“White Collar” returns for its fifth season on Thursday (Oct. 17) and stars Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay tease that we will see Peter in prison, the Dutchman is a great bad guy and that the season is all about Neal trying to do his best against long odds.
The episode, titled “At What Price,” opens with Peter in prison and Neal’s focus is to get him out because he’s being framed for a murder that Neal’s father actually committed.
“This season for Neal is about best intentions gone awry. He’s feeling the sins of the father and has to skirt issues of trust to try to find some wiggle room to make reparations for what ultimately was his fault in terms of Peter’s future as an FBI agent, as a husband,” says Bomer.
In order to help Peter, Neal makes a Faustian bargain with the Dutchman, a.k.a. Curtis Hagen (Mark Sheppard), the criminal that Neal helped Peter put away on their very first case together.
“It’s that deal with the devil.
He has Neal under his thumb, which is not a very comfortable place for
him to be,” says Bomer. “Basically, he can have Neal
do whatever elicit behavior he doesn’t want to take responsibility for
or do himself and Neal can’t really put up much of a fight about it. I
can’t go into too much detail … but it’s not a fun place for Neal to
be. He really doesn’t have a leg to stand on in terms of opposition.”
“What the writers built over the course of the season was this mounting resentment — he had these best intentions and putting forth his best efforts … that went, in his opinion, somewhat unappreciated.”
So, while Peter may not be in the orange jumpsuit for very long — c’mon, you didn’t think they’d have Agent Burke in prison all season — the repercussions of Neal’s deal will be felt all season long.
“This season really gets back to more of the early season White Collar mythology, strong themes of good versus evil and trust,” says Bomer, which is really the heart of the show.
“I still maintain that if Peter ever implicitly trusts Neal about anything, I think then the relationship and the show takes a very sharp turn. I think we lose a great tension if that trust is gained completely,” says DeKay.
But enough of the dark stuff — Neal’s getting a new love interest too.
“There is a really incredible girl who comes in Neal’s life named Rebecca Lowe, played by the gorgeous and talented Bridget Regan, who is sort of atypical in terms of what Neal finds attractive in a woman, with the exception of the fact that she’s a redhead,” says Bomer.
“Their relationship grows over the course of the season and I think the writers did a great job just making the character really multidimensional. Her character is sort of like an onion, every episode a new layer, peels off, and we get to — Neal gets to know more about her and becomes more attracted to her.”
“White Collar” premieres Thursday, Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on USA.