Neal Caffrey understands the power of clothes and attitude.
In USA Network’s Friday drama White Collar, Caffrey (Matthew Bomer) knows if he shaves his scruffy beard and ditches the orange scrubs of prison for a correction officer’s uniform, he’s walking out of the joint. Caffrey then buys a yellow windbreaker to impersonate a parking valet and steal a Rolls-Royce.
He initially gets away with it because of clothes and attitude. An FBI agent nabs him twice and cuts a deal with him. Caffrey now works for the feds, and he needs new clothes.
Forced to buy clothes at a thrift store, where most people would walk away with merely sweaters reeking of mothballs, Caffrey instead charms a widow into giving him her late husband’s wardrobe.
“He’s influenced by the Rat Pack, with fitted suits and tie bars and fedoras and a little bit of Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief,” Bomer says. “Every now and then, we like to go for a more Jack Kerouac (look). It takes place today. They did a great job of finding some amazing vintage pieces that you would think Sy Devore put together for me. We will mix in designers with throwbacks to the ’60s – John Varvatos and Paul Smith.”
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To help “White Collar” stand out amid the fall flood of new shows, said Chris McCumber, executive vice president for marketing, digital and brand at USA, the premiere was scheduled after most of the new broadcast series had debuted.
“It’ll be a little easier to break through the clutter because the network marketing will have died down a bit,” he added.
Because of what Ms. Hammer called the “character-centric” approach at USA, the promotional efforts for its series require perhaps more participation from cast members than for shows on other networks.
That, however, is fine with Mr. Bomer, who joined the USA executives for an interview.
“It hasn’t felt like work at all,” Mr. Bomer said, which prompted Ms. Hammer to joke, “so we’ll book him more now.”
Mr. Bomer said the “Characters wanted” theme at USA meant that “everybody knows what race they’re running” as they introduce a series, including the marketing and public relations executives, the cast and top management.
“Of course there’s a certain pressure that comes with that,” Mr. Bomer said, particularly as “White Collar” puts the “USA hot streak on the line,” to quote a headline in Variety.
But “I trust these guys in putting us out there,” he added. “The rest is up to the zeitgeist.”
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