White Collar Pilot S01E01 (USA)

White Collar promotional poster
White Collar promotional poster

The pilot episode of White Collar was most definitely slick and smart, as well as charming, as Matt Bormer will charm the pants off anyone he meets as his suave alter ego Neal Caffrey.

This show most definitely fits in the USA Network’s slew of shows, which include Burn Notice and Royal Pains. It has good pacing and interesting chemistry between Matt Bormer and Tim DeKay, something that isn’t easy to fake. They work well on the screen, there is no denying this.

Basically, Dekay’s Burke is a white collar specialist who put Bormer’s Caffrey away a few years ago. In order to reduce his sentence a bit further, after having escaped a super max jail, Caffrey offers to help Burke to catch the illusive Dutchman, a criminal that Burke has also been chasing for a few years. This setup kind of reminds me of Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can as well as The Sting with Redford and Newman.

What’s also interesting, is that the guys don’t just keep this professional. They also involve their personal lives. Burke needs help to make his hot wife Elizabeth, played by Tiffani Thiessen, happy while Caffrey is searching for his wife that just vanished. All in all, a great show with good actors. I recommend it.

Warning: spoilers ahead

Some guy in jail is changing into a guard’s uniform. He quietly walks out of jail. His name is Neal Caffrey. He was convicted for bond forgery, suspected in art theft, securities fraud, counterfeiting and racketeering. He hotwires a van and leaves. He gets a Rolls Royce by posing as a valet at a long term parking facility at the airport.

An FBI agent named Burke is after The Dutchman. He knew that they were coming. Diana arrives on the scene. She says that Neal Caffrey escaped. A US Marshall named Thompson wants Peter Burke on the case, he is part of the White Collar Unit at the FBI. Caffrey ran even though he had 3 months left on a 4-year sentence. Burke is the only one that caught him. Burke discovers that Caffrey planned his escape pretty thoroughly.

The day that Neal stopped shaving he got a visit from Kate Moreau. Burke finds Caffrey at her place. Kate has moved out. She left him a message. It’s a bottle of Bordeaux. He missed her by two days. It took him a month and a half to escape a super max. The message was goodbye. He’s going to get another 4 years. Caffrey finds the thread from the Dutchman case. He knows what the thread is. He says that it’s a security fiber for the new Canadian 100 dollar bill. He wants Burke to meet him back in prison in one week.

Diana confirms it. The formulation is still classified. The CSS wants to find out what it was. Burke goes to see Caffrey. He says that he knows why Burke calls him the Dutchman, he disappears each time they get close to him. Caffrey wants to help Burke to catch him. Burke doesn’t bite.

Burke’s hot wife is played by Tiffani Thiessen. Burke thinks that Caffrey is playing some side-angle. The wife asks him if he wouldn’t do the same for her.

Caffrey is released into Burke’s custody. If he helps him catch the Dutchman, this arrangement can become permanent. Caffrey is wearing an apparently tamper-proof GPS ankle bracelet. Burke leaves him at a shitty hotel and says that he can venture anywhere within 2 miles of the hotel.

At the thrift store, he meets an old lady who’s donating her dead husband’s wardrobe. She also has a guestroom. Burke finds him there the next day. There is a maid who answers the door. Caffrey has got a sweet setup. The granddaughter Cindy is über-hot. Burke has got his panties tied in a knot.

Caffrey meets Diana, Burke’s probie. A man flew in some Snow White books. Burke tells Caffrey that Diana is a lesbian, so he’s got no chance with her. He should stop flirting with her.

Burke meets the book dealer, who’s extremely nervous. Before he can tell Burke what is up, a lawyer appears. The book dealer is scared of him. Caffrey sees Diana flirting with a hottie. It turns out that the man wasn’t his lawyer. They find the book dealer dead with a syringe plunged in his neck. The Dutchman wants the paper of the book, which dates from 1944. He’s going to counterfeit some old book. He went to the national archives to visit the Spanish victory bond. Neal says that it’s a forgery. The ink hasn’t dried yet. It’s been here for less than a week.

Neal says that the bond is still redeemable for $248K. 600 sheets is worth $150 million. He would claim to have found a box in Spain. It would be compared to the one at the National Archives. It would match since he switched it out.

Neal mentions that it’s going to be Burke’s anniversary. Burke had forgotten it. Burke makes a snide comment about Caffrey’s wife fleeing the country to get away from him, and Caffrey shuts up.

Caffrey finds a friend waiting for him. Moz says that Kate has become a ghost. She melted away.

Burke has to use his detecting skills to find out what his wife Elizabeth likes. Burke finds Caffrey with Elizabeth. Caffrey says that Curtis Hagen is the Dutchman. He’s an art restorer, specializing in Goya. He signed the bond. They go to Hagen’s church restoration. They meet him. He’s aloof and confident.

Burke is stalking in his own wife. He finds out what she likes. Hagen is leaving the country in a week for Spain. If they lose him, Neal has to go back to prison.

Moz found Kate with a man that he knows in San Diego. She’s going as Kate Purdue. Purdue for perdue, which means lost in French. Caffrey doesn’t tell him about the man. Burke won’t let him go to San Diego. Caffrey found Hagen’s warehouse thanks to Mos. The sound coming out of the warehouse comes from a printing press. This isn’t enough for a warrant. Burke wants to talk with Mos. He gives Caffrey a book on Warrant Law. The next morning, Caffrey takes June’s Bentley and goes to the warehouse. He takes some photos and gets taken in by the goons. It’s a big operation. Caffrey locks himself in Hagen’s office and waits for Burke. It gives Burke the opportunity to get into the warehouse without a warrant. They even recover the original bond and the killer of the book dealer.

Burke is celebrating his wedding anniversary on top of June’s 10 million dollar mansion. He’s decorated it to look like the Caribean. Also, he’s bought two tickets to go to Belize for a week.

The FBI makes their partnership official. Burke owns Caffrey for 4 years.

* * * * *

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Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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