“White Collar” proves to be a rising star

Collin Hoofnagle, News Editor

With his ankle bracelet in-toe, conman Neil Caffery (Matt Bomer) runs into an abandoned warehouse that has been turned into an illegal forgery hotspot.

The FBI agent in charge of Caffery and his team chase him into the warehouse.

But for once, Caffery wasn’t the criminal. It was a set-up.

Because Caffery fled his tracking bracelet’s radius, the FBI was forced to pursue him as if he were a fleeing criminal. Due to warrant law, which says the Bureau can seize any evidence in the pursuit of a fleeing criminal, the team got the illegal forgery hotspot and its criminal ringleader they had been searching for.

This is the kind of creativity that makes USA’s “White Collar” a rising star. Not everything about the series is Emmy-worthy, but it has an extreme amount of potential.

The series follows conman Neil Caffery who, after years of art theft and currency forgery, escapes from a high security prison. After being caught, he convinces the agent who worked on his case before, Special Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), to grant him a work-release from the FBI. Burke reluctantly agrees, and is forced to keep an eye on the sly yet charming Caffery, who turns out to be quite a help to the Bureau.

The episodes follow the typical crime show format, but the individual episode plots lack suspense and tricks.

The overall plot of the series, however, is catchy.

Caffery is in a constant struggle to either remain with the FBI and follow the terms of his release, or to escape to pursue the girlfriend who left him while he was incarcerated.

There is a certain amount of TV magic in “White Collar,” just as there is unfortunately in most of USA’s series.  The most notable example occurs when Caffery meets a millionaire widow (Diahann Carroll) in a thrift store. The five decade-old clothes being donated by the widow just happen to fit Caffery. After hitting it off with the sixty year-old, Caffery scores a room at her multi-million dollar estate in central Manhattan.

The actors in the series work beautifully together, with the exception of one relationship. Burke and his wife (Tiffani Thiesen) have a notable age difference, and Burke isn’t the kind of character who seems like he’s chasing after the young-crowd.

And Burke’s determined lesbian probationary agent that was made to be a main character in the pilot (the first episode of the season) disappeared after the pilot, and never returned. There wasn’t even an explanation as to her absence.

Despite the individual episodes that continually fail to deliver, the series’ overall plot and the actors’ determination make “White Collar” a show to keep an eye on.

Collin Hoofnagle can be reached for comment at [email protected]