Tiffani Thiessen Is A Badass On 'White Collar' And We Love It

Thursday night on USA's White Collar was all about smart and intuitive women, starting with Tiffani Thiessen's Elizabeth "Elle" Burke. Usually, Peter and Neal's bromance and crime-solving steal the show, but tonight's episode was all about Peter's leading lady saving the day — and she really saved the show by being ridiculously badass. This wasn't the first episode in which Thiessen's Elle has proven that she's a valuable asset to the FBI (she played a huge role in solving a case earlier this season), but she really killed it Thursday night.

First of all, Elle Burke is one hell of a tough cookie and not even close to the average housewife (she's got an impressive event planning career), so it's really not surprising that her intuition is spot on whenever she ends up in the middle of Peter's cases. Thursday night's episode opened with Peter and Elle's anniversary dinner at the restaurant where they had their first date. Unfortunately, Peter's ex, Jill (who's also an agent), pops in and interrupts the meal. It turns out that Jill's in New York, and essentially stalking Peter, because she's on a case and needs his help.

One thing that defines Peter and Elle's marriage (that, admittedly, seems unrealistic): He shares classified information about the cases he's working on on a daily basis. So when Jill comes to town and swears Peter to secrecy about her case, Elle is pissed and decides to take matters into her own hands with Neal's help. From there, she saved the case and her husband's life. This is why Elle is awesome:


For someone who doesn't work for a federal intelligence agency, Elle knows a thing or two about stealth and recon. She managed to figure out exactly where Peter and Jill were for their case (even though she had some help from Neal, so we can't give her all the credit) and walked right into the hotel where some seriously risky business was going down to follow her hunch that something was up. Elle's not afraid of getting in the middle and getting her hands as dirty as possible.


Thursday night's episode was all about the dangerous sale of a microchip that could break through privacy systems on the nation's most secret documents. So the big criminal was a too-smart-for-his-own-good computer nerd with not-so-great social skills. Elle recognizes the chip's creator from a file about the case on Peter's desk and manages to stall him from getting up to his room before Peter and Jill can get there. We need to keep in mind here that she had no idea that Peter and Jill were actually on a case (she was really following them to make sure nothing fishy was going on), so her entire approach to this guy was spur-of-the-moment, on-her-toes quick thinking that actually worked and ended up leaving her in possession of the coveted chip. Brilliance.


When Elle finally makes her way up to the hotel suite that Peter and Jill were staking out, she walks in on her husband, Jill, and the computer-guy tied up with guns pointed at their heads. Not her average day at the office by a long shot. But she doesn't bat an eye and instead starts bargaining with the gun-toting mafia men for the chip as if this entire thing was planned from the beginning. Cool as a cucumber while someone's threatening to blow her and her husband's brains out. They should just hire her to run the FBI and CIA and be done with all of this nonsense.

Peter owes Elle more than just a fancy dinner and a new suit for saving his ass and his job. When he told her that he wouldn't be who he is today without her, he was totally right — he wouldn't even be alive.

Image: USA