Exclusive: White Collar Promotes Hilarie Burton to Series Regular

It appears there will be many more “stolen” moments between Neal Caffrey and Sara Ellis: USA Network’s White Collar is promoting the utterly awesome Hilarie Burton to series regular for Season 3, TVLine has learned exclusively.

At the time she lensed her very first White Collar episode, Burton shared her wish for her recurring role to turn into something longterm. As she put it, series leads Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay “are so sincere in their generosity and their kindness, I’d stay forever, man.”

White Collar‘s Tim DeKay and Matt Bomer Prove Their Chemistry Is No Con

Having previously called One Tree Hill home, Burton joined the USA series as a top-shelf insurance investigator who considers Neal to be “the one that got away” — meaning, ahem, a thoroughly elusive art thief. But over the course of Burton’s Season 2 appearances, Sara and Neal have reached a sort of professional détente, with her even joining “Burke’s Seven” for an intricate con that kicked off the show’s wintertime run.

At the time Burton joined White Collar, she spoke of the world of difference from Tree Hill, where she cried a lot as poor Peyton was put through numerous emotional wringers. “If you want to see me having a good time and being, you know, clever and quick-witted, this is the place to do it,” she said of her new TV gig.

White Collar, which was renewed for Season 3 in the fall, airs Tuesdays at 10/9c. The second season finale is scheduled for March 8.

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  1. Jenna says:

    Awesome news!

    • Jane Magbulogtong says:

      yep!i love Damon!

    • joyce says:

      I love her. I really happy for her. she is so perfect. GOD THANKS.

    • Deana says:

      Did Hilarie’s people send you all checks? My one hope is that Neal Caffrey is a regular guy — and Sara is the quintessential rebound girl.

      And we all know how & where rebounders end up.

      In this case, on some other series.

    • Jayne Masters says:

      I didn’t even realize who Hilarie Burton was since I stopped watching OTH in the 4th season. Ironically, I stopped watching because I despised her character on the show. She was a crybaby who always got what she wanted. Not to go all OTH on this comment, but the brunette was a wayy better girlfriend to the lead male character (can’t even remember their names now), and when Peyton ended up with him instead, I pretty much stopped watching the show. I’m almost disappointed to find out it’s her since I like her character so much on White Collar. White Collar rules! One correction to this post though, Season 3 will not be returning in the Fall. Not quite sure why this person stated so. Anyone who is interested enough in the show to actually make a post about it should also visit the official USA website for the show and see all over the place that the show is returning in the Summer.

    • Nicole says:

      I know right! I love Hilarie Burton! Her character Sarah
      is perfect for Neal as a love interest! Can’t wait for Season 3!

    • Angel Smith says:

      I asked why Sharif Atkins, who has been in 27 of 30 episodes is STILL a “guest” and Hilarie Burton is immediately a regular? I did not ask for a bio of Hillarie. I had never seen nor heard of her prior to her joining White Collar. I have however, seen many shows that Sharif has starred. He is an excellent actor. He does an excellent job in his (unfortunately) minor role in White Collar. I love White Collar, but I like Neal as a playboy vs. in a relationship. Nick’s beautiful blue eyes should not be tied down to one person in this fictional show. It makes it more fun and exciting; less predictable.


  2. Rose says:

    Best news ever! I love Sara Ellis!

  3. kate says:

    Thank you White Collar, writers! Sara is amazing! I can’t wait to see her and Neal together! xD

  4. monica says:

    Thank you! Thank you! This news made my day! I started watching the series because of her. She and Neal are perfect together!

  5. monica says:

    She fits perfectly with the cast (especially Neal). Good addiction!

  6. Matthew says:

    I’m glad they found someone who is quick enough on her feet to keep up with Neal. She is a great foil for him and won’t slow down the show at all. Her character is well written, and she delivers. Can’t wait to see more of her.

  7. Michele says:

    Yaaaay!! I’m so happy :D

  8. Jamie says:

    I’m glad somebody so talented is getting work but I want a one episode OTH return at least.

    • Nekesha says:

      Same here!.. I’m so happy she gets promoted, I was hoping for that. But I would really love to see her one last time on OTH!!

  9. Marie says:

    Yay! I can’t wait for Junior and Sara to be together again! :D

  10. Jones19 says:

    Great news. I wish she would return for the OTH finale but oh well.

  11. Bebop says:

    Totally digging this….. BUT I’d reeeally rather have more Alex. Oh well, if wishes were fishes and all that.

  12. Stella says:

    Well…there goes that show…Shame.

  13. SaraK says:

    Nice! Hilarie and Matt have great chemistry.

  14. CIndy says:

    Seriously?? Well, looks like I will be watching something else in that time slot. I had hoped that she would NEVER come back, but then again, I guess you need someone to keep your T&A ratings up. So sad to see you take such a classy show and cheapen it by making her a permanent cast member. Bye bye White Collar.

    • Bev says:

      Well you can’t think much of White Collar if the addition of ONE individual is going to ‘cheapen’ the show. Come on, that’s a little pathetic love.

      • ab says:

        well, it’s not like it hasn’t already been going downhill this season… yeah, this’ll be be the coffin nail for me too i think

        • Jenna says:

          Hello thurr, Brooke stans.

          • jenny says:

            Who is Brooke? I agree that the show’s quality has steadily declined and Hilarie Burton just isn’t a very good actress, so this news doesn’t exactly motivate me to keep watching. I’m pretty close to tuning out too.

          • Liz says:

            I imagine that the person meant Sophia Bush’s character on OTH. From what I remember of that show, Brooke was Peyton’s main competition for Lucas, but it has been a really long time since i watched OTH, so I may be wrong.

    • Alex says:

      Sara is classy and badass and puts Neil in his place. I love their interaction on the show and I find it really insulting that you insinuate that she’s only there for “T&A ratings” as you put it. This isn’t OTH Brooke stans. Hilarie is actually liked here.

      • timotey says:

        “puts Neil in his place”

        And that’s exactly why I don’t like her. Why it’s needed that he’s “put in his place”, demeaned and belittled? I think he proved his worth to Peter and the FBI already.

    • jonathan Liu says:

      while i think hilarie burton is quite attractive, i wouldnt say she is very well gifted in the “T&A” area. so i’m not sure what you are watching sounds like someone is just bitter and angry.

    • Anthony says:

      Your ignorance of the program and what she adds to the show is amazing. I am glad you will no longer be watching. White Collar is pure entertainment

    • brutony says:

      Um, are you ggay? Why dont you want her? It needs a woman on here-sometimes this show gets to be too much of a sausage fest! Plus, Neal needs a love interest, and he cant be bromancing with Peter ALL the time-give the guy a break! Maybe the two of them will pull off more schemes and heists on their own time?

      • timotey says:

        There are enough women who don’t get enough screen-time as it is: El, Diana, June, Alex. Why does the show need another regular? It will only serve to diminish everybody’s screen-time even more. This started as a “buddy cop” show but it’s turning fast into an “ensemble” show and it’s not needed. I don’t get why the writers feel the need to meddle with what works.

    • Lisa says:

      Except I don’t really think “T&A” when I think Hilarie Burton. I think more “S&B” for skin and bones.

      • Melissa says:

        Comments like that are really unnecessary. There really isn’t any need to make personal digs. I thought we were discussing a TV show.

    • spikenalabama says:

      Yeah, gonna have to go with my first impression; which was…Really? Why?????

  15. Katie says:

    YAY!!!! Really happy for Hilarie. She’s an awesome addition to the show. Great that she’s gonna be sticking around.

  16. dya says:

    Seriously… this news just made my day… awesome..
    Go hilarie

  17. Ha! says:

    Nice to see she’s cashed in off the back of her baby and it’s father! Classy Hil! You would never have got this gig if it weren’t for the baby you trapped JD into!!!

  18. Jack's Mum says:

    I can’t believe some people are saying “I’ll never watch the show again!” due to the addition of 1 supporting character. They obviously aren’t real fans of a great show that is supported by wonderful leads (Bomer and DeKay) and awesome, smart writing. I didn’t like the character of Cruz in the first season and yet got totally hooked on the show after 1 episode. And in my opinion, this is a great addition! Can’t wait to see season 3!!

    • Katie says:

      Here here, I didn’t like Cruz or Kate for that matter and Kate’s been a major focal point for 2 seasons. It never stopped me from watching the show. Bomer and DeKay are still gonna be the awesome people they are and the writings still going to be good. In my opinion Hilarie makes a welcome new addition to the cast.

    • Irene says:

      Bitter OTH fans who still associate her as Peyton and can’t get over the fact that she ended up with Lucas after her run on the show.

      She will do great! She is awesome actress and so beautiful.

  19. Ryan says:

    On the fence. I like her character but I think she worked best as a recurring foil. I think that dynamic won’t be as good if she’s in every episode. Plus, when is Sharif Atkins going to get listed as a series regular?

    • Melissa says:

      Seriously! If anyone deserves to be promoted, it’s Sharif Atkins. Also, it doesn’t help that I am a supporter of the Neal/Alex relationship. Hilarie doesn’t seem essential to the plot or that dynamic of a character, and as a series regular I foresee many an awkward plot tie-in. I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes.

  20. @Princessmsb says:

    That’s great I love Hilarie Burton!!! I cant wait to see if they will put her and Matt Bomer together romantically on the show!!

  21. Sofia says:

    Haters are gonna hate! Hilarie Burton is a good actress and has excellent chemistry with Matt Bomer (and all the cast). This show is getting better and better!

  22. timotey says:

    I thought this was a show about Peter & Neal. The addition of yet another character wasn’t necessary. It’ll change the dynamic of the characters and how will they shoehorn her into every episode? I admit freely, I don’t like the actress or the character – the way she was introduced colored my opinion of her and nothing has changed it since. I mean, running around the FBI headquarters in panties? *sigh* Disappointing news :(

    • Meg says:

      The really funny thing is that she wasn’t running around the FBI in panties…she had on pajama shorts. And they brought her pants. Are you talking about when she basically had to live there in order not to ruin her fake “death”? because in all her scenes she was fully-clothed. *shrug*

      Anyhow, I adore her dynamic with the the other characters and look forward to seeing her find a place among them. I’m especially hoping for more Peter/Sara scenes, like the one they had at the FBI offices in her first episode…that slight mentor role she put him in. Loving this!!

      • Bev says:

        I missed her running around in panties lol. She wore pajama shorts like a lot of young women do and she was hardly running around.
        Agreed Meg, I am looking forward to seeing how Sara fits in with the rest of the characters. I want more Peter/Sara scenes like in Unfinished Business.

      • timotey says:

        Panties or pajama bottoms, it’s all the same. She had the time to grab boxes of files but she didn’t have the time to put her pants on? Very bad introduction. The last time a character irked me like that was when they introduced Bela Talbot on Supernatural, that was another belittling, demeaning… female person.

  23. Tom T Bloom says:

    Great news… They have tremendous chemistry and I think she could add a new wrinkle.
    GREAT MOVE USA TV – that is why you are #1

  24. Marie says:

    That’s great! Next season will be amazing!

  25. Sonia says:

    This show is about Neal/Peter and this news won’t change that. She’s just another female character, like Diana, Elizabeth… She fits perfectly with the cast.

  26. Kate says:

    Hilarie’s beautiful! Her and Matt are such a hot couple. Good old Jeff Eastin and co for making her a regular. Haters go on and hate because Hilarie Burton staying on the show for a good while yet.

  27. Sue says:

    Great news! She’s a great addition. I’m all for a Neal/Sara romance, especially if that means no more Kate (awful actress) or Alex (useless character)

  28. Sarah says:

    yay!!! Hilarie has great chemistry with matt and tim! Maybe now we’ll see the Burke 7 reunited.. On other plus side, MOVE OVER KATE! its time neal gets over her..

  29. Jeremy says:

    Good news, but when is Sharif Atkins going to be promoted? He’s been on every episode!

    • LC says:

      In the commentary on the first season DVD Jeff Eastin says that they offered him a position as a series regular but Shariff turned it down.

  30. Angel says:

    Ugh. Terrible actress.

  31. Margareth says:

    YES! Matt and Hilarie have amazing chemistry! White Collar will be even more fun to watch.

  32. Steff says:

    Oohh, I think it’s AWESOME she’s joining the cast for real now as a regular!! I think Sara’s character is just AMAZING with Neal and ughhhh. I really can not wait for the rest of S2 and eeek, of course too, S3!! It really are amazing news, and i’m oh so very happy for Hilarie!!! She totally deserves it, and her character is AWESOME PERIOD!!!!

    I wonder so much if her relationship with Neal is actually MOVING FORWARD now!!!! Can’t wait!!!!!!

  33. Allison N says:

    AMAZING! I love her on White collar!

  34. C says:

    I don’t get why some people are “tuning out” because of an addition. Granted, I LOVE Hilarie and also do wish Sharif got promoted too, but it’s one character. You guys act like she’s going to be in every single scene. Is Elizabeth in every scene? No. Like someone else said, I, also, hated Cruz and Kate but I still watch despite Neal CONSTANTLY wanting Kate, which got annoying IMO. It’s not changing much. Neal and Peter are still the head honchos. If you liked a show so much, you wouldn’t care. I think she’s a great addition and personally, I’m stoked. She has great chemistry with every person on the show and I’m excited to see what is next season.

  35. Yasmin says:

    Hilarie was billed as a show stopper addition from the get go by all concerned with white collar and the reviewers. I personally could not see the appeal and am saddened to hear she is now a permanent addition. I personally, like Alex and Gloria Votsis who plays this character. She has a lot to give to the role given half a chance. If anyone, Gloria should have been made a regular cast member! One disappointed viewer from the UK

    • jenny says:

      It saddens me too that Gloria continually gets overlooked and now this time in favor of such a mediocre actress. What a shame.

      • SG says:

        Would have loved to see Gloria added as a regular. It’s shocking to me they went with the vastly inferior HB, who has been so forced into the show, and has no discernable chemistry with Bomer, when Gloria has natural chemistry with him by the bucket load.

    • Lexi says:

      I´m totally agree, I prefer alex & neal relationship

      • Melissa says:

        Hear, hear! I feel like if there is any heat in the relationship with Sara, it’s only because Matt Bomer is her counterpart. Alex and Neal seem so much more natural to me. Alex is exciting and clever; Sara is … meh.

    • DeDust says:

      I hate that Hilarie Burton is now a regular cast member. I like Gloria Votsis (Alex) more than HB. I hope that we can still see Gloria in the show.

  36. davej says:

    I would have preferred for Alex to have become a series regular, but oh well . . . I agree with other posters that Peter and Neal are the key to the show. I do, however, find myself craving more and more Mozzi (Wille Garson) and wouls like this to become the Peter, Neal, and Mozzi show.

    It will be interesting to see how they work the Sara character into more episodes next season. I’m guessing it will involve the pursuit of Neil’s mentor (Andrew McCarthy)?

  37. Kelly says:

    Why her? She’s a terrible, horrible actress! Bye bye white collar!

  38. mgb says:

    Great news. Neal needs a love interest on the show.

  39. jay says:

    I really dislike her on one tree hill, but she doesn’t piss me off so much in this role. i think she will be a nice addition.

  40. Amy says:

    I can’t believe anyone would stop watching White Collar by a choice of putting Sara as a constant character on the show. I love the chemistry on the show. Love Neal and Peter’s chemistry, the show rocks. If you are pissed because someone else is added, then I don’t think you really love the show enough this should take little precedence.

  41. Amy says:

    PS, Mozzie Rocks !

  42. SG says:

    Horrible decision. Having her on the show as occasional recurring was bad enough, but promoting her to series regular is a disaster. So many great characters on this show already fighting for screen time – what on earth is the point of adding her? I just don’t get it. This will really turn me off this show.

    Can’t believe they added such a bad actress to what is otherwise such an awesome cast. Odd.

    • jenny says:

      If I could like this post, I would. I 100% agree with this. They are already saturated with characters played by good actors, who decent get enough face time on the screen. This one doesn’t seem to serve a strong purpose and to add to that, she’s played by a pretty mediocre actress.

      • Dee says:

        Agree with SG and Jenny!!
        Wish they would stop messing with an awesome cast.

      • JOAN LIN says:

        I agree with you. we got 4, 5 main characters already, they are very strong.. if we want to add some romance for Neal, find someone more along the line of Elizabeth. Neal is smart enough and love Elizabeth to want a woman like her.. and I am sure it does not have to be a carbon copy of her…

  43. Mayra says:

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! *O*
    That’s what I call good news! I love Hilarie, Sara Ellis is great. Everything’s perfect!

  44. Kali says:

    awesome! I lover her as Sara…she definitely contributes to the show and I loverd her scenes with Matt.

  45. Alberto says:

    I want her back for the series finale of OTH!!!!!

  46. lyn says:

    I like her as a guest star…not sure as a regular. Will keep an open mind and will wait and see.

  47. Rebecca says:

    Nooooo!! Alex has to be the new love interest for Neal. Oh, crapazoid!

  48. Dee says:

    I love love love White Collar and don’t mind Hilarie at all but my big problem is they have zero chemistry…it’s just so “forced” because she gets to bring him inline.
    White Collar has made this mistake before…Natalie Morales anyone?…he has more chemistry with Marsha Thomason and she’s playing gay! LOVE that they wised up and brought her back!
    Likewise with Kate (Alexandra Daddario)…there’s just zilch chemistry and I find it very hard to see that they ever had a big romance even with the flashbacks.
    Matt Bomer shows the most chemistry with Alex (Gloria Votsis) but her character doesn’t exactly lend to series regular. If they can work that one out it would be perfect.
    This show is best when it’s all about the bro-mance between Matt and Tim Dekay or Matt and Mozzie. Why not just have him flirt with a new female guest star every couple of weeks and see which one shows the most sparks. Has worked well with other shows.

  49. Larissa says:

    YEAH!! I am so excited to see Hilarie in a more serious role! She was my favorite on OTH, but definitely saw she had way more talent than that show demanded. When she left OTH, I considered that the series finale! SO excited to see where they take Neal and Sara!