“White Collar” Season 3 Recap: What Diana’s been up to

How excited would you be if I told you that a certain, husky-voiced, raven-haired, suit-rocking, gun-toting cop was engaged to her glamorous, gorgeous, doctor girlfriend? Well, it happened on White Collar a few weeks ago. What’s that, you were hoping for a different, subtextual, will they-won’t they pairing? Sorry, last time I checked Jane still shot Maura’s dad which is still a deal-breaker. I think Mama Rizzoli can put away her bridal magazines for a bit.

But instead of dwelling on that sad news, we can revel in a show with an actual lesbian who is engaged to her lovely girlfriend.

Agent Diana Barrigan (Marsha Thomason) announced to her engagement to her oft-mentioned, seldom seen, girlfriend Christie in a typically low-key manner. When asked by her boss, Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), what she was planning for the weekend she simply replied that she and Christie (Moran Atias) were going ring shopping. As Peter and Agent Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins) asked if that meant that she was engaged now that marriage is legal in New York, Diana smirked and said that Christie proposed. Peter and Jones jumped at the news like a couple of Kappa Kappa Gammas.

When Neal “I’m incorrigible” Caffrey (Matt Bomer), the con man and serial thief who has been released to Peter’s custody to help them crack cases, arrives and asks when the big day is, we get the first glimpse that Diana may have mixed feelings about the engagement as she fumbles for a moment before saying they don’t yet know. Later in the episode Neal, burnishing his lesbro credentials, offers to throw the “bachelor” party. Jones almost swallows his tongue just thinking about what Neal’s lesbian “bachelor” party might look like. Diana agrees but there still appears to be something off with her.

Diana’s relationship with Neal has evolved from the beginning of the show. While they have always bantered back and forth, the tone has changed from verbal sparring based on mutual suspicion to a more playful, sibling-like, teasing based on a mutual, if wary, respect. Neal, in a sign of this emerging friendship, calls Diana out for being the least excited engaged person he has ever met and she says that she never thought she would be able to get married and is simply getting used to the idea. Neal leaves it alone, since he also has an opportunity he never thought possible; the possible commutation of his prison sentence.

Neal has been recommended for a possible commutation due to his part in capturing super evil-doer, Matthew Keller in the first episode of the season. Keller kidnapped Peter’s wife Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) in order to ransom a treasure Neal and his fellow con, Mozzie (Willie Garson), had in their possession. Peter and Diana spent much of last season trying to find out if Neal had the treasure and Peter is justifiably pissed off that a psychopath has snatched his wife to get it. Neal and Mozzie are ready to give up the treasure for Elizabeth and Neal and Peter work on some bromance trust issues while trying to stall Keller long enough for Diana and Jones to locate Elizabeth. Because Keller confesses to stealing the treasure, Neal doesn’t go to prison and is offered a chance at freedom. The rest of the season turns into a test of Neal’s trustworthiness with each case they solve, and how they solve it, weighing on Peter’s mind as he decides what to tell the hearing panel.

Diana’s relationship with Peter has always been one of loyalty and complete trust, she is his second-in-command and he is her mentor. This trust becomes important when Agent Kramer (Beau Bridges) arrives to investigate Neal’s past cases in preparation for Neal’s commutation hearing. Kramer insinuates to Diana that he thinks that Neal has been up to his old tricks all along and that Diana and Peter have helped to cover it up. Diana reports back to Peter who encourages her to help Kramer but to let him know about any requests. When Diana notes that by going behind Kramer’s back to warn Peter she may be giving up a cushy job in the Washington D.C. office and Peter notes that he thought Christie hated D.C. Diana confirms this fact, and her loyalty to Peter.

One of the things I find most refreshing about White Collar is that Diana’s sexuality and relationship with Christie are simply another part of who she is. There are no big gay episodes, no PSA’s about gay marriage. We can see how happy Diana’s co-workers are about her engagement by the looks on their faces and their offers to throw parties on her behalf. Peter knows both Diana and Christie well enough to know that Christie hated D.C. and also knows that Christie is as important to Diana as Elizabeth is to Peter. He would never move without making the decision with his wife and he understands that Diana wouldn’t either.

Matt Bomer expressed his hope that we get to see more of Christie who, while mentioned often, has only been in one episode of the show. He told AfterEllen.com at this winter’s TCA, “I wish [we saw Christie this season]! I think we should get into everyone’s personal life on the show. I am dying for more of that, to be honest with you. I really hope next year they’ll bring Moran [Atlas who played Christie], the girlfriend, back and bring some intrigue into their life together.” Perhaps we will get to see more of her next season. We can all hope that Elizabeth Burke, who is an event planner, takes on the job of planning the wedding.

In the season finale, Neal had his hearing and we learned that Kramer wanted to find and to exploit all of Neal’s past crimes to force Neal to work with him indefinitely in the D.C. office of the FBI. Peter and Diana helped Neal avoid Kramer’s traps during the episode only to have Kramer show up at the hearing ready to arrest Neal upon his arrival. Peter, while speaking with Kramer, subtly signaled to Neal not to come closer. Neal has no choice but to go on the run with Mozzie, despite having told Peter that no matter the hearing outcome he intended to continue in his position with the FBI. As Peter testifies that he thinks Neal should be free, we watch as Neal goes home, cuts his tracking anklet, and boards a plane with Mozzie.

The episode ends with Diana entering the hearing room to announce that Neal has cut his anklet and fled. We’ll find out when White Collar returns in August whether Neal is gone for good.

What’d you think of Diana’s doings this season? Do you want to see more of her personal life this summer?

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