White Collar: Season 1, Episode 14

Out of the Box (9 Mar. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Crime | Drama
8.8
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Alex Hunter finally teams up with Neil to steal the music-box, which she located in the Italian consul's safe, doubtlessly obtained illegally. Pete smells a rat but is kept at a distance, ... See full summary »

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Signore Tomassi
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OPR Agent / Maurice
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Yvonne
Patrick Stephenson ...
Carabiniere
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Storyline

Alex Hunter finally teams up with Neil to steal the music-box, which she located in the Italian consul's safe, doubtlessly obtained illegally. Pete smells a rat but is kept at a distance, as the plan requires entering a witness protection relocation to Canada, arranged by dirty agent Garrett Fowler. An explosion changes everything. Written by KGF Vissers

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Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery

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9 March 2010 (USA)  »

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Goofs

The plans for the Italian Consulate said "STAILWELL". See more »

Quotes

Neal Caffrey: There's something I wanted to ask you.
Elizabeth Burke: Yeah!
Neal Caffrey: You and Peter. How'd you know?
Elizabeth Burke: Well, I think there's a difference between loving the idea of someone
[pause]
Elizabeth Burke: and actually loving who they really are.
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References Casablanca (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

Season 1: Slick and serviceable but somehow lacking that spark in several areas to make it as entertaining and as engaging as it could be
25 March 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

White Collar caught my eye because it seemed to be related to Monk and Psych in the schedules, indeed it did appear that it was specifically being put where it was put to handover with Monk ending. With us liking both those shows we decided to watch this one as well, thinking that we knew the territory. The setup is that slick con-man and forger Neal Caffrey is given the opportunity to be released from prison to help the FBI with a case and, having proved his usefulness is taken on as a "consultant" – albeit on the leash of an electronic bracelet and with suspicion from all his new colleagues, not least of which is Peter Burke, the agent who caught him twice. It sounds very much like the gimmicky "case per week" show that we are used to and in a way it is that.

Of course these shows need a background thing to keep the viewer beyond this and, in this case it is Neal's hunt for his ex and the wider mystery that comes with that. As one would expect it is all bundled together in a very slick package that never stops reminding you that it is in New York and that everything goes "swoosh" and "zam" in multiple slick camera cuts every five or so minutes. On the face of it the show should be really slick and easy to enjoy on a weekly basis while the bigger mystery acts as a regular reminder that there is a reason to stick with it – so does it manage to do it? Well the answer is "sort of" because season 1 of White Collar feels like it is not too far short of the mark in what it is trying to do but yet somehow is just lacking a consistent spark to a lot of what it does, limiting it and keeping it serviceable as a show but not as much of anything that it should be.

The weekly plots are the first area where the spark fades because too many of them feel forced. I thought several times during the season that some of the plots were really crowbarred in out of nowhere and this is not a good sign – if your concept cannot produce plots without utilising family members or some other weak device to get them started then the outlook is not good. Once the plots get moving then the slick delivery and quite fun development of each one is engaging enough but few of them really spark. This leaves the bigger mystery. Now this works better than I thought it would because it is not something that is only rolled out to close a season or boost ratings but rather is in each episode. It doesn't totally work though because, as it does in the pilot, it puts a lot of "seriousness" into it that emotionally it cannot justify and, while the various twists maybe hold the interest and make for some good episodes, it is easy to watch it without really caring all that much – which does rather rob it of thrills and prevents it engaging as it should.

And it does need these thrills and a sense of fun to make it reach its full potential but it just doesn't hit that mark with any sort of consistency. The interplay between the characters is the same – a case of close, but no cigar. Neal and Peter are both pretty good together but there isn't the magic that the relationship needs to make it work. They sort of have mutual respect, sort of have mistrust, sort of have comic interplay but it is all "sort of". Borner is slick and cool while DeKay is a solid but unremarkable presence but neither are brilliant – and the supporting cast don't do a lot to help. Garson's Mozzie is a nicely comic character and is always welcome in any scene (his "thinks he's Bruce Willis" bit was hilarious) but the FBI team of Morales, Rebhorn and Atkins are pretty bland – hopefully the return of Thomason will change it if she stays for season 2. Thiessen is a weird find and she is good in it although her character is mostly unnecessary.

Overall White Collar is a glossy and slick show that is easy viewing but doesn't ever deliver as it should and could. The plots are often forced (hurting their slickness and entertainment value) and the characters and dialogue just don't have the spark they almost have. A good undemanding view, but it needs to sharpen up in many areas if it wants to be more than that.


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