'Covert Affairs': Christopher Gorham on Annie/Auggie Rift, Finale and Directing
The actor-director tells THR that the forthcoming season finale, filmed on-location in Hong Kong, is "a cat-and-mouse game."
Covert Affairs star Christopher Gorham heads behind the camera directing the latest episode of the USA Network spy drama.
It's been a while since Annie and Auggie have been in the same room together, with the two colleagues coming close in the last episode. In Thursday's episode, "River Euphrates," the two finally come face-to-face. But their anticipated encounter isn't as they had hoped -- or envisioned.
The actor-director talks to The Hollywood Reporter about the joys of directing, the rift between Annie and Auggie, whether someone else will find out about Annie's fake death and a season finale that "will shock everybody."
How has Annie going rogue affected Auggie?
The dynamic between Annie and Auggie has been evolving along with the show. At the beginning of this season, we did something fun with the episode I directed. When we get to the end of the episode, we used the same song that was used earlier this season. When we used the song the first time, it was about Auggie, and now when we hear the song again, it's about Annie. You see how they change places almost -- their points of view have switched a little bit and they truly become equals. It puts us in an entirely new place.
Where do Annie and Auggie stand following Thursday's episode?
My episode is about the idea of how far you're willing to go to accomplish the things you want to accomplish and what are the consequences of those choices. We see that played out through a number of different characters in my episode, but especially with Annie and Auggie, and we see that there are consequences to the choices that have been made. Annie learns about the consequences of her going dark, as far as her relationship with Auggie. We learn about what happens with Helen, and Auggie makes some bold choices as well. As far as their relationship moving forward, it's uncertain really. I think they're both in a place where they have a lot talking to do. (Laughs.) A lot has happened and really there's no time for that yet because they're deep in a dangerous mission and it's very important and the clock is ticking. I guess the question for the end of the season has to stop at, "Are we OK and can we keep working together?" The rest of the stuff we'll sort out later.
How do you think the amount of time they've been apart have affected their relationship? Has it put some distance between the two?
Of course it did. She was gone for more than three months, and what she was doing was something very difficult and very lonely. Auggie was left to pick up the pieces on the home front. He had to handle her family, and he has to pretend that she's dead for her family and people at work -- even to Joan. He's also been lonely while she's gone, which is why he argued so strongly against the decision and believed there was another way to accomplish their goals without going to that extreme. When she does it, he supports her the best he can, but they both play a steep price for that decision. We see some of that fallout.
Though Helen died in the last episode, how does the fact that she and Auggie slept together play into this?
The repercussions of what happened between Auggie and Helen are dealt with in the episode. It gets brought up with tact but on purpose. That conversation begins. Certainly there may be more conversations to be had about it, but it's the beginning of a healing process. More than anything Auggie came out of that act more certain than ever about where his heart truly lay, which is still with Annie. He's confronted with a woman to whom he was married, and in the emotional place he was in, was very vulnerable, and I think the audience sees that scene that happened right before where Annie's six inches away from him in the bus. All he had to do was let his hand drop and know that she was there. Even if he sensed something on that bus, which I think he did, by the time he gets off he's convinced himself that it couldn't be her -- that it's just his head playing tricks with him.
What's the state of Calder and Auggie's partnership?
They have a growing, potentially begrudging respect for each other. They work in very different ways, but they both understand the idea of mission, and they both are willing to make tough choices and make big sacrifices to get the job done. In that area, they respect each other. Calder in particular is uncomfortable with the way Annie and Auggie tend to operate, which is much more loosely than Calder likes to do things. Calder and Auggie butt heads but it's not in a spiteful way. They argue over how to get things done, not whether things should get done.
What's the likelihood that someone in the inner circle will figure out that Annie's not dead?
Joan is only weeks away from having this baby and she finds herself -- because of Helen's death -- having to go into the field and put herself in a very dangerous situation. She gets a big surprise while she's out there and finds something that is completely unexpected.
What was the most challenging thing about tackling this particular episode as a director?
There's a lot going on. It's funny, as far as TV shows, I've only directed on our show, and I'm in a position as one of the stars that I get an opportunity to weigh in on story. The exciting thing about this was being able to shape the bigger details of the story. The favorite things that I was able to do was to bring some lightness into the show. Technically, we had some big challenges. We had this big car stunt, where he had to shut down the big section of the freeway, and a lot of car scenes, one of which was at night. I have to give credit to the production team, because we shot this beautiful night scene in traffic on a live freeway. (Laughs.)
Any favorite scenes?
I love the opening scene of the next episode. It's been the first time Annie and Auggie have been in the same room together since she went dark. It is a big deal! And it doesn't play out the way that either of them ever hoped the moment would, and that's because of the circumstances that they're dealt. It's a little heartbreaking and then it quickly turns to the mission at hand.
Without revealing too much, what's the lead-up to the final episodes of the season?
We just got back from Hong Kong, where we were shooting for the last two episodes. It's a cat-and-mouse game over there and it's a hunt, but we're not hunting a deer. It's a big-game predator and it's dangerous. We're not on our home turf and we have no one that we can trust but ourselves. The stakes couldn't be higher. It's like no place that we've ever been, and we've been all over the world at this point. I think the ending will shock everybody.
Covert Affairs airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on USA Network.
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