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This is a list of characters in the USA Network original comedy-drama TV series, White Collar. The principal cast of the series has remained mostly the same throughout the series. However, various recurring characters have appeared over the course of the show's run.
|Neal Caffrey||Matt Bomer||Con-man; consultant to the FBI white collar crime unit||Main|
|Special Agent Peter Burke||Tim DeKay||Senior FBI agent, white collar crime unit||Main|
|Mozzie||Willie Garson||Con-man; Neal's best friend||Main|
|Elizabeth Burke||Tiffani Thiessen||Peter's wife; event planner||Main|
|Special Agent Diana Berrigan||Marsha Thomason||FBI agent, white collar crime unit (2009, 2010–present)||Main|
|Special Agent Clinton Jones||Sharif Atkins||FBI agent, white collar crime unit||Main|
|Sara Ellis||Hilarie Burton||Insurance company investigator||N/A||Recurring||Main|
|Special Agent Lauren Cruz||Natalie Morales||FBI agent, white collar crime unit (2009–2010)||Main||N/A|
In the first episode, Neal is finishing a four-year prison sentence. His girlfriend, Kate, visits him in prison to break up with him. In order to get her back, he stages an elaborate prison break. Peter Burke, the agent who put Neal in prison to begin with, quickly catches up with Neal, where it is revealed that Kate has left only a bottle of Bordeaux behind at their apartment. Neal is quickly brought back to prison, where he is told he will have to serve four more years. After helping Peter and his team find an elusive criminal, the Dutchman (Mark Sheppard), Neal is released on the condition that he wear an ankle monitor that records his movements. He easily finds lodging with an elderly woman, June, and the two quickly become close.
Throughout the series, Neal helps the FBI solve difficult cases, using his vast knowledge of white collar crime. He is a skilled thief and art forger, among other criminal activities. Neal uses his position at the FBI in order to get closer to Kate; however, after her death, he uses it more to find her killer.
During the first season, Neal spends much of his time researching Kate's disappearance. With the help of his best friend, Mozzie, Neal learns that Kate was taken by a man with an FBI ring. After discovering that Peter had visited her, Neal believes that Peter is the man behind her disappearance. This causes a strain on their relationship, though it eventually recovers. Neal finds that in order to free Kate, he must find the music box. He recruits an old friend, Alex Hunter, to do so in "Home Invasion" (1.11). The two continue to search over the next several episodes. In "Out of the Box" (1.14), after Neal locates Kate, who has boarded an airplane, he witnesses her death.
Over the second season, Neal reveals much about his past. In "Forging Bonds" (2.11), he tells Peter that his first con with Mozzie involved a man named Vincent Adler. Adler introduced Neal to Kate, and the two quickly began a relationship. Months later, Neal and Kate discovered that Adler had been caught running on Ponzi scheme, and they lost all of their money. After Kate realized that Neal was conning her as well, she left him and began running her own cons. However, Neal found her. After the two confessed their love, Neal was arrested (for the first time) by Peter. Back in the present day, Neal meets an insurance investigator named Sara Ellis. At first, Sara tries to have Neal arrested for the theft of a painting. However, the two, who have a history, eventually begin dating again. Upon Adler's return and defeat in "Under the Radar", Mozzie's machinations to steal the U-boat treasures lead to Peter suspecting that Neal had conned him into leading him to the treasure. Neal, upset over Peter's decided lack in trust in him, simply demands for him to prove it.
Peter is a no-nonsense, by-the-book agent, who is extremely devoted to his wife. After teaming up with Neal, he is forced to enter various awkward situations, including flirting with other women and assuming various aliases (including, in one case, Neal Caffrey). However, Peter still upholds high moral and ethical standards.
In the pilot episode, it is shown that Peter has been working the Neal Caffrey case for several years. After spending three years attempting to catch Neal, he finally did, and Neal went to prison for almost four years. However, Neal escaped from prison. This time, Peter easily caught him, finding him at the apartment he had shared with Kate. Over the first season, Peter warns Neal, on various occasions, not to investigate Kate's disappearance, as it could cause him to slip back into his criminal ways. The two catch various white collar criminals together, including thieves, murderers, and other con-men.
In a third season episode, it's revealed that Peter has an astronomy hobby which was put to good use to solve a case involving an astronomical puzzle involving a kidnapper using an inheritance as a ransom.
By the end of the second season, Peter discovers that Neal may have been conning him from the very beginning and has very high suspicions that Neal stole the submarine treasure. In the 3rd season summer finale, things between Peter and Matthew Keller become very personal when Keller kidnaps Elizabeth to force Peter to help him steal the treasure from Neal.
Mozzie first met Neal while they were independent con-men, as shown through flashbacks in "Forging Bonds" (2.11). The two set up a long con on a man named Vincent Adler, though the plan eventually failed.
Throughout the first season, Mozzie uses his various connections to the criminal world to help Neal with both his investigations with Peter and his private investigation into Kate's disappearance. Mozzie is very distrusting of the FBI, and doesn't even meet Peter until mid-way through the season. After their first encounter, Peter refers to Mozzie as "Neal's friend," and Mozzie refers to Peter and Elizabeth as "Suit" and "Mrs. Suit."
During the second season, Mozzie becomes more involved with the FBI, especially when a close friend of his is kidnapped in "By the Book" (2.04). He also becomes much more involved with the investigation into Kate's murder, discovering the identity of the last person Kate spoke to (Fowler) and breaking the code of the music box. However, in "Point Blank" (2.09), Mozzie is shot and left for dead, before he can tell anyone the meaning of the music box code. He barely survives, and later joins Burke's Seven (in the episode of the same name) to take down the man who shot him. Eventually, he and Neal discover that the man who shot him is involved with Vincent Adler, the man behind Kate's death.
In the third season, it is revealed that Mozzie was abandoned on the doorstep of an orphanage with a stuffed bear named Mozart. Unable to pronounce the name "Mozart", he used to call the Bear "Mozzie". He kept the bear with him even after he ran to New York to escape the Detroit Mob, and he named himself after it. He had to leave Detroit because he conned the local mob boss there. It was also revealed that he is the famed Dentist of Detroit.
Special Agent Lauren Cruz (Natalie Morales) is an FBI agent who briefly worked in the white collar crime unit under Peter. She transferred to his team in "Threads" (1.02) and left after the events of "Out of the Box" (1.14). Morales left the show before production of the second season.
Lauren joined Burke's team early in the first season, transferring from the organized crime division. She is fascinated by Neal, having written her thesis about him while at Quantico. She assists with Neal and Peter's cases throughout the season, until being abruptly written out of the show between the first and second seasons.
Special Agent Diana Berrigan (Marsha Thomason) is an FBI agent in the white collar crime unit, working under Peter. She first appeared in the pilot episode and was promoted to a main character beginning in "Withdrawal" (2.01).
Diana is one of the few people that Peter trusts implicitly, which contributes to her return to his team at the beginning of season two. She is the daughter of a diplomat, and spent much of her childhood in and out of hotel rooms. Her bodyguard, who greatly influenced her life (and through Diana, Neal's), was killed while protecting her. Diana is in a relationship with a woman named Christie, though it is strained because of Christie's reluctance to live in New York. Christie first appears in the third season episode "Deadline" played by Moran Atias.
Diana was absent for much of the first season, as she transferred to the Washington D.C. office for a desk job at the end of the pilot. However, she returns to New York in "Out of the Box" (1.14) to help Peter investigate Garrett Fowler, and eventually rejoins Peter's team.
In the second season, after the disappearance of the music box, it is shown to be in Diana's possession. Later, with the help of Alex Hunter, Neal steals it.
In the season three episode "Pulling Strings" Diana announces that the couple is engaged to be married. Diana is apprehensive, since the possibility of getting legally married is something she thought might never happen.
Special Agent Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins) is an FBI agent in the white collar crime division, working under Peter. He first appeared in the pilot episode and has appeared in nearly every episode since. Though credited as a guest star in all of his appearances, Atkins is considered part of the main cast.
Jones, attended Harvard Law School and later joined the FBI. Peter uses him often when researching a lead or when he is in need of backup. Jones often is forced to "babysit" Neal or do surveillance duty in the FBI van. It is revealed in the episode "As You Were" (3.08) that Jones is a former U.S. Naval Academy graduate.
Sara Ellis (Hilarie Burton) is an insurance investigator for Sterling-Bosch who has a history with Neal. Sara is a sharp, skilled investigator, and initially mistrustful of Neal. Over time, she becomes an increasingly important part of Peter's extended team, as she is slowly drawn into a romantic relationship with Neal until she finds out that Neal and Mozzie have been hiding the missing stolen art treasures from a World War II German U-Boat pursued by Neal's nemesis, Matthew Keller. She eventually forgives Neal when they are forced to work together, and they resume their relationship at the end of the third season.
Elizabeth appeared in various roles during the first season, playing the wife of Peter, an event planner, a periodic "consultant" to the FBI, and as a sisterly figure to Neal. She assisted on various cases, even helping Peter flirt with other women. She is kidnapped by Matthew Keller at the end of episode "Countdown" (3.10), but later escapes.
June Ellington (Diahann Carroll) is an elderly widow who allows Neal to stay in her home. Her husband, Byron, was a con-man as well. June has a granddaughter named Cindy and a niece named Samantha. June first met Neal while in a thrift store. June also owns the house that Neal stays in, and in the episode "Power Play" she helps teach Peter how to be a thief.
Kate Moreau (Alexandra Daddario) was Neal's girlfriend. Her disappearance and murder have been the primary story arc throughout the first season. Kate first met Neal while working for Vincent Adler. She began a relationship with Neal, who she believed was Nick Halden. Adler pulled a billion dollar Ponzi-scheme and vanished, along with a lot of people's -including Neal and Kate's- money. Kate is later killed in a plane explosion, leaving Neal depressed and angry. It is later revealed that Vincent Adler was responsible for Kate's murder.
Matthew Keller (Ross McCall) is Neal's blue-collar counterpart and archnemesis. Unlike Neal, he is willing to murder to make a score. At the end of "Countdown" he kidnaps Elizabeth to force Peter to help him steal the submarine treasure from Neal, making things personal between Peter and him. In "Checkmate" Keller says that Elizabeth will returned to Peter if he, Neal, and Mozzie help him steal the treasure. During this episode, it is revealed that Neal and Keller used to be close friends. Keller even seems somewhat upset that Neal doesn't seem to want to remember the "good 'ol days".
Special Agent in Charge Reese Hughes (James Rebhorn) is an experienced agent in the FBI's white collar crime unit, and is Peter and Neal's direct superior. Hughes is supportive of Peter's use of Neal, but is at first skeptical of the former con man, believing that he will eventually return to his criminal ways. However, as time passes, he begins to see Neal's value.
Former Special Agent Garrett Fowler (Noah Emmerich) is a disgraced agent from the Office of Professional Responsibility. He was once suspected to be the man behind Kate's death. Fowler headed Operation Mentor, which focused on taking down Peter Burke. It was also used to search for the music box.
Alexandra Hunter (Gloria Votsis) is a professional thief and black market fence who was formerly romantically involved with Neal. When Alex and Neal meet again in an episode, they kiss, but the relationship goes no further.
Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy) was the CEO of a massive hedge fund, believed to be the driving power behind Kate's murder. Neal tells Peter that he first learned of Adler from Mozzie when Neal and Mozzie planned a long-con: to infiltrate Adler's organization and take him down. Peter and Neal later realize that Adler is "the man pulling the strings." He is the person responsible for Kate's death. Adler is eventually killed by Peter Burke in order to save Neal's life.