Review: USA's 'White Collar'
Characters, Intricate Story Lines Should Keep Viewers Tuning Into Characters Network's Latest Drama
Thomas Umstead 10/23/2009 11:38:20 AM

USA Network looks to continue its streak of hit dramas with White Collar, which takes a page from the network's hit series Psych and creates a unique and unlikely crime-fighting duo.

The series pits Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), a con artist serving time in jail, and FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), who put Caffrey behind bars after he escaped a maximum-security prison to find his long-lost girlfriend.

Burke finds himself in need of Caffrey's criminal mind to track down a suspected forger, and Caffrey proposes a deal for his freedom in return for his services.

Burke accepts the offer and - reminiscent of 1982's theatrical 48 Hrs. - the button-down, nose-to-the-grindstone Burke and the stylish, often sarcastic Caffrey set to work together on the case.

As with most of USA's dramas, White Collar serves up a healthy dose of sarcasm and humor between the stars, although it takes a while for the chemistry between Caffrey and Burke to warm.

The supporting cast is strong, with excellent performances from Tiffani Thiessen, who plays Burke's faithful, understanding and neglected wife Elizabeth, and Willie Garson, who plays Caffrey's mysterious right-hand man Mozzie.

Also making a cameo appearance is veteran actress Diahann Carroll as a widow who has taken a liking to Caffrey's charm - as well as his good taste in her late husband's expensive designer clothing. She eventually invites Caffrey to stay in her mansion's guest room, leaving behind the broken-down motel in which he's been assigned to live.

While the series lacks the charm and character appeal of USA's stalwart series Monk, Psych and Royal Pains or the raw action of Burn Notice, it tries to makes up for its shortcomings through the development of intricate story development and plot lines - particularly Caffrey's ongoing search for his runaway girlfriend - that could keep audiences tuning in on a weekly basis.

White Collar premieres on USA Network Oct. 23 at 10 p.m.