Tiffani Thiessen Teases Her Next White Collar Caper and a 'Huge' Season-Ending Cliffhanger

Things are about to get very interesting — again — for White Collar‘s Elizabeth Burke, who just weeks ago narrowly escaped Keller’s clutches. Tonight at 10/9c on the USA Network series, Peter’s missus will find herself wary of a big, bad wolf (aka True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello), and Tiffani Thiessen is here to tease what’s ahead, give viewers fair warning about the Feb. 28 finale and get a bit melancholy about life in the Fastlane.

TVLINE | I know that you’re “out of the woods” now, but what went through your mind when you read that midseason finale script, with the abduction?
I was actually pretty surprised. The writers and [series creator Jeff] Eastin will sometimes tip us a bit, so I knew that something was going to happen to my character, but I didn’t know exactly how it was going to play out or who was involved. So when I read the script, I was blown away. It seems like every cliffhanger we have, at the end of every season or half-season, gets better and better and better. The writers keep upping the ante, and you’ll see it again at the end of Season 3. You’ll see another huge cliffhanger, which is kind of what our show is known for at this point. Just you wait and see.

TVLINE | Were you pleased to see Elizabeth’s craftiness come into play when she was in captivity?
I loved that they really do show the fact that she’s been married to an FBI agent for over 10 years, and that she’s a smart woman. It’s fun to actually see that side of her – and you’ll see it again in the episode this week.

TVLINE | Right, you get to pose as an actual FBI agent. Did you get any pointers from Tim DeKay (who plays Peter) or…?
I actually got a few pointers from him, and even from Matt [Bomer], because you’ll see me picking a lock! Elizabeth gets help from Neal on that little side bit, and it’s a pretty funny scene.

TVLINE | Lock-picking is actually a lot more involved than TV lets on, right?
Oh my gosh, the whole kit I was using?! I was like, “This is crazy.” But it’s good to know — if I ever had to.

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TVLINE | So tee up this week’s episode with Joe Manganiello as the Burkes’ new neighbor.
Elizabeth gets very suspicious of a new couple that moves into their neighborhood. And being a woman whose extremely protective of her life – especially after the events that just happened to her – she might be a little nervous about things around her. She has a definite woman’s intuition of something not being right, so she gets involved in trying to figure it out and solve it, with the help of Mozzie. It’s a fun but very suspenseful episode.

TVLINE | The episode almost has a Rear Window-like vibe to it.
You’re the second person who has said that. Yes, you get that very much.

TVLINE | Lets talk about how tall Joe is. I mean, I have pictures of myself interviewing him that make me want to reach out to Tom Cruise’s shoemaker.
[Laughs] My husband is very tall, as well – he’s 6-foot-4 — and I thought he was the tallest man ever, but Joe even passes my husband. He’s extremely tall. He’s just a big guy.

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TVLINE | What would you like people to know about your TV husband, Tim DeKay?
I’ve said this before but I mean it: I do believe, that in the 30 years I’ve been doing this, I’m working with one of the nicest casts I’ve ever worked with in my career. I have such a soft spot for Tim, and the chemistry you see on screen is definitely nothing untrue. We both adore each other so, so much, and I adore his family and his wife and kids. My husband and I constantly say that if we could be Tim and his wife in five years, we’d be the best family in the world. He’s funny, he’s sensitive, he’s a hard worker…. He really is a perfect guy, and I’m very fortunate to be able to play his fictitious wife.

TVLINE | Do you feel like Burkes came out the Keller thing stronger than ever?
I think so. This is one of the rare shows where you get to see a marriage that works, because with a lot of TV shows it’s always about the drama in the relationship. But [Elizabeth and Peter] respect each other, and they keep their priorities straight.

TVLINE | If you could pick any one past role of yours to have lasted longer, which would you choose?
I have to say one show that I wish would have gone longer was Fastlane. That was an extremely fun show. I get stopped quite often by people asking why it ended, and I think it was a little ahead of its time. If Fox wouldn’t have made the mistake – and they’ve actually [copped to] this – of showing the reruns four days later on MTV, and if that didn’t take almost all of our audience away from our actual primetime showing, I think we would have been a huge hit and lasted a lot longer. You learn from the mistakes.

TVLINE | What was it that you liked about Fastlane?
I loved the way it looked, I loved the slickness of it, I loved the things we got to do… I mean, I got to jump off a bridge! How cool is that? It’s almost how I feel about White Collar, which really shows the beautiful side of New York — Fastlane showed Los Angeles in a really beautiful way.

TVLINE | Any former costars you’d like to see on White Collar?
I am still very close to Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills, 90210), and yeah, I would love to have him on the show. And he and Matt have actually worked together before [on Tru Calling], so…. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved By the Bell) is somebody else we’ve talked about having on the show. Either of those guys would be great.