[Spoiler Alert: Don't read ahead if you have not seen the White Collar Season 6 premiere.]
One down. Five to go.
We're in the final stretch of USA's White Collar, which is airing its final set of episodes this fall.
And, after hearing what star Matt Bomer had to say earlier this week, co-star Tim DeKay talked to us on the show's set this summer about saying goodbye to the beloved characters, as well as the impending addition to the Burke household and what he's learned in the course of the series.
Consider yourself spoiler warned and scroll down for excerpts from our exclusive Q&A...
TV Fanatic: Will we be seeing some old faces in these new episodes?
Tim DeKay: That's a good way to put it. You will see some old faces and I think every one of these old faces will be welcomed. The audience will be happy to see them. I know I am. I'm happy to see the actors who play them.
TVF: With Neal’s freedom in question, what would the Neal/Peter relationship be if he had his freedom? Would they still be in each other’s lives?
TD: Great question. I think for the world that we have created that that relationship could never stop and the relationship could change but I think both of them have to be in each others lives in some capacity. Whether Neal is being chased by Peter, whether they are working together, whether they're at odds and somebody is trying to get them back together. I strongly feel there could never be a scene where Peter and Neal say goodbye to each other.
TVF: I wouldn't want to watch that scene.
TD: No, I know nobody would. It's just these two guys who are from different sides of the planet and you just don't want that to happen. It would be a very negative looking life.
TVF: And we know there’s going to be a Baby Burke.
TD: Baby Burke, yes! You know it's something that we have talked about for quite a while and I've always felt that if were Peter and Elizabeth to have a child he would not longer become a workaholic, he'd become a bad dad and I don't want that. I guess the vibe of the show, just a child isn't quite the place for it. Now I think it's the right time to enter that.
I've said this from the beginning, this show, while it has a great snap and there are capers and crime involved, what holds this show together is the heart and that everybody will do anything for any one of these. Mozzie would give his life for Peter. Peter would give his life for Mozzie. Peter would certainly give his life for Neal. Neal would give his life for Peter. Everybody would do whatever it takes so that the next day they can try and out-con them. And so I think it's right that a baby comes in.
[Matt Bomer told me the following about Neal's reaction to the baby news: "Pure joy. He loves the Burkes. I mean, they are his surrogate family. They’re probably the closest thing to a model family that he’s ever had in his life. So, I think he’s nothing but ecstatic, and incredibly happy for them."
TVF: I asked Matt this. When was the last time you went back and watched the pilot or any of those early episodes?
TD: I haven't in a while and I’m afraid to now. I will at some point but I haven't in a while. Sometime if I'm flipping the channels late at night and there's an episode on I'll stay with it for a while and every time I watch I think, I knew they were going to go with that take and I didn't want them to go with that take. I'll remember it, I'll remember the take.
TVF: How would you say the show has changed you as an actor and even a director since you've directed episodes?
TD: Yeah, it's changed me quite a bit as an actor. I have to think faster. I feel like I'm in rep (repertory theater) in a way. I'm doing all these episodes or different plays where I'm somewhat playing the same role but I've got to be quick. You've got to be quick, make quick choices because the machines are running so fast.
I've learned an incredible amount of television production and how to get something big, like an episode up and storytelling not so much as with one episode but with an entire season and understanding why choices are made when you may immediately not agree with them as an actor. As a director I've learned an incredible amount from all the other directors who have come in here.
TVF: If I ask you do you have a favorite moment or two from the show what pops in your head first?
TD: Every favorite moment I have is when Neal and Peter are onto something and they are both finishing each other's sentences. My favorite moments are when the magic of the show I feel is, what separates it from other shows, is living and that connection between Peter and Neal. It's interesting to see an FBI agent and a CI connect on many levels.
TVF: I think of those and I think of you on a horse with Stanton.
TD: That's funny because when the LA Times had mentioned something about Butch Cassidy and Sundance and that night Matt wrote me a note, "I hope this ends with us riding off into the sunset."
White Collar Season 6 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on USA.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.