Neal Caffrey's beloved girlfriend has been blown to bits in a plane explosion. So it's not surprising that the former gentleman thief spends "White Collar Season 2" searching for whoever killed her, even as he struggles to help Peter with even more elaborate cons, thefts and murders -- as well as an ever-twisting game of trust.
Devastated by Kate's death, Neal (Matthew Bomer) goes back to working with Peter (Tim DeKay) and the FBI. But now he isn't just trying to stay out of prison -- he's trying to find out who is responsible for his girlfriend's death, and why she had to die. The secret lies in the mysterious music box that the FBI has in its custody, which holds the key to a long-buried secret.
And in the meantime, Neal and Peter solve some very elaborate crimes -- corrupt politicians, bank robbers, a copycat criminal, a disappearing waitress that Mozzie is attracted to, adoption extortions, corporate espionage, FBI corruption, an aging conman, corporate espionage, diplomatic disasters in Burma, an old enemy who has Peter kidnapped, identity-switching to uncover a power company scam, and Peter being framed for a crime he didn't commit...
The second season of "White Collar" actually feels more like the second half of one reeeeaalllyy long season -- the running subplot of Kate's death and the mysterious music box run all the way through it. Those subplots add a lot of suspense to this season, particularly since we never quite know what the music box is for until the end.
The writers maintain a solid balance of solid action and detective work, but they keep an eye on the warmer side of the show -- such as Peter's loving relationship with his wife, or Neal and Diana goofing around in bathrobes. And as always, there's a small but healthy dose of comic relief, mostly from the ever-entertaining Mozzie. He's always doing something strange and/or hilarious ("Hiter clones!" "Please tell me he's joking").
The one writing downside is that the writers clumsily shoehorn not one but TWO love interests for Neal at the end of the season. It feels like a forced attempt to have a love triangle.
Bomer and DeKay still have great chemistry -- they have that buddy-cop atmosphere, where there's just a little tension and witty sniping to spice things up, but they really are solid friends. Willie Garsona and Tiffany Thiessen round out the main cast very well. And they thankfully got rid of.... whoever the female FBI agent was last season, in favor of the wry, witty Marsha Thomason.
"White Collar Season Two" plays out the various subplots that the first season set up, and introduces some solid new crimes. And yes, it leaves you itching for the third season.