White Collar's third season starts on USA next Tuesday, June 7, at 9 PM EST. If you're not watching it already, you should be, and not just because creator/executive producer Jeff Eastin decided to put slash in a blender with a caper show with just a hint of Indiana Jones. Though those are also excellent reasons.

No, you should watch it for the characters. (Do not watch it for the plot. Blood will come out of your nose if you do that.)



Neal Caffrey is a lot of things - thief, artist, lover of both women and fedoras - but the only one he's been convicted of is bond forgery. (ALLEGEDLY.)

Neal managed to talk Peter Burke, the agent who arrested him (twice!), into a deal: being a consultant for the FBI in exchange for the freedom of work-release from prison. This is less because he developed an altruistic streak as because he wanted to get out and find what had happened to his ex-girlfriend Kate. This, in turn, led to a story so complicated it'd make Michael Scofield blink, but it involved: Kate being blown up on a plane, Neal put back in prison briefly, Peter framed and temporarily suspended, and Neal's best friend Moz getting shot - all of it linking back to an ex-mark of Neal's who was looking for a cache of stolen Nazi treasure hidden since a submarine sank in the 1940s.

Neal currently has the treasure cache, though he didn't steal it. Peter suspects he did. This hasn't led to anything good.



Neal Caffrey is a master criminal (ALLEGEDLY). Peter Burke is the guy who caught him. Twice.

Peter is also, thanks to Neal's deal with the government, Neal's handler, which means when/if Neal does something illegal and gets caught--which sort of happened, once; after Kate blew up, he got tossed back in prison for three months--Peter's the one whose ass is in trouble. (And that's a shame, because it's a really nice ass.) Peter is everything Neal's not: serious, staid, sort of boring at a glance. He also pretends to be confused so people will talk shit about him in Cantonese and he can tape it for later transcription, learned to pick pockets for the express purpose of passing for Neal, and one time chased down a guy on horseback. ON HORSEBACK.

Sadly, he cannot rock a 'stache.



Elizabeth Burke is Peter's wife, and owner of Burke Premiere Events. The two met during an investigation; Peter clearly liked her but wouldn't make a move, so Elizabeth staked out his surveillance van and held up a poster board reading "I [HEART] ITALIAN". They've been married for ten years with no kids, and one dog.

Elizabeth is smart, funny, no-nonsense, gentle, compassion, caring, and the rock that keeps Peter tethered. She is also smoking hot. Also, one time she talked a complete stranger into going home and nailing his wife. Over the phone. In a room with three other people, only one of whom was her husband.

Also, one time she talked Neal and Moz into breaking into a corrupt judge's office to help Peter by looking sad at them. Because she is that fucking awesome.



Every good master criminal needs a sidekick. Neal has Moz, who's less "sidekick" and more "partner with 40% vested". He started off as something close to Neal's mentor and has ended up as basically his best friend. He's paranoid, surly around law enforcement, refuses to call Peter by his name, and has a different apartment for every day of the week. Peter ended up in one once; Moz abandoned it the next day, because The Man had compromised it.

He also went into the FBI building once. The inside of his head was playing "In the Hall of the Mountain King". No, not the Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross one, though that would have been amazing.



Jones is one of Peter's junior agents. He is also TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME.

We still don't know a lot about Jones, other than his first name (Clinton! That one took almost a full year), that he's willing to dress like Tony Montana to help Neal for two seconds, and is disturbingly excited when Neal has to do something not entirely ethical and/or legal. To be fair, so's Peter. Mostly, Jones is just thrilled that now that he's fully vested in Team Burke, he gets out of the goddamn van from time to time.



Originally Peter's probationary agent ("probie"), Diana moved to work at the D.C. office. She returned after a year or so when Peter asked, and has been here ever since. She likes Neal and treats him like a really irritating little brother she's legally allowed to shoot if necessary; she also comes from money and has a surprisingly broad working knowledge of things like hidden artwork in hotel rooms and people sending hidden signals in videotaped messages, thanks to the bodyguard who helped raise her.

She has a partner named Christie, who's a doctor. We get to meet Christie this year. I am unduly excited about this.



Neal met June his first day out of prison and tried to con her. Lucky for him, June--whose dead husband, Byron, was a criminal back in the 60s--thought this was cute and took him home. He lives in her guest room, which is seriously bigger than my old apartment. (Seriously. It has a balcony.)

June is awesome. She doesn't break the law per se, but she has no real love for lawmen; Peter's the exception, because he's become remarkably lackadaisical about shit like that in the time he's been working with Neal. (She mostly thinks Peter is endearing, the same way her dog is endearing.) She loves Neal like a son, and Moz has a really poorly hidden crush on her. She doesn't tolerate fools or idiots, and is basically Elizabeth in about thirty years, right down to the fact that I think either of them could take someone out if absolutely necessary.

June and Moz taught Peter to pick pockets, once. It is exactly as amazing as you are thinking.



Sara's an insurance investigator who recently moved back to work at her company's New York office. She's helped the team from time to time. She and Neal are tentatively pursuing a relationship, despite him being a criminal. This might have been set back that time she saw him trying to eat Alex's face off, though in Neal's defense, they'd just almost been blown up.

Also, as an insurance investigator, Sara basically has Nate Ford's old job. Which is great, because that means I'm pretty sure Nate Ford used to be allowed to carry a collapsible nightstick and beat people with it. (Now, of course, he does it for fun.)



Neal's ex-girlfriend. He met her on a con and fell desperately in love with her--and she fell in love with him, enough that she abandoned her relatively normal life and became a criminal. They fought, though--over Alex, which I find hilarious--and broke up; the two were in the middle of attempting a reconciliation when Peter caught him the first time. She was killed when Vincent Adler blew her plane up--a plane that Neal was supposed to be on at the time.



Peter's boss. He hasn't strangled Neal yet, which is a plus, though that's probably because he mostly lets Peter handle him.
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