You can be a con, or a man; you can’t be both

Over the past few years, most prominently in the last 12 months, I have come to appreciate the ‘TV marathon’. Over the years I have watched many great TV shows in real-time, on series link, and marathoning on the internet. In this time I’ve experience Vampire Attacks, Spy Missions, and best of all, stake-outs. Emma introduced me to White Collar on a random, and all round hilarious evening in third year at University.

I don’t want to over sell it or anything, but it’s the best show that’s on TV.

For anyone who is a fan, there are spoilers ahead for the entire show, including the recently aired finale. Read-on with caution.

Well….was. Last night was the season 6, and the show, finale. I am not OK, at all. I don’t get emotional or sentimental about things really. White collar has severely tested my resolve and my attachment levels. I became addicted (as I ma sure my friends can testify to) at the beginning of this year, marathoning the first 5 series in less than a month (Thank you Netflix, and of course Emma.)

White Collar is the most intelligent, witty, and attractive TV show I have ever seen. These three characteristics are vital for a show, if it doesn’t have one, I won’t watch it, Not only does White Collar have these in abundance, they have perfected their blend to create a show that leaves you wondering who is the best character.

Well, who is the second best. There is and only ever will be one Neal Caffrey. He is brilliantly bright (despite never finishing college), intensely moralistic (despite being a world-renowned con-man and forger) astonishingly attractive (I have a rule, if someone looks good in pause, they’re good looking. I’ve yet to see a poor Bomer pause.) loyal, funny, quick, charming, cultured…..I could go on. Matt Bomer has created and portrayed my single favourite character that I’ve ever seen on screen, and read in any book. He is just that perfect.

The other cast members come together to form a comically diverse group. Tim de Kay’s portrayal of Peter Burke compliments and clashes with Caffrey brilliantly and holds the show together. Mozzie is, well he is Mozzie. There is no other way to describe Willie Garson’s character as eccentrically adorable. If Neal was neutral, Peter ‘The Suit’ Burke and Mozzie would be polar opposites. Despite their differences, their relationship blossoms over the season, definitely facilitated by the wonderful mediator Elizabeth Burke. Anyone who can put up with Mozzie’s eccentrities Caffrey’s activities, and Burke’s work-a-holic nature deserves a medal. She is played by Tiffani Thiesson, who was in Saved by the Bell. I can’t believe she is now 40. She looks to young, she hasn’t changed at all. And then there is Diana Barrigan, and Clinton Jones, who round the group off in the most glorious way. Recurring bad-guy Matthew Keller, played by Scot Ross McCall, is the anti-Neal, everything that Neal isn’t in a conman, ruthless, gun-toting, murdering, but equally successful (in some respects) as Caffrey.

For 80 episodes, I have suffered the trials, and celebrated the triumphs that have been the cons, busts, stake-outs, thefts, forgeries, and relationships that have been White Collar. There have been some seriously impressive heists, forgeries, and cons that have blown my mind. The stories have been incredibly complete and well-rounded, with only seemingly obvious ends to tie-up. The only issue, of course, was what would happen to Neal.

Everyone gets there happy ending….sort of. Peter is the head of his unit, and is a happy new father to a baby boy. His little family is happy and settled in NYC, despite their respective opportunities, and all is well. Mozzie is rich, thanks to the siphoned money that Neal acquired for him after the Pink Panther’s scheme. He has gone back to his roots, playing card tricks by a park corner, where he first met Neal, still using the same Queen of Hearts. They bring June, Neal’s elderly landlady back, for one last reminisce about Byron and their relationship

Throughout, I got the feeling Neal was going to die. That was not what I wanted. I hoped for the perfect ending, including a returning Sara Ellis and a flash-forward to their happy and now normal life with little Neal’s running round. But no, a face-off with Keller showed their differences, and aftet two shootings, and two deaths, they were both no longer around. We did get a baby Neal, in the form of Burke’s son very sweetly named after his CI, but no baba Caffreys.

It was sad to see the flash forward to the present day, with Peter and Mozzie interacting over Neal’s death. Conspiracy expert Mozzie was surprisingly the one handling it better, not in denial, and coping in his own way. The longer the flash-forward went on the more hopeful I got, and sure enough, a posh wine bottle and an old container full of art and other Caffrey oddities revealed what we had all hoped. His death was faked, his best con, the closing credits revealing a hat-flipping, suit clad Caffrey.

He may not have got the ended I wanted, but as Peter said, he was free. Everyone has an ending befitting their characters, Diana is off to fulfil her destiny in Washington, and Jones has been promoted within the White Collar division, withpeter steadfast at the helm. I like that he knows Neal is alive. I wish Moz did too, the scene featuring baby Neal and teddy Mozart is just too sweet for words, imagine Neal and Neal. Swoon. I like that they have left it well, but kept it open for future storylines should they pursue it. I hope Neal finds a happy ending as his new alias, and to be honest, I hope he’s still using his skills. He was always at his most attractive and charming best as a con artist.

Jeff Eastin has created the best show on TV. It is simply slick. That is the only word I can sum it up. He knew what his audience wanted, and provided this ending to the best of his ability whilst maintaining the integrity of his finest creation. I liked that he managed to fit in a nod to Catch Me If You Can in the finale too. Not only does Bomer look mighty good as a pilot, it fits with the plot, and takes the show full circle to the very story that inspired the show.

I just love it. White Collar will remain the benchmark for which all TV shows must strive exceed, and I will miss it.

I am currently re watching from the beginning, and I have finally found an issue with the show, i think it might be the only one. There are just 5 people who appear in all 81 episodes of White Collar: Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), Peter Burke (Tim deKay), Mozzie (Willie Garson), Elizabeth Burke (Tiffani Thiesson), and Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins). All 5 have reasonably prominent roles in the episodes excluding the time Thiesson was pregnant in real life, so why was Atkins missing from the title sequence, and only lasted add a guest star for the first 3 seasons? Especially considering Hilarie Burton was pictured and listed as a main star in season 3 but was only actually in 10 of the 16 episodes? Gripe over.

And Peter, you’re wrong. Neal is a con-man. He is both.

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