Peter/Elizabeth/Neal

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Moresome · Ship · Pairing
Relationship: Peter/Elizabeth/Neal
Alternative name(s): Elizabeth Burke/Peter Burke/Neal Caffrey
Gender category: F/M/M
Fandom: White Collar
Canonical?:
Prevalence: common
Archives:
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Peter/Elizabeth/Neal is a threesome pairing between Peter and Elizabeth Burke (who are canonically married) and Neal Caffrey from the television series White Collar.

Canon

This article or section needs expansion.

Fandom

Fan Commentary

The OT3 trio that seems to have become as popular as the dominant het and slash pairings. In part because they’re all awesome and in part because the show makes it so damn easy.

At its core this is a show about a con artist and forger named Neal Caffrey who becomes a consultant with the the FBI alongside the FBI agent who was able to catch him, Peter Burke. Their relationship is different from what you’d expect, they become good friends outside of the FBI and eventually Neal and Elizabeth become friends too.

And whilst the show focus isn on Neal and Peter who are both very smart in different ways and go around solving crime and doing awesome Elizabeth is never shown as anything but awesome in her own right. She has her own job she does well at and doesn’t resent her husband for his job and how it can take him away from her at times and that he sometimes has to do things. I mean, she’s insisted on being there when Peter had to take illicit pictures with another women, and not to keep an eye on him but because she thought it’d be fun and to give him tips.

There’s a dozen different things that make all the characters brilliant but the key thing is that they’ve formed a family together.

I’m not sure how to put it other than they all complement each other in different ways. There’s no battles against empires or countless near death experiences every week but they’ve been through their share of trials and they support each other through them. Even when it’s dangerous or against the values they’ve held dear.

And one of the the things I like about this OT3 is that it’s almost always Elizabeth who figures out what’s going on and sets events into motion. Though strangely whilst here’s plenty of fic there’s not much in the way of vids and fan art.[1]
I really thought people were kidding with the whole Peter x Elizabeth x Neal OT3 thing but nope they’re definitely shippable as a threesome! There’s no jealousy or hints of a totally wrong love triangle! It’s amazing![2]

Criticism

I'd love to start this with, "I thought I was done being bitter about White Collar fandom," but let's be real, I knew I was still bitter about White Collar fandom. I'll go to my sad, pathetic grave still bitter about White Collar fandom. Closer to the truth is that I was hoping to project an image of being done being bitter about White Collar fandom. But, come on, it's me. Being bitter is what I do, and you folks know it.

If you're in White Collar fandom, I know you've heard something like, "White Collar fandom is so woman friendly! Instead of bashing El, they OT3 her with Peter and Neal!"

Bull. Shit.

It's telling enough that Peter/Elizabeth/Neal is always the example given. No one ever says, "White Collar fandom loves women! Look at the way they treat Sara and Kate!" Any fandom that can be as toxicly misogynist as WC fandom is about Sara is not woman friendly.

But WC fandom is not even positive about Elizabeth, not really. Yes, she gets shipped with Peter and Neal. No, she's not made out to be a horrible harpy. (With exceptions. We'll get to that.) But her worth was reduced to her ability to facilitate the Neal/Peter relationship. In fic, she's the one who first figures out that Neal and Peter are attracted to each other. She's the one who encourages Peter to make a move. She's the one who plays translator to sooth conflicts. If she ever gets jealous or insecure, it's only in passing. She doesn't get turned into an evil harpy. Instead, she's flattened, turned into a smiling paper doll, with the inconvenient bits smoothed away.

If you doubt me (you really shouldn't, but whatever), if you doubt that all fandom considers worthwhile in Elizabeth is what she can do for Peter and Neal (but especially Neal), recall how completely they turned on her after "Brass Tacks." "They ruined El!" fandom cried. The words "character assassination" were used. But Elizabeth wasn't doing anything in "Brass Tacks that she hadn't done before. It's just that what she was doing in that episode couldn't be viewed as her supporting Neal's feelings or the Neal/Peter relationship.

The writing for Elizabeth in seasons four and five was on another level. She was given more freedom to express a wide range of emotions. She had her own angles and agendas. What Elizabeth wanted drove the narrative, never to an enormous degree, but much more so than before. And fandom declared her ruined. It was was that point we did get fic in which Elizabeth wickedly split up Peter and Neal. Sometimes she had to tearfully come to her senses, sometimes not. Again, this flew directly in the face of canon (Elizabeth was inviting Neal to dog sit two episodes after "Brass Tacks", for fuck's sake), but that was beside the point. Elizabeth prioritizing anything above Neal/Peter and Neal's feelings ruined her. And the only way that could ruin her was if fandom never cared about her in the first place.

So, can we please find a better metric for "woman positive" than, "woman gets to play angel in the house to two guys touching dicks"?[3]

Fanworks

Chibi Peter/Elizabeth/Neal fanart by Gnine.

Fic

Prevalence

On Archive of Our Own, Peter/Elizabeth/Neal is the second-most common pairing, just behind the slash ship Peter/Neal.[4] As of August 9, 2018, there are 1066 works in the Elizabeth Burke/Peter Burke/Neal Caffrey tag on AO3, and 1459 works in the Peter Burke/Neal Caffrey tag. The first work in the Peter/Elizabeth/Neal tag on AO3 was published on November 14, 2009.[5]

Common Tropes

Most of the common tropes tagged in Peter/Elizabeth/Neal fanworks on AO3 are related to the type of pairing (i.e., "Threesome - F/M/M," "OT3," "Threesome," "Polyamory").[6] Other common tags include Angst, Established Relationship, Fluff, Alternate Universe, and Hurt/Comfort.

Examples

Summary: "There's a place in Neal Caffrey's head where he doesn't have to lie to himself or be three steps ahead of the other guy, but so far only Peter has found it -- and Peter won't give him what he really wants. Elizabeth, meanwhile, is slowly adjusting to the idea of abetting felons..."
Summary: "Summer, 1998. Neal Caffrey robs the gallery where Elizabeth O'Dell is working late, and comes away with a lot more than art. Agent Burke has no idea what's about to hit him."
Summary: "The way Neal says it, though, amused and dismissive, is almost insulting. Of course Peter would never do such a thing, Neal's tone implies. Absurd notion."
Summary: "There are six rules every con should obey. Neal's going to break them all. Starting with his refrigerator."
Summary: "When Q hears that the FBI is bringing one Neal Caffrey to British soil for an investigation, he's fully expecting trouble with a capital T. Naturally, what he gets is much worse: par for the course when you're dating James Bond and you're old friends with an international art thief."
Summary: "The Suit stands for law, social control and all the things Mozzie fundamentally opposes, but he's married to someone Mozzie likes and he's sleeping with one of Mozzie's best friends, so he should probably know that Kate's in New York again."

Vids

Communities & Archives

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

3 Way Collar is a Peter/Elizabeth/Neal Livejournal community, originally created on November 4, 2009 by Serafina.[7] As of August 8, 2018, it has 418 members; it was last updated on December 6, 2014.

References

  1. Tumblr post by nethenclawpuff. Posted on February 18, 2013. Accessed on August 9, 2018. Archived on August 9, 2018.
  2. Tumblr post by ellieptical. Posted on May 12, 2015. Accessed on August 9, 2018. Archived on August 9, 2018.
  3. Dreamwidth post by veleda-k. Posted on April 30, 2016. Accessed on August 12, 2018.
  4. As of August 9, 2018, the majority of White Collar fanworks on AO3 are gen. M/M slash is the second-most common category.
  5. Caught by glacis. Published on November 14, 2009. Accessed on August 9, 2018.
  6. Peter/Elizabeth/Neal tag on AO3. Accessed on August 9, 2018.
  7. 3-way-collar profile. Accessed on August 9, 2018.