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'White Collar' series finale: The perfect goodbye to our favorite con artist

Season 6 | Episode 6 | “Au Revoir” | Aired Dec 18, 2014

White Collar has graced the hearts and homes of viewers and fans for six years, showcasing not only the greatest capers but also the greatest relationships. Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) will always be my favorite onscreen father-and-son duo, even though they weren’t officially playing father and son. Peter was the father Neal never had: a man who believed in him enough to keep him safe, no matter what. Whether it was Mozzie’s (Willie Garson) poetic waxing, or all the nods to classic heist films like How to Steal a Million or The Thomas Crown Affair, there will always be a special place in my heart for this show, and tonight we say goodbye.

The stakes are high

Every season finale of White Collar has been amazing, and this episode is no exception. With a gun to Peter’s head, Woodford must be convinced to let Peter help with the job or he will kill him. Peter smoothly mentions pulling an old job of Neal’s, which impresses Woodford. When Mozzie finds out Neal has invited Peter onto the Panther job, he freaks out. Mozzie can’t understand why Neal would betray him like this. Thankfully, Neal has a play. Mozzie gets to be the outside man who siphons off $30 million—that is, if everything goes to plan.

White Collar Finale Neal and Mozzie

Old friends

As this is the finale, we get the opportunity to say goodbye to all of our favorite old friends, including June (Diahann Carroll). Neal toasts and kisses June goodbye, calling her his “saving grace.” When she hugs Neal and says “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I couldn’t help but cry. No June, you won’t. Neal also returns “the lady” to Mozzie, a souvenir from the first time Neal beat Mozzie in a con game of cards. Elizabeth and Peter also have Neal over for dinner to tell him that they are having a baby boy. Peter and Neal share one last cup of coffee together, reminiscing about their first meeting over Italian coffee in the clouds.

The perfect score

The Panthers will be moving $1 million per second out of the airport, with radio silence and only three minutes to break into the safe. Neal, handsomely disguised as an airline pilot (à la Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can) gets the security clearance they need to break into the airport. He then does a quick wardrobe change so he can let in Peter and Keller (and their ominous hearse). In true Ocean’s Eleven fashion, the Panthers have all their equipment set up and they are ready to go!

The second Peter’s watch is triggered, the FBI begins moving in. Neal and Keller work together to crack the safe. Every detail of this heist has been planned, but something could go wrong at any second. The stakes really couldn’t be any higher. What a great way to say goodbye to a show that essentially has always been about pulling off a great heist. Mozzie is even waiting underground for the $30 million, listening to Bobby Darin sing “La Mer.” What could go wrong?

Take the money and run

The police burst in right as they finish the job and arrest everyone. Neal, Peter, and Keller are held temporarily while the rest of the Panthers are indicted. While Peter steps out, Keller starts pushing on Neal. Keller questions Neal’s trust in the FBI, forcing Neal to run. But Neal is still wearing his anklet, which means he only has a few minutes to escape if he decides to run with Mozzie and the money.

Mozzie, Neal and Keller collect their money, agreeing to split it evenly. That is, until Keller pulls a knife, demanding all of it. Neal pulls a gun on Keller, bringing all their history to the surface. Neal and Keller have always been at odds, and now Neal has too much to protect to let Keller get away. Keller tries to convince Neal that they are the same, but Neal holds his ground: “That’s not me.” In the scuffle, Keller shoots Neal and leaves him to bleed out. Peter tracks Keller down and, in a flash, takes a shot and kills him. Moments later Neal is being lifted into an ambulance, and then he’s dead. Our hero, our fearless leader, our Neal, is dead. Mozzie starts spouting conspiracy theories about JFK and fake bodies, unable to cope with losing his closest friend. “There was always a way out. It didn’t matter how tight the scrape; Neal could always slide past.” Not this time, Mozzie.

Always look at the pinstripes

After Neal’s passing, Peter and El have their baby, Jones gets promoted, Diana takes a job in D.C., and Peter is actually making it home on time at night. Mozzie is playing cards in the park, just like he was when he first met Neal. Mozzie has traded in his conspiracy theories for depression, stage four in the five stages of grief. Mozzie still holds on to the queen card, hoping it was a sign of Neal pulling his last and greatest con. And $23 million is still missing from the Panther case—where could it be?

Neal Caffrey White Collar Finale

If one thing is true about Peter Burke, it’s that he never stops digging. He was, after all, the only man to ever catch the elusive criminal Neal Caffrey. The same is true of him even now. On the day Neal died, Peter was given the bullet that killed him and a mysterious key. Peter must have forgotten about the container he and Jones checked out before the Panther heist. Finding the key, Peter opens the container. There are diagrams of bullet wounds, doctors, poisons, a decoy mannequin, and Neal and Mozzie’s queen of hearts card. Mozzie’s words echo loudly in Peter’s head: JFK, decoy, greatest con … As Peter puts this puzzle together, a familiar song starts playing. The classic and always victorious “La Mer.” Minutes later we see Neal, sharply dressed, putting on that famous fedora. Neal walks off into the sunset, in Paris, heading into what might just be the called the greatest art heist in Paris of all time.

Final thoughts

Oh, White Collar, there is nothing to forgive here. Was it heart-wrenching to watch Neal die? Yes. But it was more satisfying that any ending I could have hoped for. I think I even saw show runners Jeff Eastin and Jeff King cameo as homeless guys talking to Mozzie! All is right in the world, Neal lives to con again. Maybe one day Peter, Elizabeth, and baby Neal will make a trip Paris and run into their old friend. As Neal said on his deathbed to Peter: “You’re the only one who ever saw the good in me. You’re my best friend.” We saw the good in you Neal, and we always will.

Thank you, USA Network and the White Collar cast, crew, and creators for six amazing seasons.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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