White Collar: An Early Look at USA’s Newest Show   

WHITE COLLAR: (l-r) Tiffani Thiessen as Elizabeth Burke, Tim DeKay as Peter Burke, Matthew Bomer as Neal Caffrey -- USA Network Photo: David GiesbrechtAlright, I might be obsessed. I have watched the White Collar pilot way too many times. How is it possible to fall in love with a show before it even airs? My biggest fear is the rest of the episodes won’t live up to my already impossibly high expectations.

It’s probably obvious but the last few USA shows quite worked for me. I gave them all a chance because I really the way USA supports their shows and, if I don’t fall for all of them, I love the type of shows they put on the air. I have In Plain Sight a full season and I liked it well enough. Just not enough to return for the second season. The Starter Wife was never my cup of tea and I knew pretty early Royal Pains wasn’t going to make it onto my schedule either.

White Collar, on the other hand, is right up my alley. And I’m not just saying that because Matt Bomer is one handsome man. I mean it doesn’t hurt but, no, it’s the premise I love. When criminal mastermind, Neal Caffrey, escapes from prison he makes a deal with FBI Agent Peter Burke (the only one who has ever been able to catch him – twice!!). In exchange for a life on the outside, he’ll lend the Feds his expertise and help them catch other criminals of his ilk.

You all know I adore spy stories but I’m just as drawn to stories about thieves. Especially those who use their talents for good. Robin Hood, anyone? I adore just about any rendition of the Robin Hood story. From the Disney version to the Kevin Costner version to the BBC series. The truth is, I just enjoy a good caper story. I’ve watched and re-watched The Italian Job, Ocean’s Eleven, Sneakers, Hudson Hawk and The Thomas Crown Affair more times than I can count. It’s some kind of sickness. Needless to say, it’s like White Collar was made just for me.

Plus, as has been noted in this blog many times, I like a good friendship story. And that’s what you’ll find at the heart of this show. It’s not just about Neal keeping himself out of prison, it’s also about Peter struggling with how much he likes this criminal. Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay have great chemistry which makes their scenes a delight to watch. And they’re not faking it. They get along great off-screen, something I got to witness in person during my set visit (which Amrie and I talked about in our NYC podcast).

Tim DeKay and Matthew Bomer talk about the relationship between their WHITE COLLAR characters on a blogger set visit. USA Network Photo: David GiesbrechtIt’s clear to say why their ability to play off each other so well is going to be key to why people enjoy this show. As Matt Bomer said during our discussion, “I would even go further and say that really, the relationship between these two characters is really the center of the show. And, I think what makes that relationship interesting and something that will continue, they’ll always have things that they clash on. I think Peter is fundamentally one way and Neal is fundamentally one way and they’re both adults, so that’s probably not going to change too drastically. But, I think they have a certain set of strengths and weaknesses that complement each other well in terms of solving cases. And, so as the series progresses, we sort of find-we get a better idea of what those are and what is interesting is that Neal has so many things going on, but ultimately, the person who effectively ended his — ended, for now — career as a social engineer is also the person he really trusts more than anybody. And, I think that’s an interesting dynamic as well, because there’s the complication of he’s also the person who took something away from me.”

Tiffani Thiessen and Tim DeKay as Elizabeth and Peter Burke in WHITE COLLAR on USA.Then there are the other characters, who I admit don’t have nearly as much to do in the pilot as it seems they will in later episodes but I already enjoy. At least in terms of how they fit into the lives of our main characters. Tiffani Thiessen plays Elizabeth, Peter’s wife, and Willie Garson plays Mozzie, a close contact of Neal’s in the world of crime. We find out fairly quickly in the pilot that Peter and Elizabeth’s marriage is quite healthy. It works and these two are very close. It’s refreshing. I mean, how many of those marriages do we get to see on TV? And, quite frankly, it’s a relief to know they aren’t going to the obvious well of creating a triangle between Neal, Elizabeth, and Peter. For now, at least, there’s a distinct lack of romantic tension in that dynamic and I approve. As for Mozzie, well I can already tell he’s going to be one of those characters you love for his quirkiness and flavor. Of course, they’ve also added Natalie Morales to the cast and we all know how much I adore her! I’m not sure what her role will entail yet but I’m eager to find out.

The show itself is shot in New York City and you can tell. I’m not sure they could have set the show anywhere else. Nothing quite captures the elegance and stateliness of this kind of crime like New York City. Err, don’t take that the wrong way. New York just has an old world feel that perfectly captures the richness of the world in which Neal Caffrey resides. If you’re an art thief, you are drawn to a city that has some of the best art museums in the world, you know?

Like other USA shows, it’s a smart mix of drama and humor. And, indeed it fits well with Burn Notice, for example, where they play everything straight but still manage to charm a smile out of you. So this is me urging you to give White Collar a shot when it premieres tomorrow at 10/9c on USA.

3 Responses to “White Collar: An Early Look at USA’s Newest Show”

  1. 1
    Just Jody says:

    Bummed I won’t be able to watch this one.

  2. 2

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by raelee: Finally wrote up my thoughts on why I like WHITE COLLAR so much. Hopefully it’ll convince you to give it a try: http://bit.ly/4ylS97...

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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rae, Rae. Rae said: Finally wrote up my thoughts on why I like WHITE COLLAR so much. Hopefully it'll convince you to give it a try: http://bit.ly/4ylS97 [...]