Perhaps we'll see Siegel again, because White Collar isn't afraid to pull back in characters, as evidenced by at least one adversary this season. Career villain Mark Sheppard (Leverage, Doctor Who, Supernatural) is back as Curtis 'The Dutchman' Hagen - after first being seen way back in the series pilot in 2009 - and Neal is in his crosshairs.
"Mark is an amazing baddie," gushed Matt. "You know, it's that deal with the devil. He has Neal under his thumb, which is obviously, especially for someone like Neal, not a very comfortable place for him to be. He has him at his beck and call. Basically, he can have Neal do whatever illicit behavior he doesn't want to have to take responsibility for himself [and] Neal can't really put [up] that much of a fight about it."
there's change in every aspect of the series this time around. In the relationship department, White Collar has moved on from the stance that Neal and Sara Ellis (Hilarie Burton) belong together; with Sara having gotten a job offer in London at the end of last cycle, one-time regular Burton won't be appearing at all in Season 5. Instead, Bridget Regan (Legend of the Seeker) will be stepping in for 10 of the season's 13 episodes as the latest lady to catch Neal's eye. Matt described her character Rebecca Lowe as "sort of atypical in terms of what Neal finds attractive in a woman, with the exception of the fact that she's a redhead.
"Their relationship grows over the course of the season and I think the writers did a great job just making the character really multidimensional," he continued. "Her character is sort of like an onion - every episode a new layer peels off, and Neal gets to know more about her and becomes more attracted to her."
But things are equally as interesting for the Burkes, because Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) will understandably struggle with having a husband who's behind bars, at least when the season starts. "Elizabeth's main concern is to get her husband back, regardless of what it means to his career, what it means to anything," Tim explained. "She just wants her husband back and out of prison."
"And when big things like this happen, these two people, they take a look at their lives and they take a look at how Peter got to that place," he added. "They reassess and figure out what is the best way to go forward. A lot of big issues come up this season with where people are headed, what people are made of, and what they want to make of their lives." With all these shakeups, it sounds like this season of White Collar might just be the longstanding drama's most interesting yet.
The new season of White Collar begins tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on USA.