Wednesday, 24 October 2012

White Collar starring Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay PREVIEW


Rating: ★★★ 

Alibi: Tuesdays 10pm  

Story: FBI agent Peter Burke finally arrested conman Neal Caffrey after a long cat-and-mouse pursuit. However, the two do a deal that allows Caffrey to help Burke nab criminals as part of his work-release programme.

Alibi has just started showing the second season of this light crime series. It's the kind of glossy mainstream show where the two blandly handsome leads crack jokes while cracking the crimes.

Gloria Votsis plays Alex Hunter
Gloria Votsis as Alex
The white-collar crime in upcoming episode three, Copycat Caffrey (Tuesday, 30 October) is an art theft, a 'slash and grab' from a gallery. Caffrey has, of course, masterminded many heists and sold forgeries around the world, so his expertise is priceless here, though the routine humour is not.

Imitation is the sincerest flattery to Neal Caffrey 
The gag is that one of Caffrey's old scams is being reused by a new generation of criminals, leading our suave hero to go blow his trumpet as a role model to upcoming crooks and rile his FBI partner Burke. Whether you find all this joshing dull or a bit of cheeky, guileless fun is a matter of taste.

Clearly the show, made by USA Network, goes down a treat Stateside because last month it was renewed for a fifth season. This is the kind of banter that goes on…

Caffrey: I love a good art heist.
Burke: Solving a good art heist.
Caffrey: That’s what I said…

White Collar v Hustle
Anyway, the other side of the formula is the unravelling of the con, a bit like the recently departed UK series Hustle, only without the latter's dazzle. This could be because US hour-long shows are actually only 40-minutes long owing to the ads, whereas the BBC's Hustle is the full 60 and has the space to set up a more intricate bit of flimflam.

Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay
Burke (Tim DeKay) and Caffrey (Matt Bomer)
One thing that White Collar has nailed is the guest stars. Copy Caffrey has Aidan Quinn (now starring in the US Sherlock Holmes update Elementary), while Beau Bridges, Diahann Carroll and Treat Williams are among the regular characters.

If you want a bit of after-work, no-brainer entertainment, White Collar is a steal. If you want something edgy and really gripping, this will feel like a long stake-out.

Cast: Matt Bomer Neal Caffrey, Tim DeKay Peter Burke, Willie Garson Mozzie, Marsha Thomason  Diana Barrigan, Tiffani Thiessen Elizabeth Burke, Sharif Atkins Clinton Jones, Gloria Votsis Alex Hunter, Aidan Quinn Prof George Oswald