Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Star Hilarie Burton Dishes on WHITE COLLAR Season 3

Before WHITE COLLAR returns for its much anticipated third season tonight (9PM USA), was given the opportunity to dish with newly promoted star Hilarie Burton. So how did she handle her promotion and what can fans expect from Sara’s relationship with both Neal and Peter? Find out for yourself after the jump.

You were promoted to series regular for the upcoming third season of WHITE COLLAR, can you talk a little bit about how that came about?
Hilarie Burton: Yes. I mean there was a rumor about it last year like, “If you play your cards right kid, you might get to stay.” So I tried to be on good behavior. You know, I think that Neal getting over Kate’s death was certainly at least a full season story. You know, the first season was all about him being in love with her. The second season was about him getting over her death. And now this third season 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. They probably hate me because I’m the girl that’s luck enough that gets to do it. But yes, I mean it’s about time they see him being all cute and such.

Can tell us more about the relationship between Sara and Neal in the beginning of the season. Will we get to see them explore their relationship in the beginning or will their work get in the way of it?
No. I’m going to kiss him. I’m going to kiss him if that’s what you’re asking. I think that at the end of last season Sara turned a corner and made a clear decision that she wasn’t going to be intimidated by his relationship with Alex and that she wasn’t going to step aside. I mean she’s a very assertive woman. And she sees something in Neal that she finds redeeming and attractive and maybe a little bit dangerous. And those are all things that suck her in. Whether those things get her in trouble down the road, that’s yet to be seen. But, you know, with Neal’s track record, you look at all the women he’s been involved with, Kate and Alex and by way of their involvement with him, they’ve gotten hurt. And so, you know, there’s an element of danger when it comes to dating Neal and Sara needs to be aware of that.

Could we perhaps delve into some of the relationship that Sara has with Peter?
You know, I think Peter is very, very supportive of a Sara and Neal relationship because he thinks that Sara will be a good influence on Neal. I think what he doesn’t expect is the possibility that Neal could be a bad influence on Sara. Clearly, Peter has known Sara for years before he and Neal teamed up together. And I think he believes he has a very good understanding of what she’s about. But, you know, Neal is someone that you can get totally swept away with. And it would be a mistake to underestimate that. So I think, you know, as much as I love having fun scenes with Tim DeKay, I think there might be some tougher scenes to do with him. I don’t ever want Peter to be mad and Sara because Hilarie Burton thinks Tim DeKay is so great. And I would hate for him to yell at me. But it might happen guys. It might happen.

Thanks to your recurring character status last season, we don’t know much about you. What can we look forward to from Sara in Season 3?
I think the beginning of Season 3 there’s still a little bit of that cat and mouse between Sara and Neal. You know, she doesn’t necessarily trust him right away. But I think that as they get closer and start to have just more fun together, a friendship, a bond builds where you see her lighter side. Plus, we’ve done little things along the way to try to make her more approachable. The wardrobe isn’t as glamorous as it was last year. We certainly were trying to create an aesthetic that created a wall, her language isn’t necessarily as clipped, she’s not as formal as she was last year. And so hopefully, the audience will start to feel more comfortable with her as someone who’s around more often as she peels back the layers.

And finally, how distracting is it working with Matt and Tim?
Oh, isn’t it just a terrible job, the two of them. They’re just kind and talented and what’s a girl to do. They really are so much fun. But, aside from just being, you know, fun guys, they make you laugh on set, they’re so professional. They make work really, really easy. And they make it go by very quickly. It is a dream set. Everybody who visits – everybody who visits says so. So they certainly have bragging rights over WHITE COLLAR. It’s a well-behaved group.

WHITE COLLAR returns Tuesday June 7 at 9PM on USA

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