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TV Review White Collar – “Countermeasures”

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Old habits die hard, at least, that’s the saying. This is certainly true for Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer). While he might consult for the FBI, the charming con artist will always understand there are perks to being on the wrong side of the law. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time until said con artist gets caught in one form or another.

Bomer comes off in show promotion interviews as a nice guy from Texas, but his professional training ensures he can play a shady character with accuracy and just a touch of not very pleasant. For a show such as White Collar, the skill comes in handy. After all, a felony conviction and time served in prison would harden one somewhat without trying very hard.

In the case of Ford, played by guest star Billy Dee Williams, the prison stint is hardly much of a deterrent. When Ford reappears to see an old friend, Neal has his suspicions about just how reformed Ford really comes off as. Since one old friend is Neal’s landlady, June (Diahann Carroll), the stakes are a bit higher than usual. Throw in a case of counterfeiting, and it’s a viewer’s delight. The twist at the end after the arrests is worth the watch alone.

Williams and Bomer play off each other in harmony. The young guy who struggles with going clean, and the older gentleman looking for the next big racket. The distrust is mutual, and both actors say volumes with facial expressions alone. Could Williams return down the line? It’s possible, but I doubt anything happens before Season 3. Too many storylines are happening, and little room exists for plot development before the end of this winter run.

I will say, the musical interlude with Bomer, Carroll, and Williams shows off the versatility of these three performers. They blend together as solid complements, which works. Just one nit, Bomer is a strong singer. With Carroll, though, he gets drowned out so his voice practically disappears into the background. The song probably should have been split so each sang a solo.

Speaking of, the music box is back in play. Mozzie (Willie Garson) has created a transmitter of sorts which just might help lead Caffrey and crew finally unlock the code that fractal stands for. What’s this, you ask? A math thingy having several interlocking pieces. Let’s see – the box itself with the fractal code, Fowler, Jonathan Larson, Kate’s death, and a scam artist akin to Bernie Madoff. I’d say these qualify.

The person behind this has been known for a good bit, thanks to Internet promotions. Andrew McCarthy is portraying Vincent Adler, the man who teaches Neal how to make a lasting impression (“Forging Bonds”). The questions left, though, are why? Kate dying is relatively simple. Adler probably intended a send a message. Larson’s involvement is a bit trickier. A former Special Forces guy who ends up turning over the name of his boss to the Feds. Oops!

I have to question the wisdom of using an Internal Affairs guy as part of the plot. Wouldn’t Adler need help to put Fowler in his position? Noah Emmerich turning up in the small handful of episodes left is not entirely unreasonable. He’s been back before, and the episode was made richer. Seeing McCarthy and Emmerich together would make for some nice viewing…

Only two episodes remain before the finale. Let me be clear – THREE episodes are left with Season Two wrapping up March 8th at 10pm on USA. Rumors have the finale as a two hour show, but I’m inclined to doubt it. The pilot wasn’t nearly this long, so I have no reason to think March 8th is now. Besides, last season wrapped in one hour, and it worked fine.

Tune in for all new episodes of White Collar starting 2/22 only on USA at 10pm!

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  • Deej1957

    I was disappointed when I heard Matt sing as I thought his voice was much stronger than it appeared on the show– he was pretty drowned out by Kelly whos-its when they sang at the Kennedy Honors show, too. Yet, on the blooper reel he really let Love is A Many Splendored Thing hit the heavens!

  • Mimi

    @Deej1957 – Matt has since revealed that he was actually sick when he did the Kennedy Center Honors, and had had to have a cortizone injection to enable him to sing at all. So he did pretty well in the circumstances, I think.

    I agree with this review that the Bomer/Carroll singing spot should have had them singing separately – I don’t think the show used that opportunity as well as it could have. But apparently the whole thing (they recorded and shot the whole song) will be on the S2 DVD set.

    And the March 8 finale will be 1 hour – Jeff Eastin confirmed that on Twitter.

  • Boeke

    I watch “White Collar” occasionally, and I always have high hopes for it, and sometimes it’s fun, though preposterous. Actually, being preposterous is not a fun killer if the performances and the music are good. But sometimes it seems like old cliches hobbling unlikely plots and relationships.

    They need to get away from the narrow perspective of the core group of characters and their relationships. After all, we watch cop, lawyer, doctor, and fugitive shows because these characters get involved in OTHER peoples lives. That was the success of old TV series like “The Fugitive”, “Route 66″, etc. “Law and Order” is often good at this, especially the “Criminal Intent” branch.

    By getting involved in other peoples lives you get a chance to bring in other actors and other lives and other stories and you don’t have to repeat the same cliched relations of the leads.

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com Nancy

    The Season Finale should open doors to new avenues. We know who killed Kate (sort of) but not why or what Adler is actually after. Hilarie Burton will be a regular next season, so her life will probably be examined.