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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



I noted that White Collar did pretty well last week. USA owns Fridays pretty consistently, so not entirely a surprise.

I also noted that I quite liked it.

I also noted some people who don't get the core concept behind pretty much any USA show. They are fun. And those "some people" just took the show much more seriously than the show takes itself.

There was one point consistently made. That the prison break was unbelievable. And it was. It had holes you could drive a prison transpo bus through. When I watched it, I was happy to overlook it, but there's a part of me that tends to think "why do I need to overlook it?"

Would it be so hard to have simply written a jail break that could withstand a little more scrutiny than a cursory glance.

The facts as they were:

Awesome criminal dude Neal Caffrey broke out of a Super Max prison by shaving his beard while hiding in a staff bathroom and putting on an incomplete guard uniform that he ordered on the internet. He restriped a key card using the record head on a tape recorder. He walked out the front door.

It's important because it shows Neal's intelligence and ingenuity. The record head thing...I don't know if it works, I don't care. It sounds good. If I were writing it, though, I'd probably feel compelled to research illicit methods of restriping* and maybe try to do it myself. Fun for me, but sucking the fun out of the script.

My problem is the beard, which he'd only had for a matter of weeks and the internet guard uniform order. Also, the prison depicted is very considerably nothing like a Super Max. Not even in the same cell block.

So no one was supposed to remember what Neal looked like before he grew his thin, scraggly beard? And the Super Max, of all prisons, is the only one that doesn't open the inmates' packages?

As a criminal genius, how hard would it have been for him to maybe concoct some kind of hair dye MacGyver style and perhaps even create one of the cop mustaches that law enforcement types have out of stuff scavanged from the barber shop? He could even change his skin tone with some kind of goop he made with common prisonhold materials...and internet research, if you like. That's much more likely to actually work than relying on the guards looking him right in the face and not remembering that he looked like that two months ago.

And I'll believe that he managed to get into the locker room or bribe/blackmail a guard before the whole internet order thing.

You still get the ingenuity and the cool factor of walking out the front door. And you can do it in the same space of time that the original escape was depicted in.

Also, I think I'd avoid further examination as to the plausibility of such an escape by not actually mentioning the security level of the prison in question (especially if the location doesn't match the concept). That just invites skepticism.

All I'm saying is I hate it when shows cut corners when they really don't have to. Why open yourself to criticism. Especially in a pilot, the only episode not written in the crunch of a season full of production.

All this is a minor detail. As I said, it's a fun show. I like the characters. I like the It Takes A Thief premise. I'll be watching it every week...right after I watch Dollhouse.

* I'm probably going to do that anyway.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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