WARNING: This story contains major spoilers for Covert Affairs‘ season premiere. Don’t read on if you have not watched yet.
If you’re going to open a season with a bang, that’s how you do it! That said, let’s take a minute to mourn poor Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), who was killed by a car bomb in the season premiere of Covert Affairs.
Hurt? Angry? Depressed? All three? Us, too. So that’s why we got co-creators and executive producers Matt Corman and Chris Ord on the phone — for some therapy — and a peek at the awesome season to come:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I have to say, I never saw Jai’s death coming. Tell me why you went that route
CHRIS ORD: We really wanted to bring something strong this season and really present Annie with some challenges for the season going forward and we really packed it into this episode. But you’ll see the rest of the season spools out in a way that’s gets even more intriguing.
MATT CORMAN: From its earliest conception with this show, we wanted to embrace the idea of real stakes. We feel we owe it to the audience to remind them that the world of this show does have real jeopardy and people CAN die. Even in season one we were thinking that at some point we were going to have to kill people to make it feel visceral and real. And we just realized that if we’re going to do something like this, it’s most effective when it’s unexpected. It was hard for us, we have to say because we love Sendhil so much and we love the character of Jai. So it wasn’t an easy decision, it was one we spent months thinking about and figuring out how we were going to make it work. But it does create a mystery and a mythology that will take place throughout the season.
ORD: What we told Sendhil and what we truly believe is that [even though] Jai unfortunately dies at the beginning of the episode, but the effects of that will ripple throughout the entire season. His death will be in the back of everyone’s mind for the entire season 3.
Let’s talk about Annie (Piper Perabo).
ORD: We really looked at season 3 as Annie’s teenage years in the agency. We’ve seen her in seasons 1 and 2 grow and develop as an op. And now she has those skills and now she’s trying to decide who she is as an op. In your teenage years, you ask all these questions of your superiors, and Jai’s death really propels her into asking virtually every question on her mind and that will come out in her behavior throughout season 3.
She seemed to recover pretty quickly, but is it safe to say that she’s not done coping? She seems to be avoiding it.
CORMAN: She’s trying that on, and she’s making some mature decisions, certainly at the end of the episode. It’s a question of whether or not those decisions are prudent. You’ll see going forward that Annie is going to make some even bigger mistakes this season and have to recover from those. And that’s what the teenage years are all about. You try things on but you also make a lot of mistakes. And I think that’s what we’re really going to see from Annie.
What about Auggie? He’s dealing a little bit differently.
ORD: And you’ll see more of that. Everybody deals with trauma and stress in different ways and you’ll see — without giving too much away — he has a relationship with Parker and he’s going to be throwing himself into that in ways we haven’t seen yet. And this thing has served almost as a wake-up call for him. That’s in 3.02. His relationship with Annie is still strong. Fans of that relationship — we’ll be dealing with it constantly. That’s the heart and soul of the show — just seeing how the reconcile their feelings for one another. They’re kind of star-crossed.
What will be going on with Annie, romantically speaking?
CORMAN: Simon is certainly a presence. Expect to see more from him. They have great chemistry together.
So any parting words for Jai fans?
ORD: I think you can tell people that in the world of our show, when people die, they die. We want to honor him by showing this is real. I’ll also say that the idea of him and the things his character represented will live on. And we’ll see a lot of Henry, Gregory Itzin, his dad. So the presence that he had and the life of our show will continue on. And the quest to find out exactly what happened to him will define this season.
CORMAN: And he’ll be missed. We loved Jai as a character and Sendhil as an actor. As we said earlier, there are real stakes in this world and unfortunately this had to happen. That’s what makes it so hard. We really did love him a lot…But [fans] are going to love this season. This is just the beginning.
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