Annie Walker can kick butt, but that doesn’t mean things will be any easier for the spy gal in the second season of USA Network’s Covert Affairs (Tuesdays, 10/9c). In addition to handling her high-pressure, high stakes job as a CIA agent, Annie (played by Piper Perabo) also must come to terms with beau Ben’s latest vanishing act, a sister who may go from clueless to curious, and the return of a frenemy (Sleeper Cell‘s Oded Fehr). Series creators Chris Ord and Matt Corman spoke with TVLine about filming in Paris for this week’s adventure, Annie’s busy love life, and more.
TVLINE | Now that Annie is not so new to the spy world, what are the challenges she’ll be facing this year?
CHRIS ORD | That’s a good question, because that’s essentially what we hope the entire season is about. Our first season was all about Annie wondering, “Can I do this job?” As we head into our second season, the question becomes, “What are the consequences of doing this job? What toll will this job take on my personal life?”
TVLINE | Is she going to be struggling more than ever to keep her spy life a secret from her sister, Danielle (Anne Dudek)?
MATT CORMAN | That was very much the crux of the first season, and without giving too much away, we’re going to develop that further and introduce some new wrinkles vis-a-vis her relationship with her sister and keeping it a secret. It’s difficult to keep secrets for too long, and that will certainly contest it.
TVLINE | Is it a case of once someone knows, their life is in jeopardy and they have to move…?
CORMAN | I don’t know that it’s that grave. But I think when you do tell someone, you are entrusting them. You’re in essence burdening them with the truth of what you do, so you have to be very careful about who you tell and why. For a CIA operative, it’s the most important decision they make in all of their personal relationships – when and whether to tell people.
ORD | And bringing someone in is not necessarily helpful. Just because they know what you do doesn’t make them any less worried or decrease the amount of questions they may have. You’re still in the CIA, and you can’t really talk about what you do. So it’s a big decision for Annie. We want to have her think about it a lot.
TVLINE | How big of a role is Ben (Eion Bailey) going to play this season? Is he just going to pop up here and there?
ORD | We said in the premiere that he’s not a guy who’s comfortable behind a desk. That’s the guy that Annie fell in love with — this adventurous, bold CIA operative who is only happy if he’s out there in the field. He will cross paths [with Annie] again, but to come in and work at Langley like Jai and Auggie and Joan and Arthur… It didn’t feel like it’s in his character.
TVLINE | Meanwhile, Annie’s not just sitting around waiting for him to come back, right?
CORMAN | No. She’s continuing to grow, and audiences will see her explore all options available to her. She had and has a very special relationship with Ben, but she’s starting to realize that it’s untenable to maintain those levels of ups and downs. Perhaps she’d want to explore what might be more stable.
TVLINE | There are quite a few love interests available to her this season.
ORD | Annie is a very pretty woman. And she’s a very interesting woman – smart, vivacious, funny. As a result, there are a lot of male suitors, as there should be. It would be nice to see Annie have to entertain those suitors going forward.
CORMAN | …or entertain the notion of suitors. [Laughs]
TVLINE | What can you tell us about this week’s Paris episode?
CORMAN | It’s a fantastic episode that we’re really proud of. We sent Piper and Oded to Paris, and the scope is amazing. Oded Fehr [as Israeli operative Eyal Lavin] is fantastic — he and Piper have really incredible chemistry. For a spy show, to be able to get out and go places in the world is really critical. We were able to do that with Paris, and we’re going to do more of it going forward as well.
ORD | That’s something we’ve built on from first season. We were able to send a second unit to Venezuela, and to Zurich, and we have been able to send Eion Bailey to Sri Lanka…. We knew we had to send Piper to some of these locations to really get the scope and feel of an international spy show. Going forward, we have plans to send Chris Gorham to Istanbul, and we have some ideas for Berlin as well.
TVLINE | How would you describe the relationship between Annie and Eyal in this episode?
ORD | They had a great episode last season where they were stuck in the same safe house in Zurich, and we feel that this episode is a logical extension of that relationship. Once again, they have to recognize the chemistry between them, but they are [at] cross purposes in terms of goals. The episode really has everything that we want from that relationship, and people are really going to enjoy the sparks between them. We love their chemistry.
TVLINE | Did Doug Liman direct the Paris episode? It has a very Bourne Identity feel during some of the action sequences.
CORMAN | Doug talks and consults with all of our episodic directors, but that episode was directed by Ken Girotti, who did a great job.
ORD | The whole feel of the show, we’d like to think, is influenced by Doug and Bourne Identity [which Liman directed]. Our approach to action very much tries to embody what his approach is, which is we don’t want our fight scenes to be overly balletic or overly choreographed. We want it to play as real and frenetic as possible.