Christopher Gorham, Piper Perabo
Who can you trust?
That's the theme of Season 4 of Covert Affairs, now that Annie (Piper Perabo) is "in" with Henry (Gregory Itzin) after accepting a mysterious mission that he gave her in a folder. The mission will take her to Colombia and put everyone at the DPD in the crosshairs, not to mention her new relationship with Auggie (Christopher Gorham).
Get the scoop on Covert Affairs and more of your favorite returning summer shows
"We're telling the rise of a young CIA operative. The career is the spine of the show. We're testing her skills and abilities and whatnot. This season is her toughest test," co-creator/executive producer Matt Corman tells TVGuide.com. "It's going to affect everyone in a way Annie and the audience have never seen before."
All this stemming from that little folder. So what's in the folder? And are Annie and Auggie doomed? Here are seven things to expect from Season 4:
1. It starts off with a bang: The season doesn't pick up in the diner with Annie and Henry, but kicks off with a tantalizing flash-forward with Hill Harper's new character Calder that provides more questions than answers. "This seemed like an opportunity to do ... something that reels you in from the beginning and hopefully keeps you interested for the rest of the season," Corman says. "It both teases what's going to happen and introduces us to Calder in a dynamic way. That also frames how you view Calder when he shows up in the main story."
2. What's in the file? Don't worry. The contents of the folder will be revealed post-haste, and as we previously reported, it concerns not one, but two people. "I had no idea who it was going to be, but I think it's a really great story line the way it's working out. That was the crazy thing — I don't think Matt and Chris knew what was going to be in it when they wrote [the file in]!" Gorham says with a laugh. "They take these insane leaps and it's very Annie Walker. They leap before they look and they figure it out on the way down." Corman and co-cretor/executive producer Chris Ord, however, say they've always known who would be in the file and purposely made it two people because "it makes it that much more complicated for Annie," Corman says.
3. Secrets, secrets are no fun: Henry's file will eventually open a whole heretofore unknown can of secrets about every character — some of which are revealed in the premiere. "We wanted to come out with a big episode that's really going to shake things up with our main characters. It's time to challenge them," Ord says. "If you think there's a lot in the premiere, there are even more secrets and truths that will be revealed in the episodes following, and it's up to Annie to piece it all together."
Covert Affairs exclusive sneak peek: Annie and Auggie dance while they wait
4. And those secrets will hurt someone: Another "huge piece of the puzzle will fall into place by the fourth episode" that greatly affects Annie and Auggie's relationship, Gorham teases. "When you find out what it is, it's hard to see Annie and Auggie go through what they have to go through. ... When you're in a relationship, you want to tell each other everything, but as a spy, you can't, or you have to be cautious. So, it's a very fine line they have to walk."
5. So, will Annie and Auggie make it? The flash-forward will offer a clue about the state of their relationship. "It's not a lovely peaceful walk on the beach!" Gorham says.
6. New faces, new places: In the premiere, Annie and Auggie head to Colombia (other on-location settings this season include Rome, Vienna, Copenhagen, the Bahamas and Hong Kong), where they meet Calder, a cocky station chief who's less than pleased that his turf's being invaded. "He's smug. He's confident and he's ambitious. He knows what he wants. ... But he's new to Annie and Auggie, and they don't know who to trust and this guy seems like an antagonist, so he ends up on the outside of their team," Gorham says. "And why should he trust them? Within Langley, it's created this great tension with people who may or may not be on the same side."
Elsewhere in Colombia, Annie and Auggie meet Teo (Manolo Cardona), a mysterious rebel leader who is at the center of one of the premiere's major reveals. "Much like Calder, Teo appears to be one thing, but there's more to his story," Corman says. "The Colombian mission will play out throughout the whole season."
7. There will be blood: Season 4, like past seasons, will be broken up in two halves with the first 10 episodes airing in the summer, and you won't have to wait until the midseason finale for the stakes to be raised. "There'll be plenty of carnage before the summer finale," Corman teases.
Covert Affairs returns Tuesday at 9/8c on USA. Check out an exclusive sneak peek below.