Piper Perabo, Richard Coyle
[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Tuesday's episode of Covert Affairs. Read at your own risk.]
Annie has been developing Simon as an asset — not to mention bedding him — all season long on Covert Affairs, but it turns out there was someone else she should've been keeping an eye on.
On Tuesday's episode, Annie (Piper Perabo) and Auggie (Christopher Gorham) go inside Jai's safe house, where they discover that he was investigating Simon (Richard Coyle) before his death. Annie, who has fallen in love with Simon, offers to bring him in herself to protect him, but lets him go after someone tries to kill Simon during their meeting. The shooter turns out to be the same person who killed Jai (Sendhil Ramamurthy). But who's really behind the hits?
None other than Lena (Sarah Clarke).
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In the closing minutes of the episode, Annie decides against running away with Simon and tries again to convince him to come in just as Lena sneaks into her home and shoots both of them in the chest. This was shortly after she handed over a top-secret file to Arthur (Peter Gallagher) about Annie.
Annie's and Simon's fates and the contents of that file will be revealed in next week's episode, but in the meantime, we caught up with co-creators/co-executive producers Matt Corman and Chris Ord on why they pulled the trigger on Annie and what the real story is on Lena.
You weren't kidding when you said Episode 8 is not to be missed.
Matt Corman: [Laughs] We hope everyone feels the same way. As we talked about earlier in the season, we wanted to remind folks that in the CIA and the spy world, there's true danger and true risk, and we're standing by our word. It's a really big move.
Chris Ord: [We decided to do this] fairly early on. This was one of the moves that we really had on our minds for a long time. We knew that we didn't necessarily want it to happen in the finale of the summer season. We felt it would be more shocking and certainly more unexpected if it came at a point in the season where you just didn't see a move like that coming.
What's Lena's deal? She's the FSB double agent?
Croman: Yes. I think in the broadest sense, that's right. Going forward, the conclusion of this part of the season, is dealing with her. But that's right. She's an FSB double.
Ord: In terms of Lena's character, it's not even about ideology; it's about self-fulfillment and finding power. When you're a double agent, you're in a position of power because you can know what both sides are doing. I think for her, it feeds into that. She has a need for power, for lack of a better word.
Is this what she's been using her division for?
Corman: I would say the division is a launching point for her efforts, but I think Chris is right. She's not an ideologist in the classical sense. She's more about her own goals. That will all emerge in [Episode] 10, which we're very proud of. You'll start getting more answers in the next couple episodes.
Why did she try to kill Simon and Annie? Because they were going off the grid?
Corman: Yeah. Both Simon and Annie are great spies and the fact that they were running off together, or at least considering it, they would've figured her out eventually. They're just too good as spies to not. I think Lena recognized this couple was a threat to her cover and she needed to take care of it before they figured it out.
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What's Lena's endgame?
Ord: We'll learn more about her in the fall half. The next two episodes answer some questions, but also ask a lot more, so the back six [episodes] will explore more of Lena. And this didn't just start with assigning Annie to Simon; she's been a double for years.
Lena's been using Annie all along and Annie definitely played into her hands, but did she foresee Annie falling in love with Simon?
Corman: I think the way we've seen it is she expected Annie to fall for Simon, but she didn't expect him to fall for her.
Ord: One thing we've painted since the pilot is that Annie sort of entered the CIA to never be burned again. Yet here she is finding herself dealing with this, even though it's not the same with what happened with Ben back in the day. It's still a similar betrayal. This is ultimately something Annie will have to wrestle with going forward into the fall season and even in seasons beyond. Knock on wood. [Laughs]
Is Annie really in love with Simon? She easily gets emotionally attached to someone.
Corman: [Laughs] I think it's safe to say she was. I think she was and for a moment there, she was willing to throw everything away and run away with him. We carefully constructed it where she thinks better of that. ... Just like in real life, there are moments and flashes where you consider huge changes, and they feel right in the moment.
Ord: We wanted the trajectory to be similar to the audience's trajectory in terms of their feelings for Simon. If you look on Twitter from the premiere going to last week, people really came around to him as a character. He went from the dangerous bad boy spy to a lot of feedback last week that was like, "Oh, Simon's so great!" "I'm so in love with Simon!" That was really satisfying for us because we wanted the audience to share Annie's journey of how she perceives Simon from the beginning to these episodes.
And is Simon really in love with her? Is killing your handler a sign of true love?
Corman: [Laughs] In the CIA world, yeah!
Ord: It's so transgressive. You're putting your relationship above the institution. There's no greater display of that than killing your handler. What Lena said in Episode 7 was quite right.
Are we gonna learn more about why Jai was investigating Simon?
Corman: Yes. Jai had a number of missions that were corrupted by the Russians, so clearly information was leaking out of Langley to the Kremlin, and the Kremlin was getting people like Simon to disrupt those missions. We'll learn more in 10.
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Auggie was surprised and a little upset that Annie let Simon go. Where is he going to stand now that she's been shot?
Ord: I would say he's more caring and fearful for Annie for getting in too deep with this dangerous spy. That's the great thing about Auggie: He understands the greater spy game. He understands all the machinations that happen between spies. He loves Annie as a friend and is concerned for her well-being. I don't think he was completely mad at her.
Corman: I think their relationship is so strong that he was just questioning it. And even if he was mad at her, everything changes now that she's been shot. She won't be the same after this. But they have such a strong base of mutual respect and understanding that they can withstand a lot and continue to build on that.
This may be a stretch, but I'm assuming Annie lives, or there's no show.
Corman: [Laughs] I would say tune in! We are capable of the unexpected.
What did you think of Covert Affairs?