"Countdown," the summer finale of USA's White Collar, is tense in the best possible way, but doesn't really end in full resolution. This season, Peter (Tim DeKay) searches for evidence to either convict or clear Neal (Matt Bomer) of the theft of a Nazi treasure. In the final episode of the current run, Peter brings in his mentor, art crimes expert Agent Philip Kramer (Beau Brides, Brothers & Sisters, My Name Is Earl) when a painting from the Nazi manifest surfaces. Neal scrambles to recover the artwork, which Mozzie (Willie Garson) sold. Of course Neal succeeds, but decides to stay with Peter, rather than flee with Mozzie. Unfortunately, old nemesis Keller (Ross McCall) knows Neal and Mozzie have the treasure, and so kidnaps Peter's wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen), to try to force them to hand it over.
Neal's loyalty is obviously to Peter. Neal, himself, doesn't steal the treasure, or even knows about Mozzie's plans until after the theft is complete. Neal is avoiding leaving New York City and the job he is comfortable in. After all, Peter is very good to him, and they have a satisfying partnership, as well as an ever deepening friendship. However, Keller's kidnapping in "Countdown" will all but confirm to Peter his suspicions that Neal is involved in the crime. With Elizabeth's life on the line, Peter will have no patience to give his partner the benefit of the doubt. The stakes are just too high. Peter will turn on Neal. Keller has managed to do what is been danced around, but dodged, all season: ruin the team.
Is there any way for Neal to recover from this? Sure. White Collar is a USA show, and as such, highly procedural. The network will not want its formula messed with in an unrepairable way. While White Collar certainly takes more serial liberties than most of the other shows on the network, and the network itself has been steadily moving in a better direction, Neal and Peter's arrangement is the linchpin of the series. Even during the standard case of the week, the chemistry between DeKay and Bomer is extremely enjoyable. While it's hard not to root for the bold decision of Peter spending a season openly hunting Neal down, it is unlikely to happen. USA is just not ready yet for that kind of shakeup.