Secrets and admirers abound in Covert Affairs‘ new season (premiering Tuesday at 9/8c on USA Network).
Pals/colleagues Annie and Auggie are finally taking the next step in their relationship, but both of them being members of the CIA — aka trained liars — throws a few wrenches into their new romance. Plus, they’re not the only ones hiding something major.
Below, executives producers Chris Ord and Matt Corman give TVLine the scoop on the challenges awaiting the nascent courtship, the troubles ahead for Joan and Arthur and the new “sheriff” played by CSI: NY‘s Hill Harper.
TVLINE | Last season left off with Annie and Auggie kissing. Are they all in now?
CHRIS ORD | Yes, as much as they can be, right? We’ll, ideally, explore what a relationship between them would be like. It’s going to be challenged every step of the way, just by the fact that they’re both spies.
MATT CORMAN | Also, “all in” is not necessarily easy. You can go all in, but that’s more complicated. So just as Chris said, they are in a relationship now, but that’s going to have pitfalls and twists and turns beyond even what either of them might have imagined.
ORD | We want to honor the three seasons of chemistry that they’ve had. I think to say it was a one-night stand would be disingenuous, given how strong their relationship is. It’s a strong relationship, but that strength is going to be tested every step of the way.
TVLINE | Given the high-stakes environment they work in, how are they balancing work and romance?
ORD | That’s really, in many ways, the theme of the whole season — and the theme of the whole series, for that matter. Can you have love, relationships [and] family, all while working in the CIA? That’s what we explore every year, and this is just the more magnified version of that because we’re doubling down. They’re both spies, so it’s doubly tricky.
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TVLINE | Does work start to affect romance, or does romance start to affect work?
CORMAN | They both affect the other in enormous ways. It’s really complicated what they’re trying to do. And given the fact that their job is about secrets and keeping secrets, and people who are in the CIA are really good at lying, that makes it even trickier.
TVLINE | When the show first premiered, the stars mentioned that the CIA actually encourages its employees to date and get married because it helps keep the secrets within the family. So how do the CIA and Annie and Auggie’s bosses take the news of this relationship?
ORD | That is an institutional thing at the CIA. It’s certainly easier from a CIA standpoint, because the secrets stay within the building, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier from a relationship standpoint.
CORMAN | [Joan and Arthur have] been through it, so they, more than others, might be understanding of how hard it is going to be for Annie and Auggie. By the same token, they like them both, and they would probably approve of this pairing, but they know how tough a road it could be. Not to mention, they’re dealing with their own issues.
TVLINE | What can you say about Joan and Arthur’s storyline this season?
CORMAN | A lot of secrets involved.
ORD | At the worst possible time… You could say life conspires to throw a lot at you, and things happen in bunches, and that’s certainly the case for them.
TVLINE | One of the other big cliffhangers from last season was the folder. How will the contents of it play into the new episodes?
CORMAN | It’s the catalyst that sets everything in motion. It sets Annie down a path which she feels is the right way to go. But anytime you start going down a path that you were led to by Henry Wilcox, you’ll quickly find that it’s a lot more challenging and revealing than you ever thought it would be.
TVLINE | What does new series regular Hilll Harper, playing the CIA station chief in Latin America, bring to the table?
CORMAN | He’s a fantastic actor, and he brings a whole new dimension to the show because, as his character says in the first episode, he considers himself to be a sheriff. He’s out for his version of justice, but he’s also his own man, and he pursues things in his own way, which is sometimes tricky within such a big institution. He brings a real shot of adrenaline and testosterone to the show.
TVLINE | How would you characterize his dynamic with the other characters, Annie and Auggie in particular?
ORD | As Matt just said, he is his own man. He is very ambitious, and he’s a force to be reckoned with. His interactions with Annie and Auggie are dictated by circumstance, in terms of who needs what when, and that will change and evolve over the course of the season. That’s what really excites us about this character. He’s a bit of a shape-shifter, for lack of a better word. You never really know what his agenda is, and as a result, they have to regard him in different ways under different circumstances.