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Matt Bomer

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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.

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Grade: B+

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When White Collar (USA Network, Tuesdays, 9/8C) returns tonight, Neal Caffrey is living the high life in paradise and Special Agent Peter Burke is hovering somewhere near the doghouse. Then things get complicated.

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Grade: A-

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My initial thought, on screening the summer finale of White Collar [USA Network, Tuesdays 9/8C] was this: from the moment Mozzie let him know he’d stolen the Nazi treasure [from the season two finale] Neal Caffrey has to have known this moment was coming.

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Grade: A

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On Friday, I had the opportunity to take part in a teleconference Q&A with White collar’s [USA Network, Tuesdays, 9/8C] newest regular cast member, Hilarie Burton. Burton is charming and articulate so the experience was an enjoyable one – and unlike some of chats, stayed pretty much on target throughout.

Some of the participants in the call hadn’t seen the season premiere, so some of Burton’s required tactfulness might seem a bit odd, now. Just go with it…

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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.

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Grade: A

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In White Collar’s second season finale, the show wrapped up two years of mythology involving the death of Neal Caffrey’s one true love, a mysterious music box, fractals and Nazi treasure. The final scene had the emotional impact of a typically perilous cliffhanger, but the impact came from the war of emotions raging within Caffrey. In tonight’s third season premiere of the USA Network hit [Tuesdays, 9/8C], we learn how that emotional battle plays out.

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Grade: B

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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.

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