Author's Note: Possibly one of his biggest weapons, charm has helped Neal get through a lot of difficult situations – mostly dealing with those involving women.
Disclaimer: I do not own White Collar, nor am I making any profit off of this.
Oftentimes throughout Neal's criminal career, he had to wheedle his way into various mansions, security vaults and other places normally blocked off from the public. This generally flowed over to when he began working for the FBI, although some things were different from before he went to prison: one, he had back-up in case things turned sour, and two, that back-up was actually capable of backing him up.
It wasn't the kind of back-up that meant Moz hiding a hundred yards away consistently yelling at Neal through his earwig about how stupid this whole thing was and to get the hell out of there before he got shot.
No, this kind of back-up meant armed federal agents sitting in a van a couple yards away listening and watching everything that was going on – without yelling at him through an earwig.
But back-up was back-up – they weren't involved in the frontline work until it was time to get out their arrest warrants and handcuffs. It was usually up to Neal to get in and out before anyone figured out he wasn't who he said he was.
Neal's biggest weapon for doing this was his charm, something he had cultivated and adapted to suit his needs. Used for numerous problems, or sometimes just when he wanted to get his check lowered at an expensive restaurant or get out of having to show his I.D. to a security guard, Neal's charm could get him in and out of everything.
One of the more personal reasons of when Neal had used his inexplicable charm on someone happened to be when he first met June. A sweet, generous and caring woman, Neal didn't have to use as much charm as he had to on other people, but he did use enough to convince her to let him live in her empty apartment. And, of course, there was Elizabeth – a federal agent's wife surely wouldn't have been so willing to let an art thief into her home, no matter how open-minded and nice she might be.
On the job, however, Neal turned up the charm so much that not even the holiest god would deny him a mere slap on the wrist for his sins. Vacation agents, wine distillers, gangsters and hundreds of other people that he came across when he was at work became victims of his bright smile and perfect remarks.
There was one young woman that had been in what may be characterized as shock for three hours after she had a conversation with Neal, back when he was first starting out as a conman. Neal had been working on getting into a well-known museum in France. He was after a Rembrandt painting that the museum was holding in the back for safe keeping until it was moved to Holland. The young woman, who was shy, went to church and never really hung out with boys, was so shocked with everything about Neal that, for the next few hours after he had successfully persuaded her to let him look in the backroom for something (she could never remember what afterwards), she couldn't say a coherent sentence.
Neal knew this, of course. After he stole the painting, he followed the police reports on their investigation of the stolen item – much like he did for every precious item he stole, to make sure he could be one step ahead of the police. His already large ego had soared when he read the sentence, "Receptionist too shocked to remember anything about thief."
He completely ignored the word "thief" and focused instead on the words "too shocked to remember anything." He took this as a sign that his charm was something people in general couldn't handle, and that it set him apart from other conmen. Neal hadn't heard of a conman being so charming a young woman he talked to couldn't speak for three hours.
Such subtle accomplishments, along with his knowing how handsome and charming he could be, made him into of one of a few special conmen – those who had a big ego, but could also not have one when they chose.