- Title: White Collar
- Season: 6 (Final)
- Episodes: 6
- Discs: 2
- Cast: Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson, Tiffani Thiessen, Sharif Atkins, Marsha Thomason
- Network: USA Network
- DVD Format: Widescreen, color, DVD, R1, NTSC
Season 5 of White Collar was short, only 13 episodes, and this, the final season, is only 6 – not the 16 I’d normally expect from the show, and USA Network. So I found myself wondering what happened. The season opens where the previous season ended, with Neal kidnapped. Peter rescues him – but not before Neal’s made a deal with the devil so to speak, to get into the mysterious gang of thieves known only as the Pink Panthers. Also, already newly accepted into the Panthers is Neal’s old nemesis, Matthew Keller. Neal works with Peter to take down the Panthers, and avoid trouble with Keller. Meanwhile, Keller has a deal of his own, working with Interpol to take down the Panthers himself – he says.
Amid a few surprises – finding out Peter’s wife Elizabeth is pregnant, meeting Mozzie’s legal wife, we see Neal struggle again with the choice between remaining a conman or gaining his freedom. The story develops quickly with the entire White Collar team not only out to capture the Panthers, but out to first figure out the heist and later to stop it with the thieves red handed. Keller’s Interpol handler even has a French accent.
In the single episode finale, we see Neal say goodbye to June and Mozzie, the heist go down, Peter and the FBI catching everyone, but Keller catching up to Neal and shooting him – dead. Peter catches Keller after the deed, kills him, then finds a dying Neal in an ambulance. Peter in shock, takes Mozzie to the hospital morgue to look at Neal’s “dead” body. Because, you guessed it, the last scene has Peter figuring out that Neal had faked his death – and we see Neal walking the streets of Paris.
OK, so Neal pulls a Sherlock Holmes – or a White Collar twist on the ultimate caper film of all time – The Sting. In the end, I felt the “happy” ending was unsatisfying – and in a real way, I would have preferred it if Neal had actually died – since that would have been very sad, yet appropriate ending. Though, knowing Neal’s out there, so to speak, means the show could be picked up again. At first, I though Neal faking his death meant he had listened to Mozzie, and even Keller, and he wasn’t trusting Peter – so he let Peter think he was dead. But, even though the Pink Panthers (what a name!) were caught – if they were an international syndicate of thieves – well then. Neal would never be safe. People Neal cares about would never be safe. Neal had to “die” to not simply get his freedom but to guarantee everyone’s safety, including Peter’s. So, Neal was protecting Peter, like Sherlock Holmes protected Watson by pretending to die at Reichenbach Falls.