‘White Collar’ Series Review: Why You Need to Watch This Matt Bomer Show

It’s been six or seven years (not that we’re counting) since White Collar was on the air on Netflix and ten years since the show finished airing on the USA Network. As of April 1st, the show is back in the streamer’s library. Starring Matt Bomer as debonair former criminal Neal Caffrey and Tim DeKay as straight-laced FBI Agent Peter Burke, it’s a show with a ridiculous amount of charm worth watching. Netflix marketing claims it will take one episode for Matt Bomer as Neal to steal your heart, and they’re not wrong. Series creator Jeff Eastin gave us a gem, and here are some of the non-exhaustive reasons you should check it out. 

Matt Bomer is ridiculously talented

If you go way back in television history to ancient times, then you might remember a little show called Chuck (with Zachary Levi). Bryce Larkin was Matt Bomer’s big television break. Despite his questionable moral code, Larkin was a fan favorite because of Bomer’s charm. He eventually left Chuck and the Buy More to star in White Collar. (Yes, Eliza Dushku fans, I am technically ignoring Bomer’s stint on Tru Calling and on Guiding Light, but you’d be hard-pressed to disagree that Bomer’s breakout was on Chuck. The show’s first season was killer and inspired such fan passion that a fan campaign caused it to be uncanceled by NBC, but I disgress.

As an actor on White CollarMatt Bomer has to realistically convince us that he’s capable of every kind of forgery and art falsity. His character is younger and suaver than Dos Equis’ most interesting man in the world, with a healthy, way less naive dose of Jared from The Pretender thrown in there for good measure. And Bomer accomplishes this flawlessly. We completely believe that he knows and can make fake wine, be a butler, be a doctor, a firefighter – whatever he needs to be. Without Bomer in the lead in White Collar, the show would likely have less appeal. He’s electric and terrific.

Peter Burke and Neal Caffrey are the ultimate bromance

Every romance needs a good meet-cute, and every bromance does, too. Peter Burke and Neal Caffrey are the ultimate enemies-to-lovers (er friends) trope come to life. They go from having this cat-and-mouse relationship, where Peter’s entire raison d’être is to put Neal behind bars, to something much more complicated and, at times, soulful. Their dynamic shifts and evolves, layering their rivalry with begrudging respect and even hints of admiration. There’s genuine care and friendship between the two men, even if they are often at odds in their goals. Despite the constant game of deception and outsmarting each other, a bond forms beneath the surface. Peter and Neal are the heart of the show, and everything their partnership offers is solid throughout each episode of White Collar. There are no bad Peter and Neal episodes. 

It’s Got Tiffani Thiessen 

If you grew up during a certain era (i.e., you’re old, to borrow the words from Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday), then Tiffani Amber Thiessen was Kelly Kapowski from Saved By the Bell. Everyone wanted to be Kelly. You were either team Zach or Slater before Edward and Jacob were a twinkle in Stephanie Meyer’s eye. You may have even been team Professor Jeremiah Lasky if you were into Saved By the Bell: The College Years. And it’s because of Thiessen’s bubbly performance you wanted to be Kelly.

But obviously, decades have passed, and Thiessen has done other things as an actress. Her role as Peter Burke’s wife, Elizabeth, is portrayed with all the care of someone who has lived a life and just doesn’t have to imagine the feelings she’s emoting. The actress telegraphs Elizabeth’s worries, hopes, and dreams for Peter in a way that is entirely believable and not a caricature. The moments of banter between her and Peter and the friendship between her and Mozzie and Neal, too, are pure fun. She brings her sense of excellent comedic timing, honed on Saved by the Bell and even Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place, to their schemes. 

Mozzie is Neal’s other, other half

Neal Caffrey’s closest confidante and partner-in-crime is Mozzie, played by the late Willie Garson. Garson embodied Mozzie perfectly, capturing his blend of eccentricity, paranoia, and sharp intellect. Mozzie can be seen as a quirky mix of Neal’s artistic flair and Dale Gribble’s (from King of the Hill) conspiracy theories. He’s a constant source of creative solutions for the problems Neal and Peter encounter. And he’s always entertaining. Plus, Mozart the Bear is cute, too. 

Because we really need a sequel to White Collar

Selfishly, if you’re reading this, I want to advocate for more eyes on the series because that means we’re more likely to get a sequel. It isn’t just a pipe dream. Because of the success of Suits on Netflix (and maybe even some of the Meghan Markle effect), Peacock picked up and went straight to series for the spinoff Suits: LA. Could we get something similar if Neal, Peter, and Mozzie get a ton of viewing hours?

The stars of White Collar have recently said that they were open to a sequel and continuing their stories. In 2023, Matt Bomer himself said there “has been talk.” about bringing the show back. Of course, there are larger, sadder concerns, namely the passing of actor Willie Garson, who played Mozzie. But the cast was so close that I believe in their ability to honor their friend while continuing this world. 

There is plenty of room for organic and interesting storytelling where the finale left off in Au Revoir. I won’t spoil it in this review because, again, you really need to see it for yourself, but it involves Neal, one last con with an elite group of international thieves known as The Pink Panthers, and old foe Matthew Keller (Ross McCall). 

And White Collar hasn’t had any follow-up. MonkPsych, and Burn Notice, who were all on the blue sky schedule at the same time, have had more stories in their worlds. Isn’t it time that some honest-to-goodness art thieves get their due? The time is now, especially considering how fashionable heist movies are once again, judging by the success of Kevin Hart’s Lift and the chatter surrounding the next iteration of the Oceans movies. 

White Collar is worth checking out

White Collar has a special place in the hearts of its fans (and especially this author’s heart), and for good reason! Matt Bomer’s captivating performance as Neal Caffrey is just the start. His on-screen chemistry with Tim DeKay’s Peter Burke forms the backbone of this stylish show, and the addition of Tiffani Thiessen rounds out the cast with a touch of nostalgia and impressive acting chops. White Collar’s enduring charm and the possibility of a revival make it a series worth revisiting – or discovering for the first time. It’s got style, subterfuge, and humor – what more do you need?

All seasons and episodes of White Collar are now streaming.


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