As June (Diahann Carroll), Diana (Marsha Thomason), Sara (Hilarie Burton), Jones (Sharif Atkins), Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen), and Peter (Tim DeKay) testify at the hearing to decide whether the remainder of Neal’s (Matt Bomer) sentence should be commuted Neal has to stay one step ahead of Kramer’s (Beau Bridges) plan to recover the Raphael painting Neal stole seven years ago and use it to lengthen his sentence indefinitely and take Neal back with him to D.C.
This episode has a lot going on including a mysterious woman (Judith Ivey) from Neal’s past who may have been the partner of Neal’s father on the police force, the recovery of the painting Sara has chased after for seven years, and Peter being forced to make a hard choice between his respecting the wishes of his mentor and doing what he believes is right for his friend and partner.
The testimony, especially how it’s spread out over the course of the episode, works well in showcasing how Neal has effected each of the other characters over the past three seasons. The twist in Kramer’s witch hunt is also an interesting touch, especially when it becomes obvious he won’t give up even after Peter and Sara rob him of catching Neal red-handed with the painting.
For three years White Collar has been known for closing out its mid-season and season finales with cliffhangers. This one’s a doozy. I’m really hoping the show’s writers have figured out how to get themselves out of the corner they’ve written themselves into as Neal, with Kramer hot on his heels, is forced to cut his anklet on the eve of potential freedom and leave everyone and everything he’s come to care about behind. We’ll have to wait until summer, when the show returns for its fourth season, to see how it all plays out, but if I had to bet I’d say it will be worth the wait.