After jetting of to Atlanta last week for my set visit to Necessary Roughness, this week I was invited by USA Network to visit the set of both Covert Affairs and their new show, Suits. Stay tuned for my post on the Suits set visit, as well as interviews from the actors of all three shows.
Covert Affairs has returned for its second season and if the first couple of episodes are any indication, my guess is that this season is going to be just as exciting as last year.
The series shoots right across the extremely immense hallway from Suits but we were told by some of the cast that they’ve all been too busy to visit each other’s sets. Luckily, that’s what I and my fellow writers were there for and we were all too happy to scoot off and check out the Covert Affairs set as soon as our tour guide (also known as Stuart, a producer on the show who also runs the tweet cast) came to get us.
Walking into the CIA’s DPD (Domestic Protection Division) entranceway, I was once again struck by how easily I had been fooled by the clever production. Assuming they filmed in an office somewhere, I was not prepared to find the entire place to be inside the massive studio building, including a second story balcony and elevators that went nowhere.
Walking to our left down the hallway, we were taken into Arthur’s secretary’s office and then into Arthur’s office. Walking in, there is no doubt how important he is in the DPD as his office is easily the largest one in the place. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s larger than my entire apartment. Covering his walls were beautiful pieces of art, as well as pictures of Arthur with important people, such as President Obama. Standing only inches away from those photos, I was amazed at how real they looked.
Heading back the way we came, we walked past the elevators and continued towards the bullpen area where Annie sits. As we walked, Stuart explained that though Arthur’s office was on the same level on the set, in the show he’s on an entirely different floor. So when they shoot scenes in the hallway leading to the DPD, they re-set Arthur’s secretary’s office with a fake wall to look like the hallway ends there.
The bullpen was another huge room; Joan’s office and a conference room on the upper level, with ramps and stairs leading up to it. Since they weren’t shooting there that day, pretty much every surface was covered with plastic to keep everything from getting dusty. Annie’s desk is indistinguishable from the rest of the agents we worked with, but Stuart was nice enough to point it out to us and pull the plastic off of it so we could get a closer look.
On the same level as the bullpen, but off to the side, was Auggies office/gadget room. As we studied his special Braille keyboard (which I touched just to feel the uniqueness of it), Stuart said that all of the blind technology in the room that helps Auggie do his job, was real tech, including that very fancy keyboard. Besides all the fun and cool gadgets, the thing I found interesting about Auggie’s space was the fact that he had art on his desk. All of it was sculpture in different mediums (wood, glass, plastic) and I imagine that as a person without sight, Auggie would appreciate artwork that he could feel. The fact that the props department (as I assume it was they who put it there, but I forgot to ask) thought of a detail like that blew me away.
After getting my picture taken at Auggie’s desk (I just couldn’t resist), we were taken out to an “outdoor” courtyard right outside of Auggie’s office which is a new set for this season. Remembering what we’d been told about Arthur’s office, I asked if the courtyard was really outside or if it too was meant to be on another level. Turns out I stumped Stuart for a second there, but after thinking about it for bit he eventually said he was pretty sure that it was on another level and that when they shot in Auggie’s office, the blinds were kept closed to hide the courtyard.
Then it was off to Annie’s apartment. I had always wondered if it was a detached guest house but when I asked, Stuart informed me that actually it was supposed to be above Danielle’s (Annie’s sister) garage and Annie enters up a flight of stairs at the back of the house. Of course, the set was just in another part of the soundstage and we were able to walk straight in – no climbing necessary. Annie’s apartment is very eclectic, with lots of items all over the room that appeared to be from various parts of the world. Having seen the episode recently where Annie opened up the secret compartment in the bench under her windowseat, that was the first place I ran to and got a picture. Stuart told us that some renovations to Annie’s place had been done in preparation for the second season and they were currently working on building a bathroom in it. But though the door was there, the bathroom itself was empty.
We then walked over to Danielle’s house and saw the courtyard with the steps leading to Annie’s apartment, as well as the window for it. Other than that, the only part of Danielle’s house that was there was the kitchen, which was one that I would kill to have in my own home.
Then we headed over to Allan’s Tavern, the bar where Annie, Auggie and the other members of the DPD like to hang out. I guessed where Annie’s table was and Stuart confirmed I was right. Then we all took turns getting pictures, individually and in groups, at that table and various others.
Finally we were taken to another immense set, this time the exterior and part of the interior of Arthur and Joan’s house. I had just seen the episode where the house had first appeared and again had no clue that it was on a soundstage. Though most of it was again covered in plastic, I could still see how beautiful their home is.
That was the last bit of set we saw and after visiting the Suits set and interviewing cast members from both shows, we were put back on our bus and carted out to the airport. No, we weren’t being sent back home, we were actually there to watch some filming. Unfortunately I can’t say a lot about what we saw there as it was very spoilery and we were told not to say, but I can tell you that there were a couple planes there (it was an airport after all) and we saw Piper and another actor film a couple of scenes.
Once they were finished with filming, we were visited by a couple more members of the cast and interviewed them in an ultra casual setting, everyone crowded together on couches, chairs and even the floor. Those actors who didn’t get whisked away back to set right away were even kind enough to take group photos with all of us bloggers. Some people joked that they were more like family photos, considering they were taken in front of a fireplace mantle.
After the last actor went back outside to film, we were done for the day and headed back to our bus once again. On the way back to the hotel there was lots of animated conversations about the conversations we’d had with all of the actors and our impressions of each of them. Stay turned for my upcoming posts with all the interviews of the Covert Affairs actors, plus the info and photos from our visit to the set of Suits.
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