Entertainment Magazine

Review #3926: White Collar 4.11: “Family Business”

Posted on the 24 January 2013 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Written by Joe Henderson
Directed by Paul Holahan

After a somewhat underwhelming mid-season finale, with a reveal that was about as heavily-telegraphed as a reveal can be, “White Collar” returns and picks up at the very moment where it left off. “White Collar” serves as an important counterweight in my TV viewing roster to all the grim, unrelenting shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones”, as well as the more tonally-varied shows like “Fringe” and “Supernatural”. “White Collar” offers charming characters, a perpetually-pleasant setting, and just enough character development and serialized-storytelling to keep it all from feeling disposable.

Review #3926: White Collar 4.11: “Family Business”

“Family Business” is a satisfying packaging of everything I like about the show: the humor, the undercover work, the emotional depth, and the intrigue of the long-term mystery. Much of the episode is wisely dedicated to Neal’s emotional turmoil over re-connecting with his father, who he had been led to believe was a dirty cop and a cop killer. I’ve always liked this aspect of Neal’s background: that Neal had purposefully rebelled against his father by becoming a con man, ironically becoming more like the criminal that his father really was.

Of course, Neal comes to realize that his father really was a decent man who made a mistake that he spent the rest of his life trying to make up for. This concept of reconnecting with an alienated father is an old, perhaps overused trope, but it’s no less effective here. It’s easy to share in Neal’s suspicions and sense of betrayal. And on the other hand, James Bennett seems so genuine and heartfelt that it’s easy to sympathize with him as well, especially after all the flashbacks to his days working for the mob.

The episode manages to weave the A and B plots together rather well. Nearly everyone gets to go undercover. Peter once again reminds us that he can easily shift from straight-shooting lawman to shifty criminal-type. Meanwhile, Neal and Mozzie go to work for Flynn Jr. making not just booze, but the bottles as well. Liz even gets to play a part, and I liked how she was included. Her last-moment ploy to salvage the operation was both clever and believable. I like it when her involvement feels this natural.

I had a momentary fear that this revelation of Flynn Jr. being behind Ellen’s murder would mean a somewhat anticlimactic end to all that build-up in the first half of the season; the implications of a bigger conspiracy. Thankfully, that didn’t end up being the case. On the contrary, this episode serves as a good re-introduction to the big seasonal mystery. James did end up working for the Flynns, but at the same time, there were clues that the Flynns were really just working for the cops. So taking down Flynn Jr. is only the beginning.

Thus, we have an excellent setup for the rest of the season. These aren’t just white collar criminals, now. They’re probably respected officials, whose reputations and positions of power will make them harder to take down than the average crook. “White Collar” often has surprisingly fun episodic cases, but if this means that many of the people they’ll be going after will be more connected, I must heartily approve. It seems like a smart way of compromising between the demands of procedural television and the obvious value of a continuing story.

Score: 8/10

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