The second episode of White Collar doesn't quite meet the standards set by the pilot – the characterizations remain strong, but the plot is rather lackluster – but it didn't experience a huge letdown after such a strong opening.
Two new characters are introduced this week: Peter's more by-the-book boss and Agent Lauren Cruz. Agent Cruz looks to be a regular fixture on the show. I have no strong feelings about her yet, but I can't help but be a bit disappointed that in dropping Diana the writers are setting up a flirtatious relationship between she and Neal.
We learned a little more about Elizabeth. She's a party planner. Besides providing immediate assistance with the case this week, it establishes she knows people, has contacts and perhaps will be of further assistance in the future. I don't want to see Elizabeth become the third wheel, but I appreciate the writers introducing ways to bring her into the stories. She's not merely around to be there for Peter at the end of the day so he can unload about a case or Neal.
The partnership and friendship between Peter and Neal is developing nicely. Peter may tell Neal he doesn't trust him, but, out of earshot, Peter tells his boss he trusts Neal's instincts. And Peter is willing to defer to Neal's judgment, at times.
At the same time, we learn Neal has trust issues. As much as he loves Kate and relies on Mozzie's assistance, he trusted neither with the information as to where his ill gotten gains were hidden. He was testing them both. And Kate may have been forced to reveal where she believed everything was stashed, but how hurt might she have been to discover he lied to her? That he didn't trust her.
I like that while Neal may not have been completely truthful with Peter as to why he wanted to see the footage of Kate, he took Mozzie's advice and went the direct route and just asked. He didn't try to scam Peter. And Peter, in turn, kept his promise.
Having the real New York City as a backdrop for the series continues to be an outstanding choice on the part of the creators of the show. I tip Neal's hat to the USA for allowing the show to shoot on location rather than forcing them to pass off Vancouver as New York.
Peter's office appeared smaller, less sleek and high tech this week. I thought this was a good move. White collar unit or not, last week I found the offices a little too high end for the FBI.
“You're lucky. They have you on a two mile tether. That's a lot in New York.” Thank you Mozzie and thank you writers! I made the same comment last week. It seemed like a hell of a lot of space to give Neal to roam and I'm glad it was acknowledged how lucky he was, if not explaining outright why the FBI would be so generous. Maybe they're seeing where he might take them?
There was one moment this week that, to me, showed the people behind the series are interested in the small details - the dress stuffed in Dimitri's mouth mimicking a pool of blood. Perhaps it was a little overly dramatic, but I appreciate the effort in trying to create such a striking and artistic image.
And while there were a lot of great lines, two of my favorites were courtesy of Peter: “No dancing in the office” and “Ask me what I know about a Prada bag sometime.”
In other TV news, in preparation for ABC's reimagining of V, I watched the original miniseries V and V: The Final Battle yesterday on SyFy. I was pleasantly surprised at how well both hold up. And all these years later I still feel sorry the lizard baby. It's not his fault he was born all green and veiny and tore his way out of his mother's womb! Actually, I found the mother much creepier.
And in case you haven't heard, TNT has saved 'Southland'! TNT purchased the seven episodes that aired last season, plus the six recently filmed. The series is scheduled to return January 12th at 10:00pm. Yep, that's right, it will be airing against Leno and hopefully kicking his ass in the ratings. MUWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!