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TV Review: White Collar – “Copycat Caffrey”

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Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) may be a charming young man, but he also knows exactly who he is. With a conviction for fraud under his belt, Neal must wear an anklet which tracks his every move and reports each one to the FBI. Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) is responsible for keeping an eye on Neal, since he is the person who engineered Neal’s early release from prison (“Pilot”).

Having a criminal on hand as a consultant is helpful when trying to catch those who are willing to commit more elegant crimes than the typical cases. Art theft, embezzlement, forgery, and identity impersonation are just of the few of the many things investigated. The key is knowing exactly where to look for evidence.

After a painting is stolen out of a gallery, the trail leads to a college professor and his band of proteges. Aidan Quinn as Professor Oswald handles the job of villain with deftness, making for a formidable foe. Making the class Oswald teaches criminology with part of the lesson plan Neal Caffrey himself is a brilliant touch.

The undercover operation starts off smoothly at first. However, there is a whopper of a hitch at the critical point. Neal must do some fast talking in order to convince Peter the hitch is unplanned. Does it work? Watch and see for yourself.

Alex (Gloria Votsis) returns! She is in trouble, and the solution needs to come fast. Somebody knows about her role in the music box theft at the Russian Embassy (“Out of the Box”), and plans to pass the word along. There’s a bigger problem, though. If people know about Alex, they are not far from closing in on Neal.

Under ordinary circumstances, Neal and his past can be dealt with. This new threat is ruthless. How much? Kate (Alexandara Daddario), Neal’s longtime love, is dead because someone is trying to shut Neal down. I can only imagine Neal made someone angry, enough so that Kate’s death would send a message.

Speaking of the music box, Diana (Marsha Thomason), an FBI agent who works for Peter, gets it open. It takes Peter, though, to figure out the answer lies with the box itself. A missing piece might help resolve the matter, except where it is now means one person has a key to a mystery which has yet to be solved.

Few episodes remain before White Collar ends for the summer, and the season stops until next winter or so. More than likely, the music box subplot will be solved in a matter of weeks. Catching the person responsible for Kate’s death might just take all season. Agent Fowler (Noah Emmerich) is off the grid, which tells me he is attempting to walk away from the person he’s working for, or at least show he isn’t the villain. Is he? Perhaps not. He could throw Neal back into prison at any time, so why an elaborate scheme and cover-up?

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  • Jane Ballard

    Was this a review or a synopsis of the episode? Did you like the way the story developed, the nuances the actors brought to their roles, the ongoing interwoven plots? I loved the episode – my favorite line was Peter’s remark to the students – “I wear a badge – he wears a tracking anklet”. DeKay delivered it with such skill, it was obvious to see how proud Peter was to be a Special FBI agent, something Neal could never aspire to in spite of his many talents and he looked a bit abashed at Peter’s remark. The actors put so much effort into their characters; their facial expressions often say more than their words. I watch the show on my computer and I can see the detail much better. Great episode – and great show!

  • Jane, a synopsis would have included many more details. I agree this is a great show -the cast is strong. For the most part, plots end at the episode close. The music box and who is responsible for Kate’s death are ties together. Fowler is only a small cog in the chain.

  • John Wilson

    I watched the pilot and the second episode. It’s a remake of the old Set A Thief To Catch A Thief, and writers, directors, actors, etc., must realize they are in competition with Hitchcock, Cary Grant, etc.

    Mildly amusing. Sometimes a good line or two.

    I’ll watch the 3rd episode if convenient.