TV review: White Collar

Do we need another show about con artists? At first glance, White Collar has a similar style to Burn Notice [USA] and Leverage [TNT] with its funky music and editing style–stopping film to provide names and titles of people. Neal Caffrey [Matt Bomer] is a charmer. He’s a grifter, dreamer, high roller and flashy sort of guy. He’s a master forger and art thief and has committed a number of other white collar crimes that put him in prison. Peter Burke [Tim DeKay] is the Company Man [a “working guy…not cappuccino in the clouds.”] He works for the FBI. He’s constantly asking his FBI colleagues: “Do any of you Harvard grads know…?” or “How many of you went to Harvard?” What is the hang-up, dude? Tiffani Thiessen [What About Brian?, Beverly Hills 90210] plays Burke’s wife Elizabeth. She’s supportive and smart but we don’t know much else about her yet. I didn’t see any chemistry between the two but I definitely saw the chemistry between Elizabeth and Caffrey in one brief scene. Then there’s Burke’s “probie” Diana [Marsha Thomason]. The only thing we find out about her this episode is that “she’d rather be wearing the hat.” Really, writers? What is this lame lesbian innuendo? Then after Caffrey watches her flirt with a female security guard with a strange look on his face, he says to Burke, “I thought you had a policy?” Burke replies: “That’s the military. Don’t ask. Don’t care.” UGH. Leave it out of this. If Diana were straight this would not have been a conversation at all.

White Collar has amusing moments but how original is the concept of the con artist going “straight” to help the good guys/ the Feds? Caffrey is a felon who has information that the feds are unable to get for themselves. How does he get it when he’s been in prison for four years? Burke was working a case when he got called because Caffrey had broken out of jail to go after his girlfriend Kate. After Caffrey picks a fiber off of Burke’s blazer and tells him it is from the security of a Canadian $100 bill. [Here they play it way safe by picking Canada], Burke makes a deal to work with Caffrey to keep him out of jail. Caffrey is now going to help the FBI to solve cases. Caffrey and Peter have this brotherly/jokey/competitive relationship. White Collar isn’t all that exciting case-wise. I didn’t care whether or not the case got solved. The relationship between Caffrey and Burke differentiates White Collar from other con-artist-working-for-the-greater-good shows and might make it worthwhile viewing.

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