Sounds like Hilarie Burton’s promotion to “White Collar” series regular will benefit swooning Matt Bomer fans.
“I kind of look at myself as a tool to allow the audience to get to know that intimate side of Neal that I think a lot of people have been aching to see,” Burton told me Friday, speaking of Bomer’s character, charming con man-turned FBI consultant Neal Caffrey.
“[Fans will] probably hate me because I’m the girl that’s lucky enough to get to do it," she joked, "but yeah, it’s about time they get to see him being all cute and such.”
I can’t imagine Bomer getting much cuter, but that’s beside the point. What does all this mean for Burton’s character, strong-willed insurance investigator Sara Ellis in Season 3 (8 p.m. June 7, USA; *** out of 4)?
“I’m gonna kiss him!” she said, laughing. “I’m gonna kiss him, if that’s what you’re asking.”
Things weren’t looking so good for a Neal-Sara (do we call them Nara?) relationship in the Season 2 finale. Sara spied him kissing his fence and past love, Alex (Gloria Votsis), before Neal was implicated in the theft and then destruction of billions of dollars worth of art and jewels.
Now FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) isn’t even sure his “partner” is on the up-and-up during the entire affair.
“Peter obviously has his suspicions about what Neal’s involvement is and his first reaction is to call Sara to verify Neal’s story,” Burton said during a conference call with writers. “And Neal’s first reaction is to call Sara to ask for an alibi.”
Sara is being used by both men, Burton said, but that doesn’t mean she can’t make her own decisions.
“I think that will be my character's storyline over the course of this season—to see whether she walks the line of good or evil and who she decides to give her allegiance to,” she said. “It’s a very tricky spot to be in because she’s got so much respect for Peter but she is, maybe begrudgingly, very drawn to Neal.”
Burton, who spent several years playing cheerleader-turned-record label producer Peyton Sawyer on “One Tree Hill,” is happy to be back as a series regular. Calling the crew and cast, which also includes Tiffani Thiessen, Sharif Atkins and Marsha Thomason, a "dream set," Burton is especially happy to be doing more scenes this season with Willie Garson, who plays Neal's con man partner Mozzy.
“I get to spend a lot of time with Mozzy, which is a treat because Willie’s a friend outside of work as well,” Burton said. “I’m his mascot; I just follow him around and laugh at him. He’s a funny dude!
“I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with the boys; they’re a good time.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times