WHITE COLLAR: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
In some ways, I enjoy basic cable summer programming to the offerings of a traditional big network during the fall season. While these basic cable shows can be smaller productions, they are also not trying to cast the widest audience net around. This allows the characters to be a little quirkier while the network doesn’t try to grab the “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Crowd” lowest common denominator crowd.
“White Collar” is one of my favorite shows of USA Networks’ summer season. It’s a formula procedural, sure, but it’s still punchy and fun. The story follows white collar criminal Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) who, as a part of his parole, helps FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) track down high-end criminals using his own nefarious skills. In season three, Neal and his buddy Mozzie (Willie Garson) are trying to hide a shipment of stolen Nazi art from Peter. Mozzie wants to fence it, but Neal wants to do the right thing and not go back to jail.
This season differs from the previous ones in that we see a true conflict in Neal’s personality. He’s struggling with the remnants of his old life while enjoying the freedom from being constantly pursued by the authorities. This is where the true character development happens, and it gets very interesting when we throw Mozzie in to the mix. Mozzie enjoys the friendly nature with the “suits,” but he would shamelessly continue his life of crime. Here we see true redemption cracking through Neal’s exterior.
Where this season really clicks is how Neal is put in such a quandary, especially near the end. Normally, I don’t like what I affectionately call “shit gets real” stories because they often seem forced and take the characters out of their normal behavior. But when shit gets real for Neal, it feels organic, and I’m happy to say this show hasn’t lost its edge yet.
The four-disc set contains all sixteen season three episodes, with audio commentary on the season finale. Standard special features include a funny gag reel and a slate of deleted scenes. Additional features include “Interrogation Room: A Trivia Challenge with the Cast” which allows them to answer questions about their characters or scenes they were in, and “Jeff Eastin: @ddicted” about showrunner Jeff Eastin’s obsession with Twitter.