Last Friday (Feb.2) Spoilers Guide was honored to interview actor and director Tim DeKay (@timdekay) who plays Agent Peter Burke on USA Network’s White Collar. Members of the press were able to ask him a series of questions about the episode of White Collar this week titled “Empire City”, as well as his other thoughts about the well-watched cable show. The episode follows Peter and Neal as they investigate a forgery and money laundering case that leads them into two of NY city trademarks — taxi cabs and jazz music.
This was the second episode of DeKay to sit on the director’s chair. In season 3, he directed the episode which was set on the Yankee Stadium. On Tuesday’s (Feb. 5th) installment DeKay delivered another must-see, elegantly incorporating the elements of the city’s wild scene juxtaposed with the classic vibe of jazz music. Read on for the conversation we had below. Some spoilers are revealed by the end, hope you enjoy them!
On directing for White Collar and the challenges it entails, he shares –
I think the biggest challenge for any of these episodes is the clock. You have – the writers always write a wonderful big episode, so it seems, and you always want to be able to have a lot of coverage. You want to – you think of all these cool shots, but there just isn’t enough time in the day. So, the biggest challenge is a mixture that you tell the story within those seven days that are – where there is 12 hours allotted and you tell the story in the White Collar fashion, and make sure it’s snappy, it’s fun, it’s clever, and all those other adjectives we can think of for the show.
Helming the episode “Empire City”
Tim shared the wonderful moments while on the set of The Cotton Club. This is where June (Diahann Carroll) rendered a live jazz performance.
It was just such a hoot to direct Diahann Carroll at the Cotton Club. There was a wonderful moment where we had pre-recorded her singing the song so that she didn’t have to sing it live the day we shot it, and I had musicians there just in case. And we started rolling for her to sing the song and she had the earpiece on and she started singing, and we – I looked at the sound guy and he brought down the pre-recorded version and the other musicians started playing, and she just sang that whole song live and it was we – the whole cast and crew got a mini concert. It was great.
On the same hour, DeKay aims to surprise viewers with a montage showcasing the beautiful voice of Diahann Carroll (June) while recording Billy Holiday’s “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”. Here’s what he tells us about the song number:
During all the sequences in that montage I would play the song over the – throughout the whole stage so that the – myself and Matts and Willie, and certainly June could hear it throughout the whole time.
So, they just had a sense of that music being played. Certainly, Willie could hear her because – or Mozzie could because he had the earphones on. He was listening to the song. Now, Matt and I couldn’t hear it, or I should say Neal and Peter couldn’t hear it, but I still wanted us to get a sense of the rhythm that song was giving us throughout the scene. So, I wanted that to inform all of the actors as to how they just moved about during the montage, and I think it helped.
Peter and Elizabeth’s future
DeKay hash out Elizabeth’s (Tiffani Thiessen) further involvement with their present and upcoming cases with the FBI White Collar Division, he reveals:
We’re going to see it for a while. It plays out all the way to the end of the season. And I think it makes sense because Neal and Elizabeth – actually if you go all the way back to the pilot you can tell that those two had a connection as well, and a connection which I thought was great, but that was not sexual. I thought it would have been too easy and convenient to have that go on, and it actually would have muddied the waters too much for Peter and Neal to have that happen. But, you’re going to see the force of Elizabeth and her request to Neal play out through the rest of the season.
DeKay weighed-in on Peter and Elizabeth’s relationship. Is having a child a kind of subject he’s open to discuss with the writers?
I think – I’m sure that’s been talked about. Well, I’m going to say, yeah, that there has been discussion about that. I don’t think we’re going to address it right away. I don’t – I’ll plead the 5th and say that that’s up to the writers, whatever they come up with.
What can we expect on the storyline of Neal’s backstory? Tim dropped a few hints about Neal (Matt Bomer) and James Bennett’s (Treat Williams) father-and-son relationship as the season moves forward:
It is intrinsic to the rest of the season. And it – what information is revealed and how it’s revealed and where they find this information is directly related to James Bennett and to the Senator and it’s fantastic. It’s right up there with the music box and the Nazi sub.
What else can we expect on the episode?
I think this week’s coming up in Empire City where every character has at least one clever moment where they cleverly either divert the bad guy or figure out something that helps move the case along. It’s just – it’s great fun when everybody on the show has a clever moment, at least a clever moment.
To know more about “Empire City”, watch the official promo here.
Source: Spoilers Guide