White Collar was initially driven by Neal Caffrey’s (Matt Bomer) desire to figure out what happened to his one, true love, with the help of FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). For those of you trying to catch up, the catch was something akin to Breakout Kings or Leverage, where the good guys and the bad guys join forces to stop the “really” bad guys. In this case, Neal’s expertise is theft, forgery, and anything else including “the con,” so you can bank on a variety of episodes around something needing stolen or containing the threat of theft. But by the third season, we’re moving on, as Caffrey finds new love, and new problems arise.
Joining Bomer (who will probably “blow up” this summer thanks to Channing Tatum/Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike) and DeKay are a colorful cast including Saved by the Bell’s Tiffani Thiessen as Burke’s adoring wife, Elizabeth; Willie Garson (a Moby lookalike) as Neal’s con friend, Mozzie, who is informally part of the “team”; Marsha Thomason and Sharif Atkins as FBI agents Diana Berrigan and Clinton Jones who assist in Burke’s work; Hilarie Burton as the insurance investigator Sara Ellis, who may be the new love that will help Neal stay “straight”; and Ross McCall as the recurring villain, Matthew Keller, who was once Neal’s best friend.
It’s an ensemble cast formed around Bomer, who appears set to rise to broader stardom. Sure, he’s had supporting bits and pieces in films like In Time and Flightplan, and had roles in shows like Chuck and Guiding Light. But Tatum’s autobiographical tale has all of the buzz, and potential, to launch Bomer further into the national awareness. And fans who have loved White Collar all along will just sit back and say, “I told you so.”
The suave con has been a thing of beauty for a long time, since before Robert Redford and Paul Newman made it cool in The Sting. The fact that DeKay so fittingly plays the stuck-up straight man to Bomer’s Caffrey makes it even better. We want them both to succeed, which means they have to stop the actual villains AND find a way for Caffrey to actually re-enter society. Justice and mercy must both be served here, and WC serves up a healthy heaping of both. Granted, a good bit of that must be attributed to Thiessen’s doting wife (who is both intelligent and supportive) as she sees the best in both of these men.
Fans will appreciate the light-hearted banter behind the scenes as the cast tries to answer trivia in the special feature “Interrogation Room” and talks “poorly” about Jeff Eastin in “@ddicted.” There are additional deleted scenes, a gag reel, and the prerequisite commentary on “Judgment Day,” the season finale.