Ah, another show come to an end. This time, it is White Collar. The show is about conman Neal Cafrey and his deal with the FBI. Work for the FBI, and he won’t have to spend his time in jail. He might even get early release for good work. His handler is of course the man that caught him, Peter Burke. The show focuses on white collar crime, hence the name.
The criminals are mostly con artists, forgers, thieves and embezzlers. The target is usually a lot of money or some valuable artifact. Peter and Neal rely a lot on smarts and Neal’s abilities to catch criminals. There’s undercover work, tricking the villains and good old fashioned arresting.
The most compelling part of the show is the relationship between Neal and Peter. Peter wants Neal to reform and become a good member of society while Neal struggles with the fact that being a conman is what he is. Even with all of the criminals around, there is always a sense of Neal versus Peter. Neal usually has some tricks each season, and Peter is always on the lookout for any signs of something not right.
A fun collection of side-characters makes things fun. Mozzie is highly enjoyable in his distrust of the government, yet he becomes great friends with Peter’s wife. His unique view on life is always fun to watch.
And speaking of Peter’s wife, Elizabeth, the writers were smart not to make her a complete killjoy. She likes both Neal and Mozzie and accepts certain risks with her husband’s job. She is not a major source of drama nor does she get in the way of the cases. At times, she’s more than willing to help them. It makes her enjoyable and refreshing.
The last season was short, with the main villain not being all that threatening. But it’s the returning villain that really causes the conflict. It was the final game between Neal and Peter, as well.
The series has fun writing and cases that rely more on wit and charm to solve rather than straight investigation. It plays to those strengths well with the cast. Neal is suitably charismatic in all situations, and his struggles with what he wants is the major conflict of the story. The other characters are all fun to watch, as well.
For some high-class conmanship, give this a look.