Eliza Dushku Teases 'Wild' White Collar Romp, Giving Buffy Fans a Little More Faith

This Tuesday on White Collar (USA Network, 9/8c), Neal’s pursuit of a recurring nemesis leads him to a crazy-sexy Egyptologist played by Whedonverse alumna Eliza Dushku. Given that TV’s most eligible con man (Matt Bomer) is currently on the outs with Sara, how can sparks not fly? Rest assured that they do – and then some – as former Tru Calling costars Bomer and Dushku reunite for a frothy escapade. Dushku spoke with TVLine about rousing Neal’s naughty side, her and Bomer’s Tru recallings, and how she’d love to slay again.

TVLINE | Welcome to the red-hot White Collar.
It is red-hot — and this week it’s even hotter.

TVLINE | How have you been describing your character?
Her name is Raquel LaRoque, which is a great name. Seriously, that sort of cinched it right there. She’s an Egyptologist that Neal needs to get acquainted with in order to lead him closer to Keller (played by Ross McCall). Obviously Neal has a lot of ladies in his life — in various episodes, you have a guest star come in and he uses his charm to get what he wants — but he doesn’t always have a meaningful, personal connection to those people. So basically, I wanted her to be somebody that was Neal’s equal – someone who is just as ambitious and devoted to her job, intelligent, quick, manipulative if she has to be, and uses her sexuality if she has to.

TVLINE | She seems to have this old-style Hollywood glamor thing going on.
She does have this sort of ’40s femme fatale look and vibe, and I loved that. We had this one beautiful shot in a park, and there were these gas lamps behind us… Everything about it felt like a ’40s picture. I didn’t necessarily expect that going into such a contemporary and fresh show.

TVLINE | Would you say that Raquel is bit more from Neal’s world that Sara (Hilarie Burton) is? Is that why they click?
I don’t know if it’s that she’s more or less of something than Sara is — it was almost coincidental that in this episode they’ve maybe run their course — but it definitely was maybe time to add a little spice – not that Sara wasn’t spicy! But for Neal and the world he lives in, having a monogamous relationship doesn’t lend itself to the possibilities of a wild romp with a woman that sort of shares his makeup. I think also there was talk about fans feeling like in the second season maybe he had started to become a Fed through and through, and yet he has this naughty con man side — sometimes who you travel with can affect how you behave. So I think Raquel is brought in at a good time to promote some misbehaving!

TVLINE | Will Neal’s experience with Raquel be the ruin or the salvation of his romance with Sara?
That remains to be seen…. [His time spent with Raquel] is poignant, and it makes him think, and it makes him wonder. But I’m not sure what goes on next.

TVLINE | Are Neal and Raquel sincerely interested in each other, or might one of them be playing the other?
That’s always the question. Neal may think he has it all figured out, but Raquel definitely has more to do – and people will definitely scream for that after Tuesday night!

TVLINE | So, they get physical? I mean, he looks like Matt Bomer, you look like you….
[Chuckles] We get physical, yeah…. Matt and I know each other of course from back in the day, so it as easier to step in and just cut to the chase and really make the characters connect and make some steam happen. With these Egyptian artifacts and antiquities, I was like, “Matt, we’re going to sexualize these scarabs.” After some of the takes, Matt would run over and go, “Oh my gosh, Eliza did you feel that? Something was happening there!” I was like, “Well, I meant to get you a little excited.” [Laughs]

TVLINE | Tell me about reuniting with Matt. Were there any jokes or topics from your Tru Calling days that came up?
There’s one big joke that’s constant, and that was Zach Galifianakis [who played Tru’s friend/morgue supervisor Davis]. When we were making our show, not that many people knew who Zach was. He was just that castmate who is so ridiculously hilarious even when he’s not trying. But now that Zach has really blown out of the water and everybody knows him from The Hangover and everything else, Matt and I would sit around and remember all of that insanity. [During Tru Calling] Matt and Zach were like Dad and Drunk-and-Angry Stoner Stepdad to my one-year-old golden retriever. I remember my dog riding off in the basket of Zach’s orange bike, with a plume of smoke following him. [Laughs] Then Matt would take him for a less chaotic weekend.

TVLINE | If you were able to choose a past character to play for a bit longer of a stretch, which would you choose? Faith, Tru, Dollhouse‘s Echo…?
Oh, I don’t know…. I’ve always had a lot of questions about Faith, and why there wasn’t a spin-off. It was a conversation right as Buffy was coming to an end, but because Buffy was ending so strong and Angel was already on, it didn’t feel like that was the “leap of Faith” to take. I ended up choosing to do Tru Calling, but I do miss [Faith]. Her effect is so powerful, globally, how could I not? People to this day tell me the impression she made on them personally, so of course I want to give them some more of her at some point, if I ever can.

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  1. =D says:

    She seems interesting but I’ve gotta say that I’d rather have alex come back than throw in someone random and new. I was also expecting way more blowback from sarah.

    • jj says:

      The chick who played Alex had zero chemistry with Matt Bomer. I didn’t care about her character, I didn’t care about their relationship. The whole idea of him looking for her was the WORST thing about the first season. The best thing? Obviously the bromance between Neal and Peter. I haven’t watched the ep yet, but it will be interesting to see what kind of chemistry these two characters have. (Oh, and Sarah doesn’t interest me that much either. It was interesting for them to have Neal in a relationship but ultimately couldn’t buy them together…

  2. Jill says:

    Eliza and matt together sounds great! I was getting sick of Sara. I hope they have eliza’s character show up from time to time. Her character sounds like fun!

  3. Michele says:

    While I like Eliza and I’m happy that Eliza and Matt are “reuniting,” I still like Neal and Sara together, so I’m hoping that she won’t be on in future episodes and if she is, I don’t want her to be a love interest. Jeff Eastin said that the Neal and Sara storyline is far from over, so I’m hoping that Eliza’s character doesn’t mess that up.

  4. JustALittleBit says:

    Love Eliza since her movie That Night <3 can't wait for her in WC :)

  5. PJ says:

    I’ll be interested to see how this pairing works out on tonight’s episode. On the upside, it’s got to work better than the chemistry-free zone that is Neal/Sara.

    • A says:

      Yes it will be fun to see. I think Matt and Eliza had wonderful chemistry on Tru Calling so it will be interesting to see how it’s progressed over the years. Sara Ellis is such a deadweight and the Neal and Sara relationship is so not entertaining. I think bringing on Eliza is one step in the right direction.

  6. Anna says:

    Sarah makes Neal as dull as dish water. This isn’t some cheesy day time soap opera. Please don’t ruin our favorite show by turning into some sappy romance slash.

    This episode looks great. I missed last week cause I couldn’t handle all that emotional feel good cheese. This is why we love this show-intrigue, tension, action. Pure escapism. If I wanted to watch a boring domesticated couple make out I would knock on my next door’s neighbors door and ask to hang out with them over a glass of juice.

    With Suits being all racy, WC better not lose it and go boring to please a few overtly sensible fans who crave normal dull suburban everyday life to risky City life.

    • CJ says:

      Wow, you missed a great ep last week. Action, intrigue, bullets and arrows flying, Jones and Neal in dress whites… Pretty much everything you said you loved, and no domestication.

      This week’s ep promises to be even better – and definitely HOTTER from the previews. Neal definitely deserves a little lovin’ after all the work he put in chasing Kate, mourning Kate, and looking for revenge for Kate during the first 2 seasons.

  7. Egzon says:

    She’s amazing.

  8. lipsticksocialism says:

    Eliza is brilliant!

  9. Dj says:

    Why must she tease us BTVS fans like that. As much as I would love to see her and Joss bring Faith back to tv I dont think it will ever happen. :(

    • Anonymous says:

      i know. i <3 the whole buffyverse and havig faith back would be great. if she wuold have accepted the offer to make it earlier it probably would have worked but now i think it has been too long since buffy-stuff was onscreen so i dont think its gonna happen. hey theres always hope though.

  10. Angel says:

    I haven’t watched White Collar in a while (Hilarie Burton’s character dragged the show down, IMO) but I’ll tune in tonight! I loved Eliza and Matt on Tru Calling. They had fantastic chemistry… I hope it’s still there. :)

    • A says:

      Hilarie Burton is a terrible actress and her character has been incredibly annoying to watch but I can promise you that she hasn’t had that much screentime so far. There have been some really interesting episodes so far. I would recommend going back and watching some of the episodes from this season. I’m so excited for Eliza’s character too.

    • Genevieve says:

      So many of my friends just gave up on the show because of Sarah and how boring it was becoming. Today they will tune in for Eliza! Keller also is great. They show is still good. If Sara stays I hope she and neal are just friends.

  11. Hannah says:

    I really hope they don’t bring her back for other episodes. The fact that she’s “Neal’s equal” just makes the case for how WRONG they are. She’s a crooked Egyptologist who likes the finer things in life. There’s no way that she could be convincingly written as more than a one-off character. Plus, this season is proving more and more that Neal IS becoming that fed alluded to in season two. On top of that, his spark with Sara is much too perfect to lose.

    Consider this one fan who’s unimpressed by this ploy for viewers.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I am excited to see Eliza on White Collar! I loved her and Matt together on Tru Calling. They had really great chemistry.

    I’m not a fan of the character Sara. I have nothing against Hilarie Burton but maybe if Sara was played by someone who really smoldered with Matt, then maybe I would feel differently. But, sorry, I just don’t see amazing chemistry there.

    • A says:

      It’s not just you. On paper, Sara isn’t bad but the way that they’ve sort of locked her into scenes hasn’t flowed. I totally agree that a huge part of the problem is Hilarie Burton. When I heard about Eliza coming to the show I actually wondered if things would have been better if she was the one playing Sara.

  13. Genevieve says:

    The fact that Eliza and Matt are together again is wonderful! I love them togther they play off each other so well. Eliza will do a great job. They have the chemistry that is just wonderful and natural.

    I would love Eliza to come back already. She is fantastic and has been promoting the show on her facebook and twitter. She is very classy and thankful. I wish they would have her comeback because she would fit so well.

    Sarah to me I could care less. I don’t like the character. I was a fan on Hilaire on One Tree Hill, but she just sucks on white collar. Not trying to be mean, just my honest opinion. key word “opinion”.

    Great article matt!

  14. Bridget says:

    Casting Eliza as this floozy-esque character was a massive mistake. The show does not need another Alex Hunter, nor any further artifact of Neal’s past brought in to provide unnecessary chemistry-less “sexual tension”. Two thumbs down from a viewer since the pilot.

  15. J. says:

    It’s terrible that so many people are posting about how awful of an actress Hilarie Burton is. I haven’t really watched much White Collar outside of an episode here or there but I always thought Hilarie was absolutely one of the best parts of the first six seasons of One Tree Hill. Which probably isn’t saying much considering who she was up against on that series, but still. She always seemed great to me.

    However, the real reason I’m here is Eliza Dushku, who is always a delight for me to watch. White Collar definitely snagged a great guest star in her and it would be worth their while to try and get her back for more.

    • jj says:

      it definitely would have to be by comparison. 90% of the actors on OTH are not very good and the writing was so bad that you had to be an amazing actor to make it not suck as much. How OTH has stayed on this many years is beyond me.

      • Am says:

        There are only about 2-3 good actors on OTH and the rest are terrible. Hilarie was one of the terrible ones. I’ve always felt that she’s just too awkward in whatever she does.

  16. kat says:

    Sooooo, is every White Collar post going to be a fight over Sara and Alex and now Raquel? Seriously, why so opinionated about these actresses and characters? They aren’t the center of the show and it’s not like it’s in the cards for Neal to suddenly get married and move to the suburbs. It’s so boring to come in here and have people making the same ridiculous arguments AT each other over and over. We get it. You like one/some/none of the women with Neal. And now we just want to find out silly and/or interesting things about a light show without arguing about something over which we have no control.

    • El says:

      I do not see why people can’t comment on a relationship of one of the main characters? Is this not a tv site?
      Some people like Neal & Sara together and others do not. Some like Neal with Alex. Some want him with no one in particular. Love & relationships are nothing new to tv for people to discuss. And all are entitled to their opinion.

  17. x says:

    HAHA my god the internet is full of haters and trolls.Honestly i was already ispecting all this hate on Hilarie because the one tree hill fanbase is the most crazy and childish fanbase on the planet.Sorry Hilarie left one tree hill i get that you want her to fail i get that you dont want her to do good because one tree hill is considered a joke and you dont want her to do better then the show but grow up its time.Hilarie is there for like 5 minutes a episode and some people says that she ruins the show haha if she was so bad she would not be loved by most of the critcs.And to me like Kat comment its ridiculous to come on a news that dont have anything to do with Hilarie and starting bashing her this really live me to think that its really something personal agaist the actress.

  18. lucas says:

    I agree all this hate is coming from one tree hill fans that are bitter that Hilarie left one tree hill and are now on a better show.Most of this people dont even watch white collar they see news about the show and already start bashing Hilarie.

    • Genevieve says:

      The One Tree Hill fans are the one that love sara in white collar without even seeing the start of White Collar. They think that Hialrie is the best actress on earth and she is not. She is the worst character on the show.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I don’t think Matt Bomer & Hilarie have much chemistry. Which makes me not care for the Sara character.

      And I can promise you I have never watched One Tree Hill nor care about it’s fan base. My opinion is based strictly on what I see on White Collar.

    • TDSE says:

      I’ve always felt that Sarah, outside if Alex at times, is the only woman who has shown her abiltity to hold her own with Neil. Furthermore, she IS the only woman to make Neil want to be better. That’s gotta be worth something.

      Also, while Hilarie Burton might not be the most amazing actress ever, I think she does very well whenever she is on screen.

  19. Genevieve says:

    Finally saw Eliza on White Collar and it was great! Wish she was on more!

  20. Jason says:

    Hopefully this article will spark Joss to do a Faith spinoff. The buffyverse needs to live on television again. A TV movie at the least would be awesome. Joss is a major movie director now though. He’d most likely have to turn it over to Marti Noxon and jane Espensen if they were to do a Faith series

  21. Bri says:

    You know, for people commenting about boring suburban life….I really, really like what Peter and Elizabeth have going on. It’s not like the show completely neglects racy city life or settled suburb life; Neal and Peter give us the best of both worlds. I enjoyed this weeks episode, but Eliza wasn’t my favorite part. Mozzie was (as always).

    I was one of the few who watched Dollhouse on a regular basis, so it’s kind of weird seeing Eliza out of the context of that show. The whole time I kept thinking Raquel was just a doll even though the two universes have nothing in common save the actress. Still, it was a good episode. I’m interested to see where this Keller thing goes.