By Sandra Gonzalez
June 29, 2012 at 06:01 PM EDT
Cliff Lipson/CBS

It’s that time of the week again!

I’d romance you into your scoop for the week, but it’s too hot outside. No time for foreplay. Instead, read this and then go get yourself to a pool, stat! And send me a question if you’re so inclined: spoilerroom@ew.com or @EWSandraG on Twitter.

‘DAMAGES’: THE END IS HERE

We’re just a stone’s throw away from the premiere of a brand-spankin’ new season of Damages. [Bells, whistles, excitement] And what better way to celebrate the upcoming July 11 premiere than with fresh scoop from last night’s premiere party. Here are three teases for the fifth and final season:

+ As you may know, this season finds Patty (Glenn Close) and Ellen (Rose Byrne) on opposite sides of a case for the very first time, and according to executive producer Glenn Kessler, that was the plan the entire time. “From the beginning conception of the show, we thought of it as Ellen entering the work world and her experiences. And we always anticipated a fifth season of them going head to head. And who prevails remains to be seen — but it’s definitely in the last episode of the series,” he says. That’s right, though the super-spoilery promo for the final season may have hinted at one possible outcome, he warns, “It’s hinted at, but you’ll have to watch the entire season to find out exactly what happened.”

+ Byrne has experienced a lot of professional growth in the course of Damages‘ run. (See: Bridesmaids mania.) And Ellen will find herself flourishing as well. “I think this season she’s particularly herself,” says the actress. “She’s unapologetic and bold and owning her ambition and her drive and who she is and what she’s fought for her whole life. That’s exciting to watch, I think — when someone steps into their own power. I hope fans can appreciate that.”

+ Jenna Elfman, who plays a pivotal role on this season, says while fans might watch the first episode and assume they know how her character’s fate came to be, she promises nothing is as it seems. “Damages is never clear-cut. So the fact that you — even for a breath — think it’s clear cut is your first clue it’s anything but clear-cut,” she says. “We find out things as we go. There’s so much accumulated storytelling over the past four seasons that get brought up, so that’s fun, too. It’s not just a standalone fifth season. Past stories come back into play.”

TERRY’S TREK ON ‘TRUE BLOOD’

Terry (Todd Lowe) goes on a journey with former military buddy Patrick (Scott Foley) on this week’s episode of True Blood, and it will give fans a glimpse into the corners of the character’s mind that are still plagued by memories of war.

Via flashbacks, fans will see Terry’s war experience, and reveals will be made that will help propel the character’s storyline until the end of the season. (Yes, it involves guest star Brian Gherity and, yes, there’s a supernatural twist!) But creating the Middle East in the middle of a California desert was not an easy feat. And Lowe credits production designer Suzuki Ingerslev for the scenes viewers will be treated to this Sunday. “She makes magic,” he says. “There are a lot of people behind the scenes who make the show look as good as it does.”

Meanwhile, he adds, Terry’s experience while away will definitely test his relationship with Arlene (Carrie Preston). “It’s a lot for a wife to put up with — a husband saying he’s leaving unannounced to an undisclosed location. I can’t speak for Carrie, but for the character Arlene, she has to put up a lot with Terry’s history and past. So we’re going to be trying her patience a little bit this year,” he says.

More from Lowe after Sunday’s episode AND come back to ITV a little later for Spoiler Room Video Edition with Joe Manginello!

‘LEVERAGE’ BETRAYAL!?

Tim Hutton thinks this is going to be the best season of Leverage yet. After last season’s finale offered an opportunity for the show to reset, they took it, and, he says “the first show of this season sets the table up nicely for what will be a great year.”

And new headquarters, a new business, and now-public relationships are only the start. “I think you get a sense that Nate is planning something for the team and for himself, and he wants to transition into different ways that the Leverage team operates,” he says. “I think he wants to think more globally and more people.”

But why? His sense of duty, mostly. “Nate starts to realize that the teams has been very successful with what they’ve done. They’ve taken down a lot of bad guys, a lot of bad companies and they’ve helped a lot of people — but there are probably a lot more people to help and there is probably a lot more corruption out there and people being wronged,” says Hutton. “And I just think that it’s time to expand.”

But doing so will put the team in more danger than ever “because there are a lot of people who don’t want them to succeed.” Luckily, they can count on each other. Or can they? “There’s a real level of trust that the team has with one another — so much so that it gives the potential for a betrayal of that trust to happen as the season goes on,” he teases.

Stay tuned for more season highlights from Hutton.

SIDE DISHES

PLEASE tell me there’s something in store for Abby this season on NCIS. There wasn’t nearly enough of her last season. — Lorie

If that’s how you feel, good news! According to Pauley Perrette, who we caught up with at this week’s Thirst Project gala, this season will not only see returns from Abby’s brother and bestie (played by Meredith Eaton), but it will also take us deeper into her life beyond NCIS. “The only thing I do know in general [about the season] is we’re going to go a little bit more into Abby’s life more. People have been asking for it for a long time,” she says.

Is ANYONE out there making even a hint of a thought that someone *might* be considering trying to save The Secret Circle?  It’s been over a month since we got word it was being taken from us… If you don’t have any good news for me on Secret Circle, could you maybe at least offer some seriously juicy spoilers for Teen Wolf so I’ll have *something* spooky to look forward to? — Lyssandri

Wish I had better news for you, love. Truth is, it’s not likely TSC will find a home — especially considering the news that Chris Zylka is joining FX’s American Horror Story. On the positive side, I do have some Teen Wolf scoop for you, and it’s spooky — just how you ordered. As we saw this week, Jackson turned out to be the kanima, but Crystal Reed (who plays Allison) tells me the trouble really starts for the teen when he starts to put the pieces together for himself. And the audience, she says, will “see how it psychologically affects him.” Meanwhile, something will rock Allison’s family life in the next two episodes, introducing an Allison we’ve never seen before. “People don’t recognize her anymore or — she becomes a little psycho,” she says. “But she’s doing it for justice. That’s her rationale.”

I know you can’t say who bites it on Covert Affairs. But got any other good scoop? — Angie

Oded Fehr will be back! “He’ll be in the summer season and we’ll see him a lot in the fall season as well,” reveals executive producer Chris Ord. Meanwhile, I urge you to mark July 10 on your calendars. This is a premiere that is NOT to be missed.

I’m so excited Criminal Minds is going to Comic-Con. Any idea what Reid will be up to this season? — Alex

Out of the gate, Reid will have at least one new thing to deal with: the arrival of linguistics expert Alex Blake (new cast member Jeanne Tripplehorn), who he formerly knew through his work at Georgetown. “I think she was a professor…[and] he used to lecture in her classroom,” Matthew Gray Gubler told us at the premiere of Amazing Spider-Man last night. Beyond that, he’s not sure. But one thing he is sure of? The pair’s history is purely platonic. “No, I don’t think they’re going to go there,” he says of a possible romantic history being revealed. “[But] I wouldn’t mind it because I love her. I totally have a crush on her.”

Now that Matthew has a deal, any chance we’ll see Reid get a REAL storyline this season? — Amaya

Gube would certainly love to see it — especially if it brings a little closure to certain open-ended aspects of Dr. Reid. “A lot of things with Reed get left open-ended,” he said. “[The writers] start stories and then never finish them with Reid for some reason. They have ADD about him. They have A.D.REID — I’ll be here all week.”

Any Criminal Minds scoop? — Bryan

Criminal Minds fans, today is your day! (A triple scoop!) And the finale piece today comes from Kirsten Vangsness, who tells me she wants to see Garcia playing the field this season. “I’m hoping [for] a lot of dates — a lot of dates. Men. Women. Men and women — I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. But that’s my hope.” Mine, too!!

Trae Patton/NBC

SANDRA! I need some Mark and Sarah scoop! And please tell me this Ray Romano thing is just a joke. — Nicki

Yes, we were just kidding — NO! It’s happening. But Jason Ritter is being a good sport about it all. “I’m excited about that. Any conflict is always good. So I’m excited to see what they’re going to come up with. I wish him luck… but not too much luck,” he jokes. More seriously, he ponders that perhaps an older guy might be just what Sarah needs. “This is all guesswork, because I haven’t read one script, [but] the idea is, here is [a] man who is not looking to start a whole new life. She knows that my character is looking at children one day, and things like that. So I think it will be interesting — it will point out the differences and highlight what we’ve maybe been ignoring a little bit.”

This wait for White Collar is PAINFUL! Help me out here! — Jenna

I bet it’s not as painful as what happens to Neal in the second episode. Bang!

I’d LOVE some Mer/Der scoop! — Deborah J.

Will you take word on April and Jackson? Yes? Thanks; you’re a peach! When we caught up with Sarah Drew earlier this week, the actress revealed that the gang heads back to work in about two weeks, but she’s still not sure what state we’ll find the pair — especially in light of all fallout we’ll see from the plane crash. “I do think she is a big enough person to put her own personal trauma aside and rally for the larger group,” she says. “[But] I hope that [April and Jackson] will just remain very dear friends, regardless of where their relationship takes them. But I don’t know — it could be a very interesting love story. But it could also be a complicated one.”

We are [close to] the new season of Breaking Bad! Got any scoop on it? Seriously, I’ll take anything. — MJ

My reaction to the first episode: “Oh, s–t.” More specifically, in the first episode back, let’s just say Gus’ spirit is definitely felt — and it may screw Walter over. Make sure you send along more questions on the new season!

NOOOOO!!! I’m going to miss B.J. Novak on The Office. No scoop needed, I just wanted to vent. — Hazel

Then consider this a bonus: Casting intel indicates that the show is on the search for a new series regular named “Pete.” And he seems cute as a button!

Dallas scoop for a fellow Texan? ;) — Sherlee

By the end of the July 11 episode, John Ross will find himself in a tough spot after Christopher throws some possibly incriminating evidence in his face. As a result, he’ll have to decide what’s more important: business or his life!

Hi, Sandra!  It’s the last season of Weeds and I can’t help but think Celia Hodes needs to make an appearance… Is there hope for this? Have you heard anything? –Joanna

I haven’t heard anything official, but I wouldn’t count it out. Personally, I’d LOVE it.

(Nicholas White and Carrie Bell contributed to this column.)

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