Spoiler Alert: The following reveals major plot points from Tuesday's season finale of White Collar.
Con man Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) found himself behind bars — and then in the custody of agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) and the FBI — for stealing from the rich. But in the last moments of White Collar's Season 2 finale Tuesday, Neal's biggest loot, literally, fell right into his lap.
After finally tracking down Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy) and the very surprising object of his worldwide hunt — a German submarine from World War II full of priceless art and jewels — it seemed the worst was really finally behind Neal. But just as he closed the door to his past, Kate and all, his future became a lot more complicated when he discovered an anonymous "friend" had pillaged the U-boat and left the billions of dollars worth of goods in a warehouse especially for Neal.
"The last second of that shot changes everything," creator and executive producer Jeff Eastin tells TVGuide.com. "Neal's goals, all of that is going to change."
Season 3, set to premiere sometime this summer, will pick up just 24 hours after Neal's surprise discovery. "There's an entirely new mythology and a new story that comes out of it and that's what I'm really excited about," Eastin says. "Season 3, for Neal, is really all about choices."
Adds executive producer Jeff King: "The relationship between Neal and Peter really goes back to the basics. It sets our new season up in a really interesting and intriguing way, which is, is Neal going to stay or is he going to go?"
Those choices expand far beyond whether he'll return to a life of crime. Now that Neal finally has closure about who murdered Kate and an intriguing new friend in Sara Ellis (Hilarie Burton), is he ready to settle down?
Eastin warns that while Neal is finally over the death of Kate (Alexandra Daddario), he will never get over the idea of her and a more idealized (and normal) existence. "There was Kate on one side with the white picket fence and on the other side you had Alex and the chaos and the excitement," Eastin says. "Sara is somebody who can represent the middle ground. She can give him what Kate offers, but at the same time what Alex offers."
Neal and Sara's future is unclear at this point, but Bomer is optimistic about their "grown-up" relationship. "I don't know that Neal is going to all of a sudden become a serial monogamist and they're going to be doing laundry together, but they're definitely going to enjoy each other and see where it goes from there," he says. "There's sort of a high stakes aspect to her life and her intelligence and her self-sufficiency that he finds attractive."
Here's what else to look forward to next season:
More flashbacks!: After Season 2's hilarious flashback (featuring Peter's unforgettable mustache and Mozzie's full head of hair), Eastin says Season 3 will feature a closer look at the back story of Neal's longtime partner in crime. "We've got a very specific Mozzie episode," Eastin says. "It's not going to be a straight flashback episode, but we will see young Mozzie. We will get to see why he's called Mozzie and how he came to be and how he came to New York." Perhaps Peter's mustache will make a return cameo as well? "I think that was just a taste," DeKay says. "We can flashback more because Peter caught Neal twice so there's more chasing to be done."
Elizabeth's new gig?: Viewers will also get to glance into Elizabeth's past, which may also offer some hints towards her future. "You'll definitely see a little bit more of her background in the art gallery world, which is she came from and how she met Peter," Tiffani Thiesen says. "She actually might go back into that field."
A peek behind the curtain for Diana and Jones: Eastin also says the show will delve into more personal details about two of Peter's most trusted team members: Diana (Marsha Thomason) and Jones (Sharif Atkins). This will include a Jones-centric episode, as well as the long-awaited introduction of Diana's life partner, Christie.