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TV Review: White Collar – “What Happens in Burma”

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Ever since Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) appeared on the FBI radar, the chance of his pulling off a con without someone figuring it out has been a little remote. Still, the convicted felon has his uses. Just ask FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) how many cases are solved with Neal’s assistance. The problem is, everything still has to stand up in court.

This week’s episode is about a corrupt government, or at least a couple of officials. After the Burmese government detains a young man named Christopher, a State Department bureaucrat asks Peter and Neal for help. I like the idea of having a group whose job it is to develop relationships with other countries not quite living up to expectations. Burma provides the heightened sense of danger, although nobody actually leaves the United States. A little matter of a tracking anklet has something to do with it….

Viewers have known for a bit there is always more to the story. The detainee turns out to be (semi spoiler alert) the diplomat’s son. Note to the ad department – probably a wise move to leave direct details like that out of the upcoming promos. For the record, Vincent Adler, Neal’s former mentor (“Forging Bonds”) has nothing to do with the scheme. I should certainly hope not. Andrew McCarthy makes a decent villain, but having him around for this would be beyond belief.

While Neal has a close encounter of the deadly kind, Peter must go into a slightly gray area in order to close the case. Can you say awkward? Peter tends to see the world in black and white terms. It’s what makes him good at his job. Neal, on the other hand, is expert at taking advantage to get what he wants. The contrast between the two men is striking, but they play off of each other’s strengths.

The father-son relationship plays a huge part in how the direction proceeds. An international incident is high stakes and must be considered. Still, a dad’s care of his child is equally if not more important.

Which brings us to the story of Neal’s parents. Let’s just say Neal has a dad with something of a reputation. In a way, this explains a lot about why the federal agent and the felon team up. Neal needs a family, and Peter likes taking care of the boy who needs a person that cares about him.

Bomer and DeKay are well suited for their individual roles. Each makes the audience want to know more about how the characters came to take on their roles in life. Theatre training serves both well, as each week requires them to draw viewers in with stories running a thin line between fact and fiction.

Season Two is going along at a good clip. The story of Kate’s death along with the music box should be wrapped up at the season finale, if not sooner. Only a handful of episodes remain, so tune in Tuesdays at 10pm ET for the rest of White Collar!

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