8 Things to Know About 'Covert Affairs' Season 4: Deeper, Darker, Heavier

Yahoo! TV

Sexy, smart, globe-trotting spy drama "Covert Affairs" is treading into new territory in Season 4: Relationship-ville!

At the end of last season, CIA agent Annie (Piper Perabo) and her tech op, Auggie (Christopher Gorham) finally — finally! — acknowledged their feelings for one another with a passionate kiss.

When the fourth season picks up Tuesday, 7/16 at 9 PM, let's just say that kiss leads to Annie's bedroom.

Their new status is just one of the things that complicates their lives at the CIA, as Perabo and Gorham told Yahoo TV! and other reporters on the show's Toronto set. Long-hidden secrets come out and reshape many of the characters' relationships.

"The stakes are really high this season," Gorham teased.

Perabo added, "It's getting deeper and darker and heavier and the missions and the stakes are higher."

Check out what else the cast had to say about what's to come in Season 4.

1. Everything's connected

In previous years, "Covert Affairs" has focused on Annie's jet-setting missions to catch bad guys. But the show is shaking things up this season.

"I think this is just the most sort of exciting, sexy, dynamic season yet. It really is," promised writer Julia Ruchman. "We've never done a season of 'Covert Affairs' where every storyline is so connected. And it's full of cliffhangers and big juicy moments and it's just been a blast to write and make."

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Peter Gallagher, who plays CIA honcho Arthur Campbell, is excited by the changes. The new season "is less episode-based and more essentially character- and action-based," he said. "You can discover more dimension and aspects of the characters and details of the missions that would not have been possible if we just had 43 minutes to do it."

2. Annie and Auggie are together at last

Shippers rejoice! After three seasons of tantalizing chemistry, the partners finally get it on.

"It's been like years in the making of that love scene," Perabo teased of the hot-and-heavy scene in the premiere.

Both she and Gorham are happy with how the show has slowly built the relationship over time.

"I feel like it's been pretty realistic. You have two people who have great chemistry and get along really well and work together really well and become very close friends, but they've always been in other relationships with other people so they weren't available," he said. "And when they finally reach a moment in time where they are both available they end up coming together, and really falling in love."

3. The stars have preferred shipper names

Perabo likes Walkerson, while Gorham said, "I always liked A2 because it was so short and simple."

Whatever the couple's shipper name, don't expect "Covert Affairs" to implode because they finally got together. This isn't "Moonlighting."

"Something the fans will really appreciate is that them falling in love doesn't really change the show," Gorham said. "[It] doesn't really change them as much as they still work together really well."

4. Arthur's past is front and center

Arthur's always felt like a benevolent, yet distant father within the CIA, but this season, his past — and his many secrets — start to come out, thanks to the machinations of his predecessor, Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzin).

"It's nice to have a scene where I'm actually talking about Arthur and his past, because the one I've imagined is a rich one," Gallagher noted.

The secrets that come out have consequences beyond Arthur, though. They affect Annie and Auggie's relationship, too.

"One of the big secrets involves Auggie's real relationship with Arthur, which hasn't really been explored in the show," Gorham noted. "I think we kind of touched on it in seasons past that they have a bit of a contentious relationship but ... the why of that has never been addressed."

5. A powerful new player enters the mix

Hill Harper ("CSI: NY") joins the cast this season as ambitious, arrogant Calder Michaels, a South America-based bureau chief who aims to climb the CIA ladder.

With Calder, the question is how he's risen so far, so fast. "Is he someone who's just really damn good, very committed, and wants to do the right thing and is really great at that?" Harper pondered. "Or is somebody that maybe has benefited from a few shortcuts because he's willing to do things that other people aren't willing to do?"

[Related: 'Covert Affairs': How Hill Harper Went From 'CSI: NY's' Nice Guy to Cocky CIA Boss]

One thing's for sure: He clashes with Annie and Auggie from the beginning. When they meet in Medellin in the premiere, he saves their lives — and they lie about their intentions in return. "So who's the bad guy here?" Harper asks.

And without giving too much away, there is scene that flashes months into the future that indicates Calder and Annie's conflict keeps growing.

6. A mysterious man is the key to many secrets

When Annie and Auggie go to Medellin, Colombia, they encounter Teo (Manolo Cardona), who has a very interesting past.

Teo is a "tough guy" who doesn't have much of a soul, as the Colombian actor described him. We're forbidden to say much more, but Teo "very much fits into this big puzzle that we're putting together this year," Gorham teased.

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As for Cardona — who appeared with Perabo in "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" in 2008 — this is his first major U.S. television gig, though he's already a massive star in his native country. And he comes from a political family.

"Manolo Cardona could be president of Colombia if he wanted to be," Harper declared.

7. Shirts come off — a lot!

Auggie may be a tech op, but he was a special forces soldier and it shows … on his body. So Gorham's fans can look forward to quite a few shirtless scenes this season.

"It's a lot. In the first few episodes, I mean," he admitted.

So, how does Gorham stay in such good shape? "Just today I literally, almost literally, blew Piper's mind when I told her I had a bowl of Lucky Charms yesterday," he laughed.

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In all seriousness, Gorham maintains a healthy diet. "I exercise a lot and I mean, it's not magic," he said.

8. Colombians will see episode 3 before we do!

"Covert Affairs" travels all over the world, and for the premiere, the cast and crew shots scenes in the actual streets of Medellin.

"I loved it. It's great. You know, what's amazing is whenever you actually shoot where it's happening, where it's going, there's an energy that you get, an energy that you feel and it's an authenticity," Harper raved.

The people of the city, especially within the poorer sections called comunas, were very welcoming and helpful. To thank them for their efforts, Perabo suggested that USA hold a screening of Season 4's first and third episodes in the neighborhood.

"We go flying through these places when we film — Venice or Paris or Berlin or Istanbul or whatever — but this was a place that it was a lot of work for them to let us in," Perabo said.

"I just was so happy to find a way to say like thank you and [say] that we're not just using you as a backdrop and you're a character in it. I hope they like it."

"Covert Affairs" airs Tuesdays at 9 PM on USA.