The hunt for a stash of evidence that could finally clear Neal's long-MIA dad sends Season 4 of USA's criminally lovable caper series White Collar out on a dramatic high point Tuesday (10/9c), both figuratively and literally.
"We got to film at the Empire State Building, which was so awesome," says executive producer Jeff Eastin, who counts the season finale's sequences inside the skyline landmark — and on the outer ledge of the exclusive103rd floor —s ome of his favorites. "There were certain rules we had to follow," he continues. "We could shoot at night when they were closed, but they allowed us to shoot a little bit in the daytime. And the 103rd floor is the special floor reserved for celebrities and VIPs...things like that presented different challenges. But the scenes are really beautiful and really iconic."
What leads the action to Manhattan's much-visited locale is a twisty con designed to help Peter (Tim DeKay) snag a hidden lockbox loaded with proof that James (Treat Williams) was framed for killing his supervising officer back in the day before shady Senator Pratt (Titus Welliver) can.
Along the way, there is a staged romantic gesture that "becomes a little too real" for Matt Bomer's Neal and Hilarie Burton's Sara, a classic Mozzie (Willie Garson) moment, a revelation regarding new Assistant Special Agent in Charge Callaway (Emily Procter), and a turn of events that could force Neal to choose blood over Agent Burke. "Neal is pinched between these two worlds," Eastin explains of the episode's final-moments dilemma, which showcases some of Bomer's most riveting, emotional work to date. "On one hand, he finds himself in the position of having found his father. And on the other, he has Peter who has been more of a father to him than James ever was."
His decision, Eastin says, will have long-term repercussions. "Neal has to face who he actually is. And as we move into the next season, the personal arc will be his discovery that not only is he not his father, he's not Peter, either." Good thing, because one of those guys is gonna need him to be his inimitable crafty self after what goes down tonight.