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DVD Reviews

White Collar: The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

Matt Hough

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Posted October 13 2013 - 01:11 PM

White Collar: The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review

The basic premise behind USA’s very successful caper series White Collar remained the same during its fourth season: an FBI agent and his con man confidential informant/partner go about solving or in many cases preventing white collar crimes. The series also continued the rather standard USA policy of closed-ended capers combined with season-long story arcs involving the leading cast. Season four was just as enjoyable as the previous seasons have been though only a few episodes stepped outside the box and offered something unique to the show.

Cover Art

Studio: Fox

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 480P/MPEG-2

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 11 Hr. 44 Min.

Package Includes: DVD

Amray case with leaves

Disc Type: DVD-9 (dual layer)

Region: 1

Release Date: 10/08/2013

MSRP: $39.98

The Production Rating: 3.5/5

As the season began, con man Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and his con man brother-in-arms Mozzie (Willie Garson) had escaped the long arm of the law looking for them after their confiscating millions of dollars worth of treasure from a several centuries-old galleon. The two had escaped with their loot to the non-extradition island of Cape Verde but are being hotly pursued by another ruthless FBI agent (Mekhi Phifer) with a reputation of always getting his prey either dead or alive. In his fear that Neal might be killed attempting to flee again, Neal’s handler FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) heads to the island to lend a hand. It takes the first four episodes of season four to get things back to normal with the Neal-Peter combo working together to thwart white collar criminals. By that time, the season-long story arc has also begun: Neal’s attempts to piece together his deceased father’s shady past with the help of the mysterious Sam Phelps (Treat Williams). Appearing in the recurring role of Neal’s on again/off again girl friend Sarah is Hilarie Burton, an insurance investigator whose expertise comes in handy on some of Peter and Neal’s cases.

The crimes Neal and Peter tackle this season involve everything from art forgery, historical artifact pilfering, corporate espionage, and insider trading to antiquities thefts, construction fraud, and evidence tampering, and guest stars like Reed Diamond, Victor Webster, Titus Welliver, Judith Ivey, James Reborn, Diahann Carroll, Emily Procter, and Scott Evans make formidable friends and enemies. During the course of this season’s cases, Peter and Neal have to square off in a white collar boxing ring (only one of numerous instances which finds a gnawing mistrust occasionally cropping up between the two friends), and Peter and his wife Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) are kidnapped in another of the season’s more unusual plots. The principal cast really has terrific ensemble chemistry, especially Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, and Willie Garson. Their genuinely affable camaraderie makes each episode, even those with slightly weaker stories, sparkle. The season-long story arc with Neal in a frustrating hunt for clues to unlock the mysteries of his allegedly crooked policeman-father takes many twists and turns and is one of the better arcs from the show’s four seasons, and as always, it’s this arc that leads to the season-ending cliffhanger, this time putting Peter rather than Neal in jeopardy. Treat Williams is especially effective playing the illusive and chameleon-like Sam Phelps who is the major player in this investigation.

Here are the sixteen episodes contained on four DVDs in this season four set:

1 – Wanted
2 – Most Wanted
3 – Diminishing Returns
4 – Parting Shots
5 – Honor Among Thieves
6 – Identity Crisis
7 – Compromising Positions
8 – Ancient History
9 – Gloves Off
10 – Vested Interest
11 – Family Business
12 – Brass Tacks
13 – Empire City
14 – Shoot the Moon
15 – The Original
16 – In the Wind

Video Rating: 4.5/5  3D Rating: NA

The series’ 1.78:1 television aspect ratio is faithfully rendered in anamorphic widescreen transfers. Overall, the images have very pleasing sharpness and good color reproduction. Flesh tones are natural and appealing and consistently rendered. The two episodes on a tropical island have warmer color timing and are deeply saturated while the NYC scenes have a cooler palette. Black levels, however, are very good throughout. Each episode is divided into 12 chapters.

Audio Rating: 4/5

The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix is fairly typical for a cable series with music offering the most consistent surround experience available during each episode. Ambient sounds like busy New York City traffic get some spread across the fronts but rarely reach into the rears lessening the impact of the surround experience. You will hear occasional ambient sounds in the surrounds at the FBI headquarters as phones ring and people in the background converse softly.

Special Features Rating: 2.5/5

Audio Commentary: the season finale brings together creator/writer Jeff Eastin and stars Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, and Willie Garson to talk about the episode and the season as a whole on the eve of starting work on season five. It’s not an especially revelatory commentary, but fans will likely enjoy their kidding around.

Deleted Scenes (8:36, SD): ten deleted scenes spread across the four discs in the set.

Gag Reel (8:39, SD)

Tim DeKay – In the Director’s Chair (5:15, SD): a behind-the-scenes look at episode 13 directed by series star Tim DeKay.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

White Collar is one of those shows that never extends beyond its own basic premise toward anything weightier or unique, but the chemistry between the two leads, the fun supporting cast, and the fresh, snappy storytelling makes the series one of the small screen’s most genuinely pleasurable romps. For its fifth season, the show moves to Thursdays at 9 p.m. in the slot formerly occupied by Burn Notice.

Reviewed By: Matt Hough

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