Q: Before the series premiered, you talked about the show as being your take on the movie “Catch Me If You Can.” Is this going where you want it to go, or has it changed because of other organic things that you didn’t expect?

Jeff Eastin: 
Oh, a little bit of both. I mean, I think, you know for the most part I’d never dreamed of Season 4, so you know let alone Season 5, so I hadn’t really thought through that far. But, you know just in terms of, you know now we got here and taken the characters in the direction that just sort of feel right, you know  I’m very happy with that.

I think, you know, some of the things were a little bit surprising. Like, I didn’t know Mozzie would breakout quite the way he did, and that’s changed a few things. You know, you hope for some of these things, but you just can’t ever tell. You know, that’s changed things a little bit. You know, Matt Bomer’s breakout has really changed things also a little bit.

So, a couple of those things have changed things, not necessarily in major ways, but like, you know with Bomer it’s a lot about trying to accommodate his future film  schedule sometimes which means cutting him down, you know here and there in a couple of the episodes; things like that. But, you know overall, just in terms of the direction of the show and things like that, I’m very happy with it.

Full interview under the read more

The mid-season finale of “White Collar” airs Tuesday, September 18 at 9:00/8:00 Central on USA. And during the finale viewers will catch a first look at Eastin’s newest project “Graceland,” which is tentatively airing next summer on USA Network.

In this interview, Eastin talks about bromance, an FBI convention and reveals a bit about how “White Collar” will end.

Q: Viewers are seeing a few reminders of Season 1 in the last two episodes leading to next week’s season finale. When you were breaking the story, then - and the Season 4 mythology at the start of the year, did you always plan for this mid-season finale to involve an element of nostalgia between Neal and Peter before the cliffhanger?

Jeff Eastin:
Yeah, you know that we kind of planned on. You know, the tough part of about this show a lot of times is really, you know trying to keep things fresh between Neal and Peter. You know, it’s the easiest thing. And the thing that I see on Twitter a lot are people saying, “Oh, just - you know just make them happy. Just let them be friends. Take away Neal’s (angles).” And, you know it’s like as easy as that would be I think then we’d just end up with another, you know police procedural show where the - you know two pretty guys banter solving crimes.

And, you know we try to keep it a little more on edge that, and you know I find the show probably works the best when, you know Neal and Peter are talking together and we think everything is fine, but you know as Neal leaves the room Peter’s eyes kind of narrow and we realize he thinks he’s up to something. To me, that’s when the show works the best, and that’s been really the hard thing, especially, you know going into the middle of our fourth season to try to maintain that - you know maintain that sort of suspicion between the two guys in a way that, you know it just doesn’t anger, you know the majority of the fans.

So far, I’ve only seen a few fans angry about it, but you know for the most part I think it’s that kind of stuff that keeps it intriguing.

Q: What’s the craziest theory you’ve seen or heard regarding Neal’s father? There have been a lot of people who’ve been, you know coming up with theories, and some of them are true and have been avoiding telling them whether they’re right or not having seen…

Jeff Eastin:
Boy, let’s see, probably I’ve heard the one that, you know that Tim turned out to be his father. You know, that Tim’s his father, which you know is pretty cool. I’m exposing it in a metaphorical way is probably the most accurate. But, you know that was pretty crazy. I like the ones that say George Clooney is his father. I haven’t quite been able to pull that off and why we would have liked to, but - so those are probably the two that I find the most interesting.

Q: Will we ever find out what happened to Neal’s mother?

Jeff Eastin:
Yeah, hopefully we have a few seasons left to go and…well, not this season. But hopefully someday.

Q: White Collar has consistently come up with wonderful cliffhangers, mid-season, season finale. I mean, you’ve Mozzie shot and you’ve Elizabeth kidnapped, you’ve found treasure, you had Neal go on the run, what was it about this season’s arc that made you want to go that still quiet place that you went to for this one?

Jeff Eastin:
Okay. I think really, you know probably my favorite finale we’ve had was last year for Season 3 when Neal’s on the airplane and we just pulled on his face for about a solid minute. And, you know the reaction to that was actually very good. And I think anytime we can do that without, you know kind of resorting to - I shouldn’t say resorting to, but without having to so far as to shoot somebody or something like that works for me, because it means it’s working on an emotional level, and that was part of it.

And, you know the other part was just, you know in the arc of telling the story, this is where we wanted to end up, and that’s sort of what seemed to be the best reaction to it. So, I think that - I think the answer was probably a little bit, you know less thought out. We wanted to end with something kind of still and more than just - it seemed the circumstances called for it.

Q: And the Peter/Neal case this week is set in an FBI convention, how did that idea come about?

Jeff Eastin:
Oh, that was something we, again, wanted to do for a while. Those are always tough to pull off because, you know on a cable budget trying to do a - like a big convention is always a tough thing, because you know in our minds we pictured hundreds of people and, you know hundreds of FBI guys wandering around, and of course we can’t afford hundreds of guys wandering around. So we end up with, you know about 30, 40 extras and you try to move them around.

So we’d had, you know I think - we’d had that one on the back burner for a while. We just sort of like the idea of a FBI conference where Peter would get to be the star. Where, you know Neal would be sort of held up a little bit as a - you know was the sideshow attraction, and Peter would be the star, and then we’d throw some kind of caper on top of it. And I think, you know just as we’re going through the (bore) that one kind of landed naturally, and we kind of liked it, so that was pretty much it.

Q: What do you think it is about “White Collar” that continues to make it such a fan favorite show?

Jeff Eastin:
Oh, I don’t know. I think, you know, since the beginning we’ve tried something a little different. I mean, you know we’re, you know one of the few shows that kind of on a regular basis talk about, you know Dega paintings and, you know quote liberally from, you know famous people throughout history and play chess, and people will still tune in and watch. I think we’ve tried to kind of keep the show smart that way.

And at the same time, I think just that and the chemistry between, you know, Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay and Willie Garson probably keeps people coming back.

Q: In this episode it was interesting to watch what was going on in - when Matt and Tim were in the scene with the - doing the panel for the FBI, and you could - the bromance there was so - while they talked about it a lot it wasn’t really there. And you wonder how far this relationship, based on what’s happened, has deteriorated on the - you know on the part of Matt’s character, because he’s obviously not feeling the love.

Jeff Eastin:
Right.

Q: How far will Tim take this, in terms of where it pushes the show to the edge of where people are wondering can this relationship continue?

Jeff Eastin:
Well, they may wonder that. And, you know we’re not under any - we don’t have any plans to break it up completely, you know? It’s like - it’s - as I told somebody once, it’s like TV, there’s going to be ebbs and flows in it and, you know as much as we’d like to just settle down, and like I said, just let them - you know let them relax and be buddies, it’s not really something that we’re prepared to do yet.

So, you know they’re going to have some problems, and in this case, you know it definitely, you know pushes - pushed the relationship a little, but you know we’ve pushed it pretty far before. And in this case, you know things get - they get worse before they get better, how about that? But, I’ll just say that, you know when you come back - in Season 4-1/2 they definitely get better.

Q: Before the series premiered, you talked about the show as being your take on the movie “Catch Me If You Can.” Is this going where you want it to go, or has it changed because of other organic things that you didn’t expect?

Jeff Eastin:
Oh, a little bit of both. I mean, I think, you know for the most part I’d never dreamed of Season 4, so you know let alone Season 5, so I hadn’t really thought through that far. But, you know just in terms of, you know now we got here and taken the characters in the direction that just sort of feel right, you know I’m very happy with that.

I think, you know, some of the things were a little bit surprising. Like, I didn’t know Mozzie would breakout quite the way he did, and that’s changed a few things. You know, you hope for some of these things, but you just can’t ever tell. You know, that’s changed things a little bit. You know, Matt Bomer’s breakout has really changed things also a little bit.

So, a couple of those things have changed things, not necessarily in major ways, but like, you know with Bomer it’s a lot about trying to accommodate his future film schedule sometimes which means cutting him down, you know here and there in a couple of the episodes; things like that. But, you know overall, just in terms of the direction of the show and things like that, I’m very happy with it.

Q: Do you already have an arc in how you’re going to want to end it?

Jeff Eastin:
Yeah, actually I know right now how I want it. I do have - I do know, I mean…I do know how I want to end the series. I’ll tease it and just say it all involves a flip of a coin, how about that? [x]

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