Network TV has a reputation for being forgettable during the summer months, but ever since Sex and the City debuted in the summer of 1998, cable has been the perfect cure for the summertime blues. Shows like The Wire, Six Feet Under, Mad Men, and Damages have all rescued viewers during the dreaded dog days. This year, I can add White Collar, which closed out its summer run last night, to that list of impeccably acted dramas.
Beau Bridges guested as a federal agent in an episode that found Peter closer than ever to discovering that Neal stole the treasure, as the feds tracked the Degas painting that Mozzie had recently unloaded. But Bridges’ appearance in the episode is not my reason for bringing up the fine acting on this show — although, he certainly does help my case.
The scene that stood out to me the most from last night was the final one, where Peter, after receiving a threatening call from returning baddie, Keller, rushes home to find police swarming his apartment. Elizabeth was kidnapped.
The icy stares between Peter and Neal were spot on (as it usually is), but Tim DeKay’s expression in this final scene killed me. He looked simultaneously haunted, dazed, and like he was going to be sick — all expressions that I imagine even the steeliest of FBI agents would have if their wife was in danger. It was out of character, but in the perfect way.
Now, we know nothing is going to happen to Elizabeth. We’ll return from the summer, Peter will kick some ass, Neal will help, and she’ll be returned safely. But until then we’re left with the image of tortured Peter — and of an underappreciated actor.
That’s not to say people aren’t watching the show. In fact, it’s holding its own, topping out at over 4 million viewers at some points so far this season. But it’s a shame there’s often still a “nothing to watch” attitude about summer. Because it’s there, folks. And it’s really good!