From Man-Stealing Psycho to Grown-Up Badass Boss

by Lia Haberman | September 4, 2002

When she was good, she was very, very good. But when she was bad, she was even better. We're so used to seeing Tiffani Thiessen as ultravixen Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills, 90210 that it's a shock to see the sassy brunette operating on the right side of the law in Fox's undercover drama Fastlane.

Then again, she's now a more mature version of the bad girl who bedded her way through the infamous zip code. As proof, Thiessen recently dropped her middle name and worked with thinking-man's director Woody Allen in Hollywood Ending. Soon, she'll trade in her single-girl status, too, and wed actor Richard Ruccolo, whom she met on the set of Two Guys and a Girl.

You can't, however, take the badass completely out of the babe. Thiessen's character, Billie Chambers, may be an undercover crimebuster, but this sexy shield isn't afraid to bare her assets. In fact, it may only be a matter of time before Billie gets frisked by undercover hunk Van Ray, played by Peter Facinelli, real-life husband of Thiessen's best friend and maid of honor, Jennie Garth.

Will it be weird to get it on with your best friend's husband?

Actually, more than anything, it was like, Should I? It might be a little weird. As much as we were really excited about working together, it was kind of strange, because you usually don't start a show knowing someone really well. And everyone's saying, "The chemistry between you two..." I don't even want to think about where they want to take the two of us.

Have you talked about it yet?

We've joked about it. When Peter had the show, and I came on, my fiance and Jennie were looking at a bunch of shows, and we were, like, "They should do a show together." It would be really funny: two of them, two of us. But the actual grittiness of it, no, we haven't talked about it.

How's the atmosphere on the set?

Peter and Bill (Bellamy) literally have me hysterically laughing 24 hours a day. I don't have to go the gym and work out, because I'm bent over laughing all the time.

Were you psyched about getting another series?

You know, it's funny, because I came in to the pilot very late. They had looked at a million women. I honestly didn't want to do the hours again. But I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and the show came back to me, and I was, like, What am I doing? I just have to do the show--it's amazing.

Does that mean we'll get to find out a bit more about your character in the coming episodes?

I think there's a lot of room to explore her. But the one thing I want to keep is a lot of the mystery. That's what I really liked about her when I read the script. You didn't know too much about her: Could she be a little freak on the side?

At least you're not a man-stealing psycho.

Yeah, there's no crack problem this time, and I'm not pregnant with this man's baby. It's kind of a nice change.

Would you like to see your character kick some ass?

Yeah, sure, but I wouldn't want to do it on a daily basis, because that's not the character. I think it depends where John [McNamara, the executive producer] wants to take her. More than anything, I know how to fight, and the guys don't, so who knows?

You fight?

I do karate and all that kind of stuff. I've been doing it for years.

Could you take Bill and Peter out?

Hell, yeah.