Willie Garson Willie Garson

After playing a con artist and thief for six seasons on White Collar, star Willie Garson may have picked up a few bad habits from his day job.

"I actually have stolen that suit. So now you can print that," he tells TVGuide.com with a laugh. "That's how great it is."

Most viewers would immediately surmise that Garson is talking about one of his co-star Matt Bomer's impeccably tailored ensembles — being a captured criminal never looked so good — but Garson is actually referring to a much more personal garment: his alter ego's wedding attire.

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That's right! On Thursday's new episode of White Collar (9/8c, USA), Mozzie is getting married, and TVGuide.com has an exclusive first look at his special day.

But don't bad about not getting an invitation. Mozzie's big day is actually a flashback to several years earlier when he wed a woman named Eva (Ever After alum Megan Dodds). "It is a wedding of convenience, but there's a massive twist as to why they get married," Garson says. "There is actually real love there."

This discovery on Thursday's episode will lead to many other revelations about Mozzie's past. "I wanted it to be surprising in that it wasn't going to be just a one-joke thing or just a joke that Mozzie has this wife. I wanted it to have some heart to it and that you could actually understand why they have this relationship," Garson says. "It's great because we deal with how they met, how it came about and what is this secret that Mozzie's been holding for all the time that we've known him. So I just wanted it to be handled in a way that wasn't obvious which is really the White Collar way, to make it not obvious."

Mozzie's marital status comes as a surprise to many, but not Garson, who had heard from the White Collar writers earlier in the show's run about their desire to introduce a woman from Mozzie's past. "It was an ongoing discussion all the time of Mozzie needs more women. He's had basically two affairs in the first five seasons," he says. "You don't want this to be like, 'Oh, by the way, I had a sex change.' It can't be something that's so ridiculous that just throws the whole thing for a loop. But it can be something that's based in reality and it's like yeah, Mozzie could have been married, of course."

But the writers' best laid plans went awry when White Collar was renewed for a shortened final season of six episodes. "I don't know if we were going to do it this season or next season or whenever, but it was like, 'Oh, we've got to get to this right away,' so we slammed it in as quick as we could," Garson says. "With so few episodes, it was like everyone is getting their curtain call so this was really important, I think, to the writers to close this out. ... It was like, 'Oh, we have to take care of this or the fans are going to be livid.'"

That's primarily because of Mozzie's fan-favorite status with the show's loyal following. "Not many people walk around looking like Matt [laughs], and not many people are FBI agents so when you look like me, you look like someone that people know and you end up being the voice of the audience," Garson says. "As a writer you can say, this week Mozzie is going to act like a cop and this week Mozzie is going to act like a limo driver. You can do anything with the guy and that is a lot of fun, I think, for the audience to watch."

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Garson's character may have worn a lot of hats on White Collar, but for his next project, the actor will be juggling multiple roles behind the scenes. He is attached to star, produce and co-write a remake of the 1969 ABC series The Courtship of Eddie's Father, which is currently in development at Fox. The idea to remake the show, about a single dad and his son, was inspired by Garson's own experiences as a single dad to his son Nathen. "As everyone has said to me who's smart and whom I appreciate ... the one that's from your heart is the one that you should be doing," he says. "This wasn't just like, Oh, I'll do this next idea because that will work or that will sell or whatever. This is actually from my heart."

Although it was difficult saying goodbye to White Collar — "I, of course, would like it to have gone on forever," Garson says — the USA series has helped prepare him for what's next. "Our show was so collaborative. We were constantly talking to the producers," he says. "They were just really great about us being super involved. So that made it seem like, OK, this is really doable. And also White Collar gave me the opportunity to direct. It just was a good preparation for what I'm doing."

However, Garson admits the USA series has set the bar high. "I've been spoiled by this kind of writing," he says. "Now with the next show, which is actually my responsibility, I'm just hoping I can live up to it for myself."

White Collar airs Thursdays at 9/8c on USA. What do you think about Mozzie's big secret?

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