White Collar Wiki
Neal George Caffrey
Alias(es) Neal's Aliases
Gender Male
Birth Date (1977-03-21) March 21, 1977 (age 47)
Profession none/unknown (current)
FBI Consultant (Former)
Thief (Former)
Fugitive (Former)
Specialty White Collar Criminal
Con Artist
Status Alive (faked his death)
Family James Bennett (Father)
Mrs. Caffrey-Bennett (Mother)

Portrayed By Matt Bomer
Owen Elkin (Young Neal)
Season(s) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
First Appearance Pilot
Last Appearance Au Revoir
Episode Count 81 Episodes
Images of Neal Caffrey

Neal George Caffrey (born Neal George Bennett) is charming, sophisticated, and is considered to be one of the world's greatest con artists. Neal was an elusive White Collar criminal, and after a three-year chase, he was eventually apprehended by FBI agent Peter Burke. Extremely crafty and cunning, Neal was only convicted of Bond Forgery, which was just one of the many crimes he was suspected of.

But with only four months left on his four-year prison sentence, Neal escapes prison after a visit from his girlfriend, Kate Moreau. He is found once more by Peter, in whom he confides that Kate had left him, and he left prison to get her back. To avoid staying in prison for another four years and to be able to continue his search for Kate, Neal offers to help find the criminal Burke is hunting, as long as he can be released into Burke's custody.

After successfully apprehending the criminal, Neal is allowed to serve his remaining four-year sentence on a work-release program as a consultant to the FBI.

In the series finale, he faked his death, "Neal Caffrey's Greatest Con," as Mozzie put it. A year after his 'death', Mozzie gives Peter a key to a storage locker with evidence of the fact that Neal is in fact alive. The last scene of the series shows him alive, free, and in Paris.

Character Profile

Neal is known for his good looks, his fitness, his brilliant out-of-the-box thinking, ability to talk, lie or charm his way out of (or into) anything, and charisma. These traits prove to be crucial necessities in his line of work and serve as an advantage in the many instances where his or another person's life is on the line.

His zodiac sign is Aries. (Ancient History)

Early Life

Neal was born on March 21 in the late 1970s to a man named James Bennett and his wife, Mrs. Caffrey-Bennett. His last name at birth is Bennett. (Diminishing Returns, Parting Shots, Compromising Positions, Ancient History)

Neal mentions that his father died when he was two years old. His mother told him that his father "went out in a hail of gunfire taking out a whole gang of bad guys," and Neal grew up wanting to be just like him. It was during this period that he "got really good with guns." However, at the end of the episode, Neal finally admits to Peter that his dad was a dirty cop and that his mother only told him what children would want to hear about their fathers. (What Happens in Burma)

Kathryn Hill, known by her alias of Ellen Parker, later reveals that Neal's father James had been arrested for the murder of a police officer when Neal was two years old. Other evidences found indicated that James was a corrupt cop as well, and Ellen, who had been James' partner, had been forced to arrest James. She—along with Neal and his mother—was later placed into Witness Protection as a result of her involvement in the case. Neal was then raised under the belief that his name was Danny Brooks, and that his father was a police officer who died heroically. (Diminishing Returns, What Happens in Burma)

According to Ellen, Neal—as Danny—had a habit of conning people, even as a young boy. As he was often late for school, Danny attempted to solve this problem by setting the school's clock 30 minutes behind schedule, but the plan was thwarted almost immediately. Danny then made another more intricate attempt by barricading the roads in order to reroute the school buses to pass by his house. He exclaims that "[that plan] actually worked," as it lasted a few days. Later, he "got smarter" and forged his own bus pass. After that, he states that "[he] was never late again." (Parting Shots)

Neal mentions that at the age of nine, he frequented a pool hall on his way home from school. June states, "A pool hall in St. Louis, Missouri. Must've been full of hustlers." St. Louis is later confirmed to be where Neal—as Danny Brooks—spent his childhood. (Stealing Home, Parting Shots)

At the age of 18, Ellen tells Danny the truth about his father. As a result, Danny leaves WitSec, changes his name back to Neal, takes on his mother's maiden name and moves to New York City. It is implied that learning the truth about his father is what started Neal down the criminal path. (Diminishing Returns)

Little else is known about Neal, other than the fact he didn't finish high school, and that his extensive knowledge of art and history is apparently self-taught.

Sometime after arriving in NYC, he meets Mozzie. Mozzie sees Neal con a man out of $500 and has a street kid follow Neal to his apartment, where Mozzie later approaches him and begins their long-time partnership. He and Mozzie target a CEO named Vincent Adler, and through Adler, Neal adopts his signature clothing preferences, encounters a fractal, and meets erstwhile lover and fellow thief Alexandra Hunter and long-time girlfriend Kate, for whom he chose to sacrifice the con-job for and instead invest in Adler's company. Soon after, Adler disappears and is revealed to be a conman as well, taking hundreds of millions in US dollars and leaving all of his employees—including Neal and Kate—jobless and without pay. (Forging Bonds)

Broke and unemployed, Neal chooses to tell Kate about his true profession. After this, Neal, Kate, and Mozzie begin running scams together, until the day Neal tries to cajole Kate into leaving for Europe. When Neal mentions Copenhagen to her, Kate gets upset and reveals that she knows about the music box job that Alex had told him about when they first met. She accuses Neal of trying to con her and stays in New York when Neal left for Copenhagen. Unfortunately, the job fails without her, forcing Neal to leave Alex in a French hospital (where she was presumably arrested) and escape back to New York. (Forging Bonds)

Upon his return, Neal discovers that Kate is hiding from him and eventually starts doing bigger cons and forgeries, trying to catch her attention. The FBI eventually track her down and realize that Neal has no idea where Kate is, so they set up a trap for him to find her. This is how Agent Peter Burke eventually catches him. (Forging Bonds)

Season One


Neal is in SuperMax and nearing the end of his four-year sentence when Kate arrives and tells him that she is leaving him, and that their meeting was to be her last visit to him. Confused and hurt, Neal attempts and fails to dissuade her, wherein he hatches a month-long plan to escape prison and convince her not to leave him. Successfully pulling off the plan, Neal goes to her last known address and finds it empty. Later, Agent Peter Burke arrives to arrest him once again, and a dismayed Neal willingly goes with him.

Before they leave, Neal sees a fiber on Agent Burke's shoulder, and an idea hatches in his mind. Neal makes Agent Burke promise to visit him in prison if Neal tells him what the fiber is. When Agent Burke makes good on his promise, Neal present his idea—a shift in his sentence from jail-time to full-time consultation for the FBI. He sweetens the deal by suggesting and consenting to a GPS tracking anklet, which would monitor his location 24/7. Agent Burke states that he's aware that Neal wants to get out of prison to look for Kate, which Neal does not deny.


When Neal is released from prison to work with the FBI, he is given a seedy motel room the FBI rented for him. Agent Burke explains that Neal's monthly budget is $700, hence the less than desirable living conditions. Soon after Peter leaves him at the motel, Neal—while miserably browsing in a thrift store—befriends a rich widow named June, who was donating her late husband's designer suits. Neal is taken on as a boarder in June's townhouse. He acquires not only a more than comfortable residence, but also a new wardrobe of expensive suits, shoes, and hats—which become his signature look.


It is later revealed that someone with an FBI ring was forcing Kate to find the music box that Neal was rumored to have stolen. However, Neal hadn't stolen the box, and claimed that the person who'd ever come closest to it was Alex Hunter. He then enlists Alex's help to find and steal the box, hoping to get Kate back that way. He finds out that the man with the FBI ring is Agent Garrett Fowler, and that Fowler himself had been blackmailed into finding the music box as well. Upon giving the music box to him, Fowler reveals that Kate had made a deal with him—Neal's freedom and new identities for the both of them in exchange for the music box. This prompted Fowler to begin Operation Mentor, which is says is "all about [Neal]." However, before Neal and Kate can escape on a chartered plane, Agent Burke arrives to stop Neal from leaving, and is just in time to save Neal as the plane explodes, but with Kate in it.

Season Two

Because of the actions he took to acquire the box for Fowler, Neal is sent back to prison. Agent Peter Burke seemingly pulls some strings to get Neal his consulting sentence back, and Neal agrees to it once more, but with a different agenda—he was going to find and get his revenge on Fowler, who he believes blew up the plane to kill him and Kate. He finds out that Fowler had gone underground, and in order to lure him out, Neal contacts Alex Hunter once again. Alex, however, does not want to help because someone is after her—the same someone who had been after Neal for the music box. Their plan to steal the music box becomes two-fold: to get Fowler out in the open, and to get the target off of Alex's back. The plan proves successful, but Neal is unable to extract revenge on Fowler because of Peter Burke's intervention. He is later grateful for Peter's actions when they find out that Fowler hadn't been the one to 'pull the trigger.' Fowler explains that there had been explosives in the plane because Kate and Neal were supposed to parachute out of it over the ocean, which would cause everyone to think they were dead and allow them a fresh start.

The Music Box's Fractal

It is later revealed to Neal that the man who killed Kate and was after the music box was Neal's former employer, Vincent Adler, who turns out to be the son of a Nazi soldier involved in hiding a U-boat full of Nazi treasure. To a similar effect, Alex Hunter admits that she is the granddaughter of Gerhard Wagner, who had been the U-boat's radio operator. Wagner created a mathematical equation—called a fractal—that was meant to lead him back to the sunken U-boat. He placed it inside the music box, which was the reason why both Adler and Alex were after it.

Adler eventually finds the U-boat and kidnaps Alex, Neal and Peter, using Alex as a hostage to force Neal and Peter to open the TNT-lined entrance and scout ahead inside the ship. Neal and Peter eventually find the treasure, after which Adler has them escorted out of the ship and brought to a drydock. With orders to flood the drydock, Adler's men leave Neal, Peter and Alex there to drown. However, Alex reveals that she has a knife in her bra, and Neal uses it to free himself and his companions. They are then saved by Mozzie, Sara Ellis, Diana Barrigan and Clinton Jones. Later, they are able to find Adler, who admits to Neal that he killed Kate just as the warehouse full of the U-boat treasure explodes. Enraged, Adler blames Neal for blowing up the treasure and aims a gun at him, but Peter arrives in time and shoots him first, killing Adler and saving Neal.

Season Three

When Neal arrives back at his apartment, he finds a key and an address, in which he discovers that the supposedly blown-up treasure. Mozzie had apparently swapped the treasure for the items in Neal's art studio, allowing Adler and the FBI to believe that the treasure was destroyed. Mozzie is excited and begins to make plans for him and Neal to leave New York, though Neal is reluctant to leave because of his friends and Sara, who he is dating.

Eventually, Neal realizes that Peter suspects him of stealing the U-boat treasure, and discovers that a piece of the burned art had been salvaged. He replaces the burnt piece with a new one that he makes out of the colors from one of the older paintings from the treasure to convince Peter that the piece of burnt art was part of the destroyed treasure. For a while, this placates Peter, until Neal hears about the manifest Diana has apparently found in the wreckage, meaning that if any of the treasures on the manifest surface, Peter will know for sure that the treasure didn't burn. Mozzie wants proof of the manifest, so Neal breaks into Peter's house while Peter and his wife Elizabeth are out. However, Neal realizes that if he tells Mozzie that the manifest is real, they can sell whatever wasn't included on the list and flee the country, making New York a distant memory. It would also mean that Neal could no longer return to NYC. Reluctant to leave, Neal lies to Mozzie and tells him that the manifest didn't exist.


Matthew Keller

Matthew Keller, a long-time rival of Neal's with dubious ethics, later appears, believing that Neal had the treasure. Keller tries to force Neal to hand everything over to him, but Neal is rescued by the FBI. Before Keller can be apprehended, an antiquities expert and fence Raquel LaRoque, whom Neal had just worked with, tries to kill Keller in order to claim a $6M bounty. This is the exact amount of a Degas painting Mozzie has been wanting to fence, but is on the manifest. Neal is then forced to admit to Mozzie that the manifest exists, which makes Mozzie angry at Neal for lying to him. After retrieving the fenced Degas and replacing it with a forgery, Mozzie declares that his partnership with Neal is over.

Soon after, Neal discovers that in order to force him to give Keller the treasure, Keller has kidnapped Elizabeth and revealed to Peter that Neal did have possession of the missing treasure and had willingly hidden it from him. Enraged, Peter angrily confronts Neal, who earnestly tells Peter that he would give everything if it meant getting Elizabeth back. Mollified, Peter goes with Neal to the warehouse, but finds that Mozzie—in his anger at Neal—had moved everything. Desperately, Neal goes to contact Mozzie and tell him that Elizabeth had been kidnapped. Mozzie returns to help save her, and Keller is then caught and sent to prison.


Neal's relationship with Peter and Mozzie eventually heals and strengthens, and when Peter's mentor Agent Kramer comes to sabotage Neal's communal hearing, Peter attempts to thwart it. However, Kramer finds evidence of Neal's theft of a Raphael painting, which turns out to be stored at Ellen Parker's home in Roosevelt Island. Peter helps cover for him and enlists Sara's help, where she tells Kramer that Neal helped her recover the painting and had been in processing for a few weeks now. Unsatisfied, Kramer later returns with US Marshals to arrest Neal under bogus charges of public endangerment, at which Peter gives Neal the signal to skip town. Neal then returns to his apartment in June's townhouse, cuts his anklet, and hops on a plane with Mozzie.

Season Four


Neal ends up in Cape Verde with Mozzie, under the names James Maine and Barry respectively. There, he meets and dates a cafe owner named Maya, and is later introduced to a resident bigshot named Dobbs. He pays Dobs $25G for protection from disturbance and assurance that the local law enforcers wouldn't turn him in to other foreign governments. However, he is later contacted by Peter and warned that an agent with dubious morals was coming after him. Peter tracks Neal down, whereupon the agent, Collins, finds the information and heads to Cape Verde. Peter follows and helps Neal escape, were they discover that Dobbs is actually an alias. The man turns out to be Robert McLeish, #4 on the FBI's Most Wanted list, and Peter turns the situation into an opportunity to get Neal back to New York without getting an immediate maximum sentence in prison.


"Sam" & Neal

Upon returning to New York, Neal attempts to get to know more about his father through Ellen, who had been his father's partner. Ellen makes contact with Sam, who continued the investigation after Ellen was placed into WitSec, and asks him to work with Neal on the case. Ellen, however, dies before she can mediate a meeting between Sam and Neal, forcing Neal to chase down Sam. Sam agrees to work with Neal so long as the FBI isn't involved, forcing Neal to keep Peter in the dark. Neal and Sam learn that Peter has run Samuel Phelps' name through the FBI database, and "Sam" runs knowing that he is not the real Samuel Phelps. After Sam is kidnapped by Washington, DC-mobster Dennis Flynn, Neal saves Sam and collects a blood sample which he gives to Peter for analysis. Peter calls Neal with the results of the blood test and learns that "Sam" is his father, James Bennett.

Season Six

In the last episode, (Au Revoir) Neal wants Mozzie to help him take thirty million from the Pink Panthers and the FBI from their heist of the federal reserve. Neal then takes up the role of a security guard during the heist, in order to allow the Pink Panthers into the airport. Neil helps to break into the security system in order to send the money through the tubes, with Mozzie taking out about thirty million which the Pink Panthers assumed was a jam.

After coming back together to check the money, the FBI break in and arrest all of the Pink Panthers, plus Keller, Peter, and Neal. However, while Peter has been pulled away, Keller and Neal escape from the truck which they're being held in and find Mozzie who has already split the thirty million. However, Keller wants all of it and pulls out a knife; Neal pulls out a gun. After a fight with Keller, Keller shoots Neal in the chest and then Keller runs away. After Peter has a tense, but short, meeting with Keller, he goes to find Neal, who is being taken to hospital.

The next scene shows Mozzie and Peter standing over a body bag; the doctor unzips the bag to reveal Neal's dead body with a bullet through his chest. Mozzie and Peter are both in disbelief. It then skips to months in the future: Peter has a son and Mozzie is back to pulling the same scams he was pulling prior to meeting Neal. Peter is then sent the bottle of Bordeaux which Neal always kept and he finds a key to a storage containment and begins to piece together Neal's plan, which Mozzie had suspected: Neal had bought the storage container to hold everything, hire a woman as a paramedic, a man as his doctor, and take some medications to slow his heart until there was almost no detectable heartbeat. Having been classified as dead now, Neal was able to make an escape; Peter finds a newspaper with an article about the Louvre in Paris on the front cover.

The final scene of the series is of Neal putting on his hat as he walks through a quiet street in Paris, having left everything from his previous life in New York behind, finally being a free man.


Peter Burke

Peter is an FBI agent who takes on Neal as a consultant after capturing him again for breaking out of prison to find Kate. Throughout their work together, they have developed a complicated friendship, and in the episode "Vital Signs" Neal confesses to Peter (while under the influence of a sedative), that he's the only one Neal can trust.


Mozzie is Neal's ally and confidant. At the end of Season 1, Neal and Moz say goodbye and part ways. However, in season 2 of the series, in the episode, "Withdrawl" Mozzie is re-introduced and their relationship is continued on the investigation of Kate's murder.

In Season 3, Neal and Mozzie's friendship becomes strained when Mozzie discovers Neal lied to him. Their friendship is healed by the time they leave New York.

A saying that Neal and Mozzie quote to each other in Season One is a two-part Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times, and may you find what you're looking for."


Sketch of the sunlit bridge Neal and Kate saw on their first date.

Ellen Parker/Kathryn Hill

Ellen lived with Neal and his mother in St. Louis while they were in WitSec. After Neal's mother became despondent and unreliable, Ellen took over raising Neal and treated him like a son. Their relationship became strained when Ellen finally told Neal the truth about his father, causing him to run away and change his name from WitSec-alias Danny Brooks back to Neal—his birth name.

Later, Neal and Ellen heal their relationship, and Neal introduces her to Kate. Neal also entrusts Ellen with the Raphael painting of St. George and the Dragon that he stole.

Upon his return to New York, Neal approaches Ellen about the topic of his father. Ellen calls in an old friend named Sam and asks that Neal work with him to figure out what happened to Neal's father James' case. She died before she could introduce them to each other, and Neal vows to find out who murdered her.

Kate Moreau

Kate is Neal's love interest and partner in the Mentor program mentioned at the end of Season 1. Kate and Neal's first date was in a rich man's hotel room which they conned their way in. They ordered the most expensive things they could find on the menu, including five $1000 hamburgers.

From the window there was a broken down bridge, and from the angle and the way the sun hit it, it was beautiful. They never wanted to leave the room. Neal immortalises this image in a pencil sketch in a hotel room behind another painting.

After Kate breaks up with him, Neal escapes prison to get her back, but discovers that she has disappeared. He then strikes a deal with the FBI to work as their consultant so that he could get out of prison and search for her. Upon discovering that she needed to find a music box Neal had allegedly stolen, Neal works around the FBI and steals the music box for real just to get her back.

When Kate dies in a plane-bombing, Neal agrees to return to his consulting job at the FBI so that he could find out who killed Kate and get revenge.

Alexandra Hunter

Alex is a high-end fence and an old lover and ally of Neal's. According to records that the FBI has on her, she has 'powerful friends', and has only been arrested once—in France.

Neal met Alex while he worked for Vincent Adler. He singled her out and set her up in a meeting with Adler, where she was scared away. Alex later approached Neal, where he informed her that he 'would not apologize' for his actions, and that it was his job to catch her and her job to 'not get caught.' Alex then asks him out for drinks, where they eventually end up in Neal's bed. Afterwards, she tells him about the music box that Vince Adler wants, informing Neal that it was 'worth about as much' as the Holy Grail.

After some time, Neal contacts her to do the music box job, but it ultimately fails and Neal is forced to leave Alex in a French hospital while he returned to New York.

Towards the end of the first season, Alex was given a plane ticket to Italy by the FBI, having helped Neal recover the elusive music box from the Italian consulate in Manhattan, because there was a 'target on her back'. During the episode 'Copycat Caffrey' she asks Neal for his help. She has been fencing gold Krugerrands in an effort to stay under the radar, but is about to be set up by one of Mozzie's contacts who is selling her out to the people who are hunting for Neal. After helping the FBI to recover a stolen painting and a case full of Krugerrands, Peter presents her with a ticket to Italy and she leaves the country, but not for long.

Early in the second season Alex returns to New York and helps Neal steal the music box again—this time from Diana's personal safe, although his method to contact her involves forging an FBI case file and a clandestine meeting on a rooftop. He makes a comment that he doesn't have her phone number, and that it would be easier to contact her 'like a normal person' if she gave it to him. After Alex anonymously donates the music box to the Russians—its' rightful owners—she meets Neal at his apartment and finally gives him her number before leaving.

Neal is later reunited with Alex when Vincent Adler kidnaps them and Peter. With Alex hostage, Adler forced Neal and Peter to open the TNT-covered entrance to the German U-boat full of Nazi treasure. Once the three of them are saved by Peter's FBI team, Neal and Alex kiss, revealing that there is still some lingering romantic feelings between them.

Sara Ellis

Sara is an insurance agent who accused Neal of stealing a Raphael painting of St. George and the Dragon. She also testified in Neal's trial.

Their romance started when she kissed Neal in the archives of Ellis Island while looking for references of a German U-boat Radio Operator who escaped an Ellis Island Detention Facility. Their relationship ended when Sara broke up with Neal after she found out about the treasure Neal was hiding, stating that they belong in two different worlds.

While working on a case together, Neal acted jealously when Sara revealed that one of their suspects was her ex-boyfriend again, indicating that he still had feelings for her. However, they decided to remain friends instead of getting back together.


Apart from meeting and eventually become Neal's girlfriend, Rachel Turner aka Rebecca Lowe never really had friends as she was a lonely gypsy discovered by Peter Burke during Season 5, Episode 11 "Shot Through the Heart." She spent the majority of her time alone and never invited anyone over to her apartment. Rebecca met Neal at the Gershon Museum where she was posing as a worker there until she got fired. She became more and more involved with him later in the season, and eventually became his love interest. Neal was both crushed and enraged when he learned the truth about Rebecca's true identity.


White Collar on USA Network - Neal and Kate

See Also


  • Neal appears to be inspired by Frank Abagnale, an American con artist considered to be one of the world's most successful and was briefly on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Starting with running up his father's gas card after his parents divorced, Frank forged and scammed under numerous aliases across the Americas and Europe. Joseph Shea, the FBI agent assigned to his case, spent years tracking him, until he was arrested and imprisoned in Europe, then extradited to the U.S. for additional sentencing. From there, after Frank served his sentence, he became an American consultant for national security. He met his wife Kelly on an undercover assignment and married and started a family with her. Recent reports have lately questioned the validity of much of Frank's accounts, which journalists have investigated and released reports on.
  • Neal also shares similarities to Justin Tanner Petersen, a hacker-turned-informant for the FBI enlisted to catch other cyber-criminals, only to commit more crimes in the process and maintain highly illicit, questionable connections.