SHOW 1O1: White Collar

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SHOW: White Collar

NOW SHOWING: The American drama reaches the UK on Wednesday, April 21.

AIRS: Wednesdays at 9pm on Bravo

WHY YOU MIGHT LOVE IT: White Collar is simple, quick-paced, fun and unlike more traditional scam shows it doesn't attempt to enlighten you with moral messages at the end of every episode.

WHY YOU MIGHT HATE IT: Bravo's latest American import may feel a little formulaic for those who prefer gritty, thought-provoking series such as Mad Men or The Wire. Procedural dramas aren't for everyone, after all.

THE PREMISE:
Over-worked FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) and escaped prisoner Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) team up to create one of TV's oddest crime-fighting duos. The story begins nearly a decade ago when the two are caught in a long-running cat and mouse game, which Burke eventually wins. Cafferkey ends up in jail where he was expected to remain for at least four years, except he doesn't: he escapes just months before his release date. Early in the first episode Burke catches the crafty con-man again, but this time it's different: Cafferekey offers insights into the criminal world and somehow saves himself from further imprisonment.

With Cafferkey's unorthodox methods and inside information alongside Burke's authority and determination the two are a force to be reckoned with. Their first case together is one of a ruthless counterfeiter who they find and arrest with relative ease. During the rest of the season they (surprise!) encounter more White Collar criminals including thieving fashionistas, soldiers and bankers, each one of whom is captured swiftly with refreshingly little violence.

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE:
Despite airing on USA, one of America's less prominent drama channels, White Collar has been received remarkably well across the pond. Sure, it fails to draw ratings as high as Bones (on Fox) or Castle (on ABC) but its first season finale was the most watched cable show on the day it aired, with an impressive 4 million viewers. In fact, it's only major ratings dip was on the night it was scheduled alongside Lost's debut episode in February.

On TV.com the show receives only favourable reviews, which label it "sophisticated", "fresh" and "awesome". Unsurprisingly, perhaps, a second season has already been commissioned and is due to start in the States this July.

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