The USA Network's White Collar
adds charm and sex appeal to high-end crime prevention. In the pilot, con man Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer, easy on the eyes) escapes from prison four months before his release. FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay, having more fun than he did on HBO's Carnivále
) tracks him down and works out a deal: to avoid more time, Caffrey will serve as his consultant. If he splits the scene, he'll get life. Though trust remains an issue, the men have a likable rapport, a big key to the show's success. Neal finds lodgings when he hits it off with wealthy widow June (the ever-classy Diahann Carroll), who sets him up with her loft and her husband's duds (including a fedora). While Caffrey's girlfriend, Kate, has gone missing, Burke has been married to Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen), an event planner, for a decade. Though Agent Fowler (Noah Emmerich) does his best to trip him up, Caffrey searches for Kate when he isn't working on cases involving theft, fraud, forgery, and insider trading with Burke, Hughes (James Rebhorn), and Jones (ER
's Sharif Atkins). Off the books, he receives assistance from his impish pal, Mozzie (Sex and the City
's Willie Garson, whose Bruce Willis impression is a highlight).
If White Collar is more upbeat than most procedurals, some details don't add up, like when a TV producer conducts an impromptu interview with a stranger who drops by the studio unannounced--Caffrey also reproduces a masterwork in a matter of hours--but the clever twists compensate for the occasional leaps of faith. As with Law & Order, the show also serves as a love letter to Manhattan. First-season extras include deleted scenes, featurettes, and commentary from the cast and creator Jeff Eastin, who's come a long way since Shasta McNasty. --Kathleen C. Fennessy