The Hidden Geek of USA's WHITE COLLAR


After a drop dead cliffhanger, USA’s White Collar returns for the back half of its first season on Tuesday night. If you need to get caught up on the series, USA is presenting a full marathon this Saturday from 9am.  Episodes should also be available on Hulu within a week or so.



In the effort of full disclosure, two very good friends of mine: Joe Henderson and Jim Campolongo are staff writers on White Collar. This is their first gig after both of them rocked through the Warner Brothers Fellowship program. Both guys are extremely talented, hard working (re: drinking,) process junkies…and, they’re both geeks. I mean, really: geeks. Like us.

Neal Comics
From Tuesday's premiere: What are IN those longboxes, I wonder?


Henderson and I met a number of years back at a (non-nerd) drink up and we quickly established that we actually knew each other via Bendis’ messageboard. As an aside: trying to explain that you’ve already “met” someone via a comic book message board to non-nerds is…challenging. Needless to say, we spent to rest of the night yammering on about whatever major comic event was brewing at the time (the seeds of Civil War?) and generally annoying the shit out of everyone around us. To date, Joe is one of my top “go-to” guys for comic book nerdery.
Bonus Nerd Joe Henderson Trivia: You can see Joe as an extra in Buffy Season 6: He’s in the Bronze dressed as Luke Skywalker!


Camp I met (officially) at one of the famed Katz Stadium parties. We struck up a “don’t I know you?” conversation-- Turns out, he was an intern over at New Line when I’d worked there and we share geographical roots: The “real” home of Michael Myers, mind you.
Jim’s a great guy, one of those dudes that, when talking to, you can move effortlessly from Dashiell Hammett to Gremlins to Cormac McCarthey and over to Spider-man, in one conversation—Talking with Jim, you’re often wondering how you started a talking about The Wire and ended up at the political hierarchy of Castle Grayskull.
Bonus Nerd Jim Campolongo Trivia: Jim worked as a staff writer on the Lonelygirl sequel: LG15: The Resistance! 


As mentioned earlier, both guys worked their asses off to land this gig. After landing a slot in the WB Fellowship gig, both were victims of the unfortunate Writers Guild Strike- meaning it wasn’t exactly a good time for a newly minted writer looking for his first position…


Through a little luck, perseverance, and circumstance, they landed at Team White Collar. I couldn’t have been happier to hear that two of my friends (initially in direct competition for one open slot) had Wonder Twin’d into a writing duo.



So, where’s the hidden geek? Well, beyond former Chuck actor, Matt Bomer as one of the leads and Tim Dekay from Carnivale as the other lead, here are a few geek friendly Easter eggs that Joe and Jim have snuck in:


-The dead FBI agent in the episode “All In” is named after GI Joe: Cobra and Transfomers comic book writer, Mike Costa (note: changed to Mark Costa due to clearance issues.)


-Judge Hickman, from the mid-season finale, got his name from Secret Warriors and Pax Romana scribe, Jonathan Hickman.


-  All In” also features a subtle ode to Temple of Doom’s “Obi-Wan” nightclub shootout sequence.


- They’ve also managed to sneak in the line: “Don't get 'em wet, don't feed 'em after midnight.” I’ll need you to turn in your Geek Card if you don’t catch that as a Gremlins reference.


- There’s another Indiana Jones reference popped into a warehouse scene. Again, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll need that card. 


Finally, just to make this a GeekWeek exclusive:  going back and forth on my “research” (aka: instant messaging Henderson) you guys should keep a keen lookout for a Brian Michael Bendis nod in season 2. Woo! Scoop!


So, there you have it…If you aren’t watching White Collar, then I’m sort of amazed you made it this far into the article, but you really should be. It’s a fun, stylish, and smart show—plus, you’ll be supporting the infiltration of mainstream culture by the nerdhive overmind.

If you are watching the show, it returns with all new episodes beginning Tuesday, January 19th, on the USA Network.
Set your Tivos to stun. 


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