Jeff Eastin Talks White Collar’s Future & New Drama Graceland

Is everyone still reeling from last night’s White Collar summer finale on USA Network? Last week, creator and showrunner Jeff Eastin talked to reporters about both White Collar and his upcoming show Graceland, so we have some goodies to share that may help tide you over until White Collar returns – or may just make you even more eager to have the show back. Sorry! (If you haven’t seen the finale yet, you should probably stop reading now!)

Eastin had some interesting things to say about that moment in the finale when Peter and Neal discuss what makes their relationship work.

“There’s something they say in the finale when they said, ‘You know, even if we don’t have trust we have faith.’ And that was something that we had talked about. It’s like at a certain point these guys, you know, have been through so much, and Peter especially has put up with so much from Neal. And the one thing he sort of discovers is that there’ll never be a time when Neal betrays him. You know, Neal is sort of like a petulant child sometimes, and he may lie about where’s he going and what he’s doing, but when the shit hits the fan he’s going to be there for Peter no matter what. And I think Peter knows that, and I think he just takes some solace from that. You know if Neal says he’s going to June’s party he may actually be sneaking off with Mozzie to do something. But if it ever came down to protecting Peter, it’s one of those things where there’s going to be no question of whose side he’s going to fall on.”

Last night’s finale ended on an important emotional moment, but Eastin’s personal favorite ending is from season three:

“Probably last year, the one with Neal in the airplane where we hold on his face for about a minute solid. You know, I really liked that one. There’s been some other ones that were pretty good, but that one just kind of sticks in mind. . . . Other than the pilot that was probably my favorite episode. And just as far as an ending goes, just ending on Matt’s face and the series of emotions he goes through on the plane is kind of tough to beat.”

Eastin is very conscious of the perils of reforming Neal too much:

“It’s like as easy as that would be, I think then we’d just end up with another police procedural show where two pretty guys banter solving crimes. And, you know, we try to keep it a little more on edge that, and I find the show probably works the best when Neal and Peter are talking together and we think everything is fine, but you know as Neal leaves the room Peter’s eyes kind of narrow and we realize he thinks he’s up to something. To me, that’s when the show works the best, and that’s been really the hard thing, especially going into the middle of our fourth season, to try to maintain that sort of suspicion between the two guys in a way that it just doesn’t anger the majority of the fans. So far, I’ve only seen a few fans angry about it, but for the most part I think it’s that kind of stuff that keeps it intriguing.”

But don’t get too worried about Neal and Peter’s relationship:

“We don’t have any plans to break it up completely, you know? As I told somebody once, it’s like TV, there’s going to be ebbs and flows in it and, you know, as much as we’d like to just settle down, and like I said, just let them relax and be buddies, it’s not really something that we’re prepared to do yet. So, you know they’re going to have some problems . . . But, I’ll just say that when you come back in Season 4-1/2 they definitely get better.”

What does Eastin think makes White Collar a fan favorite? Smarts and chemistry.

“I think, you know, since the beginning we’ve tried something a little different. I mean, we’re one of the few shows that kind of on a regular basis talk about Degas paintings and quote liberally from famous people throughout history and play chess, and people will still tune in and watch. I think we’ve tried to kind of keep the show smart that way. And at the same time, I think just that and the chemistry between Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay and Willie Garson probably keeps people coming back.”

Wondering how the very last season of White Collar will end? Eastin does have a plan: “I’ll tease it and just say it all involves a flip of a coin.” Intriguing. But let’s hope that doesn’t happen any time soon. The second half of the season, which starts in January, will include Neal and Peter “repairing their relationship,” and running into guest stars including Emily Procter, Jackson Rathbone, and Titus Welliver.

Meanwhile, ready to learn a little more about Eastin’s new show, Graceland? It’s about young undercover agents from various federal agencies living in a house in California together. And it’s based on reality:

“And I think what really appealed to me about this story was this is a case, again, a real house where they took undercovers from Customs, DEA, FBI and shoved them all into one house. And they started to almost emerge together into one hybrid agency, and all these people were undercover. So, what you ended up with is a situation where you had this house and the only place these people could be themselves was inside the house, because you were with people of your own kind, because if you stepped out the door they were lying to their neighbors, they were telling people they were ski instructors or trust fund kids, and they stepped inside those walls of that house and they could be themselves. They stepped outside they were living a lie. And it’s the pressure of the environment that that created is really drew me to the piece.”

The tone will be a bit different than White Collar:

“You know, USA has really been pushing the boundaries a little bit lately. I mean, considerably darker than White Collar,</em. and I would say we’re probably about the same distance away from Suits, you know, in even darker directions. So we just keep kind of pushing that boundary a little bit, and at the same time try to keep the blue sky motif that USA has really popularized.”

Excited about Graceland? Here’s a taste:

It will premiere next summer on USA Network, and I’m sure we’ll have more about it for you as the premiere approaches!

(Image courtesy of USA Network.)

One thought on “Jeff Eastin Talks White Collar’s Future & New Drama Graceland

  1. Good article. Love White Collar. It’s a long time until January. Graceland looks interesting, but hope it doesn’t drain the WC writers. Hoping WC goes on for a long time yet.

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