Tonight on White Collar: 3.01 "On Guard"
Let's have a quick catch up of where season 2 ended to understand why Neal and Peter might not be such good partners at solving crime in this season 3 opener (for a full review of the season 2 finale head here). Neal had got to a point where he was distancing himself from the whole con man bit and becoming more on board to the life of crime solving. This was until the cliffhanger of the season that left Neal with the greatest score of a lifetime from the treasure filled Nazi submarine. This bounty had been made to look like it had been destroyed in a fire when it had actually been moved to a secure location before any of this destruction occurred. It had in fact been replaced with what looked to be Neal's own paintings that he had been doing in his spare time and Peter had seen earlier in the episode. It was a fragment of one of these that led Peter to accuse Neal of some involvement in the theft, blowing the trust that they had built up to smithereens. The cliffhanger did reveal that someone had told Neal where the treasure was stored and now he has to decide what path he will continue on, the one of con man or the one with the FBI?
So what direction with Neal go in? It is the age old battle of nature vs nurture and White Collar has developed such a strong relationship between Neal and Peter that the answer won't be a simple one. Even if Neal does choose the straight and narrow, the trust that has built up between himself and Peter will need to be developed again and it is this relationship between these two men that is central to the show. Peter has spent so much time trying to get Neal to realise that he has the potential to be a great man with his talents that don't involve crime, so when he saw that fragment of Neal's painting that implicated Neal in the deception it likely made it seem that all this work was for nothing. As Peter has no proof that Neal was indeed involved in the whole thing it means that the two of them will have to work together still but there will be tension.
Tonight's case will see them try to put their differences aside to catch a thief who has broken in to the Federal Reserve, will Neal and Peter be able to work together successfully? We will also get to find out the identity of who organised the treasure to be moved to the secure location, will it be someone we have met before or a new adversary?
Another development that occurred at the end of season 2 was between Neal and Sara (Hilarie Burton) who looked to be moving beyond flirtation and library quick fumbles. Hilarie Burton has been made a regular for season 3 so it will interesting to see how this relationship will move forward and whether Neal's inherent ability to flirt with any pretty woman will cause conflict for their relationship. We spent so much time with the Kate's (Alexandra Daddario) ghost both when she was alive and after she had been killed so it is a welcome change to have Neal invested in a woman who the audience have got to know, rather than being told what she is like as was the case with Kate.
Some other things to expect from season 3 of White Collar include a flashback episode for Mozzie (Willie Garson), Game of Thrones star Lena Headey to play a hacker love interest for Mozzie, more background information regarding the great supporting cast of Elizabeth (Tiffani Theissen), Jones (Sharif Atkins) and Diana (Marsha Thomason) and guest star Eliza Dushku.
So what side will Neal choose? Are you looking forward to the return of White Collar? If so check out a couple of promos for tonight's return and let us know your thoughts on the show in the comments below.