’t know what’s going to happen. Just like Neal, nothing is ever what it seems on the show.”
“White Collar” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on USA.