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The big question on everyone’s minds on White Collar is: Where is Elizabeth Burke?
After USA Network launched a two-weeklong digital mystery that asked just that question, stars Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay remained mum on tonight’s resolution, but offered another eye-opening tease. That the past midseason and season finales (i.e. Kate’s plane explosion, Elizabeth’s kidnapping) may pale in comparison to the season 3 ender.
“All we can say is the cliffhanger for the end of season 3 is, in our opinion, the biggest cliffhanger to date,” DeKay told The Hollywood Reporter during winter Television Critics Assoc. press tour. “Which says a lot.”
Bomer and DeKay gave THR a preview of the first episodes back, what DeKay really is like as a director and whether Bomer will step behind the camera — or write — any time soon.
[Warning: Some spoilers ahead.]
The Hollywood Reporter: In an upcoming episode, “Upper West Side Story,” Neal pretends to be a teacher and at the climactic moment, there’s a funny scene with a fake gun. How was it filming that episode?
Tim DeKay: That’s one of those episodes that didn’t have much anthology to it. I love that part of White Collar a lot because it’s fun, it’s light, there’s a lot of heart in those episodes. I like it when Neal does something and it pisses Peter off but he can’t do anything about it.
Matt Bomer: For me it’s always fun when Neal gets to go undercover. Considering his background, the fact that he never had a formal education, to get to go undercover and enjoy the vicarious aspect of it. I remember the director called me the night before and he was like, “Can you memorize a full Byron poem by tomorrow morning, in verse.”
THR: What was Tim like as a director? (DeKay directed an upcoming baseball episode, airing February, which THR broke in August.)
Bomer: Everything I hoped for. I knew he was going to be great because I watched him over the past year and a half. While he’s still the work he always does, he’s also paying attention to things visually. He did justan amazing job wearing both hats, and it was such a natural fit. It was a blast. It made me want to do great work for him. It was such a perfect episode for him to direct.
DeKay: It takes place in Yankee Stadium for baseball. When Matt and I work together we don’t direct each other necessarily. But we do bounce things off of each other. There was a joy for me as a director to watch Matt on the monitor work with other actors in a scene because I don’t get to do that. I’m either in the trailer or the scene itself so I did it a lot. Some things I don’t really see until it airs.
THR: Was there something that you discovered during that experience?
Bomer: I knew I was going to love it from a collaborative standpoint. When you’re on the right track, so many things fall into place. The storyline was baseball-themed and he had such a history with that. The fact that we were the first production ever to get to shoot in the new Yankee Stadium. Everything came into place. It felt right.
DeKay: The thing that I discovered was how fast we moved as a production shooting episodes.
THR: Did you have a moment where you close to losing it?
DeKay: No. Before I did it, I said to myself, “Make that moment happen. Make sure to trust the machine that’s already moving and the crew and the cast.” There were times when I wanted to freak out.
Bomer, joking: There was that time when you started balling. He didn’t make a big deal. I found him in his trailer. I put his head on my shoulder and said, “Tim,” I rocked him a little bit, “it’s going to be OK.”
THR: Matt, did that make you want to possibly step behind the camera? What did you pick up?
Bomer: I think I learned from him how to steer a ship in a small, collective way and how to talk to actors. I think eventually, maybe in a couple of seasons or something when everybody’s had their turn. I wouldn’t mind writing at some point. I think probably when it’s all said and done, we’ll have directed.
THR: What can you reveal about the rest of the season?
Bomer: We have this great Rear Window type of episode where Joe Manganiello came on the show where he plays the highly suspected neighbor that Elizabeth is very suspicious of. I would say the struggle for Neal has been do I stay or do I go.
THR: They introduced that Neal could potentially leave …
DeKay: Beau Bridges comes into play as Peter’s mentor from Washington, along with Anna Chlumsky, and the two of them are fantastic. They’re two characters that are really instrumental with the two decisions that Peter and Neal have to make.
White Collar airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on USA Network.
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