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TV Review: White Collar – “Withdrawal”

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White Collar is back! And, with a vengeance, I might add. Shows which have a strong pilot season are supposed to be granted a renewal, but this is not always the outcome in a world where the good sometimes gets tossed out while it’s on top. Having solid guest stars can help, as well as not forgetting what matters most.

As we last left things, Neal (Matt Bomer) and FBI Special Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) nearly parted ways at an airplane hangar. Neal turned back, which was fortunate. The plane that was supposed to take him and Kate (Alexandria Daddario) to a new life went boom. This is not a fire in the privy I’m talking about, but rather a gigantic explosion encompassing most of the flying tin can. Kate was still on board (“Out of the Box”).

Just in case someone has not seen the season two premiere, the question of whether or not Kate survived is to be answered by watching. Suffice it to say chances are considerably dicey, but twists and turns galore make anything possible.

Tim Matheson of The West Wing fame not only directs “Withdrawal,” but also comes through as the main baddie. He and Bomer are pitch perfect as they get under one another’s skin. The reason? A series of bank robberies across Dallas, Chicago, and Boston. Smart writing makes the appearance of someone else involved a brilliant touch. It could be possible to guess exactly who prior to the reveal, but more than one person is a candidate.

Marsha Thomason is a series regular, which should mean more about FBI agent Diana is on tap. Sharif Atkins is still thought of as a guest star, but he’s mentioned online that he is scheduled to be in every episode. Take his words with a grain of salt, as filming is just a couple of episodes into the second half of season two. Adjustments could be made.

Natalie Morales, aka FBI agent Lauren Cruz, is gone. For now, anyway. While I think diversity comes across better with a mix of folks, chemistry has to be taken into account.

Kate and OPR agent Garrett Fowler (Noah Emmerich) appear only in flashbacks, but I would not be surprised to see these two back in some form or another down the road. Fowler might be back before the end of the first half of this season, if the meeting he has in three days is any indication. Note: television time is different from real time. Episode four should not be cemented in viewers’ minds as the only option.

I have only one small nit. While the opening credits are sharp as ever, couldn’t the actors’ names be put with their characters? It makes more sense than to have people trying to guess who’s who.

One more mystery is still on ongoing. The music box which Fowler seems to want so badly, and Neal obtains by extreme measures has yet to reveal its secrets. The key is knowing the box itself is not valuable, but what’s inside is. It’s not real big, so easy enough to make guesses. The final scene of “Withdrawal” sheds new light on a perhaps unexpected avenue. Or maybe not, if one pays attention to the scene between Neal and Mozzie (Willie Garson).

The second season is only one episode in, so tune in Tuesdays at 10pm ET for all new stories from White Collar!

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