Credit: Ian Watson/USA Network

When Covert Affairs returns on June 24 (USA, 10 p.m. ET), season five picks up four months after Annie (Piper Perabo) shot and killed Henry Wilcox. She’s ready to come back to work, but no one at the agency—including Auggie (Christopher Gorham)—knows where she’s been.

“This is a show about secrets. But up until this point, Annie hasn’t really had a secret that she’s harboring from the folks that she works with at the CIA,” co-creator Matt Corman says. “It’s another layer.”

Viewers will get their first clue as to what Annie’s hiding in the season premiere, which also introduces a new character, Ryan McQuaid (Nic Bishop). “He’s a private spy essentially, a private military contractor,” co-creator Matt Ord says. “This is an area of espionage that exists that we haven’t really explored up until this point. We brought in McQuaid as a way to examine what it’s like to work as a spy in the private sector. Annie will get to see that world—the advantages and disadvantages. Nic Bishop’s got that swagger that comes with being in a position like this. The chemistry between them, so far, has been off the charts. We’re really excited about what’s going on between Annie and McQuaid.”

Fans will, of course, wonder what that means for Auggie. “Annie and Auggie will always be key in one another’s lives,” Corman says, “but they’re going to a new evolution in their relationship this season.” Don’t worry about Auggie: “When we first met him in the pilot, Auggie was a real ladies’ man. He’s always been very sociable and outgoing, and I think it is important that we’re getting back to some of that energy for him,” Corman says. “There’s a sense of fun about him that we’re really finding this year. It’s safe to say that he’s gonna have his hands full on the romantic front. Really, really full.”

And, as many have no doubt wondered, will he be really, really shirtless? “We have filmed some shirtless scenes with Chris in them already, yes,” Corman confirms.

While there’s plenty of banter to come this season, the tone of the premiere is serious. “There’s a seismic event that ripples through and influences the entire season,” Corman says. The show has become more serialized over the years, and the questions raised by the end of the hour will be answered over 16 episodes. “We wanted an action-packed hour that, if it’s doing its job, is getting the audience to lean in and say, ‘Oh, there’s more going on here. I want to know what the story is,'” Ord says. (One hint: Five seasons in, both Annie and the audience have a deeper understanding of spy craft, which producers can use.)

As for whether Joan (Kari Matchett) is still reporting to Calder (Hill Harper) as the season begins, Ord will tease this much: “We teed it up in the finale last season that there was going to be a power struggle between the two—that will get answered very early on in the premiere. Though it won’t be the end.”

Covert Affairs
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