Wednesday, January 19, 2011

US Television, White Collar, Introduction

What happens when one of the smartest and smoothest con men teams up with one of the smartest and toughest FBI agents?  That's the question White Collar answers every week.

White Collar is an hour-long drama airing on the USA Network.  The popular series is in its sophomore season and stars Matthew Bomer as former con man Neal Caffrey and Tim DeKay as FBI Special Agent Peter Burke.  Peter Burke was the only FBI agent that could ever find and bring Neal Caffrey to justice.  When Kate, the love of Neal's life, says goodbye to him in prison, Neal escapes to find her and find out what's wrong.  Peter catches Neal for the second time and returns him to prison.  Neal presents Peter with a deal:  get me out of prison and I'll help you with your cases.  Peter secures Neal's release and the two become the best white collar crime fighting team the Bureau has.  Neal, now sporting an ankle tracking device, lends his considerable criminal know-how to Peter and his team while, when he's off the clock, he and his friend Mozzie try to unravel the ever-increasing mystery surrounding Kate.

Neal Caffrey (Matthew Bomer) is a charming, highly intelligent and sophisticated con man and forgery artist.  There isn't a statue, painting or manuscript he cannot re-create and not a single con he cannot successfully run.  He's almost a big kid at times and possesses a good sense of humor and zest for the finer things in life.  He's hardly ever seen without his "classic Rat Pack" look:  a fine suit and trademark fedora.  Underneath Neal's perfect con man ability to lie, forge and swindle is a man with a good heart.  He often does what he feels is right regardless of what anyone else thinks.  He loves Kate more than life itself and is tired of running.  He wants to have a life of his own for a change.  Neal can count those he can truly trust and call 'friend' on one hand and still have a finger or two left over.

FBI Special Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) is smart, tough and FBI agent through and through.  He works in the White Collar Crime Division of the Bureau and has an excellent record for closing cases.  He's also the only law enforcement agent, from any branch of the services, who can claim the title of having been able to find and capture the elusive Neal Caffrey.  Peter is loyal to the job and follows the law but isn't beyond allowing Neal a little leeway here and there to bring down the most dangerous of white collar criminals.  Peter is a loving husband to his beautiful wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) and perhaps one of the best and most trusted friends Neal Caffrey could ever have.

Mozzie (Willie Garson) is quite the character!  A long-time friend to Neal, Mozzie has a way of finding out just about anything anyone could ever want to know.  Much like Neal, he's adept at forgeries and running the perfect con.  Mozzie is ever-paranoid and a raging conspiracy theorist.  He's distrustful of Peter at first but warms to him a bit over the course of the series, although, it's highly unlikely he'll ever fully trust Peter regardless of what happens as Peter is, and always will be "the suit".

Last, and most certainly not least, the other characters rounding out White Collar are FBI Agent Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins), FBI Agent Diana Barrigan (Marsha Thomason), Lauren Cruz (Natalie Morales, season one only) and June (Diahann Carroll).

The characters in White Collar are all brilliantly developed and portrayed by the perfect actors.  Neal and Peter have a relationship that goes beyond two individuals who just work together.  They are friends and the two men trust and respect one another.  When one is in trouble, he automatically knows he can trust the other.  Mozzie is thoroughly charming and brings a wonderful bit of humor to the show.  It's impossible not to love the character.  Elizabeth Burke is a loving and understanding wife.  She's Peter's rock and even becomes someone both Neal and Mozzie feel comfortable with.  Thus far, she hasn't been as prominent in season two, which is a shame.  June, Neal's wealthy landlord, is the widow of a con man.  She feels a certain camaraderie with Neal and Mozzie and enjoys having Caffrey around the house.

The storylines of White Collar are smart.  There's a nice balance of humor, drama and straightforward crime show.  No one element overshadows another.  The chemistry between the actors is perfect further drawing the viewer into the world of Peter Burke and Neal Caffrey.

If you love a well-written mystery with sharp and engaging characters and a setting and environment that is just as much a character as the main players then White Collar is a show you shouldn't miss!

White Collar airs Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. (US Eastern time) on the USA Network.
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