'White Collar': Treat Williams Previews Mysterious Season 4 Arc

White Collar Treat Williams - H 2012

White Collar Treat Williams - H 2012

Treat Williams starts his multi-episode arc on USA Network's White Collar -- and he has ties to Neal's (Matt Bomer) past.

"He is a mysterious character from Neal's past who's introduced to Judith Ivey's character Ellen. Before she's killed, she says to Neal, 'You need to talk to Sam, he knows about your past,' " Williams told The Hollywood Reporter. "I come into it very wary and very secretive. The relationship begins there."

But it won't be an easy road getting there, the former Everwood star teased. "The conflict is: Neal wants information from Sam, but he is connected to the FBI and Sam wants nothing to do with that or Peter (Tim DeKay)," Williams revealed. "Therein lies the problem."

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The way Williams describes Sam -- "tough," "gruff," "ex-New York cop" -- he'll be giving those in White Collar division a run for their money. "He's very wary of everyone, yet slightly paranoid because he's been on the run for 30 years for a murder he says he didn't commit," he said.

What type of information does Sam have that Neal is desperately searching for? "The strongest tie is that Sam has information about Neal's father. Sam knew his father and that's what he's trying to get out of me," Williams said coyly. "That puts Sam at risk at revealing his past. It's the issue of the FBI and does Sam trust Neal with information about himself? Will Neal go to Peter?"

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"The first two episodes are a dance. It's Neal and Sam trying to find middle ground, where we have some level of trust," he said.

How long will it take for Sam and Neal to reach that "middle ground"? "I can't tell you. It's less exciting!" Williams said.

Even so, their relationship "continues to move forward episode to episode and it takes a lot of interesting twists and turns."

White Collar airs 9 p.m. Tuesdays on USA.

E-mail: Philiana.Ng@thr.com