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Character Development: Neal Tells Peter About His Dad, White Collar 

Photo Credit: USA Network

The first half of White Collar‘s second season was good; but, so far, this back half has been even better. Before I get into Neal’s latest character development, can I just gush about how in “What Happens in Burma,” we got two of my favorite Neal looks? We got Neal in a hat; and Neal in glasses. Thank you, show! And thank you, Mr. Bomer.

But, seriously, we learned some valuable information about Neal Caffrey’s mysterious past. First, Neal told Peter his father was a cop which was a pretty surprising revelation. Later, he “filled in” some more blanks, telling Peter he never knew his dad; that he died heroically in a “hail of gunfire” trying to take down a whole bunch of bad guys. But we knew that wasn’t quite the truth.
Finally, Neal let Peter know his dad wasn’t the hero he portrayed him to be; in fact, his dad was a dirty cop. Now, since Neal is such an enigma, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this bit of intel was the truth. However, I don’t think he revealed the entire truth. He had such a cryptic conversation with Mozzie about his dad, didn’t he? There were two lines in particular that had me wondering what the real story was:

Mozzie to Neal: “Are you going down that road again?”
Mozzie to Neal: “He could be useful.”

What’s this “again” business? And how could Peter possibly be “useful” if Neal’s dad is dead? Is he really dead? Will this father storyline be dealt with later in the season? And if Neal’s dad is alive who would play him? And what actress would you cast as Neal’s mom? If you have any thoughts on the casting matters, please let us know in the comments.

Many primetime TV shows have played the daddy issues card, especially recently, but you know what? It never gets old for me. I am thoroughly invested in Neal Caffrey as a character, so I want to know about his past. Here were some telling words in an exchange between Neal and Peter:

Neal: “He was a dirty cop not a hero.”
Peter: “You’re not him.”
Neal: “If I’m not my father’s son, who am I?
Peter: “Certain things are in my blood…”

I truly feel Neal believes he’s just like his father; the fact he turned out to be a thief has probably validated those thoughts of self-loathing. How great was it that Peter showed he had faith in Neal? Burke pointed out how he had just helped get the politician’s son freed from the Myanmar prison. Hopefully, Neal can feel good about doing good. Mozzie mentioned something about Neal’s relationship with “The Suit” being patriarchal. I’m not sure about that. But what I am sure of is that Peter’s a much-needed presence in Neal’s life. He’s a constant reminder of a life the former thief can strive for and is already achieving. Great job by both Bomer and Tim DeKay.

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