"White Collar" season 5 premiered Thursday, Oct. 17 on USA Network, and series stars Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay have spoken to reporters about what happened in the premiere and what's coming up next now that Peter's free and Neal's stuck owing the Dutchman (Mark Sheppard).
The trust between Peter and Neal In the "White Collar" premiere, Peter acknowledges that Neal wouldn't steal (or go off anklet) without a good reason, so what does that mean for them going forward? "That was a big line because it's a huge moment for Peter to recognize Neal going off anklet and even responding because at one point in their relationship, it would have been cut and dry. He went off anklet, he's going back to prison, no bones about it. But this relationship has grown in such a way where Peter knows, for the most part, where Neal is coming from," DeKay told reporters. "I still maintain if Peter every implicitly trusts Neal about anything, I think then that the relationship and the show for the matter takes a very sharp turn and I think we lose a great tension if that trust is gained completely."
We also saw Peter give Neal a new anklet, so what was going through Neal's mind at that moment? "This season for Neal is about best intentions gone awry, and 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," Bomer shared. "But what I found the writers built over the course of the season, which was interesting, was this sort of mounting resentment that he had these best intentions and was putting forth his best effort and doing everything he knew how to help Peter and that went, in his opinion, somewhat unappreciated."
Finally, Peter acknowledged that he doesn't have the objectivity to keep an eye on Neal anymore. "It was a disappointing moment for Peter," DeKay admitted. "It was upsetting for Peter because it meant not being able to do the things that he loved to do with Neal, which is pursue a case and do the chase. That's what Peter found most upsetting, and I think that Peter…now has a personal investment in this guy and if that relationship, that partnership fails, then Peter has failed." That's where a new character comes in…
Neal's new handler Warren Kole is coming in as Neal's new handler, and both Neal and Peter are going to have the same feelings about him in the beginning. "Neal's initial reaction to Warren's character, Siegel, is one of trepidation," Bomer previewed, "because he's very by-the-books, by the numbers, and he's an agent who's gotten to where he is because he plays by the rules, and that's very threatening to Neal." Expect to see Siegel be both "charming and entertaining at the same time." As for Peter, DeKay agreed with Bomer. "Peter was concerned about this guy even though he brought him on and felt that he would be right for Neal because he felt that Neal needed somebody that could give some tough love, that had a distance to Neal." That said, Peter is going to miss being part of the ride.
Neal's father In order for Neal to help get Peter out of prison, he ended up getting help from the Dutchman, by recording his own father's confession. Treat Williams came in as Neal's father, and "that was a storyline that I feel like needed to be fleshed out at some point," Bomer said. "I think with someone like Neal, it's a little dangerous if we start to know too much about him." Williams didn't appear in the premiere, but will he be back? Unfortunately, not this season. "This season really gets back to more of the early season "White Collar" mythology, strong themes of good versus evil and trust and without going into too much detail about his past. Although the experience from his relationship with his father and the things that I got to explore with Treat really resonate throughout this season and are ultimately the impetus for everything that transpires this season," Bomer explained. "The sins of the father weigh pretty heavily into all the decisions Neal makes and sort of spur us into action this season. You feel that relationship even though it's not there." Hopefully we'll see Williams again in the future because there is more to explore between father and son on screen.
Dealing with the devil Speaking of the Dutchman, what does this new deal Neal has with him mean? "It's that deal with the devil. He has Neal under his thumb, which is obviously, especially for someone like Neal, not a very comfortable place for him to be. He has him at his beck and call and basically he can have Neal do whatever illicit behavior he doesn't want to have to take responsibility for or do himself. Neal can't really put up much of a fight about it," Bomer previewed. "It's not a fun place for Neal to be and he really doesn't have a leg to stand on in terms of opposition." And as we've seen not only on "White Collar" but on other shows as well, Sheppard is so good at playing the bad guy.
Neal's love life Get ready to see a new woman in Neal's life, Rebecca Lowe played by Bridget Regan. She "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," Bomer teased. "Their relationship grows over the course of the season and I think the writers did a great job of just making the character really multidimensional. Her character's sort of like an onion. Every episode a new layer peels off and Neal gets to know more about her and becomes more attracted to her."
Peter's time in jail "affects [Peter and Elizabeth's relationship] greatly," DeKay said. "When big things like this happen, these two people, they take a look at their lives and they take a look at how Peter got to that place and they reassess and figure out what is the best way to go forward."
Willie Garson is directing this season, and his episode involves one of Peter's old girlfriends.
Get ready to see Neal in therapy! Elizabeth Marvel is coming in as a psychiatrist Neal goes to see while undercover.
"White Collar" season 5 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on USA Network. What are you hoping to see this season?