The two sides of the law are teaming up on Ten’s new series White Collar, as Guy Davis heard from good guy Tim DeKay and not- so- good guy Matt Bomer.
MATT BOMER STARS IN
CAST Tim DeKay, Willie Garson, Matt Bomer, Tiffani Thiessen
SUMMARY Tim DeKay and Matt Bomer’s characters – FBI agent and conman – share a lively relationship forged to tackle crime.
You could call Neal Caffrey, the charming crook who ends up working on the right side of the law in Ten’s new series White Collar, a con man, but Matt Bomer – the actor who brings Caffrey to life – has a somewhat craftier moniker in mind.
“ I prefer ‘ social engineer’ because that’s what con artists tend to call themselves,” he said with a laugh.
And according to the actor, who had supporting roles in a number of films and TV shows before landing his breakthrough part as Caffrey, his character’s work isn’t all that dissimilar to his own.
“ A lot of what’s involved in a confidence game is what an actor does,” he explained.
“ You have to do a lot of homework – the best con men do a lot of homework, so they know their mark inside and out.”
White Collar, Ten, Tuesday, 8.30pm
In White Collar, Bomer’s Caffrey forms an unlikely alliance with his arch enemy, FBI agent Peter Burke ( played by Tim DeKay from the cult hit Carnivale).
Burke is the only man who was ever able to bring Caffrey to justice. But their cat-and-mouse game begins anew when Caffrey busts out of prison only months before his release.
When the feds finally catch up with the con man, they strike a bargain: if Caffrey helps Burke track down and catch the most elusive “ white collar” crims on the FBI’s hit list, Burke won’t send Caffrey back to the slammer.
White Collar, which was inspired by the likes of Catch Me If You Can and Ocean’s Eleven, balances its breezy crook-chasing capers with the tense relationship between the two leading men.
According to DeKay, viewers shouldn’t expect the lawman and the con man to become best buddies overnight.
While their relationship does evolve, said the actor, “ I also think it’s important that the tension is always there: ‘ Make no bones about it, I can put you back in prison in a second’.”
The tension between Caffrey and Burke certainly isn’t shared by the actors portraying the characters, however, with Bomer singing the praises of his co-star.
“ I knew from the first time that we read together that this has to be the guy to play the role,” he said.
“ He’s so talented, he’s so present, he understands his character, he understands what’s funny about his character. And what makes it fun, what makes coming to work with him fun, is that I never know what to expect and I don’t think he knows what to expect from my side because we’re always throwing different things at each other. It keeps both of us on our toes and keeps our job interesting.” And DeKay’s take on his co-star? “ I carry every scene that he and I are in,” he said with a laugh.
“ No, it’s fantastic because I think that’s where the show lives, honestly. It lives in between us. I think that is where the show is most fun to watch: ‘ What are those two going to do next?’ It’s a blast to work with him.”
Both actors also feel that the tone of White Collar, reminiscent of the sleeper hit Burn Notice in its combination of action, sly wit and character-driven storylines, sets it apart.
“ I think it’s a really unique show,” Bomer said. “ I think that the characters and the dynamics meld together a lot of interesting stories and I hope people who watch it find it funny, enjoy the relationships, and enjoy the characters because I think they have a lot of unique things to offer that aren’t on TV right now.”
DeKay agrees, saying that “ my last two series, Carnivale and Tell Me You Love Me, were very different kind of shows: one was a period piece and one was very sexually courageous. I’m an old-fashioned storyteller, so I really like the fact that this is an interesting story and you’re interested in the relationship between the two”.
And while White Collar may on the surface appear like another cops-and-crooks procedural, DeKay believes that the medium is changing, with the quality of writing, production and especially performance lifting the genre to a new level.
Stand by your man: The cast of White Collar, from left, Willie Garson, who played Stanford in Sex and the City,
Chuck’s Matt Bomer, Carnivale’s Tim DeKay and Tiffani Thiessen, who shot to stardom in Beverly Hills, 90210.