White Collar

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

White Collar is a drama by USA Network about a white collar Gentleman Thief, Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), and Peter Burke, the FBI agent supervising him (Tim DeKay) who work together, albeit begrudgingly, to stop white collar criminals.

Caffrey is a convicted con artist, having broken out of jail three months before his sentence of four years was completed. He's quickly caught by Burke (who was responsible for catching him in the first place) and is in for another four year stay, but manages to be released to the FBI (Under Burke's supervision and being tagged with a GPS-tracking anklet) to assist with catching some of the most ruthless white collar criminals in New York City, which also gives him an opportunity to pursue his lost girlfriend, Kate, on the side.

The series replaced Monk, which ended after eight seasons.

White Collar is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in White Collar include:


There's no such thing as "one last score". Just the next one.

Neal: "How many men do you have?"
Peter: "Including my agent, and the marshals? All of them."

  • Always Gets His Man: Peter
  • Anti-Villain: Garrett Fowler at the end of the second season summer finale is shown to be this. You really do have to feel for how messed up and sad his situation is, with him basically becoming a pawn for the Big Bad. The parallels between Fowler and Peter, and Fowler and Neal, are pretty interesting.
  • Arc Words: Operation Mentor
  • Argentina Is Naziland: At one point had a U-boat filled to the brim with Nazi treasure with an intended destination of somewhere in Argentina, but it sank before it could arrive.
  • Artistic License: Law: Some (most) of the show's schemes go beyond zany (see below) and go into full-blown, Cowboy Cop, massively illegal territory. Of special note, they at one point assault and poison a man before kidnapping him and threatening him with death if he doesn't incriminate himself (1x10, Vital Signs). Not only would the case not hold up in court, but Neal and Peter would go (back) to prison.
  • Authentication by Newspaper: The kidnappers in "Front Man" use this in their proof-of-life tape.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Averted with Mozzie, who is the worst "actor" in the main cast, yet tends to be a just little hammy.
  • Bait and Switch: With the premise of the show, even. You wouldn't think investigating white collar crimes like fraud and art theft would involve so many guns, and yet, it's the rare episode that does not include someone being threatened with violence.
  • Bait and Switch Gunshot: Peter shoots Adler before he can shoot Neal.
  • Bank Robbery: Committed in "Withdrawal."
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Neal snaps in this manner when he has a chance to encounter and kill the man who he believes killed Kate. All of his friends are so worried about him being in this state that when Mozzie finds out he's got a gun, he immediately calls Peter.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Both Neal and Mozzie are adept at this. Mozzie in particular managed to fool a local cop into thinking he was an actual FBI agent with nothing but a jacket and some forensic tools.
  • Beardless Protection Program: In the pilot, Neal grows a beard in prison, and then shaves it off the day he escapes so he won't be recognized. He doesn't look all that different, but he does look just different enough to fool the facial recognition on the prison security cameras.
  • Berserk Button
    • Mozzie gets riled up in "In the Red" when he finds out that the perp Neal and Peter are going after is running an extortion scam involving adopted kids. This is because Mozzie was raised under foster care and understands the hardships adopted children must go through.
      • This one could likely stretch into real life as well. Willie Garson (Mozzie) mentions in USA's "I'm A Character" promos that he's an adoptive father in real life, and could very possibly have the same Berserk Button about messing with adopted children.
      • Not just Mozzie--in the same episode, a Russian mobster gets equally pissed off when he hears that the adoption scam is using Chechen kids.
    • Peter loves his wife very much. DO NOT mess with Elizabeth or try to bust up her shop, even if you are an FBI agent. He will punch you in the face. And that's just for starters.
    • Slightly lesser example, but if you mess with Neal's clothes, he will be very annoyed with you.
  • Big Applesauce: Shot in NYC itself, and utilizing as many panoramic shots of the city as they can cram in.
  • Big No: Many fans' reactions to Season 2's summer finale, in which Mozzie gets shot in the heart.
  • Black Widow: In "Veiled Threat", Neal, Peter and and Jones go undercover as wealthy bachelors to snare a black widow.
  • Blue Eyes: Bomer's baby blues have become part of the ad campaign. Most posters are simply Neal Caffrey staring at the camera.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: In "Under the Radar", where Adler leaves a tied up Peter, Neal, and Alex to drown in a slowly filling drydock. Once they escape they Lamsphade how Adler is trying too hard to act like a cartoon supervillain.
  • Book Safe: Neal keeps the key to his anklet in a book in his apartment.
    • He also keeps a hundred grand in a hollowed out weapons manual.
  • Born Lucky: Peter sometimes perceives Neal as being this way and slightly resents him for it, for instance, when Peter scolds Neal for getting something for nothing in the pilot.
    • To be fair to Peter, what were the odds of Neal encountering, straight out of prison, a Cool Old Lady with a soft spot for conmen? One willing to offer him the spare room in her gorgeous Manhattan townhouse? (Not to mention some of her dead husband's gorgeous clothes.)
    • Peter comments on Neal's luck again in the second episode of season two, "Need to Know."

Peter: How is it that you always get the penthouse suite with the girl and I end up with the sweaty bald-headed guy in a warehouse in Queens?

    • Peter watched Neal get kissed by Raquel after betraying her, lying to her, and getting her caught by the FBI. Of course Neal is born lucky.
    • The opposite also seems to be true; Neal apparently wants the "normal" white-picket-fence life Peter has.
    • Subverted in "Company Man" when it's shown Peter could have been wildly rich and successful with his accounting degree, but prefers the nobility of the FBI and his loving wife. When he's faced with a grand hotel room with everything he could ever want, Neal tells him, "Seems like you picked the wrong universe," to which Peter immediately replies, "Nope." And out of all the grandeur in the room, Peter considers the best thing to be the photo of Elizabeth he brought from home.
      • Later, we learn he also could have been a pro baseball player.
    • Definitely the case after Neal gets away with the crime of hoarding the Nazi treasure because Keller lies that he's the one who found the submarine and kept the treasure. As such, not only is Neal cleared of everything to do with the Nazi treasure, he gets a commutation hearing to discuss reducing his sentence for outstanding service to the country since he helped catch Keller. As Peter puts it in "Upper West Side Story":

Peter: It is a pattern. Neal misbehaves but because he's Neal he doesn't face the consequences and gets a gold star for it.

      • "Judgement Day" reveals that the treasure Keller took that was eventually recovered by the US government was only a little more than half of the total Nazi treasure. The rest was shipped out of the country by Mozzie and is still more than Neal and Mozzie could ever want for.
  • Boxed Crook: Neal, albeit in a far less extreme version than the definition presented on that page.
  • Briar Patching: Neal needs to get away from Peter so he can swap out a painting from the Nazi treasure for a forgery. He lets Peter catch him with a set of lockpicks, causing Peter to confiscate them and lock him in a nearby room. Neal protests all the way, to cover the fact that locked up in this room is exactly where he needs to be for his plan to work.
  • Brick Joke: At the end of "Need to Know", Neal comments that he expected Peter's mustache to be more Magnum, P.I. and less Mario and was thus disappointed. Guess what he calls Peter when he goes on the run.
    • And in the flashback episode, we see the mustache again!
    • Another example: Neal knows that it's Peter knocking on his door because mostly, it's only Peter and Mozzie who come around, and Mozzie has apparently started knocking in iambic pentameter. Several episodes later, Mozzie knocks on Neal's door ten times, with an iambic pattern of stressed and unstressed knocks.
    • In Upper West Side Story, Neal and Mozzie are trying to help a teenage boy to get a girl to notice him. Neal tells Mozzie that the girl, Chloe is obsessed with Romeo and Juliet, and compares Mozzie to the helpful old friar trying to bring the lovers together. Mozzie remarks, "Sans vial of poison." Later in that same episode, he has to create a chemical compound for Neal to use as a distraction so he can free Peter from the bad guys. Mozzie hands Neal a small glass bottle and says, "It turns out, I did need a vial."
  • Call Back: Early in season one, Peter sent Neal to look through files. "Don't you have agents for that?" "I've got something better, I've got you." In 2x15, they end up posing as one another and Neal has some fun. "Neal, I've got a better idea. Cream, no sugar." "You have agents for that." "I've got something better, I've got you."
    • Also, during the pilot episode, Peter snarks at the Guards that they will not find the escaped Neal with "road blocks and wanted posters." Fast foward to "Free Fall:" after framing Neal for a jewel heist, Fowler asks how Peter plans to capture Neal. He deadpans, "with road blocks and wanted posters."
    • In Bad Judgment, Mozzie tells the Burke's that they need to upgrade their wiring. Two episodes later, Peter ends up staying at Neal's place for a few days while the power's out at his house.....it's being rewired.
    • In "Dentist of Detroit" we see a number of the same cons we saw Neal call to help catch Mozzie's shooter in "Burke's Seven" at Mozzie's slight-of-hand-me-down sale.
    • The permanent alias Neal gets in "Scott Free" is Victor Moreau, a callback to Kate Moreau. Granted, this was unintentional on the part of the alias's maker, but Neal seems to like it.
    • The man who broke into Jones's home was after a postcard from an old friend.

Neal: Cryptic postcards from old friends mean trouble. ... In my experience. [See: Keller]

    • Neal's tie drawer, first seen in On Guard, gets a callback in Countdown.
  • Calling Card: A literal calling card is left by the Architect, the bank robber in "Withdrawal"--he sends his card to the banks he plans to rob.
  • Car Fu: Seen (so to speak) at the end of "Flip of the Coin." Arguably a Crowning Moment of Funny, as well.
  • Cardboard Prison: The prison Neal escaped from in the pilot. The guards don't monitor the prisoners' Internet use, don't screen their mail, and don't recognize one of them when he grows a beard and then shaves it off. And this is supposed to be a supermax facility, which in Real Life would be The Alcatraz.
  • Carnival of Killers: Occurs when Mozzie places a six million dollar bounty on Keller who killed one of their friends and was threatening them.
  • Cassandra Truth:

Peter: The first time Kramer and I went after you for the Degas – how’d you switch the paintings?
Neal: I snuck up to the penthouse, pulled the swap, then base-jumped off the building and landed on Wall Street.
Peter: Fine, don’t tell me.

  • The Cast Showoff: In "Countermeasures", Diahann Carroll and Matt Bomer doing a lovely rendition of "One For My Baby (And One More for the Road)", accompanied by Billy Dee Williams on the piano.
  • Character Development: In "Payback", Neal's first move is to tell the FBI that Peter has been kidnapped. It's more likely that, several years ago, Neal would have tried to rescue Peter solo and through a con rather than go through official channels. And then in the denouement, Peter offers Neal back the ring he used for ransom with no strings or assumption of guilt as to the origins. Neal politely declines and suggests that it is indeed stolen. As much a step forward for Neal on many levels as it was also the ring he was going to propose to Kate with.
    • Also at the end of "Checkmate", Neal intends to fully confess to Peter his part in the theft of the Nazi treasure, even though it means serious jail time for him. He is genuinely sorry for betraying him and regrets that Elizabeth was kidnapped as a result. However Keller takes all the credit for the theft (claiming he did it in order to return the treasure it's rightful owners) before Neal gets the chance to confess. Peter, however, has a good idea of what Neal was going to confess to and greatly appreciates the gesture nonetheless.
  • The Charmer: Neal
  • Chekhov's Gun: Peter mentioning that he grew up upstate and knows some things about horses.
    • In "Payback", Peter and Elizabeth have a not-quite-a-fight over Elizabeth having to pick up Peter's suit from the dry cleaners. Later, Peter finds a dry cleaners' tag still attached to the suit jacket with a safety pin, and uses the pin to pick his way out of a pair of handcuffs.
    • This troper suspects that the switchblade banana will turn into one of these (seriously, it should!).
  • The Chessmaster: Keller. He's actually referred to as a master chessplayer in "Payback", and proves his status as the other version of this trope with an impressively set-up Batman Gambit which he uses to break out of prison.
  • Cliff Hanger: Season 1 ends with Kate's plane exploding. Season 2's summer finale ends with Mozzie getting shot.
    • Don't forget the Season 1 mid-season finale where Peter's waiting for Kate in her hotel room, wearing the ring from the surveillance photos.

Doubled as a What the Hell, Hero? moment as far as fans were concerned, until the show came back for the second half of the season

    • Season two ends with Neal in a room filled with a fortune in lost art/riches. With a look on his face that screams "Better Than Sex". He didn't steal it... but who did?
    • Season three's summer finale ends with Keller kidnapping Elizabeth.
    • Season three's finale ends with Neal fleeing the country with Mozzie.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Jones. When an encounter with an intruder in his home gets down to fisticuffs, the first thing he does is rip off his necktie. The second thing he does is grab a skillet.
    • In S 03 E 11, "Checkmate", Keller is faced with Neal, using a shield with some proficiency. After Neal manages to disarm him, he picks up a priceless Raphael, which Neal doesn't want to damage, and smacks him down with it.
  • Con Man: Neal, yet again.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Neal, who is "not a gun guy."
    • But, as we see in "Hard Sell", not liking guns doesn't mean Neal can't use one really well.
    • And again in "Unfinished Business". Putting together a Ruger MK II with custom specs? Like a boss.
    • Later, we find out that when Neal was a kid, his mom told him his dad was a heroic cop who died in the line of duty. Neal grows up wanting to be just like that, and ends up learning a lot about guns.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Mozzie

Peter: For the last time, Mozzie, the government is not conducting mind-control experiments.
Mozzie: That's what they made you believe.

  • Continuity Nod: In "By the Book" Elizabeth says that Mozzie had mentioned a waitress he had been bonding with over mystery novels when he was wiping the Burkes' house in "Home Invasion".
    • Also, the bakery from "Free Fall" gets a nod in "Out of the Box".
  • Cool Old Lady: June, the widow who supplies Neal with exquisite vintage suits and a penthouse apartment in the pilot, knowing full well that he's a con man just out of prison. Elements of her character (such as her ties to the Rat Pack) are apparently based on the real-life Cool Old Lady portraying her, Diahann Carroll.
    • June shows herself to be an excellent actress during Neal's commutation hearing.
  • Counterfeit Cash
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While hardly a moron, Peter does generally come off as a bit bumbling and sometimes a little clueless. And then he does something that reminds you why he was the only one able to track down Neal Caffrey. (Twice.)
    • The scene in episode 12 at the auction house when Peter plays the part of a wine snob to perfection (after admitting to numerous people that he doesn't actually like wine) is a particularly awesome example.
    • As well as in "All In" where he intentionally goes up to a group of Chinatown escorts asking questions in English - to record the bitchy and smug answers they shot at him in Chinese.

Peter: Let's see what they said behind the back of the bumbling FBI agent.

    • From the season one finale:

Diana: (after Peter shoots Fowler) How did you know he was wearing a vest?
Peter: I didn't.

    • From Episode 14 of Season 2, Peter is kidnapped and blindfolded - when the kidnappers remove his blindfold, he tells them his location to the block.
    • In "Checkmate," Peter manages to ad-lib his way through a con while Mozzie stood there stunned. He also executes an excellent flying tackle on Keller just as he is about to land a killing blow on Neal. He manages to hold his own pretty well in the scuffle with Keller too, right up until Neal shoots Keller in the leg.
    • One generally doesn't think Mozzie can possibly be badass, but when held in gunpoint during "By the Book," he managed to grab the gun from the mook when he was distracted.
  • Damsel in Distress: Kate seems to have been one, but we're not sure exactly how distressed she was.
    • The kidnapped girl in "Frontman"
  • The Dandy: Neal, ever so much.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "As You Were" mostly focuses on Jones. Jeff Eastin had said there was going to be a Jones-centric episode.
  • Death Trap/Drowning Pit: Adler, the man who killed Kate puts Alex, Neal, and Peter in one of these. Why? Apparently, For the Evulz.
  • Delayed Wire: The con used in "The Dentist of Detroit".
  • Did Not Do the Research: This is various kinds of "You Fail Science Forever", but in 1x12, they talk about faking an historical bottle of wine. The show mentions that you can't just transfer old wine into a new bottle because the oxygen content would be too high. There exists a technology that allows one to work in artificial atmospheres (argon, nitrogen, whatever you want) that would allow one to transfer the wine without altering its content. This isn't Technology Marches On because glove boxes (the technology) are older than the Manhattan Project.
    • Might be averted, in that Neal might not have access to a glove box.
      • Actually a case of "yes, you could, no, you wouldn't want to". Switching the wine in a bottle is not as simple as making sure that the oxygen content remains the same, but rather that the air in the bottle is the same as when it was bottled many years or decades ago. There are entire technological branches devoted to testing the air in a bottle of wine without opening or contaminating it, and it's possible to determine what year the air in the bottle is from from such things as levels of radioactivity[1], pollutants, and so on. As replicating those specific concentrations is nigh impossible, and extremely difficult even if you can, it's generally considered that faking old wine is as close to not worth it as you get get for forgers.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: El notes that Neal is very chipper after a night with Sarah. Then Neal notes the same thing about her . . .
  • Dirty Harriet: Diana in "Need to Know".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Peter burns one of Neal's remaining valid aliases just because he introduced him to a jewel smuggler as "Mr. Satchmo", the name of Peter's dog.
  • Easily Forgiven: Subverted: "Checkmate" has Peter let go of the fact that Neal kept the gold Mozzie stole while looking for Elizabeth. The next episode is driven by Neal's attempts to get back in Peter's good graces.
  • Enemy Mine: The entire series.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Peter manages to convince a Chechen mob boss to help him take down an adoption agent who was running an extortion racket using Chechen orphans.

"What kind of sick animal takes advantage of innocent Chechen children?"

    • As he seems to care more about the fact that they are Chechen then the fact that they are children, an Alternative Character Interpretation is that this is more Even Evil Has Loved Ones extended to a national level.
    • In order to facilitate their sale of the Nazi artwork, Mozzie and Neal need uncrackable identities, but one of the only ways to get them is to steal the birth certificate of a dead infant. Of course, Neal decides to try and Take a Third Option.
  • Everyone Can See It: The UST between Neal and Sara.
  • Evil Counterpart: Keller - the "Blue Collar" version of Neal.
  • Evil Mentor: In "Copycat Caffrey".
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The episode "Point Blank" alludes to Mozzie getting shot at point blank range at the end.
      • The show revolves around white collar crime.
  • Explain, Explain, Oh Crap: In the episode, 'By the Book' there is a Let Me Get This Straight... moment when Peter points out the flaw in the Perfect Exchange but later when Mozzie figures it out is more of one of these as he exclaims "There is no middle man!"
  • Fake Guest Star: Sharif Atkins as Clinton Jones, who has appeared in every episode thus far, except one. Jeff Eastin said it was actually in Sharif's contract to be kept a guest star, therefore leaving him free to do pilots.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Between Neal and Diana in "Need to Know."
    • Don't forget that extra-frisky frisking with Fiametta in "Book of Hours".
    • A variation right before Alex first meets Peter. She takes off some of her clothes, messes up her hair, and lies down in Neal's bed.

Neal: "What are you doing?"
Alex: "Why else would I be here?"

    • A mild variation with Neal giving Elizabeth a quick peck on the cheek to convince a nervous whistle-blower that he was agent Peter Burke.
      • Seconds before, however, they almost did kiss. Cue Peter's Death Glare.
  • False Reassurance: After borrowing Burke's FBI jacket, Neal swears that "under no circumstances will I use this jacket to impersonate an FBI agent". Cut to Neal's friend Mozzie using the jacket to impersonate an FBI agent.
    • Peter's beginning to get wise:

Neal: I'm not working on anything.
Peter: Which means Mozzie's working on it.

  • Fan Service: Neal's habit of wandering around his apartment in sweatpants and no shirt.
    • Peter in short-sleeved shirts - the man's got more than one gun; he's got a pair, in fact.
  • The Fashionista: Sara Ellis, much like Neal, is never poorly dressed ... by choice.
  • Flanderization: Mozzie's interest in conspiracy theories and distrust of the FBI are exaggerated midway through the second season.
  • Foe Yay: Between Neal and Sara the insurance bounty hunter. It blossomed into a make out session during a blackout, then blossomed further into intense awkwardness.
  • Fool for Love: Neal to Kate
  • Gaslighting: Used to get the villain-of-the-week in "Vital Signs" to give up his account number.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Neal. He loves art and fine wine and adores clothing from the fifties. And he has multiple degrees. And apparently they're all in whatever crime has occurred this week.
  • Gentleman Thief: Neal; though not born into wealth he worked his way up there through crime, and otherwise exhibits all the traditional attributes.
  • Give Me Back My Wallet:
    • Neal picks a number of pockets, including Peter's.
    • And the little Chinese girl Bai in "All In," although it was more of a case of Give Me Back My Sock
  • Good with Numbers
    • Neal demonstrates this in the pilot, calculating 64 years of compound interest in a matter of seconds.
      • Later when Jones estimates the street value of a case of counterfeit Rolexes, Diana remarks that he's been hanging around Neal too much.
    • Peter's degree was in accounting, and he was apparently good enough to be recruited by several Fortune 500 companies.
    • Mozzie tends to be quite good with this trope too.

Mozzie: M is the 13th letter of the alphabet. 13 is a prime number.
Neal: Thank you, Rain Man.

  • Gratuitous German: The label on the dynamite in the U-boot reads "Gefabrlicher Exploeavstoff" and "Halten sie trocken", "gefaehrlicher Explosivstoff" and "trocken halten" would be correct.
  • Guile Hero: Neal
  • Gun Struggle: Peter, with the guy who shot Mozzie.
  • Happily Married: Peter and Elizabeth; in fact, their marriage is quite possibly the happiest on American television. Potential opportunities for marital strife (e.g. Elizabeth's friend in episode 4, Peter at the hotel in episode 5) are used to show how much the two depend on each other.
    • In "Vital Signs", Peter had to flirt with another woman to gain contact information and trust. Elizabeth found the idea of Peter flirting hilarious, and the same pickup lines were reused at the end of the episode to give more support to this trope.
      • In another episode, Elizabeth makes a few passing mentions of how Peter wooed her. And she's right; Peter flirting is hilarious since when wooing her, Peter did things straight out of romantic comedies. Him flirting doesn't mean anything to her since she knows if he really meant it, he'd be doing much more romantic things.
    • The fact that most of the fandom (the fandom) is unwilling to break up Peter and El's marriage in fic and the biggest ship is a One True Threesome of Peter/El/Neal should go far in showing you how Happily Married they are.
    • In one episode, Peter is pretending to be an auditor and gets put up in a 5-star hotel penthouse. He's talking to Elizabeth on his laptop, showing her the room, the view, and otherwise gushing about how swanky it is. Then he gets to, in his own words, "...the best part." And that is? A picture of Elizabeth he packed with him. In addition, several scenes later as he's getting ready for bed, he spends the time talking to that picture.
    • In the episode "Payback", we see what passes for domestic drama in the Burke household: an argument about picking up the dry cleaning and a failure to call each other "hon" when they part. Neal and Mozzie both lampshade this incredulously:

Elizabeth: The last thing I said to him was "have a wonderful day."
Mozzie: I'm guessing in a fight about dry cleaning that that's pretty severe.

  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Tiffani Thiessen's pregnancy has been hidden very badly during season 2, with highly awkward use of warped green screens.
  • Homemade Sweater From Hell: Elizabeth's mother made Peter one. It isn't completely horrible but he only brings it out when the in-laws are coming over and really did not like Neal catching a look at him in it. Then there's the one she made for Satchmo. Poor, poor Satchmo.
  • How's Your British Accent?: Marsha Thomason pulls out her natural accent in "Deadline". They even specifically ask her to use a Manchester dialect.
    • In "Veiled Threat" Matt Bomer pulls out his native Texan accent.
    • And Scottish-born Ross McCall gets to use his native accent when Matthew Keller impersonates an Interpol agent in "On the Fence."
  • Humble Hero: Jones' biggest schtick is that he's the most modest character in the entire series, even more so than Burke.


  • I Have Your Wife: Keller to Peter, in the heartbreaking cliffhanger ending of 3x10, "Countdown".
  • I Know You Know I Know: the subtext of a lot of exchanges between Peter and Neal, especially in Season 3.
  • I Lied: In 1x12, Wilkes says this after Neal gets the briefcase to save the kidnapped girl. When Neal reveals that the briefcase is empty, he replies that he lied too.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Neal, despite not liking guns, has this. During Keller's struggle with Peter, Neal manages to shoot him in the leg despite Peter blocking him. The improbable part comes in when Peter shows the camera a hole in his pants' leg, revealing that Neal shot Keller through the cloth of Peter's pants without hurting Peter at all. And Neal happened to be down with injuries too.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Halfway through season three.

Mozzie: The feds only have a partial list; the odds are miniscule that the Degas is even on it!
Neal: But if it is and we sell it...
Mozzie: We'll be long gone before anyone can say "Degas away with it".

  • Indy Ploy: Neal recommends Peter uses this against a Genre Savvy opponent.
  • Inspector Javert: Agent Kramer. He's totally misjudged and mishandled Neal, and has revealed himself to be a bit of Jerkass in the process, but it looks like he genuinely believes that he's doing what's right.
  • Internal Affairs: The FBI has the Office of Professional Responsibility. Unfortunately, one of its lead agents is quite obviously corrupt and is the leading contender for the Ring Man.
  • Ironic Echo: Sometimes several times an episode, often between Neal and Peter playing off one another's dialogue.
  • Irony: Mozzie calls FBI Agents "suits". His best friend, Neal, is known for wearing very nice antique suits.
  • It's Fake Fur, It's Fine: Part of the shopping spree in the episode "Taking Account".
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Neal tries towards the end of "Book Of Hours". The perp points out there's still a round chambered.
    • He managed to pull it off better in "Unfinished Business" though. Apparently mooks don't chamber their rounds.
  • Jerkass: Kramer quickly becomes this. When he was initially introduced, he appears to be a Reasonable Authority Figure. However, he returns with the aim of derailing Neal's commutation hearing, since not only does he believe that Neal is hiding something, but he also wants to deliberately find an excuse to extend Neal's prison time and then have him forcibly transferred to the FBI branch in Washington DC under his control.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: It happens occasionally. Notably, in the pilot, Neal pulls this on the FBI and the suspect at the same time: when it turns out that Peter and Neal figure out exactly where the crime is occurring, but can't actually get in there without a warrant and have no probably cause to get a warrant, Neal jumps the bounds of his tracking device and heads to the location, convincing the criminals that he's trying to rob them, badly. The FBI raids the location to get Neal back, and just happen to discover the illegal activity there, which is admissible under the "Exigent Circumstances" exception of law: they were there to get Neal back, but any illegal activity discovered in the course of said apprehension is perfectly legal. Peter then pointedly tell Neal that it was a good con, and he can never do it again or he's going back to prison.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Played straight in "Dentist of Detroit". Mozzie was bullied a lot as a kid because he was an orphan.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In the second season, Mozzie does some investigation using a hair dryer.

Neal: Why do you have a hair dryer?
Mozzie: Do you want the information or not?

  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: In "Power Play" Neal and Peter switch identities and Peter has to tell the entire office to play along. After he explains the situation, he goes on to say "no questions, no laughing... we don't ever speak of this again."
  • Licked by the Dog: In "Book of Hours", the mob boss looks about to rip apart a homeless guy who had stolen his antique bible. He deflates when the guy's dog licks his hand.
  • Like a Son to Me: June says these exact words about Neal during his commutation hearing, complete with tears. It's not clear whether she truly meant it though, since she was putting on her best act to help Neal go free. It's probably true to some extent.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Neal and Peter's spat in "Dentist of Detroit" comes off like this.
  • Living Legend: Alright, class, that's it for today. Next week we'll begin the unit on Neal Caffrey.
    • Mozzie does Neal one better, for once. He managed to become an Urban Legend. By accident. The Dentist of Detroit has committed every crime, and no one has ever seen his face.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: In "Payback", Peter manages to escape a locked cell with nothing but a clothespin, soda can, light bulb, and cell phone. With some help from Neal, of course.
  • Loophole Abuse: Neal uses this to nail the perp in the pilot episode. The FBI knows exactly where his counterfeiting operation is, but they can't go in without a warrant... unless they were pursuing a fugitive who just happened to wander into the criminal's hideout.

Neal: "You know the secret to living with rules?"
Sara: "Learning how to bend them."

  • Lovable Rogue: Neal
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Keller appears to be living rather well in prison.
  • MacGuffin: In the Season 1.5 premiere, it's revealed that the Ring Man wants a music box that was stolen from Russia's famous Amber Room, and he believes that Neal has it. However, Neal actually doesn't have it, and needs to steal it to find out why the Ring Man wants it so badly.
  • The Mafia: Naturally, various characters have had dealings with the Family.
    • In "Book of Hours," Peter and Neal wind up helping a local mob boss recover a bible stolen from his neighborhood church.
    • In "Copycat Caffrey," Peter poses as an enforcer for the Detroit mob.
  • Man Behind the Man: It's revealed in the season 2 mid-season finale that Fowler isn't the Big Bad. He's working under a higher power.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Kate, at times. Mozzie, at other times.
  • Meaningful Name: The episode name "Forging Bonds" has a double meaning.
    • Caffrey appears to have a care-free attitude, Keller is a killer, Fowler was up to something foul...
    • Also, an in-universe example with Neal using word-associations to remember aliases.
    • A variant occurs where Mozzie calls Peter by his name instead of the usual "Suit" at the end of "Dentist of Detroit". This implies he has gotten over his bad experience of being adopted by a family of Feds as a child.
  • Mock Millionaire: Neal during several investigations. Peter during several other investigations.
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: "Agents... and Neal". Also "Gentlemen... and Neal."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: At the end of "As You Were", Neal breaks into Burke's house to steal the Nazi cargo manifest when he recieves a call from Burke, who tries to cheer him up over his recent breakup with Sara. Neal then breaks down when he realizes the gravity of the deed he has just done.
    • Doubles as a Batman Gambit and potential Crowning Moment of Awesome on Peter's part, since when we cut back to him it's strongly implied that he's on stakeout outside is own house and knows exactly where Neal is.
  • Mysterious Informant: Mozzie
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Quite a few characters (Peter, Elizabeth, Alex, Kate...) share their names with Russian monarchs. There's also Neal's standard alias Nicholas Halden, and Mozzie checks into the hospital as Ivan Bliminse.
  • Nazi Gold: Adler turns out to be hunting lost Nazi treasure.
  • Nice Hat: Caffrey's signature trilby, picked up from a wealthy widow's donations to a thrift store.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In-universe, Elizabeth's childhood doll from "Pulling Strings." It almost certainly is creepy for the audience as well.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Why not just shoot? Peter does.

Diana: How did you know he's wearing a [bulletproof] vest?
Peter: I didn't.

    • The shooting was justified as the bad guy had already threatened both their lives and was about to use his firearm. As a law enforcement officer, Peter would know this gives him justification. That the bad guy is someone he really doesn't like was just icing on the cake.
  • Noodle Implements: Amusingly subverted in Need to Know. The objects Mozzie requests sound random at first (shoelace, refrigerator magnet, magazine, twenty-dollar bill, hammer, crowbar, radio), but each one ends up serving a purpose. Except the hammer and the crowbar. We still don't know what he needed those for.

"There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant."

  • No Sympathy: Averted with Elizabeth, who never seems to mind (too much) when Peter's work gets in the way of their personal life. When a fugitive FBI agent inadvertently hijacks Peter and Elizabeth's date night, she acts more like he's stuck in traffic than anything.
    • To be fair, she asks Mozzie for Peter's safe word to make sure he's okay first.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Elizabeth and Peter in "Front Man":

Elizabeth: ...and so I told him I would spend the night with him for a million dollars. I'd have to run it by my husband first, but honey, it's a million dollars. What do you think?
Peter: I think that's great.

  • Not So Different: After we find out a little more about Fowler's past, it's quite clear that he was very much like Burke in his early career and it is quite possible that Burke may have fallen like Fowler if the situation was right. Likewise, if Neal had continued his life of crime, he could have very well turned out to be like some of the criminals he helped Burke arrest. "Payback" suggests this as well that if Neal continues his lifestyle, he'll end up always looking for a con to the point of, functionally, acting like a (classy) addict well into old age and ending up alone, penniless, and ultimately, an empty shell with nothing in the world - not even money or fine things - but trying to hold on to something he's losing.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In "All In", Peter acts like a bumbling idiot to have Mei Lin's coworkers talk freely (in Chinese) around him.
  • Odd Couple: Neal and Peter are basically polar opposites; and in "Home Invasion" they get all Felix and Oscar when they're forced to share an apartment. Somewhat of an inversion too as the by-the-book cop is the sloppy one and the break-the-rules criminal is the uptight and tidy one.
    • This troper has long thought of Peter and Neal's partnership as a unique twist on the old "buddy cop" concept.
  • Odd Friendship: Elizabeth and Mozzie
    • Acknowledged and lampshaded in Prisoner's Dilemma. Peter sends Mozzie home to Elizabeth in order to let her knew he's safe. And to keep her company on what would have been Peter and Elizabeth's date night. He mentions as much to the person he's with.
    • With season 3, it starts to solidify more in various episodes. Elizabeth calls Mozzie over for assistance when Neal and Peter are hesitant. And Mozzie has begun to occasionally call or refer to her as Elizabeth rather than Mrs. Suit.
  • Official Couple: Peter and Elizabeth.
  • Origins Episode: "Forging Bonds" tells the story of the first time Peter and Neal crossed paths.
  • Or So I Heard: "Allegedly."
  • Parental Abandonment: Mozzie's parents left him on the doorstep of an orphanage when he was an infant. May also be the case for Neal as his crooked cop father died when he was 2-years-old.
  • Parental Substitute: Peter is more than a little like this to Neal.
    • Mr. Jefferies to Mozzie.
  • Pass the Popcorn: In 2x15

Mozzie: Excellent! Top secret movies! I'll get popcorn!
Neal: Butter, please.

Mozzie: Oh, oh, wait! Wait! Shhh, shhh! He just played the death tile.
Neal: There's a death tile?
Mozzie: Well, the movie takes a few liberties.
Neal: Then why are we watching it?
Mozzie: It's a cult classic!

  • Pet the Dog: If Peter is late home from work, the family dog Satchmo will eat at his share, at the table no less. Also the Mob Don in episode 3.
    • Also, when they have to take Satchmo to the vet after he eats Burke's handcuff key, Elizabeth forces Burke to apologize to the dog for leaving his key out where Satchmo could reach it.
  • Planning with Props: Mozzie outlines a plan to surreptitiously wipe a tape of incriminating evidence that's being sent by courier, using a bunch of toys that are lying around.

Mozzie: Now, you go into the office as the courier and pick up the tape. Then you use this. (holds up a refrigerator magnet)
Neal: What's the refrigerator magnet supposed to be?
Mozzie: A refrigerator magnet.

  • Poisonous Friend: Mozzie has become a tame version of this in Season 3, as he constantly prods Neal to break all off his current relationships so they can live new (wealthy) lives after fencing the stolen Nazi treasure, despite Neal's doubts. He only gets vicious in the season finale, and that's after he felt betrayed by Neal-and even then, he's willing to help.
  • Porn Stache: In "Need to Know," it's revealed that Peter once had a mustache. Luckily for Neal (and the audience) there is photographic evidence, which prompts Neal to comment that he was expecting something more Magnum, P.I. and less Mario.
  • Product Placement: A particularly glaring example is found in "Out of the Box", where Peter receives a phone call on his Ford's touchscreen, which we've never seen before. He then asks for a traffic report, notes that there's an accident on Park Avenue... and after the very next cut is walking through the door. Even more glaring in "Payback", where for no apparent reason, Neal and Diana have a conversation about the picture of a tree on Diana's dashboard that shows the fuel efficiency of her hybrid.
    • Don't forget in "The Portrait", Peter's driving is helped out a lot by the proximity alerts: "It's a Taurus, it can take care of itself."
    • Everyone has a nice and shiny HP laptop or desktop computer and whenever Neal orders a drink, it's always Ketel One.
  • Punny Name:
    • Before the FBI identified Neal as the bond forger, his nickname was James Bonds.
    • "Scott Free" gave us Robin Hoodie: he stole from the rich and wore a hoodie. More accurately, Neal gave the FBI the name and immediately regrets it when everybody else takes to it. The expression of exasperation he has when Elizabeth expresses she likes it is positively epic.
  • Put on a Bus: Agent Lauren Cruz.


  • Quip to Black: The teaser of "Free Fall" involves a potential robbery of a famous diamond, at a modeling agency exhibiting the diamond on a living mannequin in their lobby. After Peter and Neal determine that it was stolen, Neal walks back out to the lobby.

Model: What's going on?
Neal: You just became a very beautiful crime scene.

  • Reality Ensues: In the Season 3 finale, Neal's jump between the passing trams was a truly audacious escape. It also happened in a public place in broad daylight, with lots of witnesses that the Kramer's team could interview for indisputable evidence that Neal broke his parole.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Bancroft in "Prisoner's Dilemma"
  • Recruiting the Criminal
  • Refuge in Audacity: Neal pulls this off a lot. In the first season finale, Neal manages to infiltrate a party at the Italian consulate. He straight up tells everybody that he's an international art thief out to rob them, but it's all part of the plan.
    • Not to mention in "Point Blank" where Neal slices a banner off a railing to swing from a balcony through the window into a locked room in the middle of a museum gala. Errol Flynn much?
    • The way he swaps the Degas in "Countdown". Neal sneaks up to a penthouse, swaps the painting for a forgery and jumps off the roof with a parachute. When Neal tells Peter in the season 3 finale, Peter just exasperatedly replies "Fine, don't tell me."
    • Hopping from the top of one tram to another with the possibility of falling hundreds of feet into the river below and killing himself. Even Peter couldn't resist a small "Wow."
  • Renaissance Man: Neal speaks multiple languages, knows all about art from most cultures, can forge almost anything, is skilled with firearms, is good at chess, and is an exceptional thief. The trailer for next season also has him either fencing or sword fighting with someone.
    • Sword fighting, for sure. His tie was sliced clean off.
  • Running Gag: There's a few:
    • Peter being a crap liar when it comes to women.
    • Peter's kryptonite -- women crying.
    • Neal not expecting Peter to know the details of his past crimes, and Peter revealing he knows almost everything.
      • Regarding said crimes, Neal keeps referring to certain crimes as allegedly being done by him. Nobody bats an eye anymore.
    • Bancroft using the two-fingered, "You! Here. Now." gesture, and Peter picking up on its use.
    • Mozzie calling Peter "the suit", Elizabeth "Mrs. Suit" and Diana "Lady Suit".
      • And even further...In Deadline, Mozzie refers Diana's girlfriend Christie as "Ms. Lady Suit," and is promptly corrected to "Dr. Lady Suit" by Neal.
  • Save the Villain: in Company Man, Peter and the murder suspect have been poisoned, and a barely-conscious Peter insists that Neal get the suspect to the medics as well, stating it's not "[Peter's] call who lives or dies".
  • Scenery Porn: Not only are there a lot of establishing shots of the city, but we get to see a lot of very nice houses.
    • In "Stealing Home," they made mad passionate love to Yankee Stadium
  • Schmuck Bait: Season 3 Episode 4 Mozzie flat out tells the mobster the con was an FBI set up. He still takes the suitcase of money and tries to shoot him.
  • Self-Destructing Security: The beginning of the pilot episode features this. Peter and his team are attempting to crack open a safe that has a counterfeiter's information in it. If they can get into the safe, they'll have enough evidence to arrest the counterfeiter. Unfortunately, as soon as they crack the safe, an explosive charge destroys everything inside, showering Peter and his men with confetti.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Neal can find himself nice clothes on his first day out of prison, after spending five minutes in a thrift store. The clothes did not come from the thrift store.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Neal and Sara spend the episode after their near sexual encounter insisting this about one another. Everyone else disagrees.
  • Sherlock Scan: Peter pulls this on Neal's post-coital apartment in "Scott Free".
  • Shipper on Deck: As of "Scott Free", Peter seems to be this for Neal and Sara. He singsongs "romance is in the air..." and then comes this exchange:

Peter: I like the two of you together. She's a good influence on you.
Neal: You think so?
Peter: Yeah. Don't be a bad influence on her.
Neal: I'll do my best.

Neal: I think I just saw the Ark of the Covenant back there...

Peter: If my face melts, let me know.

    • Amusingly enough, the Ark actually shows up in the warehouse full of Nazi treasure in the last minutes of the Season 2 finale.
    • Another:

Neal: I swept the leg, he went down.

    • In "All In", to an old Chinese man: "Don't get him wet, don't feed him after midnight, right?"
    • The password to the secret poker game? Sunnydale. Now if only they were playing for kittens...
    • In "Taking Account", Peter Burke states that he got a warrant by buying a good deal of the U.S. Attorney's child's "damn chocolate bars" to support their school. (Jeff Eastin acknowledged on his Twitter that this is a shout out co-writer to Jane Espenson.)
    • Peter calls Mozzie "Ironside" in "Burke's Seven".
      • Speaking of which..."Burke's Seven"?
      • Both "Burke's Seven" and "Withdrawal" have Neal and Peter calling each other "Butch" and "Sundance."
    • And Peter describing Keller as "more Ratso Rizzo than Cary Grant".
    • Neal: (Upon seeing a photo of Peter with a mustache) "You know, I was expecting more Magnum, P.I. and less Super Mario!"
    • In Copycat Caffrey, Alex refers to the group of college students hanging out at a bar with their professor as the Dead Poets Society.
    • When forging an FBI case file, they come across a page mentioning a County Commissioner named Gordon. Cue Mozzie humming dana-nana-nana-nana.... And Jones humming the same tune when he reads over the file.
    • At least a couple times Mozzie is referred to as Rain Man.
  • Shrouded in Myth: "The Dentist of Detroit".
  • Sixth Ranger: Sara Ellis.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Neal, Mozzie, and Keller all play chess.
  • Spiritual Successor: This is basically what happened during those bits in Catch Me If You Can when Frank was working for the FBI. Also has pretty much the exact premise of It Takes a Thief.
  • Spies in a Van: Mostly Jones sits in it, but sometimes Peter takes the shift. Neal hates being stuck in it, perhaps because it reminds him of prison.
  • Spy Couple: Averted usually. But once or twice Elizabeth gets caught up in it.
  • Stalking Is Love: Peter uses his position to look at his wife's browsing history, stating the Patriot Act gives him the right to do so. Neal correctly labels this as stalking. Later, it's revealed Peter had Elizabeth followed before he asked her out to see if she was dating anyone. Apparently, she quickly figured it out and held up a sign suggesting they go for Italian. The show trying to present them as an adorable, well-functioning couple and Peter as a largely by-the-book officer makes the the implications unfortunate.
  • Status Quo Is God: Subverted in the Season 3 finale. Neal was perhaps just moments away from being free of his anklet and working for the FBI as an actual consultant but Kramer comes along to arrest him, prompting Neal to flee the country. He's back to being a criminal, and Peter is back to chasing him - though he was the one who hinted for him to run. This effectively returns to the status quo of the start of the series and before Neal ever went to jail.
  • Steal the Surroundings: The episode "Neighbourhood Watch" involved the crooks stealing a vault from a hotel.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Mozzie suggests that Neal has a case of this for Peter.
  • Straight Man: Essentially Peter, who is your everyday, by-the-book FBI agent. He has trouble adjusting to Neal's carefree and freestyle nature.
    • Kramer later accuses Peter of changing, what's with him covering for Neal and obstructing justice and all.

Kramer: Are you handling him? Or becoming him?!

Peter: I walk in the classroom, and the girls were all glassy-eyed, like they saw that kid from those vampire movies.

  • That's What I Would Do: As a white collar criminal hired to catch white collar criminals, Neal makes good use of this trope. He frequently deduces how criminals must have hidden their tracks by thinking over how he'd do it.
  • The Thing That Goes Doink: Mozzie has one in one of his safe houses.
  • Title Drop:

Neal: Welcome to White Collar!

  • Token Evil Teammate: Let's face it: Neal is a world-class criminal who is something of a legend. However, it subverts this trope for the most part. Season three however starts off with Neal making plans to escape from the FBI with stolen Nazi plunder. With no hesitation at doing so. The only reason he doesn't get away successfully is because 1) Jones was in danger and 2) the timing was off. And he does not hesitate in figuring his next attempt. So for however likeable Neal is, he's still very capable of deceiving friends and allies if it suits him.
    • And then subverted twice over in, once he thinks about it, he decides he wants to stay legit, only really conflicted because Mozzie doesn't see the point in staying. Mozzie, however, seems to be a perfectly straight version, except that he wasn't exactly able to make a clean break, and comes right back as soon as he learns Elizabeth is in trouble.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The commercials for the back half of Season Two let us know that Mozzie survived his shooting and Sara and Neal end up hooking up.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Cruz was Hispanic and female. Diana is black, female, and homosexual.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: Neal. He flirts with everything that moves, but never even seems to try to hook up with anyone. Peter seems to assume that Neal's bedroom has a revolving door, but we see no evidence on the show that this is true. Probably due to the missing Kate being his One True Love, but even that relationship is not clearly explained. For all we know, she's his platonic soulmate.
    • Though the writers are using Alex to Joss this.
    • "Forging Bonds" established that Neal's relationship with Kate was nowhere near "platonic".
  • Vertigo Zoom: When Mozzie enters the federal building for the first time.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Season two finale, Alex.
  • Visual Pun: In "Forging Bonds" we see how Neal and Peter met for the first time. Peter was investigating some of Neal's forgeries. When Neal overhears a conversation between Peter and a bank manager he approaches Peter fooling him into thinking that he was a concerned citizen and has a brief conversation with him. Before walking off, Neal hands Peter a sucker.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds - Neal and Peter, natch.

Elizabeth: I think it's cute.
Neal: I think it's adorable.
Peter: I'm putting you back in prison...

    • Peter and Mozzie.

Mozzie: (quoting Babe) That'll do, pig. That'll do.

      • Peter and Mozzie's relationship has greatly evolved, however. Before, Peter refused to leave his wife alone with Mozzie and had Jones come over when he couldn't be there. A season later, and Peter sends Mozzie over to hang out with Elizabeth while Peter is handling a delicate situation. And in "Payback", Mozzie is genuinely shocked and concerned when Peter is kidnapped. To the point of bring a bag of hammers when Neal asks for just one and going to keep Elizabeth company at home turning the ordeal on his own volition despite the FBI security detail on the house. And planting a bug on the FBI security so that Elizabeth can hear how the rescue is going. He also immediately comes back to New York in "Checkmate" and is willing to give up the Nazi treasure when he finds out Elizabeth was kidnapped.
      • "Power Play" has Peter teasing Mozzie and then having a casual (if quirky) conversation as they walk home together.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: Once Mozzie woke up saying, "Let me see your warrant!"
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: One of the main aesops of the series.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Turns out Mozzie takes his name from his mispronunciation of his teddy bear's name "Mozart".
  • Wham! Episode: Every mid-season and season finale so far has concluded with a surprise reveal or cliffhanger.
    • The season 3 finale "Judgement Day". To avoid Neal being taken into the US Marshals' custody and dragged off to D.C. to work for Kramer while still on a tracking anklet, Peter hints for Neal to run, and he successfully leaves with Mozzie blowing all chances of a successful commutation.
  • What Could Have Been: Neal was just about to join the police force and be just like his dad, a heroic cop who died in the line of duty. His dad's old partner told him the truth, that his dad is neither a heroic cop nor dead, which changes his mind about becoming a cop.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Taking Account", Burke chews Sara out for going along with Neal's plan of smoking out a bank robber by stealing his stolen money and spending it in a no hold barred shopping spree. Later in the same episode, Sara calls Neal out for his intention to burn all his bridges for one last score.
  • What Would X Do?: In "Vital Signs", Neal puts himself as X when Mozzie needs advice on how to play a part. Hilarity Ensues.
  • When You Snatch the Pebble: Referenced by Mozzie when he trains Peter on how to plant a bug in someone's pocket and take it back.
  • White Collar Crime: A minor theme of the show, sometimes, on occasion.
  • White Collar Worker: Often seen working in the offices where the crimes take place.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Diana's subplot in "Deadline" is basically just The Devil Wears Prada.
  • Wicked Cultured: Both Neal and Mozzie play with this trope. Neither is really evil (per se), but they both work outside the law, and not as Robin Hoods. But both appreciate fine wines and art.
  • Window Love: When Kate goes to visit Neal in prison, he tries to do this but she'll have none of it. Later, when he watches the security footage, he realizes she's tapping her leg in Morse code to send him a secret message instead.
  • Wine Is Classy: Neal loves this trope. Working stiff FBI agent Peter Burke is a beer man. This comes to a head in an episode when Peter needs to pose as a wealthy wine connoisseur and Neal, horrified that they'll be exposed, tries to step in. Peter rallies, Magnificent Bastard style and completely snows everyone.
  • Zany Scheme: Many of Neal's capers and Peter's operations fall into this category.