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 is to “redeem” a criminal by giving him the FBI as an opponent; both as an adversary and an ally. Step out of the perimeters they have set, and trouble immediately will follow.
White Collar, Season Two (2010) USA Network TV Review
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. Since the crash somehow intertwines with the man Peter vouches for as an FBI consultant, in the eyes of the higher-ups, Peter is responsible for Neal’s actions. Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) is back in prison following the death of his girlfriend Kate. The bureau assumes his plan to be on the plane with Kate means he was trying to run. 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. So after another short stint in prison, Neal is back working on the right side of the law.
Two months later, an elaborate thief rips 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.
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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, once the pieces insert, the complete picture will clear. Regardless of certain of the actors personal choices in life, their on-screen monikers are insanely likable. It’s refreshing to see something where trends don’t follow. Neal may be a ladies man, but he isn’t a guy who randomly picks up women in his real life. No matter how tedious, the fact that he’s 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 absent for the first half of it because the actress was pregnant, and fans feel her absence.
She returns in one of the most comical episodes that finds Mozzie playing a larger role in an operation (a case in which Peter is in hiding). Later Peter even runs 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.) 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 is 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?
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You can find White Collar, season two digitally on Amazon Video
Content: this show is TV14, but 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. 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.]
Photos: USA Network