Of course we start with Neal and Mozzie in a tropical place, hiding away from being captured. They are being hunted by the FBI, with Peter ‘helping’ by not helping. While he secretly hunts for Neal on his own time. Knowing he is the only person who could find him. To keep Neal safe, Peter takes holiday time to chase after him and find a way to bring him back to New York safely, back on anklet duty after the cliff hanger events of season three. Showing the deep friendship between them even more clearly growing. Peter finding a very soft spot for Neal, protective like a father.
This series is a real journey for Neal. We see him exploring his past when he meets back up with the detective who was his father’s partner on the force. Neal always grew up thinking that his father was a hero, who died in the line of duty. He always wanted to be a cop just like his father. Yet when he grew older, his father’s partner took him to one side to tell him the truth. His father was a murderer, wanted by the police. Neal ran away and started his life of crime, just like his father.
He discovers that she has hidden a box containing all the evidence that she gained trying to find out about the dirty cops in the department, and his father’s case. When she is killed, she warns him with her dying breath to find and trust her cop friend ‘Sam’. Who Neal chases down. He is desperate to find out his past, who he really is so he can move on.
Later in the series he finds out more then he ever wanted about his own father, as the man himself ends up back in his life. Again we see how much Neal has changed in the last four years as instead of shrugging off when Peter asks if he is okay. He actually admits he really isn’t, but wants to focus on work so he doesn’t have to think about it right now. When he and Mozzie are forging a case of special whisky and having to taste it, he ends up getting extremely drunk with Mozzie pushing him to drink even more so he will open up and talk about his feelings. Then of course there is also Sara, whom he is trying to get back in his life. Even at one point telling his father, that Peter has been more of a father to him then his real one ever had. Even getting into a fight with Peter when he found out he was hiding things from him that risked people close to him.
With poor Peter kicked out of White Collar into storage for a fair part of the season as well, Neal is trying his hardest to get his friend back where he needs to be. Even if it is against the law. Although by now, I would really like to see Neal using some more legal means. Sometimes it feels like he has learned much from his time in White Collar, at others it seems like he hasn’t changed at all. That he will always go back into crime, even after his time has passed. He just doesn’t seem willing to make these last few steps into a normal, free, legal life style. Or perhaps he just doesn’t know how to?
More from the White Collar team very soon
Sarah Beth James