White Collar Season Two DVD Review: once a thief, maybe not always a thief

See that picture, ladies? Matt Bomer thinks you’re cute. With his looks, charm, and dapper wardrobe, he embodies a fully-realized female fantasy in the form of his dashing thief character, Neal Caffrey. After an abbreviated stint in prison, Caffrey is now a consultant for the FBI’s white collar crime division, ostensibly because “to catch a thief, it helps to be one” as proclaimed on the cover blurb of the new Season Two box set. Sure, it’s increasingly far-fetched that the FBI would continue to sanction the prolonged release of this career criminal, but don’t let a little logic get in the way of the frothy fun on tap each week.

White CollarAlthough he’s a superstar thief, Caffrey has a heart of gold and finds himself increasingly enjoying his consultant role as well as his deepening friendship with his straight-laced FBI partner and de facto parole officer, Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). I never really got the focus on the Burke character in Season One, with the relatively boring and non-essential Burke basically sharing equal screen time with the dazzling Caffrey, but this season the partner dynamic seemed to fully gel and DeKay’s dry wit finally came through as a nice counterpoint to Bomer’s flashy charms. Season Two also saw the welcome continued involvement of Sex & The City alum Willie Garson as comic criminal sidekick Mozzie, another thief with honor who is always available to assist Caffrey and drink his wine while also maintaining his distrust of and disdain for the FBI “suits”. The only real change to the core cast this season is the addition of new full-time cast member Marsha Thomason (Lost) as a fellow FBI agent, a fairly limited and generic role but a bit of eye candy for the guys. Also returning is Tiffani Thiessen as Burke’s devoted wife, a role so minor that Thiessen literally dials it in via very poor green screen in a couple of episodes. I have absolutely no idea why they keep her on the show.

Like fellow USA Network series Burn Notice, the show is extremely formulaic, stringing viewers along with a master plot thread but spending the majority of each episode on the case of the week. The individual cases aren’t particularly original or interesting, but the winning interplay between characters and the overall story make for enough reason to keep coming back for more. This season the main arc shifts from Caffrey’s first season pursuit of his missing ex-girlfriend (presumably killed in a massive explosion in the season one finale) and instead focuses on his quest to unlock the secrets of a mysterious music box and his search for his elusive and evil former mentor and boss, Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy). The back story is that Adler swindled Caffrey and scores of other people and disappeared years ago before Caffrey had a chance to complete his own scam against Adler, making Adler not only a big fish that got away but also the man who stole Caffrey’s savings. Oh, and Adler also triggered the explosion that supposedly killed Caffrey’s ex-girlfriend. Now Adler is reportedly involved in the search for a sunken German U-Boat off the US coast that may contain billions of dollars of Nazi plunder, giving the FBI all the reason they need to join the search. It’s a foregone conclusion that Adler and the treasure will materialize by season’s end, but how will our master thief react when given the opportunity for both revenge and riches beyond his wildest dreams?

The Season Two box set includes all 16 episodes spread across four discs, with supplemental material scattered between them. The best of the bonus features are repeats from the Burn Notice Season Four set: creator and writers roasts of White Collar by Burn Notice and vice versa. Also included are a gag reel, a spotlight on Mozzie, and some behind the scenes footage with Bomer. White Collar: The Complete Second Season is available on DVD on June 7, 2011.

By Steve Geise

About the author

Reviewing for various magazines and websites since 2004.

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1 Comment
On: Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Yet another show on my "list" that I haven't quite had time to seriously check out. That's what the summer is for, I suppose. And especially right now where we're in the gap before the full summer sched kicks off... 

Great job as always Steve !

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