USA Network’s White Collar (2009 – 2014), starring Matt Bomer as con-man turned FBI consultant Neal Caffrey and Tim DeKay as the rule-abiding FBI agent Peter Burke, was celebrated for the way it turned the regularly repetitive crime show into an endearing action-drama-comedy. Read on for more about what else made this show so special.
Number Seven: Missing a Missing Persons Department
In “Front Man” (Season 1, Episode 13) when Peter is describing fellow FBI agent Kimberly Rice, he tells Neal that she works in “Missing Persons and Kidnapping.” The FBI doesn’t have such a department in real life. They only investigate missing person crimes under special circumstances.
Number Six: White Collar Wardrobe
One of the most talked about aspects of White Collar was Neal’s wardrobe. With his fitted suits, tie bars, and fedoras, the costume choices were heavily influenced by The Rat Pack and Carey Grant in To Catch a Thief (1955). White Collar‘s costume designer Stephanie Maslansky describes the character’s look as “mid-century gone modern.” In the very first episode, Bomer donned a vintage Sy Devore suit. The show has even inspired a menswear collection: The USA Network and Bomer partnered with Gilt.com and bespoke menswear retailer Alton Lane worked together to create the Caffrey Collection, which was made available on January 22, 2013, the same day of White Collar‘s Season 4 midseason premiere release.
Number Five: FBI or XYZ
Located on the Avenue of the Americas, the XYZ Buildings were built as part of the Rockefeller Centre expansion in the 1960s – 1970s. White Collar filmed scenes here as if they were outside the FBI building in “Deadline” (Season 3, Episode 3), when Neal is introduced to Diana’s partner, Christie.
Number Four: Father-Son Bond
White Collar was a crime drama known for the amazing characters and the chemistry between the actors. Viewers often questioned why Elizabeth and Peter had no children, and despite the fact that a child would have made writing plot lines more difficult (i.e. “let’s save the FBI raid for later, I have to go pick up the kids”), there was a more important reason. As the show progresses, the bond between Peter and Neal becomes even more pronounced. Even though they weren’t really a father-and-son duo, Peter was the father Neal had never had, and Neal kept Peter as busy as a child would! (Spoiler-Alert!) Writers wrapped this up nicely in the series finale, as Neal fakes his death to protect the people he cares about after Elizabeth and Peter invite Neal over for dinner to tell him they’re having a baby boy.
Number Three: All In a Name
The show pays homage to the famous trumpeter Louis Armstrong through a furry character. Peter and Elizabeth’s dog, Satchmo, was named after Armstrong. Satchmo was Armstrong’s infamous nickname, short for “satchel-mouth.”
Number Two: Frank Abagnale Jr. Was a Fan
Abagnale, the original white-collar con man who was the subject of the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, is a big fan of the show! He sent Jeff Eastin (creator) a signed poster and told him personally how much he enjoyed the show. Abagnale almost made it into the finale for a cameo, but in the end, he couldn’t make it due to a scheduling conflict.
Number One: Crime Doesn’t Pay
Although it was one of USA Network’s best critically received TV shows, ratings fell when Season 5 was airing because of in-season competition, and things ended on a cliffhanger. The New York City location shoots and celebrity cast made the show expensive to produce, and despite the fact that USA Network’s parent company NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment owned the show, USA was responsible for production costs. Nevertheless, they opted to give the show a proper send-off, and a six-episode sixth and final season aired in 2014. Thanks for reading!