Monday, October 7, 2013

TV Show Review: White Collar - Season 4

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: As always, the characters and the case of the week are fun
Cons: The on-going story didn’t quite work for me this season
The Bottom Line:
A tiny step down
Still highly entertaining
If not the show’s best

"Great.  I Brought a Corkscrew to a Gun Fight."

While I love most of the shows on the USA Network, White Collar is easily my favorite.  The rich, well developed characters and the fun stories are so addicting.  Even though I didn’t think season 4 quite lived up to the previous ones, I still enjoyed it.

Season 4 picks up a few months after season 3 ended.  Former con man turned FBI asset Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) is hiding out on an island with his con man friend Mozzie (Willie Garson).  Back at the FBI, there is a man hunt on for Neal, and his FBI handler Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) is trying to find Neal first to keep him from the more serious consequences of his actions.

Obviously, this little drama plays out in the first few episodes, and the show then shifts back to the more familiar setting of New York.  Once again, Neal is working with Peter and the rest of his team, agents Diana Barrigan (Marsha Thomason) and Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins), to bring down white collar criminals.  They tackle such cases as a widow who may have committed fraud to get life insurance, museum heists, and even a hot tips boxing rings.  Rounding out the cast is Peter’s wife Elizabeth (Tiffany Thiessen) who even manages to get involved in the cases occasionally.

But when Neal returns to New York, he decides to find out the truth about his family’s history, a subject that has always been clouded in mystery.  Doing so means the death of a family friend and a conspiracy that leads to some powerful people.  Will Neal and Peter be able to take down these personal villains?

Actually, it was the on going story that was my biggest issue with this season.  I just didn’t get into it like I did the ones from the previous seasons.  Part of that is because the tensions it creates upon occasion between Neal and Peter just felt forced.  After all these two have gone through, the secrets they keep in this season they would never keep from each other.  And part of it is because the plot just didn’t feel like White Collar to me.

And maybe my expectations were too high after the exceptional third season.  I doubt anything will ever touch that one.

As harsh as I may have just sounded, I didn’t hate the on going story.  It just wasn’t the strongest that the show has ever pursued.

There is still plenty of fun to be had in these sixteen episodes.  Most episodes do still feature a case of the week, and those are always cool.  It’s amazing just how Neal, Peter, and the team are able to take down the villain of the week.  The characters are still well developed and strong.

And the laughs still come as well.  No, this isn’t a comedy, but it is a light drama.  There are one liners in every episode, and they will make you smile if not outright laugh.  Mozzie gets most of those, especially if he is sharing a scene with Elizabeth.  Those two have all the best scenes.

Not that Peter has anything to worry about.  Elizabeth and Peter have a solid marriage, something I appreciate seeing on TV.  It’s nice to watch a drama and know the drama won’t come from that source.  Yes, occasionally I roll my eyes at them (Elizabeth is way too understanding), but I really don’t mind.

The acting continues to be top notch.  All the characters have multiple layers the actors need to hit every week, and they all do it perfectly.

This four disc set contains wide screen and full surround on all sixteen episodes.  Additionally, the set has deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and a commentary on the season finale.  Finally, there is a featurette on Tim Dekay's first time directing on one of the episodes this season.

While White Collar season 4 isn’t my favorite season, it’s only because the show has set the bar so high.  Even a lesser season of this show is still great and will entertain anyone looking for a fun, light crime show.

Season 4 Episodes:
1. Wanted
2. Most Wanted
3. Dimishing Returns
4. Parting Shots
5. Honor Among Thieves
6. Identity Crisis
7. Compromising Positions
8. Ancient History
9. Gloves Off
10. Vest Interest
11. Family Business
12. Brass Tacks
13. Empire City
14. Shoot the Moon
15. the Original
16. In the Wind

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