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White Collar - An Interview With Tiffani Thiessen

White Collar fans are currently enjoying new episodes of their favorite drama. The show focuses on the partnership between FBI Agent Peter Burke and con artist/police consultant Neal Caffrey, who work together to solve cases both professionally and personally. To aid them in their work, they rely on a wealth of secondary characters ranging from go-to-man Mozzie to the always-helpful Special Agent Diana Barrigan. Another character that the guys could not survive without is Elizabeth Burke, wife of Peter, who is played by Tiffani Thiessen. Recently she talked with us about what originally attracted her to the role, as well as how much we can expect to see Elizabeth as we round out Season Two.

"I aspire to be Elizabeth Burke every day," Thiessen says about her love of playing the character. "I love that she really is a very career driven woman." That positive portrayal of a woman in what's often a male-focused television market has caught the eye of many fans, and was one of the reasons Thiessen was originally attracted to the role. "[Y]ou don’t see a lot of strong women have strong marriage relationships on TV...so that was one thing that I really, really enjoyed reading the script about and really falling in love with Elizabeth in that sense."

It's very rare to find a character who can not only balance a home life and career, but whose marriage is also shown to be a real partnership. “I love the relationship that she does have with her husband where there’s a lot of love between the two of them, there’s a lot of trust.” Unlike many marriages portrayed on television, Elizabeth does not take a backseat to Peter. She's a successful event planner and has served as a sounding board on many of her husband's cases over the years, as well as playing a more active role in some.

For those who have been missing Elizabeth's contribution to the cases lately, as Thiessen has been on maternity leave and Elizabeth's role minimized to accommodate her schedule, you will be pleased with the rest of this season. Thiessen assures that we will get to see more of her in the upcoming episodes and we'll even be treated to some great Neal/Elizabeth screentime. "[W]e actually do the whole entire episode pretty much the two of us together." That episode will likely be "Power Play" (Episode 2.15, airing February 22), where Neal and Peter must assume each others' identities to solve a case, leading up to the March 1st season finale.

As we continue through the second season of the show, one may wonder what draws in viewers both old and new. Thiessen thinks she knows. “[I]t’s one of the most entertaining TV shows on TV right now. It has a lot of suspense, it has a lot of comedy. It has a little bit of everything and it’s a really fun show.” I couldn't have said it better myself. Tune in to White Collar, Tuesdays at 10PM EST on the USA Network.


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