Matt Bomer’s White Collar cons are coming to an end. Although USA has not yet made the drama’s conclusion official — the network often holds off on making a “final season” announcement until a show’s last episodes have begun airing, as was the case with Psych — White Collar creator and executive producer Jeff Eastin tells EW that he has crafted a satisfying conclusion to the series, which stars Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay.
After protracted negotiations, USA finally renewed White Collar in March for a sixth season of just six episodes. “The really nice thing about six episodes is that it almost feels like a limited series,” says Eastin, whose other USA drama, Graceland, returns for its second season on June 11. “We’ve got just enough room for one really beautiful plot: What is the last adventure these guys go on?”
While season 5 ended on a cliffhanger (Neal’s abduction), Eastin says he’ll be closing out White Collar by refocusing on the show’s core tension between mostly reformed con artist Neal Caffrey (Bomer) and FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).
“It’s to create this idea of Neal vs. Peter — what the show always has been, and always should be — and really run at that,” Eastin says. “That’s the approach this year: Make the show when it’s at its best. And to me, the show is at its best when Neal and Peter are talking and they’re happy and smiling, and then as soon as Neal steps out of the room, Peter’s eyes narrow, because he knows he’s up to something. So it’s taking that to the extreme and saying, ‘What do both these guys want more than anything?’ Let’s take Neal to his logical extreme, and Peter to his logical extreme, and crash the two things together and see what happens.”
As for how things will ultimately wrap up — will Neal, who had been consulting with the FBI as part of his prison sentence, finally earn his freedom? — Eastin says the series’ ending is “pretty close” to the finale he has been thinking about for years.
“There’s been a lot of discussions,” Eastin says. “Going into it, I had an idea of how I wanted to end it, and I talked to Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay about what they wanted. Things began very in line with that, which was playing with this idea of Neal’s future, where would both these guys end up and how do we get there. That was stuff we’ve been talking about for a few years, and I think we’ve all settled on one that we really, really liked.”
USA hasn’t yet set a season six premiere date for White Collar.