Conflict rules the third – and possibly best yet, season of the always engaging cat-and-mouse game that is White Collar.
Things are strained between conman-turned-FBI-consultant Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and his handler, agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). They were assigned one of the biggest cases yet – taking down a notorious art thief, it wasn’t until the pair was forced to recover the art from a German submarine by the criminal mastermind himself that things came crashing down. Before the evidence could be removed from the warehouse, everything blows up… and Peter knows that is was Neal. He is determined to prove that Neal stole the art somehow but he has to be careful in how he does about it or else it will not only send Neal back to prison but leave Peter without a job at the bureau. As the man who vouched for Neal, everything he does reflects on Peter – and he knows that his investigation will have to proceed carefully.
Neal was gifted a key with a location following the botched case and that warehouse housed every single WWII art piece from the sub. After hours of interrogation by Peter, Neal finally returns home only to discover that it was Mozzie (Willie Garson) who pulled off the heist, and now the two are planning on escaping to paradise with their haul. Unfortunately for them, a case comes up that requires Neal to slip back into an old alias, and with it, Neal’s one chance at escape may disappear. As if all that weren’t enough, Neal also has to deal with the presence of – and the feelings he has for the pretty insurance investigator Sara (Hilarie Burton).
It is always a challenge to shake up the comfortable pattern that a television show has perfected. In this scenario, both writer’s and viewers enjoyed the easy-going relationship Neal and Peter had. Beneath his Boy Scout routine, Peter is forever suspicious of Neal even though it seemed there could be no feasible way that he could pull off a heist – not with the high-tech monitoring anklet in place anyway. Blame it on his work at the FBI – or the fact that he has collared one too many criminals like Neal which is why he constantly has to be reminded that it could work more in his favor than not to extend some trust. It is that which makes this season such a conflicting one – to trust or not to.
Fortunately, nothing has changed as regards the characters. Sure Neal and Peter have some roes and are sometimes not on, what one would call friendly terms but most of all, there are still the fabulous dynamics intact. As always the adorable El (Tiffani Thiessen) – Peter’s much loved wife plays an important role both to the success of her husband and the friendship between he and Neal. She is the buffer between them that keeps them in check. The fact that writer’s like to bring the women in Neal’s life parading through various episodes is a lot of fun because I love seeing what Alex is up too or getting to know the determined Sara but I do think that they need to choose one to be his romantic interest, whether she is more of an on-again, off-again character would remain to be seen, but for heaven’s sake pick one! Their oversight is not doing any favors to Neal’s character since it makes it seem like he is more of a player than he is – and really, once you watch this for even a short time, you discover the exact opposite is true of him. Sure he can charm his way out of anything but he isn’t that guy when it counts.
What was most amazing was reading the “middle” portion of the show leading to fabulous intensity like never before, and emotions that come to the surface as a result of Peter trying to prove Neal stole the U-boat treasure. The wrap-up to this story leads to a wonderful moment between them that nearly includes a confession and it not only allows for the show to grow but proves that Neal is a changed person… if only he could ignore the voice of insanity in Mozzie! Lighter additions included meeting El’s parents and an adorable new opening gone all too soon lasting for a select few episodes – it seemed to tell a better story of the show than the original opening. “Neighborhood Watch” is phenomenal as was the finale and “As you Were” (seriously who could resist seeing Neal in dress whites!?). Though this show is cleverly written, its best assets are the cast and its flair for the dramatics. No one can quite wear a hat like con-man extraordinaire Neal Caffrey. That is indisputable.
So… speculation and comments on season four (or three!) are most welcome, fans. How do you think this will play out? Is season four off to a good start? Share below!
(What to know: Rated TV14 for a few scenes of foreplay between lovers. Mild innuendo is here and there – Diana is a homosexual and we see a same-sex kiss. Cases include two kidnappings and occasionally, there is violence. Language is always kept to a minimal but there is a rare profanity.)