White Collar Locations: The Municipal Van

Unlike most of the other pages on this site, this page is a little factual and a little more fun. We know so little about the van, yet we see it so often, I decided to make up a history for it. It does seem that the FBI isn't too worried about someone stealing it since it is often seen with its door wide open. (Granted, there are several FBI officers in the back, but it is still New York!)

Sketch of Inside of van
Production sketch of the van
External photos of the van
External shots of the van.
Internal pictures of the van
Internal shots of the van.

The Van's Assumed History

Municipal Van from White Collar

For the first season, the van was the unsung hero of White Collar. It made its glorious (and uncredited) debut in Threads where it was so revered, even Peter's boss was willing to ride in it. But things went downhill from there. It appears that the van was transferred to the organized crime division of the FBI. But the van's cover was quickly blown after a notorious mob boss knocked on the back door when he needed the FBI. So the van was transferred back to the White Collar division. (1.3)

So it was transferred to the White Collar division. And on its first mission, it enabled Peter, Lauren and Jones to arrive in time to rescue Neal, served as a shield when they got there, and then haul them back home in time for dinner. It was the hero of the show, even if no one gave it the credit it deserved. It wasn’t barely mentioned during season one. The only time was when Lauren mentioned she had coffee…stale ass coffee…in the van. (1.3)

This doesn’t seem to be the same van that Neal Caffrey notoriously sent champagne to. (1.4) Although it is not said in the show, Neal doesn’t recognize it parked out front of the storage center on his fateful meeting with his long-time girlfriend, Kate as he asked, “So you guys were all in that municipal van out front?” (2.11)

But after Lauren’s mysterious departure from the FBI, a dark cloud descended on the Municipal van. Suddenly, it stopped being the hero of the show. The man that started this dark trend was none other than Neal Caffrey. By the second episode, Neal was already complaining about how “exciting” it was in the van. By the third episode, his complaints got worse:

Neal: You guys should invest in some of those little Christmas-tree air fresheners.
Peter: You don't like the van. Noted. (2.3)

It appears that someone must have threatened them after that, because they were very quiet about the van for almost half a season, or perhaps what Neal said in Point Blank was true:

Neal: But it's the van. The van's fun.
Peter: You hate the van.
Neal: I like the van when Diana's in it. You're the only thing that smells good in here.
Diana: Then take your last whiff, because I'm leaving. (2.9)

And with Diana gone, the small reprieve the van had was also gone. By the next episode, Jones had also lost his affection for the van. He was willing to do anything, even if it meant losing his job, he hated it so much:

Jones: I'm on your team, Peter. I'll back your play. Anything to get out of that van. (2.10)

By the end of Season 2, only Diana seemed to have any affection for the van:

Peter: Jones, Diana, you'll be in the van.
Jones: Always.
Diana: I like the van. (2.15)

What will Season 3 hold for the van? Will Mozzie and Neal use it to make their getaway with the Nazi loot? We can only wait and see!