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Featured TV on DVD Review: White Collar: Season Two

June 6th, 2011

White Collar: Season Two - Buy from Amazon

White Collar entered the very crowded field of police procedurals last season and was able to earn good reviews and strong ratings for the USA network and was quickly renewed for season two. However, with many similar long-running shows being canceled, is it at the tail-end of the genre? Or does it have what it takes to last?

The Show

First a quick recap of season one. The show starts with F.B.I. Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) working on one of the most difficult cases of his career, when he learns the most difficult case of his career, Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), just escaped from prison. Peter Burke was able to capture Neal Caffrey and learns he only escaped to try and meet with his girlfriend, Kate (Alexandra Daddario), before she left. Neal then makes a bargain with Peter that in exchange for his F.B.I. supervised freedom, he will help Peter solve difficult cases. Of course, Neal is still planning on finding Kate and at the end of the season, he finally gets his chance to escape with Kate and fly away. However, the plane he was supposed to be on with Kate is blown up right in front of him.

That last part is a pretty big spoiler for season one, but it also forms the main thread of season two, as Neal is determined to figure out the who and why behind that event, with the help of Mozzie. Of course, Peter gets involved investigating that as well, with Diana Barrigan, a fellow F.B.I. Agent, helping him out. Peter doesn't want Neal knowing he's looking into the case, because he doesn't want to give him false hope. Eventually they start climbing the chain of command with the help of Sara Ellis, an insurance investigator who tried to bust Neal for the theft of a Raphael years ago. Although they start out as adversaries, they become friends.

As for some highlights, without spoilers, Copycat Caffrey has Neal feeling very flattered after some thieves use his M.O. to steal. (It also features a guest shot by Aidan Quinn.) In By the Book we get to see Mozzie's softer side as he tries to rescue a waitress, played by Diane Farr, whom he has been flirting with. John Larroquette shows up as a gambling addict in need of quick cash in In the Red. In Company Man, Peter Burke gets to go undercover as a corporate accountant, which is a job he could have had, had he not joined the F.B.I. Burke's Seven is another excellent episode, but it's a little too spoiler heavy to get into, as is Forging Bonds, which is a flashback episode. It also features the introduction of Adler, the main bad guy we've been waiting to see. Countermeasures has Billy Dee Williams showing up as a conman from June's past who may or may not be looking for one last big score. Power Play has Neal and Peter switching identities with Neal pretending to be the F.B.I. Agent and Peter pretending to be the thief.

Overall the season is a small improvement over the first season, which is great news, as the first season was an easy recommendation. There are a few changes to the show, mostly for the better. Neal is no longer a serious escape risk, as he's now looking to find out who murdered Kate and not run away with her. Also, Mozzie has a much more prominent role. On the downside, Tiffani Thiessen is not as prominent for most of the season, because she was on maternity leave. Also, I miss Natalie Morales as Special Agent Lauren Cruz. I hope she comes back next season.

The Extras

Disc one has eight minutes of deleted scenes and five minutes of outtakes. Disc two has the two Roasts that were also on the Season Four of Burn Notice, which I just reviewed. Disc three has an interview with Willie Garson, a.k.a., Mozzie, as well as audio commentary tracks for two episodes: Point Blank and Forging Bonds. These include the head writer / executive producer, Jeff Eastin, as well as cast members Tim DeKay and Matt Bomer on the first one, and Tim DeKay, Matt Bomer, Willie Garson, and Tiffani Thiessen on the second. The final episode has a 13-minute making of featurette and the finale has the third audio commentary track.

The Verdict

White Collar shows some improvement during Season Two and since the first season was worth picking up, there's no doubt this one is as well. It's not quite a contender for Pick of the Week, but it's close.

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