It's about time. For those of you who subscribe to USA Network, click on to the next story and consider yourselves lucky. It took Bravo two years, three months and eight days (not that I was counting) to finally -- finally! -- premiere the second season of White Collar. Finally!! (Did I say that already?) It's small consolation since USA is set to premiere the series' fourth season next month, but we'll take what we can get.
I never understood why Bravo didn't keep up with USA's WC airings. Sure, the Canadian cabler had new shows to promote ("The Borgias," along with acquired series "Franklin & Bash" from TNT, and USA's "Suits") but surely there was enough room for White Collar. Right? Right?! Alas, Bravo didn't bite and the last time we saw a new episode of the fabulous caper series was March 10, 2010, when the season one finale aired.
But all those calls, letters and emails to Bell Media paid off, now that White Collar returns tonight -- with the new episodes eventually leading into the series' third season. (Side note: Because I'm impatient and needed my Matt Bomer/Tim DeKay fix, I ended up buying the season two DVD set last year and did a weekend marathon. Oh, and FYI, because I can't wait for fall, I just bought season three as well). But even though I own it, I'll still tune in to Bravo because that's how fantastic a show White Collar is. Like a good movie, the storylines are easy to get into and watch over and over (and over) again.
Since it's been a couple years, you may have forgotten where WC left off. Neal's (Bomer) gal, the annoying Kate (sorry, I never cared for the character) kicked the bucket in that shocking explosion -- and *spoiler alert* -- yes, she is dead. Neal is in a bit of a funk and that's ruining that cool dynamic between him and Peter (DeKay). Yes, yes, Neal is still as handsome, charming, and well-dressed as ever, but there's clearly something missing (that glint in his eye, that spirit that makes Neal and Peter such fun). It's more serious than we've ever seen White Collar, which doesn't suit the show, but it still provides a decent set-up for the rest of the season.
There are the usual twists and turns for our beautiful thief/forgerer/con artist but if I never hear the name "Kate" again, it will be too soon. Bomer and DeKay are wonderful together, and you've seen Bomer, right? He would have chemistry with a Kardashian, but in the handful of times we've seen Kate, there was never anything believable or meaningful between her and Neal. I've just never bought Neal being so haunted by this woman.
But enough about the bad (and, really, if that's the only bad, then bravo to WC). Not only do Neal and Peter make one of the best duos on television, but White Collar also boasts one of the best casts as well. Willie Garson continues to delight as Neal's pal, Mozzie, who will clearly do anything for his bestie, even if it means working with Peter. Tiffani Thiessen -- who we'll only see from the neck up, thanks to the actress' then-burgeoning baby bump (her daughter just turned two, to put the show's absence in perspective) -- is wonderful as Elizabeth, Peter's very understanding wife who's a little bit like her husband, and a little bit like Neal. And we can't forget Marsha Thomason (Special Agent Diana Berrigan) and Sharif Atkins (Special Agent Clinton Jones) as Peter's right-hand woman and point man, respectively, who round out the cast but, admittedly, need a little more development of their own.
Really, though, we WC fans will take it. Since a dead girlfriend is the show's only shortcoming, look forward to another great season of the greatly missed show (and look out for Andrew McCarthy's bad-guy turn, as well as the return of Caffrey's nemesis, Keller, played to smarmy perfection by Ross McCall). In spite of its way-too-long absence, it's business as usual for White Collar -- delivering engaging, well-scripted, nicely paced entertainment with a greatly missed cast we can never get enough of. Bravo, don't uncollar White Collar again, OK?
Follow Denette Wilford on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DenetteWilford