Bravo.ca began broadcasting episodes of White Collar recently. Season 2, I believe. I was acquainted with the series, but had never seen an episode. Frustrating references to plot points in the first season drove me to spend the day immersed in the first 14 episodes. A marathon of my own making, the Octogenarian joined by default. Four things contribute to the success of White Collar: the setting, the camera work, the scripts and the performances of the two leads – Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay.
The Setting – Manhattan
Ever since I saw Wonderful Town with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, Manhattan has been on my destination bucket list. Woody Allen fueled my desire with his early homages to the island. Shot on location, White Collar rekindles the flame. The city has never looked more enticing.
The Camera Work
Oh my, cinematic camera angles, lighting that illuminates the emotions embedded in a scene, there isn’t a minute of digitized image that fails to snap and crackle. The moody scenes, through use of shadows, and spot-lighting, turn my television screen into a movie screen. White Collar leverages every production dollar.
Disciplined writing that begins with a clearly defined series arc coupled with smart and sassy integration of episodic story lines kept me on the edge of my seat. The banter was natural. I felt like an eavesdropper on conversations in which I would never hold my own.
Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay
Neal Caffrey (Bomer) and Peter Burke (DeKay) separately could be classed as stereotypical characters. However, when the two play off each other an irresistible sum greater than the parts is created. The actors portray distinct aspects of male vulnerability and bravado, complementing each other in a way that only happens in the rarest of buddy films. The pair remind me of Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, transcending the artifice of script and screen.
Good on ya, mate if you’ve been following the series since 2009. If you are late to the party like me, catch up, you won’t regret it.