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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 25, 2009
Looks like the USA Network has got another banging hit in its lineup. WHITE COLLAR, an easy-breezy crime drama, swipes heavily from the buddy cop genre, and that this beaten-to-death premise (which owes a lot to 48 HOURS) works for this series is purely because of the appeal of the two leads, and specifically Matt Bomer. This is not to dis his semi-rumpled co-star Tim DeKay, but clearly this show rises or collapses on how effectively Bomer brings the sexy. Tim Dekay - while also charming in a more low-key sort of way - works best as Bomer's exasperated foil.

Sophisticated con artist Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) - convicted of bond forgery but suspected of many other crimes - is hailed as "quite the Renaissance criminal." He has only three to four months left to serve in his prison sentence when Kate, the love of his life, breaks up with him and then amscrays for parts unknown. Demonstrating that a maximum-security prison isn't a deterrent if you're crazy in love, Caffrey breaks out of stir to try to find his girl. Except that he gets caught, and gets caught by the same dogged FBI guy who nabbed him the first time, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).

Agent Burke toils away in the white collar crime division in the Big Apple and, before he got pulled away into again running down Caffrey, he was steadily getting baffled by a cunning master forger called the Dutchman. But the long-awaited break surfaces when Caffrey proposes a deal: Caffrey will help Burke catch the Dutchman if Caffrey is remanded to Burke's custody and be out and about in the real world. It's plain to both that the real reason for Caffrey's offer is so that Caffrey can keep looking for his lost love. Burke reluctantly takes the deal. Caffrey gets fitted for a GPS tracking anklet. And off they go to make a serious dent on the Friday Nielsen ratings.

WHITE COLLAR debuted this past Friday, October 23rd, and it was so much fun watching it that I went and saw the repeat airing a few hours later. Matt Bomer - who also played Bryce Larkin in Chuck - The Complete First Season - is projected to be the show's breakout star, and it looks like he's got the goods. But it helps that the writers saddled his roguish character with a romantic streak. Meanwhile, Tim DeKay holds up his end, making lemonade with his more thankless role. DeKay is really good at doing that "exasperated and ill-at-ease" thing, and nothing ruffles his by-the-book FBI agent's feathers quite as much as the ridiculous ease with which Caffrey persistently finagles his way to the cushy things in life. Given that $700 is what it cost to house and feed Caffrey while behind bars, the same amount is allotted to finance his new digs on this shaky "work release program." Initially assigned to a very seedy flophouse, Caffrey moments later charms his way into becoming a house guest in an uber-luxurious penthouse. Along the way, he also lands some very sleek threads. He airily describes his new wardrobe as "classic Rat Pack." Burke grinds his teeth, yet can't resist sipping from Caffrey's excellent coffee, from sampling a taste of the good life. It's immediately apparent that Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay demonstrate a terrific give-and-go rapport. Their characters aren't exactly overtly adversarial, but they are trying to one-up each other in subtle ways. It's fun to watch.

As these two start to build a working relationship, their respective personal lives are touched on. For Caffrey, this involves touching base with his street contact (nicely placed by Willie Garson) and searching for his vanished girlfriend Kate. For the workaholic Burke, it's all about balancing career and marriage, except that the scales tend to tilt in favor of career. Tiffani Thiessen plays Burke's impossibly understanding, long-suffering wife Elizabeth, and since this is Tiffani Thiessen, I'm guessing there are fireworks scheduled ahead for Elizabeth Burke.

Like other shows on the USA Network (MONK, BURN NOTICE, PSYCH), WHITE COLLAR flaunts a playful side. In it's key conceit ("It takes a thief..."), it actually shares more in common with a series on TNT, the very good Leverage: The First Season, and with Spielberg's cool con flick Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition). This isn't one of those cable shows that tries to be ambitious (MAD MEN, SONS OF ANARCHY). And, as great as MAD MEN is, there are times when I'm in the mood to just be entertained and not have to think or analyze things too much or get mired in serious angst. WHITE COLLAR is irresistible comfort food for the mind. I just saw the 90 minute pilot, and I thought: So what if maybe things fall in place a little too conveniently in this show? So what if the unlikely partners develop camaraderie maybe just a tad too effortlessly? So what if the "collar of the week" isn't all that compelling? The point is that the show knows its strength rests on showcasing its ridiculously likable two leads. And maybe there's someone on television currently more rakish and dashing than Neal Caffrey. But, for the life of me, I'm drawing a blank.
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on February 28, 2010
of Neal Caffrey and Peter Burke. As another reviewer said..."maybe there's someone on television currently more rakish and dashing than Neal Caffrey. But, for the life of me, I'm drawing a blank."

Well, I don't think there is, and this character has the perfect blend of boyish charm, intelligence and cleverness to go along with that mischievous twinkle in his eye. Matt Bomer inhabits his character with an ease and grace which belie his youth. Tim DeKay as the ever put-upon straight man, Peter Burke, is the G-Man who, despite his best efforts, can't quite keep it under wraps that he's got a heart...which would explain his gorgeous, intelligent and even more put-upon wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen), whose contributions are always on point. And then there's the quirky man's quirky, Neal's behind-the-scenes guy, Moz, perfectly played by Willie Garson.

So, the only question becomes ... how did the USA Network round up so many clever and witty writers to completely dominate TV? They're churning them out over there as fast as Mardi Gras beads in China.

White Collar is a welcome addition to my other USA favorites, Burn Notice and In Plain Sight. With their winning combination of intelligent plots with fascinating detail (even to those who are afflicted with always-know-the-ending-itis), quirky characters with all-too-human faults, a large dash of humor, and exquisite casting, these are the best shows to come along in years. Who knew, years ago, when that defective detective with OC disorder premiered, and I thought, "Well, this is certainly different," that the USA network had revived and perfected the hour long Action-Dramedy? I haven't seen anything as compelling and entertaining as the USA line-up since Northern Exposure or Due South. Really my only complaint is the seasons are TOO SHORT! (Well, and a wolf would be nice, too...) But that can be forgiven, as USA budgets are probably not in line with some other networks out there. Though, if advertisers are paying attention, they soon should be.

Keep it up USA! You are the bright spot on my TV!
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on March 12, 2010
I finally caught this show late in the season and couldn't get enough; now I need to start at the beginning so I'm ready for the DVD set now. The reviews for White Collar are positive because they can't be anything but that. I loved Robert Wagner in It Takes a Thief, and I loved Hardcastle and McCormick. For me, White Collar combines the two with the "bad" suave, charming and intelligent thief being directly under a lawman's watchful eye. The premise for the show isn't new but the drama itself is very fresh. I call this my guilty pleasure because I honestly couldn't turn the channel when I laid eyes on Neal. I was wowed by Matt Bomer's look and Neal Caffrey's charm and wit. However, any drama with a great mix of characters pleases me immensely and White Collar certainly has a fantastic array of characters, starting with Neal and Peter (expertly acted by Tim DeKay) and moving right on down the line. The writing is usually nicely twisted with just the right turns -- though the season finale was not a surprise, it was, nonetheless, done quite dramatically. Admittedly, I don't always quite follow every case very well but I get it enough to stay interested (okay, I guess that's still because of those blue eyes and sophisticaed charm). I also must point out that the relationship of Peter and Elizabeth is extremely pleasing to me. Too often marriage is not portrayed well or intelligently in TV dramas and the way these two relate is as comfortable and right as a good, worn pair of jeans or favorite shoes. I also enjoy the relationship of Elizabeth to Neal. My interpretation of Peter's relationship to Neal is almost that of a big brother (at least, that's what's developing). Elizabeth might then be a big sister. It's a drama with everything right, including that while it may insinuate a bit of morality that I don't think is adequate, it is, as others have said, a "clean" show. Clean and yet completely interesting. Ah...see...it CAN be done. White Collar does it so very well! All the other quality shows I have enjoyed seem to be failing to keep an audience and stay on, so I'm calling White Collar my new favorite and I do hope it sticks around for at least a couple years if not longer.
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I don't think I've ever quite heard of a show quite like "White Collar," a clever new mystery show in which the FBI decides to employ a brilliant criminal to help them bust other "white collar" criminals. While it has an intriguing new twist on the odd-couple cop show, it also has brilliantly witty writing, a murky conspiracy within the FBI, and some excellent actors with plenty of chemistry -- and it promises to get even better.

While searching for a thief known as the Dutchman, FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) hears that gentleman thief/conman/counterfeiter Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer)-- who he put in prison -- has escaped, only to allow himself to be recaptured. Caffrey is desperate to find his girlfriend Kate, and so he makes Burke an offer: free him from prison, and he'll help him catch the Dutchman.

Though he's dubious about Neal, Peter reluctantly agrees. After only a few hours out, Neal has a new wardrobe, a luxurious apartment and a wealthy landlady who doesn't care that he's a former thief. And he's working for the FBI.

Together, the odd partners tackle a bunch of tricky white-collar cases: data hidden in a designer dress, a priceless Bible stolen from a mobster, a painting with a dodgy trail, smuggled Iraqi artifacts, clashes with Interpol in Chinatown, a jewel robbery, infiltrating Wall Street, real estate fraud, an illegal organ-trafficking ring, priceless wine bottles, and a kidnapper who is gunning for Neal. And as Neal tries to unravel the clues that Kate has left him, he and Peter become entangled in a shadowy conspiracy within the FBI...

The first season of "White Collar" is a lot like Neal Caffrey -- elegant, smart and charming, to the point where you don't really care that it has some painfully unrealistic moments (trotting their only witness onto a rooftop party with the KILLER nearby?), and a few slow spots. Fortunately, the writers seem to be smoothing the lumps out.

And the writers have a knack for winding together the one-off cases with an overarcing plot about a corrupt FBI agent who is conspiring against Neal and Peter. There's plenty of hilarious dialogue ("It's a loft, seized in a DEA bust -- fifteen hundred square feet, service elevator. It's perfect!" "Is that a chalk outline?" "I'm sure they've cleaned that up by now") and suspenseful little scenes where Neal and/or Mozzie disguise themselves to infiltrate secure places where the FBI can't go without a warrant.

But the show's heart is DeKay and Bomer. DeKay is a snappy, sharp-edged FBI agent who is willing to bend the rules to get the job done, and respects Neal more than he'll admit. And Bomer is a sort of 21st-century Remington Steele: boyishly handsome, clever, charming, refined, and a little bit rakish. At the same time, you really feel sorry for him because of the loss of Kate, and the hints that she may be in on the plot against him.

There's also a solid supporting cast -- Tiffani Thiessen as Peter's loving, long-suffering wife, and Willie Garson as the hilarious Mozzie ("I just said that to a guy who enjoys killing people with his bare hands!"). Also good performances by Diahann Carroll and Noah Emmerich.

It sounds like just another odd-couple cop show, but "White Collar Season 1" has the benefit of excellent writing, acting and some grippingly suspenseful plots. Definitely check it out.
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on November 1, 2009
To begin with, I'm not much of a fan of procedural type shows where cops solve cases episode by episode. White Collar kind of has that going on, but it does it EXTREMELY well. And I will tell you why!

1. GREAT actors. They're pretty awesome. Matthew Bomer and Tim DeKay are quite talented and make the characters of Neal and Peter very likable. All of the subtle things that Peter portrays on screen make him a cop you want to root for. They could easily be a pair of guys who bumble and fumble through cases and grate on each others (as well as our) nerves, but they have fantastic chemistry which makes the show both interesting and fun. Even Tiffani Thiessen (formerly known as Kelly Kapowski) does a great job of being the loving wife.

2. GREAT writing. The overall story is about Neal, a white collar criminal helping out FBI agent Peter solve cases in exchange for semi-freedom. Neal's deal is trying to find out what happened to his girlfriend while he was in jail. Sounds boring? The writers make sure that it's not. The week to week crime solving is also pretty good so far. As I said before, I don't like procedurals but I have been really liking White Collar so far.

If anything, give at least the pilot a watch. The characters could very easily be stereotypical and irritating and who knows what else, but fortunately they're fresh and fun.
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on July 20, 2010
White Collar is a great series with strong characters, but much of this is covered in previous reviews. I want to say that they did a great job with the DVD's. Do you know when you get certain series on DVD and the commentaries are boring, the featurettes are just commercials and the gag reel is anything but funny? Well Season 1 White Collar on DVD is the opposite.

1. There are five episodes with commentaries, selected very well, and the commentaries are with the main characters AND they are funny and insightful. (We were waiting for somebody to make fun of the awkward Ford Taurus promotions in the show, and they do) The actors clearly get along well with each other, and a funny completely unscripted. Jeff Eastin is on the commentary for all five, so he shares a lot of insight too.

2. The gag reel, very funny and it just makes you like the show and the actors more.

3. The featurettes are very good, they cover the fashion of the show, which is almost another character. They also cover FBI consultant they use.

4. Deleted scenes? Want to have more background into Mozzie? it is there.

So if you like the show, then the DVD's should be a must have. I just wish more shows did as good of a job with the extras on the DVD's.
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on June 26, 2013
I have to admit I started watching White Collar because of the beautiful, attractive, gorgeous, sexy looking I want to dive and get lost in his blue eyes Matt Bomer, but the show got me hook on the plots and twists right from the beginning.
I love the way the two main characters interact with each other and even do they view things from a different angle, they complement each other. The rest of the cast is superb too.
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on May 19, 2010
This network has managed to come up with some real winners in the last few years and this one is a standout. The last show that had this kind of chemistry for me was Moonlighting. The two main characters play off each other so well. It is written well and that allows you to overlook some of the more outrageous things that have to happen in a one hour program. This is precisely why I cannot bear to watch a CSI or House or Gray's Anatomy. There are so many cast members that need screen time and the writing is horrible. I can never look past how they solve a crime or cure a patient in 40 minutes. While Mr. Bomer is a new face to me, he seems like he has been acting for years. Other characters in the show are somewhat familiar but not to the point that they are pigeonholed into a certain role. All of the main characters seem to fit quite well together and I hope they continue to concentrate on the relationship between Neal and Peter. That is the meat of the show. I think I read somewhere that Matt Bomer was from the Houston area. Go Matt!
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I don't think I've ever quite heard of a show quite like "White Collar," a clever new mystery show in which the FBI decides to employ a brilliant criminal to help them bust other "white collar" criminals. While it has an intriguing new twist on the odd-couple cop show, it also has brilliantly witty writing, a murky conspiracy within the FBI, and some excellent actors with plenty of chemistry -- and it promises to get even better.

While searching for a thief known as the Dutchman, FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) hears that gentleman thief/conman/counterfeiter Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer)-- who he put in prison -- has escaped, only to allow himself to be recaptured. Caffrey is desperate to find his girlfriend Kate, and so he makes Burke an offer: free him from prison, and he'll help him catch the Dutchman.

Though he's dubious about Neal, Peter reluctantly agrees. After only a few hours out, Neal has a new wardrobe, a luxurious apartment and a wealthy landlady who doesn't care that he's a former thief. And he's working for the FBI.

Together, the odd partners tackle a bunch of tricky white-collar cases: data hidden in a designer dress, a priceless Bible stolen from a mobster, a painting with a dodgy trail, smuggled Iraqi artifacts, clashes with Interpol in Chinatown, a jewel robbery, infiltrating Wall Street, real estate fraud, an illegal organ-trafficking ring, priceless wine bottles, and a kidnapper who is gunning for Neal. And as Neal tries to unravel the clues that Kate has left him, he and Peter become entangled in a shadowy conspiracy within the FBI...

The first season of "White Collar" is a lot like Neal Caffrey -- elegant, smart and charming, to the point where you don't really care that it has some painfully unrealistic moments (trotting their only witness onto a rooftop party with the KILLER nearby?), and a few slow spots. Fortunately, the writers seem to be smoothing the lumps out.

And the writers have a knack for winding together the one-off cases with an overarcing plot about a corrupt FBI agent who is conspiring against Neal and Peter. There's plenty of hilarious dialogue ("It's a loft, seized in a DEA bust -- fifteen hundred square feet, service elevator. It's perfect!" "Is that a chalk outline?" "I'm sure they've cleaned that up by now") and suspenseful little scenes where Neal and/or Mozzie disguise themselves to infiltrate secure places where the FBI can't go without a warrant.

But the show's heart is DeKay and Bomer. DeKay is a snappy, sharp-edged FBI agent who is willing to bend the rules to get the job done, and respects Neal more than he'll admit. And Bomer is a sort of 21st-century Remington Steele: boyishly handsome, clever, charming, refined, and a little bit rakish. At the same time, you really feel sorry for him because of the loss of Kate, and the hints that she may be in on the plot against him.

There's also a solid supporting cast -- Tiffani Thiessen as Peter's loving, long-suffering wife, and Willie Garson as the hilarious Mozzie ("I just said that to a guy who enjoys killing people with his bare hands!"). Also good performances by Diahann Carroll and Noah Emmerich.

It sounds like just another odd-couple cop show, but "White Collar Season 1" has the benefit of excellent writing, acting and some grippingly suspenseful plots. Definitely check it out.
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on February 7, 2010
I've watched the 1st season and I'm hooked! It's good, clean television. The characters are likeable, they work well together and I'm really enjoying the addition of side characters. I don't have cable so I have to watch on Hulu and it has been worth it! I intend to buy the 1st season on DVD when it's released and have begun enjoying the first few episodes of Season 2. Finally, something to look forward to!
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