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White Collar: Season 3
DVD | Box Set
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Matt Bomer is back for another thrilling season of high-class capers and criminal intrigue on TV's slickest, sexiest show, White Collar! Bomer returns as suave con man turned FBI consultant Neal Caffrey, racing to stay one step ahead of the feds even as he helps his partner, Agent Peter Burke, bring down some of the world's most clever criminals. The stakes are at an all-time high as Neal struggles to come to terms with his own checkered past, but will his greatest con cost him everything?
With his high cheekbones and piercing blue eyes, Matt Bomer plays con man Neal Caffrey with a smooth, handsome gloss. White Collar follows Caffrey's adventures as a sort of indentured servant to the FBI, under the watchful eye of Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). At the end of the previous season, Caffrey found himself in possession of a trove of classical art recovered from a sunken Nazi U-boat. His moral quandary--whether or not to sell the art and run--is the thread woven throughout the season, tying together assorted single-episode high jinks about stolen objects like an Egyptian scarab amulet or a Stradivarius violin, a forged will that turns out to be a treasure map, and speed dating with a possible black widow murderess. Another element recurring over the course of the season: Both Peter and Neal are deviled by figures from their respective pasts--Peter's former mentor (Beau Bridges) and Neal's former partner (Ross McCall). Lies, false identities, and shifting allegiances are the bread and butter for White Collar.
White Collar has a light touch that harks back to '60s and '70s shows like Banacek or It Takes a Thief, with elaborate scams carried out by snappy dressers with a glib comeback to parry any threat. While the emotional stakes are occasionally high for the characters (in one episode, Peter's wife Elizabeth--played by Tiffani Thiessen--is kidnapped, giving DeKay plenty of opportunities for clenched-jaw machismo), a good outcome is never really in doubt for the audience. This is cheerful fun with plenty of eye-candy. Guest appearances included Mädchen Amick (Twin Peaks), Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Dylan Baker (Happiness), and Tom Skerritt (Alien). --Bret Fetzer
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If you've been watching White Collar, sit back and enjoy this season. If you just ran across the show, START WITH SEASON ONE. This is one show where the ongoing storyline is important to the enjoyment and following of many of the episodes of the show. Don't let the fact that this is season 3 be too daunting. As White Collar is a USA show, it's seasons are only 16 episodes long, and the shows are easy to watch and enjoyable. Both my wife and myself enjoy the show, and look forward to season 4.
The premise of the show is that Neal Caffrey (Matthew Bomer) is serving the second half of his prison sentence for fraud as a consultant to the FBI helping them take down other white collar criminals. He’s working under the supervision of Peter Burke (Matt DeKay), the only man able to track him down and arrest him. And they make a surprisingly good team.
To properly discuss the on-going story of the season, I’m going to have to spoil the first 5 minutes of the season premier, which resolves the cliffhanger from the end of season two. If you want to go into the season completely and totally unspoiled, just trust me this season will blow you out of the water and buy the set now. If you don’t mind, keep reading.
Season three opens exactly where season two ended – Neal is standing in the middle of a warehouse full of the treasure supposedly destroyed when the U-boat exploded. Peter thinks that Neal stole it or at least knows where it is. But the real thief is Neal’s friend Mozzie (Willie Garson). But before the two can sell their ill-gotten gain and buy an island, they have to make sure that the FBI can’t trace any of it to them.
That means that it is business as usual in the FBI offices. Neal, Peter, and agents Diana (Marsha Thomason) and Jones (Sharif Atkins) track down someone threatening a journalist, find the person robbing a private school of funds, and save a rare baseball from being stolen. We even get a look into Mozzie’s past as someone comes to town looking for the Dentist of Detroit. Sometimes, the cases involve Neal’s new girlfriend Sara (Hilarie Burton), an insurance investigator who used to be chasing Neal for a painting he stole. (Sorry, allegedly stole.)
The show is just as addictive as ever. On New Year’s Day, I found myself watching a marathon of the season three episodes, and I couldn’t stop watching even though I had seen all the episodes before. Yes, the plots are that much fun with some good twists. But again, it’s the characters that are the real pull. I love spending time with all of them. The chemistry between the entire cast is top notch, and the writers liberally sprinkle in humor that keeps you laughing even though this is a serious mystery show. Yes, Mozzie gets all the best lines and they often make me laugh out loud, but the rest of the characters have their moments to shine.
The treasure storyline, which develops slowly over much of the season, is the heart of what drives the character development this season. Watching Neal struggle with what to do with that treasure is amazing. Late in the season, Peter has his own struggle. You don’t know which way things will go because you don’t feel like the characters know themselves what they are going to do. Mozzie is also highly involved in the treasure plot, and the development works for him, too. For the other characters, we see more of Diana’s girlfriend, and even Agent Jones as well as Peter’s wife Elizabeth (Tiffany Amber Theisen) get better development. This was really Sara’s first season on the show, and she gets some development, but she’s the weakest of the main characters.
Speaking of Elizabeth, she and Mozzie are right behind Neal and Peter for favorite relationship on the show. They have a very fun friendship, and their scenes are guaranteed to make you laugh. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Peter still have a very strong marriage, another element of the show that I love.
The increased layers to the characters required more acting, and the cast stepped up brilliantly. There isn’t a weak performance in the bunch, and they handle the many notes of every episode brilliantly. I have to single out Tim DeKay for special recognition. The first episode of the second half of the season was a powerhouse performance from him. It required him to be two seconds away from losing it and fighting hard to maintain control. He was brilliant the entire way through. If he doesn’t win an Emmy, it is a travesty.
There are four discs in this set, collecting all sixteen episodes in widescreen and full surround. Extras include a gag reel, deleted scenes, and commentary on the season finale. Rounding out the set is a trivia challenge and some behind the scenes fun as the cast confronts creator Jeff Eastin for his excessive tweeting.
To full appreciate this season, you need to start the show at the beginning. It’s so addictive, you won’t mind in the slightest. And when you get here, you’ll appreciate the character development so much more.
I cannot recommend this show or this season highly enough. You’ll love every second of season three of White Collar.
Arc one completes the storylines of Season Two, the U-Boat treasure being the main one. Neal (Matt Bomer) and Mozzie (Willie Garson) are contemplating hightailing it out of the country and into freedom, while Peter (Tim DeKay) and his demi-Suits (Marsha Thomsen and Sharif Atkins), as Mozz calls them, focus on their belief that Neal and Mozz have the treasure, but have no proof or probable cause. Complications ensue, involving Sara (Hilarie Burton) and Keller (Ross McCall), and a lot of danger to Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen). As said, tons of tension is involved, as well as "is the grass greener" from Neal and Mozz, with Neal wondering about the life he'd leave behind, while a loyal Mozz, reluctant to leave his best friend behind, nevertheless is getting increasingly antsy.
The second arc is about a possible commutation of Neal's sentence, freeing him from the final two years of his anklet and allowing him to live free of monitoring. There are characters, both in and outside of the main narrative, who favor different sides in this debate, while you can almost see Neal drooling at times. Particularly so is when he gets to work with the world's master thief, the rich man's Robin Hood (motto: No one goes to jail, everyone gets paid). His yearning for his old life is palpable in that episode, and sets the tone for the remainder of the season. The big theme of this arc is: Is Neal really reformed, or is he just biding his time?
Matthew Bomer is excellent as ever, it's a mystery to me why he's not a bigger deal than he is. He's such a good actor that I hope that this is his ER, with him as a possible successor to Clooney (who broke out at roughly the same age that Bomer is now). Tim DeKay is much improved over the first two seasons, where I was wondering if perhaps he was playing the part a bit too goofy. Goofy is for Willie Garson, who has a lot of scenes with Tiffani Thiessen, and they prove to be a great low key comic duo. Marsha Thomsen and Sharif Atkins have more to do than in previous seasons, and pull it off, while Hilarie Burton portrays Sara as someone fully aware of how potentially dangerous Neal is, and skittish as a result. Which is how it would be. Most cable shows have a hard time filling acting slots 3-8 with talented actors, but White Collar has no such issues.
The end of the season seems to shift the show in a different direction, which should be good if they want to keep it running. I'm already looking forward to Season Four and beyond.