Monday, November 30, 2009

What I’m Watching: White Collar

White Collar: Season 1, Episode 5 “The Portrait” (B+)

This show is becoming increasingly formulaic in an absolutely fantastic way. Each episode, it appears, will follow the scheme of some precious piece of art being stolen, Peter taking the case, and Neal stepping in to help out in an extralegal way by posing as a wealthy buyer. It’s something that works extraordinarily well, and just seems to become more entertaining every time. Neal’s side investigation into his disappeared girlfriend is equally interesting, and the fact that he gets as far as actually seeing her this episode is terrific. That she was able to arrange an in-person phone call to wave to him while telling him that someone is watching her was pretty impressive. It’s great that Peter is completely aware of Neal following these leads, and that he turns to his wife for advice on whether he should let Neal pursue his search or encourage him to go for the flirtatious museum curator. The childish banter between Peter and Neal over the radio was hilarious, and the notion of them as argument-prone pals rather than cops and robbers is the most compelling element of this show. It’s nice to have Elizabeth as a supportive rather than suspicious and jealous wife, and she and Peter also seem much more like partners. Neal really does enjoy having fun above all else, and his theft of the painting and fabrication of a new inscription to ensure that no one would ever suspect it was a duplicate was a stellar surprise.

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