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. CJ says:

    Really not sure on this one – I love the character of Sara Ellis, and she definitely has chemistry with Neal. But I really think she works better as a recurring character. Hard to see how they’ll work her into every ep without disturbing the Neal-Peter chemistry. And really, Neal needs to play the field for a while after all the grieving for Kate, not settle into a new relationship already.

  2. Ashley says:

    I’m not really happy about this. Hilarie Burton plays Sara way too vampy for me to really take her seriously as a deep, well-rounded character. I’m for Neal/Alex (as a recurring character) 100%. Neal already has so many people in his life who are on the right side of the law – he needs someone other than Mozzie to feed that internal conflict and balance!

    • SG says:

      “Neal already has so many people in his life who are on the right side of the law – he needs someone other than Mozzie to feed that internal conflict and balance!”

      Preach it! I am very much against the ‘neutering’ of Neal. I want to keep my conflicted bad boy with a heart of gold, thank you very much.

      • Melissa says:

        Could not of said it better myself. If he chooses the picket fence, fine. With Sara? I’ll be very, very disappointed.

  3. Mel says:

    Oh grow up! She’s an actress for goodness sakes. You take this too seriously. It’s a fictional TV show with fictional characters with Sara (played by Hilarie Burton) being just one. I think Burton is a terrific actress, and you take the “bromance” between Neal and Peter too seriously.

    • SG says:

      Pretty sure you’re here commenting on a TV show as well. Just because people do so with passion doesn’t mean that “take it too seriously” or need to “grow up.” Pretty rude to say so. People are entitled to opinions which are not the same as yours. If you feel the need to belittle them for doing so, it would seem you are the one who needs to “grow up.”

      • JOAN LIN says:

        agree, don’t act so noble of yourself.. it is arrogant and annoying.. we are having fun discussing TV shows.. get with the program.

  4. Gi says:

    I’ll only watch White Collar because of Hilarie. Those are witty producers.

  5. jen says:

    wow i’m really happy for Hilarie Burton i mean she done so many things and placing aside being bashed about her dating jeffery dean morgan and having his child. but i think saying she bad actress and shouldn’t be back on white collar is something that is ur mind me ih i can’t wait to watch the episodes i have been taping. i know there are some people really upset of her from oth taking lucas from brooke Hello chad and hil was leaving they had to do something and it was the plot right at the pilot.. its just a show and i really enjoy watching both i hope she come back for one oth episode maybe if its picked up next year the finale with chad it be a prefect ending of the hit show.

  6. huh says:

    this is amazing! the only reason why i took notice of white collar (apart from the fact how matt bomer is really hot) is that hilarie burton got a recurring role.. i just love hilarie. she has such good chemistry with her co-stars…and now that she’s promoted…i also happen to start liking the show.. and now rooting for those two to get together! :D

  7. d'oneluv says:

    though i avnt watched the white cholla,but the peyton i knw in oth is supernatural.hilary i love u.wish i cld c u again in one tree hill.

  8. Christy says:

    I am so happy!! yay Hilarie Burton!!! I think people who seems to be against it just needs wait and see. Personally from the first scene she had I really loved her character. She has a spunky attitude and I think her character fits with the other around.

  9. walter says:

    it’s horrible if there gonna be some romance between Neal and Kate. and it will definately spoil the chemistry between Peter and Neal.

  10. moon says:

    Wow this is the best news ever…Sara fitted in the show just perfectly.

    “It appears there will be many more “stolen” moments between Neal Caffrey and Sara Ellis”…I’m really looking forwards to this lol…

  11. Alberto says:

    Please please please Hilarie, come back for the OTH series finale!!!!!!!!!

  12. Helen says:

    Jeff and the writers have done outstanding work so far; so Hilarie’s choice might be great. She deserves a chance. Alex can’t be Neal’s regular girlfriend, even though they have such good chemistry. Alex is a criminal, always planning the next crime. Neal would be put back in prison if he hooked up with her.

    • Kathleen says:

      I couldn’t agree more… in everything about Neal/Alex, but the truth is that they don’t have to go for the good girl all the time, you just have to look at Kate. Yes, Alex is a fence, but I prefer the Neal I watch when Alex’s around… it’s who he is. And Sara…. she’s ok. She has great clothes, she knows how to use a stick (or whatever thing that was), but that’s it, I can’t really picture Neal with her… as a regular girlfriend. It’s complicated I guess… but I’m really concerned about Neal’s romantic life =). This is one example of what S3 will have… choices.

  13. zara says:

    OMG i can’t wait. im so excited. i love sara ellis. i knew somehow they’re gonna make her come back but i didn’t know shes going to be a regular one. im so happy!!!! :)

  14. teniba says:

    Great addition i might say, that romantic question with Neal is ok by me, i mean look at the guy, it’s not like he going to be a celebate for ever… he has to move on from Sarah, in white collar, it’s almost year and the guy is very young…

    The thing is the interest is there, the curiosity is there as well, but it’s going to be very tricky between them…

  15. lovelystar says:

    wen is the next season gonna air?

  16. Emily says:

    Sara and Neal are incredibly hot together!

  17. ana.22 says:

    I don’t really dislike Sara, the problem is that I don’t think that she and Neal would actually be able to build a relationship. Maybe because of Alex (I really think that no matter who is Neal dating, when Alex is around he can’t control himself… it happened with Kate/Copenhagen and it happened in “Under the Radar”. That’s why I think they couldn’t add Alex as a regular… she’s far from being a good influence to Neal. Back to the main point… something tells me that Sara isn’t exactly what Neal needs… she’s great on paper, but he will eventually get bored. I’ve been thinking about this for too long anyway so… I’ll wait to see what S3 has to show…

  18. quina says:

    Well if we go by that hilarie is a season regular on WC yet hasnt appear except in one episode mayb she was filming for OTH well thats what im hoping