Monday, 2 November 2009

WHITE COLLAR 1.2 - "Threads"

Monday, 2 November 2009

[SPOILERS] Not for the first time, the episode immediately succeeding a fun pilot proves to be a slight let-down. "Threads" found some form towards the end, but there was definitely something lacking in how it went about things...

Agent Burke (Tim DeKay) and his department are on the tail of renowned Israeli counterfeiter Ghovat/"The Ghost" (Carlo Rota), after a model for NYC's Fashion Week witnessed him killing a business associate. At Caffrey's (Matthew Bomer) suggestion, they throw a luxuriant party on a terrace to lure Ghovat out into the open, suspecting he's in town to make an important sale.

The main reason I lost patience with "Threads" was because the storyline didn't interest me, and there wasn't much in the Burke/Caffrey dynamic that appealed this week. If Caffrey's supposed to be a superlative hustler, we really need to see it; all he does here is suggest a few ker-azy ideas, pick a pocket, and demonstrate a way to jam someone's cell phone from triggering plastique explosives. I really need something more enthralling than that if I'm to get excited by the idea of a successful Fed and a brilliant conman working together.

Still, there was a plausible way to get Burke's wife Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) involved in the story (she planned the party designed to attract Ghovat); the plot thickened regarding Caffrey's runaway girlfriend, who left him a secret clue to her whereabouts during their last meeting in prison, which Caffrey notices after getting hold of the security tape from Burke; and two new cast additions have potential -- James Rebhorn as Burke's plain-speaking boss who dislikes Cafferty, and The Middleman's Natalie Morales as Agent Lauren Cruz (effectively a heterosexual replacement for Marsha Thomason's lesbian Fed from the pilot, who can wear some slinky dresses and flirt with Cafferty.) She'll hopefully get more to do soon and look a tad more plausible in the role, considering she's rake thin but had no problem taking down some brawny bad guys. And it's a hangover from her days on The Middleman, but Morales' presence still has me waiting for her to utter sarcastic pop-culture quips.

Overall, this is still a young show learning to walk, so we can cut White Collar some slack for now. I just hope they give Caffrey more opportunities to impress us with his tricks and knowledge, and the stories are as developed as the pilot's was. It seems likely White Collar won't stretch far beyond Psych or Monk levels of complexity, though, in which case I'll probably drop out unless they build Burke/Cafferty into a duo worth watching despite its toothless nature.

30 October 2009
USA Network, 10/9c

written by: Clifton Campbell directed by: Dennie Gordon starring: Matthew Bomer (Neal Caffrey), Tim DeKay (Peter Burke), Natalie Morales (Agent Lauren Cruz), Kim Shaw (Juliana),Willie Garson (Mozzie), Tiffani Thiessen (Elizabeth Burke), Sharif Atkins (Jones), Carlo Rota (Ghovat), Kent Davis (Christian), Mike DiGiacinto (Barelli's Driver), Natalia Klimas (Brigette), Heidi Kristoffer (Claire) & James Schram (Itailian Naval Officer)