Tiffani Thiessen and Tim Dekay Talk 'White Collar' Finale, Fighting Hate (March 3, 2012)
USA's buddy drama White Collar draws to a close tomorrow night, ending an exciting third season that has included plenty of ridiculous heists, a kidnapping of a former Saved by the Bell star, and the bombshell of leading man Matt Bomer publicly coming out of the closet.
Characters Unite Month
But while things have been crazy hectic for the show both on the set and off, stars Tim Dekay and Tiffani Thiessen were full of energy at a recent event promoting USA's Characters Unite Month. The awareness movement, which uses the characters of USA's original programming to spotlight the fight against hate and intolerance in the world, used the month of February to call attention to a number of discrimination issues in today's society. The event took place in New York's Union Square, and allowed attendees to declare a personal stand against any number of prejudices — from racism to sexism to homophobia — through the power of t-shirts and Facebook profile pictures.
"I grew up having my grandmother and my grandparents instill in me the values of just loving thy neighbor, of being nice, and always saying that it's a lot harder to be mean than it is to be nice," Tiffani Thiessen said when asked about the issues important to her. "I come from that kind of background and those kind of morals with my family. So, y'know, I won't stand for hate, I also won't stand for injustice. I don't like people who can't stand up and do the right thing, it really bothers me. So those were the two that were closest to me."
Tim Dekay, whose straight-laced FBI agent Peter Burke is half of one of television's best bromances, said that the issue closest to his heart was homophobia. "I have many gay friends in the industry and I have some gay relatives and I just won't stand it," he explained. "Somehow for me, that's always tied into bullying. Perhaps it's different now, but growing up if somebody was gay or perhaps effeminate or acted differently, there was fear. People were afraid of that because it was different, and I think that's where homophobia and bullying come from."
Thrilling Season Finale
Of course, even with the event's noble intentions at the forefront, we couldn't help but use the opportunity to dish on White Collar as it neared another thrilling season finale. Tiffani, whose doting and whip smart Elizabeth Burke was kidnapped this season, was excited to play such an active role in the story after two seasons of supporting from the sidelines: "Yeah, I've gotten in more on the action! To be honest, truly the reason I was not around as much in the second season was because I was having a baby and pregnant. So, definitely you'll see more of me like you have this year and season four will be the same."
Tim, meanwhile, had to not only deal with more trust issues between his character and criminal partner Neal Caffrey, but also had to take on the responsibilities of director for this season's second-to-last episode. "It was a maddening, wonderful, intense, sleep deprived, exhilarating week and a half. It was indescribable," he said of the experience. The sleeplessness didn't deter him from agreeing to do more episodes in the future, however. "I'm going to do it again! Every season I'm going to direct an episode. So it will be all of those and more and maybe I'll settle more into it, but I had a tremendous time doing it."
Tomorrow Night's Finale?
As for what we could actually expect come tomorrow night's finale, both Tiffani and Tim were understandably vague, but let us know that fans had plenty of reason to be excited, and that Neal's impending commutation would certainly be dealt with.
"Whether Neal goes free or not, I think what's most important is that these two guys continue to love each other, but not quite trust each other," Tim said of the possibility of Peter's partner walking free. "And the relationship between Peter and Neal just continues to get closer, and because it gets closer it means that they're going to have face some bigger issues. Above all of this, it's fun. We never take the fun out of these episodes. And last, I believe, it's the biggest cliffhanger to date. The end of the third season, it's unbelievable."
Known For Its Cliffhangers
"I can tell you that White Collar is definitely known for its cliffhangers and season finales and you will definitely get that as well in this season finale coming up," Tiffani promised. "I'm not kidnapped, though, I can tell you that!"