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A white collar criminal Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) escapes from prison but is soon caught by his nemesis FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). In exchange for his (limited) freedom, Caffrey aids the FBI in catching likeminded criminals.
Created by Jeff Eastin.
White Collar isn't a serious crime show in the line of Law and Order, CSI etc. it is listed as a comedy crime drama, more in line with shows such as Castle. If you take White Collar as light entertainment and nothing more than it is quite enjoyable, just don't expect anything ground breaking.
Bomer (Chuck) and DeKay (Swordfish) have good chemistry and their buddy relationship carries the show well. DeKay on his own however isn't really lead material in my opinion, he doesn't have a commanding screen presence.
The situations that Caffrey gets into are unrealistic; the ease with which he gets what he needs is laughable at times. For instance in the pilot episode, he ends up staying with a rich widow after one short conversation. As I said earlier in the review, don't take it too seriously and it won't irritate too much.
The supporting cast isn't much to write home about. The best of the bunch is Willie Garson (perhaps best known for his role as Stanford in Sex and the City) who plays Mozzie, Caffrey's friend who helps him out with his scams. His role is increased as the season progresses and rightly so as he plays off Bomer's character Caffrey nicely.
Tiffani Thiessen (Beverly Hills 90210) plays Burke's wife, Elizabeth. It's supposed to be a relationship in which you struggle to see why she is with him, the problem with that is that the characters don't really fit together. It's hard to buy their relationship. The supporting cast in the FBI are non-descript, it would be nice to see their characters develop as the series progresses.
As with many American TV shows, product placement is evident. I have never seen a product become a recurring character before though, with Burke's Ford Taurus getting more screen time than some of the FBI agents. The cars marketable features are poorly 'slipped' in which gets annoying, I don't want to be sold a car whilst watching TV thanks very much.
There are a few inconsistencies that do grate, Agent Burke trusts Caffrey one minute then suspects him of stealing some precious item or other the next minute. He switches back and forth too many times.
An even bigger annoyance is concerned with Caffrey's true love Kate (Alexandra Daddario). Caffrey breaks out of prison to see Kate but finds out she has been captured by a mystery man. Despite being deeply in love, Caffrey spends the majority of the episodes flirting his pants off with every woman that passes him and then he is suddenly concerned about Kate for the final few minutes of the show. It doesn't gel and makes it hard for the viewer to care about their relationship and her fate.
Also, Caffrey has an ankle tag on to stop him running away but it is cut that many times for cases that they might as well not bother at all.
Overall the show is entertaining, it is episodic so you can see any episode and understand what is happening. The Kate storyline is the one arc to the season but you can pick up the gist of that very quickly. It is worth a watch but it is not one of my favourites, not enough comedy or drama to make it memorable but rather a bit of nonsense to pass the time.
Featurettes: Pro and Con, A Cool Cat In the Hat
Matt Bomer - Neal Caffrey
Tim DeKay - Peter Burke
Willie Garson - Mozzie
Tiffani Thiessen - Elizabeth Burke
Sharif Atkins - Clinton Jones
Marsha Thomason - Diana Berrigan
Natalie Morales - Lauren Cruz
Alexandra Daddario - Kate
Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating