Covert Affairs Preview: Annie Returns to the CIA 'Farm'... and Spies a New Romance?

Make sure your clearance levels are up to snuff, because USA Network’s Covert Affairs is about to take viewers inside the “unknowable part of the CIA,” this Tuesday at 10/9c.

In the spy series’ July 2010 pilot, Annie (played by Piper Perabo) was pulled out of CIA training early, but she’ll get the chance to revisit “The Farm” for a mission, while making some new friends… and enemies. Here, Showrunners Matt Corman and Chris Ord share with TVLine what it was like exploring the “mythic institution,” preview what’s ahead for Annie’s buddy on the inside, Auggie (Chris Gorham), and also let slip some intel on the new man coming into Agent Walker’s life.

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TVLINE | What can you tease about Annie’s return to The Farm?
We’ve always been fascinated by the concept of The Farm, that there’s this mythic institution where this training goes on, where they learn all this cool spy-craft. We were trying to find a storyline that was organic, where Annie could actually take part in what goes on there. It was a lot of fun to do.
ORD | It was very convenient for us because in the pilot, she’s pulled out of training [early]. She has reason [this week] to go back and complete it. Also, we as writers and our writing staff do a ton of research about the CIA, the institution itself and places like The Farm. Everything we tried to reflect in that episode is basically what goes on at The Farm. It’s gives people a look into that otherwise unknowable part of the CIA.

TVLINE | We also meet a bunch of CIA recruits, including one played by Sebastian Pigott (Being Erica).
CORMAN | He’s great. All of the recruits we were really happy with, because they each represent different paradigms of people that might go through the CIA — and they do look for all types. The bit about the recruit who is so valuable because she speaks Farsi is definitely true, but they’re also looking for athletic types, nerds… any smart person who has a skill set that is valuable to the CIA.
ORD | They’re all top-quality too. The CIA, we found out, gets close to 10,000 applications a month. That gives them the opportunity to pick from the best of the best.

TVLINE | Do you have any desire to revisit some of those characters and maybe pull them into one of Annie’s missions?
CORMAN | We were just talking about that! It could be a lot of fun. I think that any of them are candidates to come back into the show.

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TVLINE | This episode also introduces a new love interest for Annie, played by Ben Lawson (The Deep End). Is she going to really invest in this relationship?
ORD | Tune in. For us, it was interesting to bring in a character who is outside the agency, because you have to interact with those people in a very different way than you would with someone who knows what you do. So that will present its own challenges.

TVLINE | It seems like Auggie is being groomed for a bigger role at the CIA.
CORMAN | That’s true. First of all, Chris Gorham is a fantastic actor, and we’re always looking for ways to get him to do more and more interesting things. We like to get him into the field, but that’s challenging, so it has to be under very specific circumstances. Another option, though, is through other opportunities within Langley. So, he’s going to get the opportunity to do something different within the agency — but he has to weigh the costs and benefits of doing it.

TVLINE | Romance-wise, is there anything in the works for Auggie?
ORD | Down the road, certainly. His relationship with Annie is such that it could easily devolve into Auggie just being Annie’s best buddy, though we want to keep the chemistry that’s there between Piper and Chris. He is a lady’s man, a very masculine guy, and that’s a very important part of his character. Keeping him that way gives us possibilities for him, romantically, down the road.

TVLINE | Is there anything you can share about the flight attendant that Rebecca Mader (Lost) is playing in the July 12 episode?
CORMAN | Her story intersects with Auggie. It’s the episode that takes place, at least in part, in Istanbul, and Chris will be going to Istanbul for shooting.

TVLINE | Is that an Auggie backstory episode?
CORMAN | It is. Without revealing too much, it gets into who he is and how he got to where he is now. A lot of light will be shed on the character and how many key aspects of him are present.