Hilarie Burton on Playing Spoiler to Popular Grey's Anatomy Pair: 'I Walked Into a Bear Trap!'

Grey's Anatomy Season 9 Preview Lauren Arizona“You know me. I can’t go anywhere without causing trouble! That’s just how it goes.” In other words, Hilarie Burton is well aware that she’s stirring things up with her Grey’s Anatomy run, which kicked off with a meet-so-cute between cranio-facial whiz Lauren and the very pretty, very married Arizona, and continues Thursday at 9/8c.

TVLine invited Burton – familiar to TV fans from her previous roles on One Tree Hill and White Collar – to tease her Grey’s arc, and good.

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TVLINE | So we’ve met Lauren and she’s sweet on Arizona (played by Jessica Capshaw), but Arizona is married. Ready, set, defend your character’s actions.
Arizona a really good-looking woman! She is everything that you’d want in a woman. She has overcome so much, she’s super-smart, she’s super-beautiful…. If there is a wedge in her relationship [with Callie], you better believe Lauren is the kind of person that will hammer it in a bit. You don’t let those opportunities pass you by. That’s how Lauren would defend it; Hilarie Burton is like, “Oh God, I’ve got to break up a marriage?! This feels awful!” [Laughs] I know people are hating my guts, but I hope that I’m portraying Lauren in a way that she’s engaging and fun, and that it makes Arizona’s decision hard. If I came in and played a sleazy character, it would make Arizona look kind of flip, to keep flirting back. But by coming in and trying to be someone who is supportive and in awe of her, and is everything that maybe she’s lacked in her other relationship, I want to be able to justify her character’s decision.

TVLINE | Will asking Arizona out for coffee be the limit of Lauren’s aggressiveness?
Listen, I’m not giving you any spoilers. What I will say is they get along really well. And this week’s episode was a great one to shoot. It’s Jackson, Arizona and Lauren doing surgery on an infant, so there’s that teamwork, that sense of working together. That’s what this story is about – connecting with people and finding success with people. And sharing those kind of warm experiences can be really intoxicating.

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TVLINE | Did you have any idea what you were walking into with Grey’s, possibly coming between Arizona and Callie?
I’ll be honest — I had no idea. The casting director, Linda Lowy, put me in my very first movie ever, and she also put [Burton’s fiancé] Jeffrey [Dean Morgan] on Grey’s Anatomy. So, this is a group of people that have been a part of our family as long as our family has been… our family. Burton_MorganWhen they called and said, “Hey do you want to do this?,” I had no idea what the character was. And then I get the script and I’m like, “Oh no, I just walked into a bear trap! People are gonna hate my guts!” So I’m trying to do the flirtation justice. On a personal level, I think Jessica is awesome, so it’s very easy to flirt with her.

TVLINE | Speaking of the Linda/Jeffrey connection, some of our readers, when they first heard of your casting or saw you on screen, were like, “Hey, its Denny’s girlfriend!”
[Laughs] When my son was born, the gift basket we got from the Grey’s crowd was crazy. And I’ve known Linda since I was, I dunno, 19? [Jeffrey and I] knew people separately and as a couple, so it’s nice to work in a place where my relationship is respected. My character is doing some morally gray decision-making, but I’m in a safe environment on a personal level, where people are like, “Oh yeah, your boyfriend’s great!” They’ve been really wonderful.

TVLINE | Callie thus far seems equally smitten with Lauren, albeit on a different level. Will she start to get wary?
Callie’s a whole other avenue for Lauren to walk down, isn’t she…? Obviously Lauren has already admitted that she has Googled Arizona, and that probably started from a place of, “Oh, who am I working with? Ohhhh… This person is cute.” I don’t think there’s a person at home watching the show hasn’t Googled somebody they’ve met. So we’ll just see who else turns Lauren’s head, if anybody.

TVLINE | She won’t pull a Nanny Carrie on us, will she?
Go all Single White Female?! Oh my God, we joked about that. We had the read-through for the finale and Jessica and I showed up with the same exact drink from Starbucks, blonde hair flowing, and it was like, “We’re morphing into the same person!” But no, it’s not Single White Female — yet! Muahahaha….

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TVLINE | Shonda said there’s a Callie/Arizona scene in the May 16 finale that left everybody stunned in silence at the table read. Does Lauren figure into it?
I’m not telling you! I know you had to ask, and you’re really good at piecing those tidbits together. I like that, Detective Matt!

TVLINE | I know you have a pilot in play over on Fox. Does the Grey’s finale leave Lauren’s future at the hospital up in the air? Or does it point in one direction or the other?
As with any good finale, everybody’s fate is up in the air. That’s what makes a television show really juicy and fun to watch. So again, I can’t tell you!

Want more scoop on Grey’s Anatomy, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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80 Comments
  1. April says:

    I’ve missed Hilarie Burton! They didn’t use her enough on White Collar!

    • JBC says:

      I disagree, the character of Sara was utilized too much in White Collar and the smugness of the character was not enjoyable to watch., changed up so much of the dynamic on WC from the original, BUT As far as Grey’s goes, I hope HB has a better written character..

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  2. Kate says:

    Excellent Nanny Carrie reference.

    • B says:

      I agree, though it would have been better spent on Lenz (Galleotti now? I can’t remember which name is which) since that was her actual plot line. Either way, I love a good OTH reference :)

  3. Jess says:

    It definitely screams cheating, I doubt they brought a character for an arc just to flirt. It’s Grey’s anatomy!

  4. RobMF says:

    I love how you put in a One Tree Hill quip. Nice work. Hilarie is great and as a fan at least it’s her who has to wedge her way into the relationship.

  5. Maki says:

    I really want her to Stay! I will make Riri sing to her so she stays on Grey’s!

  6. sixseasonsandamovieFTW says:

    Hilarie Burton is the coolest!

  7. Karen says:

    This screams cheating to me thats what i get i dobt she was brought in to flirt although i have to admit freat casing choice

  8. Kevin H. says:

    Nice OTH callback, Matt! Interesting how she didn’t go with the reference and instead changed it to Single White Female. Regardless, Hilarie seems very fun in this interview.

    • Tonya says:

      Probably because the reference wasn’t really that great or apropos of the Grey’s story line. Sure Carrie tried to seduce Nathan, but overall her motive was to replace her dead son with Jamie. Unless Lauren has her eyes on Sofia…which, you never know with Shonda. Love Hilarie Burton though – I’m happy to see her on my TV.

  9. Babygate says:

    Dang it. I actually really like her. I hate what her character represents but she hit the nail on the head when she mentioned a character being ‘sleazy’. Lauren is slick, but she’s very, very likeable. She doesn’t come across as sleazy which makes it very difficult to dislike her. If Shonda could pull a miracle out of a hat, I wouldn’t mind having her on Greys because in spite of what she is doing, she brings a fresh energy to the show which I think comes from the kind of person that she is in real life. Prior to this I had no idea who she was, but she’s made a fan out of me…

    • Nell says:

      Couldn’t agree more!

    • kavyn says:

      It could end up being very similar to the Derek/Mer/Addison storyline in season 2.

      • Babygate says:

        That’s exactly what went through my mind. Everyone hated Addison when she was introduced and then it turns out that she was this lovely, amazing character that we fell in love with.

        • A says:

          Lol I loved Addison from the minute I saw her. Never hated her once. Not that I rooted for her to be with Derek but there was something about the character that I just loved right away. I miss her every time I see or read her name. Sad PP is over. :(
          Anyways, I would love if that happened and Hilarie could continue on Grey’s but its doubtful if her pilot gets picked up.

  10. Stacie says:

    I love Callie and Arizona, they are easily one of my favorite couples on the show, BUT I really like that they are doing this storyline. I think the timing is crazy given all that they have been going through this season, but maybe that’s the reason they are doing it. Maybe Arizona wouldn’t be flirting if she hadn’t gone through what she went through.

    -No one, other than someone that has gone through such a traumatic experience like Arizona has knows how they would react. I mean losing a leg must make Arizona feel inadequate at points, and even though Callie tells her she is sexy, it must be rewarding that someone that you aren’t married to thinks you’re attractive. I do understand it, and I hope that whatever happens it strengthens Callie and Arizona together rather than rip them apart. AGAIN.

  11. I was in awe of that woman the minute she walked into the cafeteria and was racking my brains all episode, then as soon as it ended it hit me “THAT’S PEYTON SAWYER” beautiful woman great character. Shonda Rhimes is a great writer

  12. Lea says:

    Peyton Saywer do your job right like you did in OTH. Can’t stand Calzona, one of the most boring couples to ever exist. Mark and Callie had so much more chemistry and everything than CA ever did. Free Callie.

    • Babygate says:

      Not that I agree but, “Free Callie”, hilarious!!! Excellent!

    • A says:

      THIS! With Mark and Callie there was that chemistry that was always just so present even when they weren’t together. I’ve never minded Calzona but I’ve always had this love for Callie and Mark. Anyways, with Callie and Arizona I just don’t see the chemistry anymore. It’s probably a result of the amputation but lately there is no connection/chemistry. They seem more like friends and colleagues rather than a married couple. Aside from my love for Hilarie Burton, I’m happy to see this story unfold if only to strengthen Calzona’s relationship. Otherwise, if that doesn’t happen, they need to find someone that can ogle, flirt with and look at and appreciate Callie the way that Lauren does so with Arizona.

      • Lea says:

        Yes, I just don’t see it. Everything feels so forced, more than ever this season. No connection, emotion.. I don’t see them having chemistry as parents either with Sofia.

        • CalzoniSamBec says:

          Couldn’t agree more. Calzona are DULL this season. Arizona is more interesting than Callie, who I can’t stand. She was once my favorite character but now all she does is walk around with that phony expression talking to herself through those gritted teeth. I press mute on my remote when she opens her mouth. Arizona has the better storyline this season and I love Lauren with her so far. They have great chemistry. I think Callie’s being written off the show. Sara is probably returning to Broadway or has gotten a better TV offer. Face it- how many Hispanic actresses are the lead actors in TV shows? If I’m correct, good for Sara.

      • Babygate says:

        I support Calzona all the way because of Callie. She’s my favorite character. But sadly, I agree with you. That has always been my contention, that Callie and Arizona seem more like friends or cousins than romantic partners. I never saw the ‘chemistry’ that other people claim they have. In only one episode Arizona showed more of a sexual attraction to Lauren than she ever has to Callie. On the other hand, Callie and Mark: hot, hot, hot.

      • CalzoniSamBec says:

        Yes Callie and Mark were fantastic together. I even liked Callie and Erica. Callie was always my favorite character on Greys until this season. Now I can’t stand her. I think she’s boring without Mark around even if she is married. I like Sara R though.

    • RobMF says:

      You mean Free Arizona right? Callie has been such a boring character all the way back to her relationship with George.

      • Babygate says:

        Your opinion.

        • Tonya says:

          @babygate – obviously every comment is our own opinion…that’s why we write it. And in MY opinion…Arizona flirting with Lauren has been the most interesting thing to happen with Callie & Arizona all season. They’ve been a giant snooze.

        • lorna says:

          Free callie. Arizona thinks she is better than everyone. Rude to her peers. I do feel bad for her losing her leg but my goodness, she is almost as bad as hahn.

      • A says:

        Umm, you definitely have that backwards IMO. Callie is one of the most amazing and important characters to this show. I put her up there on the level of Meredith, Derek, and Cristina. Arizona is an annoying and cold character who’s always bitching and yelling at someone. She is the one who’s expendable. She can be gone and the show could continue for a long time.

        • Lea says:

          I agree. She don’t add much to the show, more than ever since Alex has been running Peds and all the cases are his. She’s just a character who smiles and have different hairstyles… a character who’s just there.

      • Anna says:

        Lolz, sure. It’s pretty clear that Callie could do so much better. I don’t think I would miss Arizona for a second if she left the show, but I know I wouldn’t last an episode without Callie.

    • Shera du Sud de la France says:

      I agree !

    • cas says:

      Well said!

  13. Lisa says:

    So good to see more and more of Hilarie on my tv! She’s so underused and underrated. This storyline looks like one of the best Grey’s storyline in a long time. Most of the storylines have been totally meh this season.

  14. JKR says:

    I’m not a fan of the storyline as it hits too close to home. That said, Hilarie is so darn likeable!

  15. bell says:

    I love her :) great interview! :)

  16. She’s playing her character just fine. In fact, her chemistry with Capshaw is fantastic and as much as I love “Calzona”, I want to see this unfold. I also wish she could stick around. The show could use another beautiful gay/bi doc.

  17. L says:

    I ship Calzona and really like them together but I am fast falling in love with Lauren. OTH was my first favorite show and I thought that would bias me, regardless of who Hilarie’s character was, but I actually like Lauren for Lauren. Her appearance last week felt really fun and fresh, and (in my opinion) there is really good onscreen chemistry between Hilarie and Jessica. I would never wish for Arizona to cheat on Callie but at the same time, I do wonder what Arizona/Lauren would be like as a couple. So conflicted!

  18. Sarabi says:

    Those two should be giving chemistry lessons to the rest of the cast! :D I feel bad for Callie. :(

    • Shera du Sud de la France says:

      LOL are you Serious ?

    • M says:

      I agree. I love Callie and Arizona but damn Lauren and Arizona have some great chemistry. Calzona need some space, because they have been struggling to impress lately.

    • Tonya says:

      I don’t see it. But I agree Callie doesn’t need a recycled storyline of her spouse cheating on her. Though I’m sure we can ALL agree that Lauren & Arizona had more chemistry in their scenes together than George and Izzie ever had :)

  19. tahina says:

    Start the fanfic fest!!!! ;)

  20. A says:

    She is honestly one of my favorite actresses. I loved her on OTH and continued to love her on White Collar from the minute she appeared and pulled out her baton to whack that guy. She is amazing!

  21. Sildokuz says:

    Dr. Peyton Tree Hill had better be careful. The Calzona fans are going to get really angry…

  22. Sarah says:

    Lauren is Arizona before the plane crash. So I don’t think this two are a great couple because they are to similar. But Callie and Arizona are two very different people and are MFEO, and the have a good chemistry togheter so back of Lauren.

    • gonzalezm27 says:

      I agree with you!! Lauren is Arizona when she first got there n I just don’t see it plus I am super big fan of keeping a family together n not taking something like marriage as a game which is what this storyline is doing right now. I love Callie n Arizona together n plus they are married n have a child n that as to mean something doesn’t it? This is an important storyline and I get there has to be drama but cheating it pushing it a bit no? Callie had the cheating thing happen to her already n it’s kind of dumb to have Arizona cheat when it was never it her character to do so. Arizona is the “good man in the storm” n cheating would just disrespect her character so badly plus what happens to their marriage and their daughter n I am just left without words. I will have some hope for Callie and Arizona n their family n hope for the best for them. I dunno see this storyline unfolding well because Calzone are such an important couple on TV

  23. Rose says:

    Funny that Hilarie Burton is dating “Denny” in real life. I’m probably in the minority when I say that I never liked Denny. The way he smiled at her from the get-go felt sleazy and more like a leer. Plus, he knew she was dating Alex. If he was truly a good guy, and felt that he and Izzy were meant to be together, he should have asked her to end things with Alex before their relationship progressed. He didn’t and she didn’t.

    And I am aware that Alex had sex with “syph nurse” before Izzy even met Denny but that was just sex. For some guys, casual sex is sort of equivalent with having coffee with someone. Izzy fell in love with Denny but didn’t properly end things with Alex. For me, emotional infidelity is worse.

  24. Emma says:

    As a Calzona fan and a huge Arizona fan, I have to admit I’m liking this storyline but there is that part of me that honestly hopes that yes Arizona and Lauren will come very close to that line, to the point they are dangerously balancing on it, but I don’t want them to cross it, I don’t want Arizona to cheat, I don’t think it’s ever been in her character, even if Shonda does try to make it some PTSD change in character thing, i just have never seen Arizona as a cheater.

    • JP says:

      Completely agreed! Arizona never came off as a cheater and even now it seems like she is trying extremely hard to resist it. I will admit that I LOVE Lauren and Arizona’s chemistry though. While I enjoy Calzona this is actually a breath of fresh air. Callie and Arizona’s story line this whole season has been hard to watch and it’s pretty obvious that the trauma that Arizona is going through has been greatly detrimental to their relationship. There were tons of cute moments, don’t get me wrong, but I felt there were more sparks in Arizona’s few scenes with Lauren in 1 episode then there was this entire season with Calzona.

  25. M. says:

    Shame on me, but I never saw OTH. I actually saw Hilarie for the first time, when she guested on “Castle” & I loved her in that episode.

    I didn’t recognize her on last week’s “GA” though, but I really liked the Lauren-character. A little flirting isn’t a crime, so let’s see what happens in tomorrows episode.
    I’m intrigued with this storyline.

  26. dude says:

    She always plays a boyfriend/girlfriend stealer. I have no personal feelings towards the actress but I just don’t like her characters. LOVE the Nanny Carrie reference though! One of my favourite One Tree Hill storylines.

    • B says:

      Always plays those kinds of characters in what shows exactly? Not White Collar, not OTH (that was Brooke).

    • Moon says:

      What show exactly? In OTH, Brooke was the stealer. In WC, Neal didn’t have anyone at the time and her characters had the guys’ hearts. I think that you’re just a bitter Brucas fan.

  27. Mark says:

    Pretty sure Arizona and Lauren will go there. Callie and Arizona relationship needs some drama, because they have bored me to death lately and I’m a big fan of both characters. Arizona is not herself since the place crash. Lauren’s character is a breath of fresh air and I really like her. But at the same time I truly believe Calozna is MEFO. I wonder what’s gonna happen in that breathtaking scene – I would bet on a breakup, because there is not enough time or sign of making huge decisons like getting another baby or something.

  28. nitemar says:

    Lauren is maybe the wake up call needed for Callie. She has been more involved with her cartilage project as of late. But Shonda has pushed the envelope before, wonder what she has under her sleeve with these trois..

  29. Para says:

    I feel like Callie is hitting her time on grey’s . Think about it, she got married twice, turned from straight to gay,had a horrible car accident, gave birth to a premmy who almost died, and two of the men she loved died too!(keep in mind greys only killed off three regulars, others just walked). I think Callie is being written out, and she has been amazing but it’s her time now.

    • M says:

      I’ve been wondering about this too. I’m pretty sure they won’t kill her off, so if she leaves, she gets a new job, but I think there were no signs of her moving away. Plus those scenes “don’t run”, “don’t ever leave”. It all happened this season.

      • rmr says:

        Unless either JC or Sara is pregnant to write her off, that’s also a possibility..it happened with Jessica, twice before.

        • Tania says:

          Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw are both staying. I can’t remember where, but that has been officially announced.

  30. Justin says:

    I want her on season 10! Shonda make it happen haha her character is really cool, i like Lauren.

  31. Jason says:

    It would be cool if she ended up being a serial killer and murdered every character on the show!! Now that would be a final season!!

  32. cjeffery7 says:

    hilarie burton is totally hot in this role. i dont think anyone can deny it. you go girl! do yo’ thang!

  33. simy says:

    love Hilarie, and really like Lauren in ga, hope to see her in white collar again.

  34. Gargy1975 says:

    Um, look at the promo pic….I don’t think Arizona is dreamy-eyed about Callie….but, Lauren! ;9P

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  36. chels says:

    Lauren reminds me a bit of addison! And I miss addison on greys!! Hilarie burton is so perfect too, great to see her on the show :)

  37. gerdine says:

    noooooo! I think she is the most annoying actress ever!!!!! Terrible actress! Her voice makes my skin crawl. Because of her I stopped watching One tree Hill and White Collar and now she’s on Grey’s anatomy???!!! Such a shame … I really liked Grey’s Anatomy.

  38. Sandra says:

    She does a really good job portraying Lauren. The character is likable and I’ve started liking the relationship between Lauren and Arizona, even though I don’t want to. I feel like after everything Callie’s been through after the plane crash, her finding out about Arizona cheating might be the end of Calzona, and that’s not the direction I want them to head to.

  39. Lisa says:

    I think Hilarie Burton is a wonderful actress. Her character (Lauren) is refreshing and I think others would like her if she wasn’t helping to drive a wedge between a popular couple. Hilarie was put in a bad spot, but so was Addison and people later LOVED her. I like Arizona and Callie, but I agree that they have been blah. Arizona and Callie have gone through the physical recovery of the plane crash, but not the emotional recovery. Yes, tears have been shed, pain felt, but the traumatic emotional recovery.

    Trauma can cause a person to do things they “normally” would not have done, but what needs to be understood…that person who existed before the trauma does not exist now. The person is no longer the same no matter how hard they try…they just cannot be. Every event, minor or major, changes you. Whether it is noticeable or not…you are different. So if something tragic happens to you…change is inevitable.

    We’ll just have to wait and see how it happens…maybe, we are all just going deeper than we should…it is only great entertainment. Please, don’t lose sight…this is great writing and amazing actors telling a story. Looking forward to your story Shonda and thank you.

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  41. TW says:

    I’m a Calzona fan….but damn it, the only one that could mess with that is Hilarie Burton. I would love it if she would become a regular on the show. And I gotta be honest, she’s not easy to hate. In fact, I LOVE HER character.

  42. dk says:

    I think Lauren is a breath of fresh air. She’s everything Arizona needs right now & I feel like Callie is incredibly self absorbed atm that she can’t see passed her nose. Understandably she is dealing with the situation the best way she knows how but it’s not necessarily the best way. Trauma changes people. You can’t rush recovery. The person you used to be dies and you can never get that back. She saw a lot of herself in Lauren & the idea of feeling normal overwhelmed her. Arizona felt betrayed by Callie for cutting off her leg and without realising at the time she “evened the score”. I love Lauren & I hope she sticks around. Hilarie plays her perfectly plus she has crazy chemistry with JCap.