After 6 Seasons, White Collar Comes To A Close

White Collar Kellie Freeze

I sat in on a conference call with Tim DeKay and recent Golden Globe nominee for his work on the HBO movie, The Normal Heart, Matt Bomer and both gents opened up about the exciting and emotional series finale of White Collar, airing Thursday, Dec. 18 at 9pm ET.

Related: Mark Ruffalo talks HBO’s The Normal Heart

WhiteCollar-3DeKay promises that the entire finale is jaw-dropping, “Do not walk away — and I know you wouldn’t anyway — but do not walk away until the final second of the episode. We’ve got some great twists and turns, some wonderful moments.” The also promises, “Many questions that people have had throughout the seasons about White Collar will be answered.”

Of course, at the end of a successful series, everyone is curious to know what the stars ganked from the set. So reporters on the call asked: what’d ‘ya take?
Tim DeKay:   “There were two badges that Peter Burke had, and I took home one. I took home a number of suits because they were just – they were – these suits were built for me by a great different tailors, special tailors,”

And then there was a painting that was in the hallway. I don’t think anybody has ever seen it. I don’t think it ever aired, a side of the painting maybe. But there was a painting in the hallway, the little vestibule before you entered Neil’s apartment and it – Neil and Mozzie had a – had this scene and I entered halfway through the scene or I was just waiting in that vestibule for my cue to enter. I would always look at this one painting and it’s a great painting of this couple in a horse drawn sleigh in the snow. And short – like within the first few episodes of the first season I thought I’m going to take this home when this show ends because I like it. So I did.”

Matt Bomer:  “I took a painting of a like harem from Neal’s apartment. And what else did I take? I took the bust of Socrates and gave it to Jeff Eastin as a wrap gift. And then I don’t remember what else I took…

White Collar
Shown at right is the Preacher painting that Willie Garson took from the set of White Collar.

Tim DeKay:   Did you take the preacher skating?

Matt Bomer:    No Willie wanted that. So I gave it to him … There was a beautiful picture of this preacher ice skating … It was kind of turn of the century in a top hat just kind of in his own solitary reverie ice skating around a pond by himself and I always very liked that picture. What else did I take? I don’t remember…

Tim DeKay:   But because Willie is so religious you gave it to Willie…

Matt Bomer:  Yes. I took there’s a great antique map of Manhattan that Neal had on his wall and I took that as well.

Tim DeKay:   Did you take that (Chief DaMorcta)?

Matt Bomer:  No they didn’t give me any suits. I think they auctioned them all off to make a dollar and left me in the cold. But over the years I certainly can’t complain. I definitely mutilated a few out of Neal’s wardrobe.

Matt Bomer:  Oh I took the (DaMorcta) suit. Yes it was an Eleonora Duse bill on my wall next to the…

Tim DeKay:   You did take that yes.

What were the final days of shooting like? How were the final scenes?
Tim DeKay:   It was similar to senior week in high school. … But it was senior week but yet you had a whole bunch of finals still. You still had to do well in the classroom and those were the scenes and you wanted to do well.

White CollarTears were in no short supply on set. “The first AD always makes an announcement, ‘ladies and gentlemen that’s an episode wrap on this person,’ and then the whole crew applauds. For every episode it’s a nice tradition that television has.

But in this instance the first AD would say, ‘ladies and gentlemen that is a series wrap on Marsha Thomason or, Sharif Atkins.’ And then of course the tears would start flow and each actor was aloud as they wanted to somewhat publicly thank the cast and crew and just share what the series meant to them. So that was lovely.

They saved the last shot of the series for a scene between Matt and me and we both got to speak and everybody was crying. And then they brought out a cake and it was lovely because the cast and crew became such a family.

White Collar
The final Scene that DeKay and Bomer shot aired in the Dec. 11 episode, “Whack-a-Mole”.

Matt Bomer: It wasn’t the last scene of the episode certainly as you will see but it was an episode actually it was a scene that’s already aired. It was the scene where we’re out on the porch drinking a beer and you say, “You’ve got to join the Panthers.” Well you don’t tell me that.

It was really emotional. I think and I’m so glad that I think most of us if not all of us were able to process a lot of that in the moment as opposed to just finding yourself driving down a street in LA five months later and, you know, bursting into tears. But it was great. You know, I’m so grateful. It’s so easy to focus on how much we’ll miss everybody and I will but I just feel like we’re all so lucky that we got to do this for six seasons and get to enjoy each other’s company for that time and make a lot of relationships. Business relationship and friendships were created that will, you know, last a lifetime. So I think there’s a lot more to be grateful for then there is to be sad about.

I asked the actors if they had any favorite scenes to shoot
Matt Bomer: My favorite scenes the writers wrote were typically the walk and talks that Tim and I would have. There’s so much skill involved in a scene like that and the rhythm and being in New York City and filming it on an active street and that’s something that, you know, I would be intimidated as a writer to try to even attempt. And our entire staff did such an incredible job of capturing that camaraderie and that dynamic and, you know, those were always my favorite. I, you know, you can always think of things that could have happened or would have happened but I was always really excited on those days to do those scenes because I knew something fun was going to happen and Tim was going to surprise me with something and that we would both have a smile on our face at the end of the scene.

I asked the guys if after 6 Season of White Collar, did they have episodes that stood out as favorites?
Tim DeKay: I’d have to say the pilot but I don’t know if that – that almost seems separate. I can’t think of any. There are some moments funny enough that I did not think would be my favorite but there are some moments during the Nazi sub episode that I enjoyed. The Burke’s Seven that was fun. I don’t know. I could. I’m not going to – they were all my favorite. They’re like children to me. I love them each and every one of them…

Matt Bomer: Yes it’s like asking me which is my favorite finger, you know. We had six years of compiled memories. I mean it’s tough to pick one thing. I would say if I had to encapsulate one experience it would probably be the pilot because you have a lot more time and you’re establishing all these relationships and everything is so fresh and new.

So that was definitely a really magical time but I, you know, this was just one of those rare jobs where there wasn’t a single day that went by that I wasn’t enjoying myself. If not the entire day than most of it. So it’s impossible to really boil it down to just one episode or one moment.

Did either of you have any input in the series’ finale?
Tim DeKay: Jeff [Eastin] was always open to that and not precious with his words but open to the ideas and the rhythms that we would suggest for the show. I think that was a key to the show’s success at the beginning.

Matt Bomer: We heard a lot of ideas being bandied about and we kind of threw in our two cents and it ended up becoming kind of a soup that everybody had thrown a few ingredients into.

How will the final episode end?
Tim DeKay: Well I certainly don’t want to give you any spoilers but I will say this. I know exactly what my character would do right as soon as the episode goes to black. I know exactly what happens the next day for Peter Burke.

Matt Bomer: Yes I can’t really answer that one either because it will kind of give it away I think what happens in the end.

So What’s up next for the actors? DeKay revealed that he’s been taking a look at a few projects at Fox Studios and is interested in directing a holiday movie.  He reveals, “Also there’s a Western that I will be shooting this spring where I play a dark character.” Bomer has Magic Mike XXL releasing soon and is hoping to complete a biography of Montgomery Clift and perhaps an adaption of a great novel.

White Collar > USA Network > Series Finale, Thursday, Dec. 18 at 9pm ET/ 8pm CT

Images © Giovanni Rufino/USA Network