WARNING: General plot changes/spoilers for season three discussed.
Our favorite girl spy is back tonight on USA and in advance of the Covert Affairs third season premiere, we were invited to participate in a concall with Annie Walker herself, the charming Piper Perabo. It was a wide-ranging call, and the events of the third season premiere have been carefully kept under wraps but we did pick her brain on a few of the new season’s adventures and challenges.
First up, Annie is moved to another division and this puts her under a very different management style than Joan. The new manager is Lena, played by familiar face and fan favorite Sarah Clarke.
Perabo told us a little about Lena, “She’s super ambitious and she doesn’t care about the rules. I mean way beyond Annie. Annie…will disobey Joan, but she still has moral integrity,” she says. “[Annie] still tries to obey the laws best she can. Lena [is] about getting the op done at all costs.” Perabo compares Lena to the cool girl in high school you want to align with because it’s so exciting that you even ended up on her radar. “She’s so talented, so highly regarded, [and] so cool, that she starts having an effect on Annie.”
“I think Lena’s good for Annie. I think she needs a kind of push out of the nest. And I think Annie is ready to take on bigger missions. And although Lena’s methodology may be questionable, I think it’s good for Annie to be under that kind of boss.”
We also had to ask about getting Xander Berkeley (Clarke’s RL husband) into an episode now that’s he’s free and in Toronto. “Wouldn’t that be amazing? You know I keep hoping that he’s going to like stroll into the stage to like pick her up and maybe Nikita will be there,” she says. “And like maybe they’ll just all roll into the DPD to pick Sarah up from what could happen yet. But it would be kind of bad ass. And then if a real fight broke out between Nikita and Covert Affairs, I’d like to see that brawl.”
This season also keeps Annie on her toes a bit because she’s less involved with Auggie. (Don’t leave! They’re still very much BFFs but the every day work arrangement changes.) “We’re physically very far apart [because of our jobs] and we start…seeing less and less of each other,” says Perabo. “[As] the season goes on, that causes all kinds of problems because you begin to realize that…they support each other in a way that ends up solving things. And when they’re not together…wires get crossed all over the place.”
As for Annie’s realization last season that she’s got some very real feelings for our boy, Perabo says those aren’t going anywhere but they’re still one-sided. “[In real life,] it definitely puts a strain on the friendship when one person feels more strongly than the other person,” she says. “[The] fact that Auggie’s blind in some ways mirrors his relationship with Annie. And it’s fun to play the scenes with Chris Gorham because you can sort of be in love with him.”
She adds that because of Auggie’s blindness, as long as Annie’s not saying anything, Auggie doesn’t know. That makes for a lot of moments where Annie’s “trying to sort of keep her feelings under wraps but it’s all over her face.”
Perabo adds that “it’s really fun to act it. And Chris Gorham’s constantly laughing because he [can] see me sort of peripherally while he’s acting.” She says that he delights in chastising her that anybody would feel the smile[s] she’s throwing at him, blind or not.
On a personal level, Perabo is sort of torn about whether she wants the show to go there. “I always have that feeling when I watched shows, like I want them to go there. And I never want them to go there because I love watching them think about going there,” she says. She left us with the tease that “it’s going to go far away from there before it possibly swings back around [but being in love with Auggie] starts to become undeniable to Annie. I’ll tell you that.”
Annie gets to go it alone a little more this season, too, and Perabo says it was about time for Annie to have that freedom. “[We] never wanted her to get too expert too fast. And when she was going to get all this sort of economy to…make decisions about her own missions, one of the ideas that came up was the idea of like a teenager who just got their driver’s license,” she says.
“And after they’ve been driving for a couple of weeks, they think they’re a great driver. And that’s when teenagers get into accidents. When they think you know they really know what they’re doing. And so that idea of the person who has newly acquired power, that thinks they’ve got it all under control and how colossally dangerous that is because they go sort of way too fast.”
Perabo says the setup is perfect for Annie because she never looks before she leaps [and] she often solves problems on the fly, so this brave new world is is going to cause a lot of problems for her. We’re ready to take the leap with her!
Covert Affairs returns tonight at 10 pm/9c on USA and the cast and crew will be live Tweeting during the premiere.