White Collar, Season Two (2010)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

If a show on network television can take an already good idea and make the most of that concept by improving it, then that suggests there is a lot of talent within that crew. White Collar was already a fabulous series, but in its sophomore year, it only gets better. Show creator Jeff Eastin’s working theory was “redeeming” a criminal (even one who only committed financial crimes) by giving him the FBI as an opponent to be reckoned with and as an ally by forcing him to work within the governmental branch of law, as an alternative to prison. Step out of the perimeters they have set, and trouble immediately will follow.
In the aftermath of a horrific plane crash which took the life of a woman, FBI Special Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) is now on suspension and is being forced to walk a fine line. Since the crash is somehow intertwined with the man Peter has vouched for and who is “owned” by the FBI for the next four years as a consultant (and thanks to an ankle tacking device), in the eyes of the higher-ups at the bureau, Peter is responsible for Neal’s actions. Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) is back in prison following the death of his girlfriend Kate. The bureau assumed his plan to be on the plane with Kate meant he was trying to run even though he had cut a deal with an OPR agent ensuring his freedom for which he has proof. Although Peter believes him, he knows that his bosses will just assume Neal is up to his old tricks and forged the documents to solidify his story. All Peter can do is get Neal his old consulting job back… with the monitoring device in place. It is something Neal’s friend and amateur lawyer Mozzie (Willie Garson) recommends, so after another short stint in prison, Neal is back working on the right side of the law.

Two months later, an elaborate thief is ripping off high-end banks with no trace or clue to his identity save for an embossed business card that identifies him as “The Architect.” Hired by one of the banks – with concerns the thief is looking at them as a target, to run a check on their security, Neal manages to get in and out during working hours without suspicion, but all that serves is proving to the thief where the bank’s weak security points are. When Neal and Peter’s search leads to a wealthy stockbroker (Tim Matheson), it becomes clear, the guys aren’t dealing with any ordinary thief.

Most shows have an on-going subplot that runs an entire season, or sometimes, even into multi-seasonal pitches. This show is no different. It has a habit of teasing us with only a small piece of the puzzle here and there, but like a puzzle, even once the piece is inserted, the complete picture is still not foreseeable. Regardless of certain of the actors personal choices in life, their on-screen monikers are insanely likable. It is refreshing to see something where trends don’t follow through. Neal may be a ladies man, but he isn’t a guy who randomly picks up women in his real life (undercover work sometimes calls for that). No matter how tedious it winds up being, the fact that he was hopelessly devoted to Kate attests to that. Similarly, Peter’s relationship with his wife Elizabeth (played by Tiffani Thiessen) is a highlight of the show. Her character is rarely in the show for the first half of it because the actress was pregnant (uncharacteristically, the scenes that find her in San Francisco were obviously filmed with a green screen as backing), and fans will feel her absence. She returns in one of the most comical episodes that finds Mozzie playing a larger role in one of Neal and Peter’s operations (a case in which Peter is in hiding). Later Peter is even running a scam in one of the BEST episodes “Burke’s Seven.” (“Forging Bonds” is also an informative back-story about Neal and, may I just say “Power Play” is hilarious.) Everyone has just further solidified their connections and the cast has some really fabulous chemistry including characters like Jones (Sharif Atkins), Mozzie and newcomer Hilarie Burton.

Normally, I’d have been anticipating a cliff-hanger but, actually, I was "cool" with the ending. Sure, it makes it difficult for me to wait until season three to be on store shelves (I watch shows on DVD), but considering I know Neal well enough to know he didn’t do what he is accused off in the final moments, it matters not. Plus, how many shows can hinge on a guy standing in a warehouse with a mysterious smile, and still be cool?
(Parental review, this show is rated TV14, there is rarely any violence. Little to no sexual content permeates the script. One female agent is a homosexual; in order to preserve an operation, Neal must pretend like he is “buying” her for the night when she goes undercover as a high-priced prostitute. Two post-sex scenes find Neal in bed with two different women [“Forging Bonds”]. Later Neal is making out with a woman up against the wall [his shirt comes unbuttoned and there is quite a bit of bare leg on the woman.])


  1. awesome review! have i told you how much i love your blog? i know i don't comment all that often... just saying.

    hey, as for the code for the drop down menus, i left it on my tutorials page, and explained it too. email me if you have any trouble with it =D


  2. Aww! Thanks, Jess - you have no idea how encouraging your comments are. Blogging is so much more rewarding if you know your readers get something out of your blogging, so my sincere thanks for that. And, I love it when you do drop by to comment. =)

    Thank you times two for also pointing me in the right direction as far as the "drop menu" goes. I forgot that you have that page on your blog. It worked! Love the look. =)

  3. Thanks for the compliments on my design!
    Everyone has been complaining... I just thought it looked like crap...

  4. Awww! You're welcome, Ky - and I am sorry about your design not being liked. I just went through "major" changes here and some of my readers didn't like it at all so I know what you mean. I think your design is really sweet though - love the little bird. ;D

    Hopefully you'll find something that you are pleased with because at the end of the day, that is what counts. =) Thanks so much for dropping by.


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