On Thursday, June 6, “White Collar” executive producer Jeff Eastin makes it a two-fer on USA Network with the premiere of his latest drama, “Graceland.”
Based on a true story, it follows an interdisciplinary team of undercover agents battling crime in Southern California while bunking together in a lavish seaside mansion seized from a drug lord (the original was in Manhattan Beach, just south of LAX), nicknamed “Graceland” after its former owner’s love of Elvis.
Aaron Tveit (“Les Miserables”) stars as newly minted FBI Agent Mike Warren, who is teamed with veteran FBI Agent Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata, “Rescue me”). Rounding out the cast are Vanessa
Ferlito as FBI Agent Catherine “Charlie” DeMarco; Brandon Jay McLaren as U.S.
Customs Agent Dale Jakes; Serinda Swan as DEA Agent Paige Arkin; and Manny
Montana as FBI Agent Joe “Johnny” Tuturro.
There was some initial concern about the ambiguity of the title, but based on his previous experience, Eastin thought it would work.
“When ‘White Collar’ came out,” Eastin tells Zap2it, “it came back that ‘White Collar’ was about a priest. So based on that, that it worked out OK with that … if we do the marketing right, then the confusion won’t be there.”
As fans of “White Collar” know, priests don’t really figure into the drama about con man, forger and thief Neal Caffrey (Matthew Bomer), who has formed an unconventional crime-fighting partnership with Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), the FBI Agent who initially captured him.
“White Collar” returns for its fifth season this fall, and if “Graceland” — which has already finished filming in Florida — is lucky enough to get a second season, Eastin doesn’t think the two shows’ fictional universes will overlap.
“‘Graceland’ is obviously a much darker show, much grittier,” Eastin says. “On ‘Graceland,’ we are going for realism. ‘White Collar’ — it’s sort of a heightened reality. I wouldn’t call it over the top, but it definitely has its own reality. The bullets in ‘Graceland’ are very real.”
But that doesn’t preclude a “Graceland” appearance by DeKay or Bomer.
“Both Tim and Matt have expressed an interest in coming on ‘Graceland,'” says Eastin, “doing a character role, not reprising their ‘White Collar’ roles. That wounds like a lot of fun to me.
“I’d like to bring Matt on and have him play some kind of insane psycho. He loves the idea of that. There’s a very good chance you’ll see that.”