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TV Review: White Collar – “Front Man”

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Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) has been known to get himself into a few awkward situations. It comes with the territory when helping out the FBI on various cases. Although Caffrey might not be legally able to carry a gun (felony conviction), help tends to be available in the form of Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). That is, when he knows about the plan.

This week, Peter is left out of the loop after Agent Kimberly Rice (Diane Neal) requires Neal's services on a kidnapping assignment. Why? It seems the main suspect is a guy named Wilkes (Charles Malik Whitfield), with whom Neal has something of a history. Too bad Rice does not pick up on the intense dislike Wilkes has for Neal, or the fact a locked front door is a perfect method for an ambush. Sheesh! Aren't the Feds supposed to possess a higher than normal intelligence?

The writers appear to have a fondness for being repetitive the latter half of this first season. I have no problem with referring to previous episodes, those can be helpful in understanding. Making Bomer unconscious multiple times is not necessary, though. Poor baby, he must have a good share of bruises. Couldn't someone simply throw a bag over his head?

Alex (Gloria Votsis) is back, as Neal persuades her to turn over the location to the music box. It helps to have his anklet removed for a period of time. it's close, but taking it is a tricky issue. Peter reminds Neal he can catch them both if theft is involved.

Burke is brilliant this week. Not only does he prove professional incompetence (not his), but he shows viewers he is hardly lacking when it comes to smarts. He might not pull the perfect con job more than once ("Hard Sell"), but he knows how to close cases.

Funniest scene? Mozzie (Willie Garson) teaming up with Neal so two shady dudes could persuade a truly shady dude out of a suitcase full of credit cards. The Zig Zag scam is similiar to the one pulled in "Flip of the Coin." I also enjoyed Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) calling Peter to come home for a three-way conference. The best line comes from here. Peter says he doesn't know what Mozzie does, and probably doesn't want to, either. Wise man.

The season finale airs next week, then no more episodes until July for season two. Could this mean viewers finally see Neal and Kate (Alexandria Daddario) together? Handing over the music box to Fowler (Noah Emmerich) so it happens may not be the end of the story. Speaking of the Internal Affairs guy who might have more than a few skeletons in his closet, what's so important about the box? Minions are one possibility, but so is an unprofessional agent.

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