Season 4 of USA's "White Collar" is right around the corner, and it would seem that master thief and convicted felon Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) may have escaped to a tropical paradise, but there are strings attached. At least that's what this exclusive clip leads fans to believe.
Neal, who has lost his tie, but gained scruffy facial hair and a new name, still seems beholden to the powers that be in his new location, although he and Mozzie (Willie Garson) have exchanged the sky scrapers on the island of Manhattan for the palm trees of some remote tropical island.
Apparently, no matter how far Neal runs, an all-powerful, middle-aged white guy (on one side of the law or the other) will be calling the shots, or "pulling the strings." How much valuable knowledge, treasure, or wealth Neal commands seems to be irrelevant.
At the end of Season 3, a commutation of Neal's four-year sentence, after serving only two years of time, seems inevitable. Neal has been wearing an anklet, helping the FBI catch criminals who pull similar heists. Credible sources testify before a panel on Neal's behalf, including Federal Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) for whom Neal has been working closely; the two have become close friends. Even Peter's wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen), testifies favorably.
But Neal has such an extraordinary record for catching crooks that Peter's superior, Agent Kramer (Beau Bridges), is determined not to commute his sentence, but rather extend it, so that he can have Neal work for him in Washington D.C. Kramer will do anything to keep Neal under his thumb -- including digging through his past and trumping up new charges.
At the last minute, when Neal believes he is arriving for announcement of his commutation, he's tipped off that it's never going to happen, so he takes Mozzie up on his previous offer to run. Earlier in the Season 3 finale, Mozzie revealed that he's stashed away the invaluable treasure the two have stolen together, and can arrange for them to live in luxury, undercover, for the rest of their lives.
At the end of the episode, we see Mozzie and Neal seated next to each other on a commercial flight to ... we'll find out soon.
According to this clip, it's an island run by a wealthy man who has an affinity for constructing ships in bottles, and he will be marking the perimeters of Neal's new life. It remains to be seen how Peter will be involved, but you know he has to turn up somewhere, sometime, as the chemistry between Neal and Peter power the show.
We'll find out how it all comes together, and where our other favorite characters fit in, on Tuesday, 7/10, when USA premieres the first episode of "White Collar," Season 4, at 9 PM.