By Mandi Bierly
July 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM EDT
Roger Do Minh/USA Network
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If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of Covert Affairs, stop reading now. Chris Gorham takes us inside a very shirtless hour for Auggie that may have some fans of the show looking at the character differently.

The return of Auggie’s hacker ex, Natasha [played by Liane Balaban], is huge. How do you think fans will feel about him trading on that emotional capital and sleeping with her for the sake of the mission?

The next few episodes are gonna be really interesting to see how fans react to Auggie, because we really get to see him operate as a spy. The line is very blurry, and it’s kinda maybe hard to tell when he’s truly emotionally involved with someone and when he’s not. When does the operation become a relationship, and vice versa? Or does it?

I think [Natasha’s return] will be most exciting to the portion of our audience who saw the webisodes from last year, who have her fresh in their minds. The rest of the audience might be like, “Wait, a minute. Who is that?” [Laughs] ‘Cause she was only in one episode in the first season. But the character became a big part of Auggie’s story, so it’s always felt like a bigger part of the show than it actually was looking back. That’s due to the great job that Liane does, and it’s just a fun character. The two of them together are fun because they’re both very passionate people but they have very different ideas on pretty important things. She fits really well into the theme of this year, which is trying to decide if you can keep your work life and your personal life separate—and should you?

And it’s interesting coming off episodes where Auggie kept asking Annie to tell him the truth.

Exactly. And it’s funny, too, because there’s that moment where Natasha says, “I need you to be absolutely truthful with me,” and [Laughs] this is what I love about Auggie: when he tells her, “Yes, absolutely,” I really think he believes it. Because he’s been doing this for so long, his brain is automatically gonna separate a huge portion of things that of course he’s going to lie to her about, but that doesn’t count. He’s gonna tell the truth about the other stuff. [Laughs] It’s just infuriating for someone to be in a relationship with him, I think.

So now that Natasha has followed Auggie back to the States, he’s going to be juggling her and Hayley [played by Amy Jo Johnson]? Is that where we’re headed?

Yeah, absolutely. It’s fun, and it’s interesting, and I’m interested to see what the reaction is because it gets a little icky, right? You like the two women who are involved, so seeing him in this position where he has to lie and play both sides for reasons that will become apparent very soon, I think it’s a little uncomfortable maybe to watch—but certainly justified from his point of view.

I’m sure there are a lot of fans who’ve wanted to see Auggie have more romance and sex scenes, so it’s almost like, be careful what you wish for: Here, he’s having sex with two different people in the same episode. A little icky, like you said.

[Laughs] Right?

But also interesting. And I think it helps that fans have such a strong affection for the character and for you playing him.

[Laughs] I certainly hope so.

Auggie and Annie have a blow up after she steals Natasha’s work because she doesn’t trust Auggie to close the deal. Annie tells Natasha that Auggie had no part in that plan. How are Auggie and Annie now: Will the riff continue, or will he need to rely on Annie more now that he’s gotten himself into this situation?

We get a bit of a reset. You see at the end of this episode what Annie does is try to repair this relationship in reaching out to Natasha and explaining to her what happened. Once Auggie becomes aware of that, he accepts it for what it is. You don’t go back to zero with something like that, but they have a long relationship and can move forward. That being said, this is not the last Annie-Auggie head-to-head that’s gonna happen this season.

What else can you tease about where we’re headed?

I would say the Annie-McQuaid relationship continues to get very interesting as we head toward our summer finale. Auggie’s buddy Roger plays a pretty big role in a surprising way. I just talked with [creators Matt Corman and Chris Ord], and they laid out for me the remaining pieces for the entire season, and I think the audience is gonna be very happy with how this will all fit together. It’s gonna be very satisfying.

Will you be directing again?

I’m directing episode 12.

Are you going to put in a shirtless scene? I wish I would’ve counted how many minutes you were shirtless in this week’s episode.

[Laughs] I don’t know. We’ll see. It depends on how much time I’ve had to get to the gym during prep.

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