It might be stuck with the most boring name of any show on TV right now because it explores the white collar crime division of the FBI – fraud, counterfeiting, theft – but don’t let that put you off.
As part of the recent gaggle of US programmes featuring expert civilians teaming up with law enforcement as consultants (Castle with its cop/writer; The Mentalist and its detective/Derren Brown type), White Collar pairs up an FBI agent and a conman.
Unlike its TV siblings, however, both the leads here are male, and the end result is a solid bromance between a likeable odd couple.
Matt Bomer is Neal Caffrey, the smooth and sophisticated criminal mastermind who can do anything: forgery, burglary, scams – you name it, he’s the best in the world at it.
His law enforcement nemesis is FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), who, after throwing the slippery conman in jail, soon comes to realise that letting him out of prison and using him as an FBI secret weapon to defeat super-intelligent bad guys is a better idea.
A reluctant Caffrey finds himself electronically tagged and under Burke’s care, helping to crack cases while dressing like a rat-packer (“I wanted a guy who walked into a room and every head turned,” says creator Jeff Eastin in one of the three short featurettes).
Indeed, the showmakers were probably relying on Bomer’s undeniable good looks and charm to make White Collar a hit, and while he rises to the occasion it’s actually DeKay’s Burke who scores the home run here.
He’s grumpy, clever, witty and warm, with a fun relationship with screen wife Tiffani Thiessen thrown in – you can hear from her appearances on two of the five amusing commentaries that their chemistry isn’t just confined to the screen, either.
Plotwise, not much new ground is broken (despite a few interesting scenes explaining forgery – you too can learn how to fake a signature!), but snazzy editing and spinning shots of New York keep the pace ticking along pleasingly.
White Collar might have the dullest name on TV, but it looks mighty fine. Shame there’s no UK Blu-ray, however, even though the Americans have one... Did some fraudster swipe it?
Slick, crisp and pleasing on the eye, this is a nifty little show packaged with great extras.