Sunday, May 26, 2013

TV on DVD Review: White Collar - Season 1

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun story with two strong lead characters
Cons: Female characters underused
The Bottom Line:
Con man; FBI
Chasing high class criminals
Turns out to be fun

"Telling the Truth, Did It Hurt?"  "Yeah, a Little Bit."

Over the last few years, the USA Network has provided some of my favorite TV shows.  Anything new they do automatically gets watched.  So last fall I started watching White Collar.  I was hooked in one episode and enjoyed all of season one.

Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) is a criminal master when it comes to forgery.  He's currently months away from ending his sentence when he escapes.  FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) is called in to track him down.  Peter is the only man who was able to catch Neal, and he quickly does it again.  But Neal makes a deal with Peter.  Instead of serving his lengthened prison sentence, Neal puts his expertise to work for the FBI helping them track down counterfeiters and scammers of all types.

However, Neal has an ulterior motive.  He broke out because his girlfriend Kate broke up with him.  Neal is hoping to win her back.  However, first he has to find her, which proves to be the biggest challenge.  Someone is manipulating both of them because they want something from Neal.  Can he provide it while keeping Peter in the dark about his after work activities?

This show fits perfectly with the rest of the USA Networks others original shows.  It's a mystery with some humor.  You won't find many grisly scenes here.  Instead, you'll find well written mysteries with fun dialogue to help keep things light.  The mysteries are actually quite well done.  Most of the time we know who the bad guy is early on, but the suspense comes with trying to see how Neal and Peter will catch them.

Each episode has an A story, the crime of the week if you will.  But each episode also moves the story of Kate and the man coming between her and Neal forward a little bit.  That part is well done, and I feel like the creator knows where he is taking things.  Frankly, either storyline is enough to keep me coming back each week.

This show also has the best bromance on TV right now.  They may never admit it, but Neal and Peter really do have a deep respect for each other.  They don't always trust each other, but that respect and love is there.  Frankly, that is fun to watch as well.  Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay play this part of their characters perfectly.  It's just another note in their otherwise great performances.

Rounding out the main cast is Willie Garson as Mozzie, a man from Neal's past who often helps him with anything that is less than above board.  He's a fun character, and Willie plays him perfect.  Also in the main cast is woefully underused Tiffani Thiessen and Peter's wife Elizabeth.  Frankly, she often feels crammed into a show, but when they actually have a part for her in the episode, she really adds a lot, rounding out many of the characters.  Natalie Morales was part of the cast this season as an FBI agent, but they didn't seem to know what to do with her character.  It was another waste of a great actress.

Season one consisted of fourteen episodes, and all of them are here on four discs.  There are five episode commentaries by series creator Jeff Eastin and various members of the cast as well as a gag reel, deleted scenes, and three featurettes.

Season one of White Collar was slick, fun, and addicting.  It will definitely leave you ready for season two.

Season One Episodes:
1. Pilot
2. Threads
3. Book of Hours
4. Flip of the Coin
5. The Portrait
6. All In
7. Free Fall
8. Hard Sell
9. Bad Judgment
10. Vital Signs
11. Home Invasion
12. Bottlenecked
13. Front Man
14. Out of the Box

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