USA Network’s Covert Affairs is on a not-so-top-secret mission to be bigger, better and, yes, sexier in its second season (premiering Tuesday at 10/9c).
When last we tuned into the spy-drama, CIA plebe Annie Walker (played by Piper Perabo) had proved her ass-kicking, multilingual mettle as well as divined that the reason for her surge up the Agency ladder was because of her ties to ex-boyfriend/rogue agent Ben Mercer (Eion Bailey). With support from her super-techy (and sightless) handler, Auggie (Christopher Gorham), and CIA officer Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Annie eventually made contact with AWOL Ben, only to then join him on a Sri Lanka engagement that left Mercer riddled with bullets, his life hanging in the balance as the team escaped via helicopter.
What’s next for Annie & Co.? (Or should we say “and the Company”?) Here’s some Season 2 intel, from Perabo and Gorham:
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP | In a nutshell, Gorham says the Covert Affairs writers have “taken all of the best parts of the first season and built on them. We pick up right where we left off — not just with the plot, but also with the character development.” Just don’t expect this team to become an elite ensemble of infallible spooks. “You will continue to see growth, but part of growing is making mistakes,” says Gorham. “And sometimes the mistakes they make can be the most fun!”
ANNIE’S LOVE LIFE HAS BEN BETTER | The big question raised by the season finale — the matter of Ben’s fate — is resolved very quickly, and in a way that waylays his and Annie’s romance yet again. But maybe it’s for the best, sad as it may be? “Ben is not that trustworthy of a guy, and he puts Annie in a lot of dangerous situations,” Perabo points out. “But it’s like that with any bad boy romance. You can’t tear yourself away, even though you know he’s really not that good for you.” Luckily, Annie has a few not-unattractive coworkers at the Agency, Auggie and Jai included. Perabo winks, “There are certainly some distracting men around if Ben doesn’t make it.”
AUGGIE’S WORK LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN BUSIER | Auggie will escape his workplace confines several times this season, including for a “vacation” to Istanbul that quickly escalates into a crisis. “There’s a lot of really exciting field stuff for Auggie this year,” says Gorham. And though his alter ego is blind, the situations he is thrust into — and manages to escape from — “are reasonable and make sense,” says the actor. “It all comes out of what he is capable and incapable of doing.” Also, watch for a flashback episode showing Auggie in Iraq, revealing exactly how he lost his sight.
AUGGIE’S LOVE LIFE AIN’T SO QUIET, EITHER | While noting that his so-cool character “likes being single, don’t get me wrong,” Gorham teases that in addition to his dalliance with a flight attendant played by Lost‘s Rebecca Mader (see next item), “There is at least one more relationship coming down the pike.” And remember, as Auggie surprisingly showed us last year with journalist Liza Hearn (Emmanuelle Vaugier), “Don’t assume that just because you don’t see him dating someone, he isn’t.”
FREQUENT FLIERS | Covert Affairs is racking up the miles in Season 2, shooting on location in places such as Puerto Rico, Paris and Istanbul. “We’re really getting out there,” says Gorham. “I mean, Piper in Paris at the Louvre? The footage is incredible.”
SPECIAL GUESTS | Guest stars include Sleeper Cell‘s Oded Fehr (reprising his role of Israeli spy Eyal Lavine), Thor‘s Jaimie Alexander (in the new recurring role of a socially inept tech assigned to Annie’s team), Lost‘s Rebecca Mader (as a flight attendant who helps Auggie in Istanbul), Desperate Housewives‘ Mark Moses (playing a NASA bigwig), Rena Sofer (as the ex-wife of Peter Gallagher’s Arthur), and Ben Lawson (The Deep End) as a Doctors Without Borders-type physician.
SPECIAL GADGETS | Among the next-gen gizmos Auggie will employ this season is a portable typepad, “so that when he’s away from his desk he can still not only input in Braille, but read the Braille keyboard, too,” says Gorham. Heck, some of his tech is even sold in Apple stores. “Auggie uses an iPhone this year, which a lot of people don’t know is completely accessible to the blind right out of the box,” Gorham reveals.
PERABO JUST MIGHT TAKE THE PLUNGE! | That is, if her directors stop getting in her way. “One of the most fun parts of doing this show is the stunt work,” the actress shares. “We did a shot where Annie has to get onto a helicopter that can’t land, and the director was like, ‘No matter what happens, do not try and jump [into it yourself]!’ — because they know me, and I will try for it! As soon as I see that door open… it’s hard not to.”