‘White Collar’ filled with suspense, drama

Annie Bruce, Writer

An intense car crash, clever riddles, swapped cell phones, undercover agents and an elevator escape scene — there is no doubt “White Collar” works hard to keep things interesting. The crime drama is entering the second half of its fourth season on USA, and it is still going strong.

In “Brass Tracks,” power team Neal Caffrey, an always charismatic ex-con, and Peter Burke, a cunning FBI agent, work together to bring down Sen. Terrence Pratt, a former police captain who might be one of the masterminds behind the death of Neal’s close friend Ellen. Pratt is arguably one of the most dangerous criminals Neal and Peter have encountered. It’s clear Pratt is very powerful, and he will stop at nothing to keep himself, and whatever else he is hiding, safe. By raising the stakes, the “White Collar” writers keep the suspense building throughout the entire episode.

Ellen also left behind a key that might give Neal some answers. In a subplot featuring Mozzie, who is as entertaining as always and another FBI agent, the pair meets with one of Mozzie’s friends who can give them more information about the key.

As usual, the writers play off of the interesting (and never completely honest) dynamics between Peter and Neal. At the beginning it seems the two are being completely open with each other, but, as usual, things don’t always turn out that way. Their relationship continues to evolve and takes yet another interesting turn at the end of the episode.

Another relationship that doesn’t get highlighted quite as frequently is Peter’s marriage to Elizabeth. Although it is sometimes featured, I definitely enjoyed seeing more of these two throughout “Brass Tracks.” Elizabeth typically gives advice, but lets Peter make his own decisions. In this episode, she became increasingly concerned Peter was putting himself in danger and decided to take matters into her own hands. It was a side of Elizabeth that doesn’t always get as much screen time as it should, but it was done very well throughout the episode.

After three and a half seasons, “White Collar” is still a consistently solid show, and it’s important to give credit where credit is due. The show would be nothing without the chemistry between Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay. Willie Garson is also a standout actor in every episode, as is Tiffani Thiessen. “Brass Tracks” proved “White Collar” is truly best when it highlights the entire ensemble.

The writing also impresses me on a regular basis. “White Collar” always keeps the episode, and the season, moving. In shows with overarching story lines, it’s easy to start postponing key plot developments, but “White Collar” has never fallen into this pattern. It’s safe to say Neal Caffrey won’t be disappearing any time soon.