Graceland (USA Network, Thursdays, 10/9C) comes from the creator of White Collar, Jeff Eastin, and is based on a real situation in which agents of the FBI, DEA and US Customs shared a beach house that became government property because it was gained through funds made by criminal means. The series follows rookie FBI agent Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit, Gossip Girl, Les Miserables) as he gets plugged into this unusual setting with an unusually odd assortment of representatives of the three agencies – each (including him) with their own secrets.
White Collar (USA Network, Tuesdays, 10/9C) returns with a caper that combines revelations about Neal Caffrey’s father with the resurgence of the crime family that forced Neal’s father to confess to a murder he did not commit.
Season four of White Collar (USA Network, Summer Finale Tonight, 9/8C) has found Neal trying to learn about his father, and working with a mysterious man named Sam. This evening’s episode brings things to a boil, metaphorically, with the show’s quietest, yet most emotionally explosive cliffhanger yet
Series creator Jeff Eastin (Pictured with Matt Bomer, above) spoke with a group of bloggers/journalists late last week to tease the summer finale, set up the rest of the season and to give us a bit of a look at his new Show, Graceland – about a beach house that serves as home to a group of young agents for various government agents (Customs, DEA, FBI…), and will be darker and more action-orientated than White Collar.
USA Network’s White Collar has a fun premise: Jailed white collar supercrook helps FBI Agent catch other white collar crooks. Thus con man/forger Neal Caffrey is released from prison into the custody of the FBI [more accurately, Peter Burke, the FBI agent who caught him – twice] as long as he works with Burke to take down others of his ilk.
When you have a series, like White Collar, in which five core characters are usually ‘the smartest person in the room,’ you really have a challenge to bring them all together without slighting someone. White Collar’s Jeff Eastin surmounts this situation by giving each of these characters slightly different areas of expertise.
In season two of the series, Eastin and his writers’ room took the mythology they’d build up in season one and cranked it up a notch, thus ensuring that FBI Special Agent Peter Burke [Tim DeKay] and his favorite consultant/con man/forger/etc., Neal Caffrey [Matt Bomer] faced growing challenges right from the season one cliffhanger that saw Neal’s one true love, Kate, die in an explosion just before they would have been able to fly away to a life together.
That mythology included a music box with a code; separate investigations into who kicked Kate and the potential of looming major score. In and around the ongoing mythology, Peter and Neal – ably abetted by insurance investigator Sara Ellis [Hilarie Burton], Neal’s mentor and closest friend, Mozzie [Willie Garson], Peter’s fellow agents Jones [Sharif Atkins] and Barrigan [Diana Thomason] and, on one occasion, Peter’s wife, Elizabeth [Tiffani Thiessen] – take on the brilliant mind behind several bank heists; a lawyer who turns adoption of foreign babies into an extortion racquet, and a dirty FBI agent who leaks the names of witnesses to the accused, among others…
Following the jump, my five favorite episodes and fifteen moments/reasons that White Collar, Season Two was so enjoyable.
Sara Ellis, whom we met late in the first half of White Collar’s [USA, Tuesdays, 10/9C] current season, is a no-nonsense insurance investigator who does whatever it takes to close a case. If that means going to extra-legal lengths, then that’s fine.
Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a teleconference call with Hilarie Burton, the actor who plays Ellis. Burton, it turns out is both voluble and witty – when she’s finished answering a question, it stays answered! It’s easy to see that she’s having a good time in her recurring role on White Collar and that sense of fun is present in call.
White Collar [USA, Tuesdays, 9/8C] left fans hanging with its mid-second-season cliffhanger – Mozzie had been shot and his solution to a music box-related problem taken. The second half of the season begins with Mozzie being rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
One of the best things about White Collar is that its characters – regulars and antagonists – tend to be smart. Very smart. That continues to be the case in the mid-second season premiere.
Last week, I had the opportunity to take part in one of those teleconference Q&A’s that are becoming a way to connect networks and shows to a grassroots audience – in this case, with creator and executive producer of USA’s White Collar [9/8C], Jeff Eastin.
The witty, offbeat series is just into its second season, and Eastin talked with the usual gang of bloggers/journos about what to expect in terms of story, character development and how he and his writing team create worthy adversaries for the FBI/con artist team of Peter Burke and Neal Caffrey.
In White Collar, Jeff Eastin has created a series in which – in their own ways – each of the regular cast of characters is the smartest person in the room. The result is a sparkling hour of intelligent plotting, engaging, witty characters and a nifty balance of comedy and drama. In a recent teleconference Q&A, Eastin talked about why each of his show’s regular character is the smartest person in the room – and how that plays into writing the series. Then there’s that reference to a crossover with another popular USA series – and how that might be tied to… Mozzie?
The first season finale of White Collar airs on USA this evening at 10/9C.