White Collar: not binge-worthy

“White Collar” is a comedic criminal drama about Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) that aired from October 2009 to December 2014, and is great to have playing in the background while doing other activities.

Caffery is a renowned con artist and art thief who escapes prison by casually walking out in a prison uniform mere weeks before release. He is promptly captured by Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) who previously captured Caffrey.

Caffrey’s jail sentence is doubled but instead of sitting in jail, he strikes a deal to assist the New York FBI White Collar division in unusual cases while Agent Burke supervises him.
The plot of the show is laughably predictable and character development is shallow, but I’m a sucker for heist movies and I don’t have a lot of complaints about scenes featuring expensive suits and wine.

The living arrangements are relatively modest and spacious, yet the number of items carefully placed in the background are easily in the hundreds for a couple of shots within an episode.

The cinematography is pleasant as well. During scene transitions I saw a lot of typical stock footage of New York, but during intensive scenes, especially when someone was on the move, a lot of liberty was taken with panning, zoom and camera height which give good contrasting views of depth perception and location for the viewer.

Clever shots of inactive scenes like stakeouts and coffee shop business meetings are also creative but get rather dull after a few seasons of idle banter. The screenplay compensates this by focusing on car scenes for short moments of tension or seeking private advice for character development before proceeding to the next scene.

The plot for the sixth season is rather dull. While each episode features crazy stunts like zip-lining or speed forgery, the story follows a cookie cutter formula. Caffrey infiltrates an international criminal organization, former prisoners Caffrey and Burke come back as informants or rivals from competing criminal and political organizations to cause havoc. Burke interrupts the middle of an operation when something goes wrong and improvises. Bad guys get caught and they start over again.

My favorite supporting character is Mozzie, who participates in a similar brand of criminal lies and deceit that Caffrey does. He’s paranoid, finds government conspiracy within everything and has official credentials for bizarre professions. His interactions with the rest of the cast make for great reaction faces and one-liners. In the last season, Mozzie works with Elizabeth, Burkes wife, as they support the protagonists.

I don’t hold the show in the greatest esteem but it is easy to watch or sometimes just to listen to when doing other activities.

The story has little depth but the actors are mildly convincing and the scenery is given a lot of love so I enjoy watching it in the background. “White Collar” was first released in 2009 on the USA network and is available on cable television on Netflix.