'Covert Affairs' postmortem: Creators tease a new Annie

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Image Credit: Andrew Eccles/USA Network

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched Covert Affairs’ summer finale, stop reading now. The USA spy drama will return Oct. 17 — with a new look. Creators Matt Corman and Chris Ord fill us in.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you know when you started the season that this episode would end with Annie (Piper Perabo) faking her own death?
Matt Corman: Yes. We knew that from the beginning because we had a tease of it in the first episode. It’s something that we have been toying with for a long time. This concept of reinvention and identity felt really powerful to us. And you’ll see going forward, Annie really is transforming herself. Her look is different. Her hair is much darker. Her attitude is different. For the first time, she’s going deep into another identity and it’s going to have a different palette altogether. Regarding Eyal, we love Oded Fehr so much. We thought it was a fun and dynamic way to bring him into the season.

He is such a fan favorite. Will we see him again this season?
Corman: We’ll see him more in the show; he’s not in these back six as much because she’s on her own. She really has very little contact with any of our characters.

The postcard Annie wrote to Danielle: Was there any hidden meaning in it to let her know she was okay, or was she just trying to bring her peace?
Corman: We talked about that. I think you could ascribe a certain meaning to it, but she’s also trying to give her peace. I think when we see Anne Dudek [who plays Danielle] down the road, which we will, this is something that they can talk about — how she interpreted that postcard.
Chris Ord: I think Annie knows that she’s going away for a long time and could very well die on the mission. So if you die on the mission when you’re already dead, no one’s gonna really know about that. So I think she wants Danielle to know she’ll always be thinking of her. In many ways, it is a goodbye message.

Annie will be off looking for Henry’s ex-wife.
Ord: Her motivation is to bring Henry to justice — however you define that. Her first step is to seek out his ex-wife [Seeta Indran, who’ll appear in a couple of episodes], Jai’s mom, and see what she can do to turn her against Henry and use her in bringing him down. We’ve always been intrigued by who that woman is who married Henry back in the day, and obviously she’s not with him, and we all feel we know why. We thought this would be an interesting avenue to explore, especially with Annie in this new capacity where nobody’s supposed to know who she is, where she is, or what she’s doing. She’s completely in the dark, which is a really exciting dynamic going into the back six. We’ll see Annie in situations where normally she’d have the opportunity to just call Auggie or the CIA, but she won’t now. And that compounds the challenge of all those situations.
Corman: It’s definitely slightly different storytelling, slightly darker. But by the same token, it’s kinda exciting because she’s so free. She has no one to answer to, so all the decisions she makes are her own. The tension that existed for much of the first four seasons about whether she’ll buck authority, and what will Joan and Auggie think, what will breaking these rules mean — that’s all fallen away. Now it’s just all instinct. What is the right decision? How do I stay alive? And how do I complete my mission?

Is she going to have to use a gun more?
Ord: I think Henry, in many ways with the killing of Teo and what he’s done to all Annie’s surrogate family, she’s certainly on a mission to bring him down, and that’s going to affect her frame of mind, and then the situation is going to force her into doing things that she didn’t expect to have to do in order to achieve the mission. You’ll see that straight off in the first episode of the fall season. And for us, it’s exciting to follow Annie down this rabbit hole and see where it leads her and how she, hopefully, comes out of it.

What does Auggie do now?
Ord: He knew exactly what she was gonna do. He didn’t want her to do it, but now that she’s done it, Auggie’s a good soldier, he’s always going to support what Annie does. He’s going to be doing everything he can to take Henry down from his side of the Atlantic at Langley.

So Calder is a good guy. What’s his next move?
Corman: He’s a good guy, but he’s also in an interesting position because he’s got a lot of skin in the game. I mean, he’s being complicit in a very big lie. If this got out to the larger CIA, it would really threaten his ambitions, and we all know he’s also a very ambitious guy. He’s carrying around a lot of agitation because of what he’s involved in. He and Auggie both care about Annie, in slightly different ways, but they’re both highly motivated to help her and make sure that she gets this done and the greater CIA doesn’t find out about what she’s done.

I loved Auggie trying to strangle Henry.
Ord: Auggie’s trying to send a message: We’re not done. Just because you’re back in the building doesn’t mean you’re not vulnerable. We’re gonna find a way to make you vulnerable. As we said earlier, Auggie’s a soldier, he’s gonna do what he can to fight the fight.

What’s Henry’s play in the back six?
Ord: Henry has his own ambitions and his own plans. If he could, he’d want to return to his former post within the CIA. That’s going to be most likely impossible because of his past with the leaks in season 1. But he does have this private security company, Lexington Global, and he’s trying to grow that and use that company to exert more influence on the building in Langley. So he wants to grow his power, and he’s never going to be satisfied.

Joan’s pregnancy will continue in the back six?
Ord:
What happened in 410 was an event, as she calls it in episode 11, not a condition. She’ll continue to be pregnant, and we don’t really like the notion of jeopardizing the baby any further.

Do Joan and Auggie continue to plot against Henry from outside the building?
Ord:
They’ll find a way to get back in the building, but certainly not in the station that they were. The CIA doesn’t love to out-and-out fire people because then people take those secrets elsewhere and they could become a liability. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t demote them and make their lives difficult within the building.

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