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TV Review: White Collar – “Hard Sell”

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White Collar is back for the last half of its premiere season, and it opens with a home run! When we last left convicted felon Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), they solved the theft of a really large pink diamond ("Free Fall"). However, there was also a major bombshell. Was Pete the guy who took Kate (Alexandra Daddario), Neal's longtime girlfriend, and forced her to make Neal give up his ill-gotten gains? I'll get to that a little later.

Of all the cases Neal could be asked to participate in, one would think a boiler room scheme would never make the list. The crime is insider trading. The FBI has an employee who supplies the list of who the victims are, but Pete and company need proof of wrongdoing first. One small snag — Neal is badly needed. Considering Neal has an ankle tracking device due to securities fraud, no wonder the Feds are just a bit leery. Even the Dallas bureau agent who talks to Pete questions the idea. However, a roomful of "junior Gordon Geckos" (nice line) needs someone who understands how to play the game.

I assume the reason Neal plays Christopher Halden again is due to the case being similar to a high stakes poker game. Yep, the same alias from the Chinese poker session where hands are formed by combinations of dominoes ("All In"). Both DeKay and Bomer step up their acting abilities big time. It works. While these two do their jobs, it's easy to understand the hidden implications of several lines.

Trust is the main problem for Burke and Caffrey. Pete is never quite sure Neal will stay on the right side of the law, and gets proof of his suspicions time after time. For his part, Neal realizes Pete could easily put him back in prison if he so chooses.

More than likely, Bomer and DeKay are perfectly nice once the camera gets turned off. To have these two performers be pleasant characters, though, would take away what makes the show work. The constant sandpaper rubbing against one another is electric. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have Tiffani Thiessen and Willie Garson on hand to settle things down occasionally,

Such as when Neal sees a photo of Pete with a ring similar to the guy who found Kate at a San Diego ATM. Thiessen does reasonable mixed with pleading quite well as she attempts to define ill thought out ideas to the guy sitting at her living room table. Only by viewing the episode is the solution of who has Kate possible. To be fair, what has been suggested before is partially correct. An FBI agent might be involved. The problem is figuring out exactly who. After all, there is a bureau in every state. I would think some of the bigger ones have two (say, California and Texas). This is a good chunk of folks to think about.

Now, a villain is easy to pick out. Fowler, the guy from OPR — which translates to the FBI Internal Affairs department. Whoever writes the scripts should have enough common sense not to make the plots too simple. Yes, Fowler could be dirty. So could anyone else who works for the Feds. I am also not ruling out the possibility of Mozzie backstabbing Neal so all the money and stuff Neal stole could be greedily grabbed up. Why? This is the guy who lives only for himself, and who refuses to give up his lifestyle of sneakiness and unsavory activities.

Six more episodes remain in the run. I have a feeling the Kate concept is going to run for a good while yet. The layers are still unfolding. Could she be conning Neal? Of course. Anybody who gets involved with a con artist is bound to pick up a few tricks. This show is good at proving things are not always what they seem, so keep watching Tuesdays at 10:00 pm to watch the television present unfold!

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