Not only is he one of the most-wanted con men in the country — or at least he was — but White Collar's Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) is also one of the most sought-after characters on the small screen. Fortunately, actress Bridget Regan has had her fair share of experience dealing with extremely passionate TV fans after her stint romancing Vincent last year on Beauty and the Beast.
"Honestly, it was really fun to be on Beauty and the Beast and create conflict for the show. That's what good drama is," Regan tells TVGuide.com. "[On White Collar], there have been so many beautiful, smart, talented actresses that have come before me, and I totally get where the fans are coming from. ... But I'm going to work my hardest. Hopefully people will get just as attached to Neal and Rebecca, and we'll see if everybody gets behind it."
Luckily, she already has a few important supporters in her corner. The actress, best known for her role on Legend of the Seeker, was first approached for the role of Neal Caffrey's latest love interest by White Collar executive producer Jeff King and director of photography Russell Lee Fine after having worked with the duo six years earlier on the short-lived NBC series The Black Donnellys. "It had been a long time since I had gotten to work with them and they thought of me for this role which I was so thrilled about it. The next thing I knew I was on a plane and off to New York," Regan says. "It's great when relationships stand the test of the time."
Regan made her debut in the third episode of the season as Rebecca, a very eager museum employee to whom Neal took a liking to while investigating how to steal the Moscone Codex for Hagen (Mark Sheppard). "She's certainly is a well-studied intellectual who is very passionate about her work and all those things," Regan says. "She's a bit of a nerd and I haven't played anyone like that before so that was really fun. In the first episode I was in, she's really taken by Neal Caffrey's whole persona and that was really fun to play because Matt actually is quite charming."
Unbeknownst to her, Neal's heist ended up costing Rebecca her job at the museum, but she will return in Thursday's episode (9/8c, USA) to offer her help. Although Neal is happy to see her, it will cause some problems because the FBI doesn't know that he was the one to take the Codex. "Rebecca turns up at the FBI wanting more answers," Regan says. "Neal is really put on the spot and forced to improvise."
Watch this exclusive sneak peek to see just how Neal improvises. (Hint: Mozzie has to pose as a suit!):
Neal soon enlists Rebecca to help him with the Codex, of which Hagen mysteriously only requested one chapter. "Neal continues working with Rebecca because he needs her expertise and her knowledge in order for Neal to not have Hagen blackmail him," Regan says. "Rebecca finds the whole thing really exciting and not to mention he's so suave and handsome. For her, she's really stepping out of her shell so to speak."
But the real question is how, and when, their relationship will move to the next level? "It's over the course of the season that you see their relationship develop from a more professional one into a much more personal one," Regan teases. "They really love working together. There's just a chemistry that is sort of undeniable. I think that it's that they appeal to each other on an intellectual level and there's this spark as well."
But will that spark be enough to overcome Neal's dishonesty to Rebecca? When he was investigating how to steal the Codex for Hagen, he lied to her about why he was looking into the precious book. And because he stole the book for Hagen, Peter (Tim DeKay) and the rest of the FBI can never find out that Neal had ties to the crime or else he'll likely be returned to the jail Peter sprung him from four years ago. "She is naïve and that why she is so excited by this whole process and it being more adventurous and daring and a little dangerous. She's never really dabbled in anything like this before," Regan says. "She believes everything that he says and trusts him completely. She just thinks that she's helping him solve a case which sounds really exciting to her."
But won't Rebecca start to get suspicious if, for instance, she gets a glimpse at Neal's huge anklet? "Exactly! You're on to it," Regan says. "I just am so excited for everyone to see the whole season because there are some delicious surprises."
White Collar airs Thursdays at 9/8c on USA. Do you think Neal and Rebecca will make a good couple?