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The Telefile
<i>White Collar</i>: The Perfect Television Crime

Take the effortless style of Burn Notice, the roguish charm of The Mentalist and the opulence of Royal Pains and you've got White Collar. You've also got the recipe for a hit, which makes you wonder how long USA has been in the kitchen working on this one. In many ways, the network's newest series is your standard crime procedural, but it does it with panache -- it's the classier version of a procedural, if you will, with classier crimes and at least one classier character. Matthew Bomer -- who played Bryce Larkin on Chuck -- stars as a con artist Neal Caffrey, a multitalented grifter, con and forger who's never been caught, but is serving time for a lesser offense when he suddenly decides he needs to get out. Peter Burke (Carnivale's Tim DeKay) is the cop who knows him best, who's brought back in to catch him and ends up enlisting his former quarry in his efforts to snare The Dutchman, the master criminal who's taken Caffrey's place at the top of Burke's hit list.

So what you've got is an odd-couple buddy cop show, with a smart cop bound by rules and a possibly even smarter crook who thinks outside the box, and they're looking into white-collar crimes, which here means anything involving the upper crust. The first episode has them pursuing a forger -- played by the ever-wonderful Mark Sheppard -- trying to replicate a valuable bond, but the next episode concerns a murder that may be connected to information smuggling. It's not a clearly defined mandate, but you can rest assured that you'll be mingling with the upper crust of New York City. (By proxy, anyway.) The supporting cast is upper-crust as well: Caffrey's friend and information source Mozzie is played by Willie Garson of Sex and the City fame, and Burke's wife is played by Tiffani Thiessen, formerly of 90210. It's like they were thinking of their target audience when they assembled every inch of this show, from the story elements down to their cast's resum├ęs. Suddenly, the promotion USA has been doing in Rockefeller Plaza this week -- free fitted shirts made to your measurements -- makes a whole lot more sense. ...Well, that and the whole "white collar" thing.

What did you think of White Collar? Unbutton your lips below.

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