Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched Covert Affairs‘ season 3 finale, directed by Renny Harlin, stop reading now. Creators Matt Corman and Chris Ord dish on an episode they anticipated would leave fans “excited, thrilled… a little bit scared.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How long have you known that season 3 would end up with Auggie and Annie finally having “the talk?”
Chris Ord: We’ve known for a little while. As we were looking toward season 4, we realized this is a relationship that had to happen. We couldn’t create any more contrivance to keep them apart. We needed to honor the chemistry that the two characters have and the two actors have. We’ll see what happens going forward, but it just felt like we’d been working so hard to stave off the relationship that we just couldn’t do it anymore. In the real world, these two would have come together, so we felt we would mirror that.
It’s very bold to go there at the end of season 3. That’s three seasons quicker than Bones, one season sooner than Castle.
Matt Corman: Just to be cautious and hold off just because it’s easier wasn’t honoring the characters, wasn’t honoring the storytelling. So yes, it’s quicker than some of our fans might’ve expected, but we’re excited by that. We want to keep people on their toes in all ways. I think Auggie sorta says it, nothing is certain in the world that these people are in. They’ve come to realize that life is finite, and the spy game is dangerous, and you have to take chances. They’re taking a chance, and we are as well.
Let’s talk about a few specific moments in the episode. When Auggie told Annie to think of the one thing she wanted, the one thing she loved, was she thinking of him?
Corman: That’s a really interesting question. It’s sort of a Rorschach test, right? She might have been. But I think when he was suggesting it, he was thinking of her.
Ord: He admits to that on the boat.
Did Annie know on the boat that Auggie was trying to tell her that he loves her? Or when, in your mind, did she realize he had serious feelings for her, too?
Ord: Well, look, I think she knew something going back to the summer finale when she was in Russia and he was saying, “You gotta come back. I’ve got some things to talk about. Important things.” She came back and was inquiring about it, and then they were trying to grab a drink. The whole back six episodes have been building up to this moment. So she definitely had an inkling. But you look at it from Annie’s perspective: She might have been hopeful that that’s what it was, but if you remember in the finale of season 2 last year, she had put herself out there and didn’t get what she wanted back from Auggie when they were talking by the Corvette. So it was one of those things where, in the back of her mind, she hoped that that’s what it was, but she wasn’t going to dare make the first move.
On the plane, what was Auggie listening to that inspired him to ask Annie out for Friday night?
Corman: He’s a jazz guy. He really loves Mingus. So it might have been something along those lines. [For the record, in Gorham’s mind, “He was listening to Brian Wilson’s Smile album,” the actor told us via Twitter. “Can’t listen to jazz ALL the time! :)”]
In the finale scene, when Auggie shows up at Annie’s place because he can’t wait until Friday, the shots of her placing the mystery file Henry Wilcox had given her on her bed and then hiding it, seemed purposeful. What should we read into that?
Corman: The file’s wearing on her mind.
Ord: The file will certainly factor into season 4 and will challenge Annie both as an operative and in her relationship with Auggie. It will challenge her relationship with Joan and Arthur, and it will challenge the very state of the building.
Corman: The contents of the file are going to drive season 4.
Ord: The last two scenes of the episode, starting with that file and that moment at the diner, are basically kicking off season 4.
So she’ll have to keep the file a secret from even Auggie.
Ord: Oh, yes.
Will Auggie and Annie’s relationship be something they have to hide from the office, or will they be open about it?
Ord: Probably a combination. I think any intra-office relationship undergoes these challenges, and Annie and Auggie will be no different. The funny thing about the CIA is they encourage intra-agency dating, but they don’t really say how hard it is. It’s actually very challenging to have a relationship in that building.
We’ve seen how worried Auggie gets about Annie, now that he recognizes the extent of his feelings for her.
Something else that seemed purposeful was making sure Annie’s necklace was visible.
Corman: It definitely was. That totem and everything it represents is important to her. Richard Coyle is so great, and we know a lot of fans fell in love with Simon and their relationship in the brief time that he was on the show. These things don’t leave us. The fact that Annie continues to wear that necklace signifies that was a deep and meaning relationship in her life.
Eyal (Oded Fehr) is another character fans have come to love. Have we seen him for the last time?
Ord: No, it’s definitely not the last time we’ve seen him. We love Eyal. Oded is a fantastic actor and a fantastic person. He’s basically an honorary cast member. So even though he’s seemingly sailing off into the sunset, as Annie says, there’s always something behind what he’s saying. So you can expect to see him again.
As in next season?
Corman: I mean, we don’t know exactly [Laughs] but I think he’s such a great guy that we’ll want to bring him back. It’s hard to imagine him just sailing around and being anything but bored.
Does Eyal know that Auggie loves Annie?
Ord: Well, here’s what he knows, right, that Auggie was concerned enough with Annie to go outside the building of the CIA and contact Eyal to get Annie out of prison, which is quite an unorthodox move on someone at Langley’s part. So he knows Auggie’s friendship with Annie is strong, and he can intuit the rest.
That moment when Annie said she hoped she would meet Eyal again, in a more romantic setting — did she mean it?
Corman: Look, there’s undeniable chemistry between Annie and Eyal, so I think she was genuine in that sentiment. But again, there’s a sort of star-crossed thing between them and they’re best when they’re in the field, and they both know that.
Last question: What can you tease about the future for Joan and Arthur?
Ord: It will definitely be influenced by what’s in that file. Obviously, Joan and Arthur are always challenged by being both partners and coworkers. What’s great with them as that we’ll see the mirror image with Annie and Auggie at the outset of season 4. Joan and Arthur represent both a model of a relationship in the CIA, but also a cautionary tale. We’ll see which side of the coin lands next season.