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Peter Gallagher Discusses <I>Covert Affairs</i>, Tries to Address Those Pesky <I>Alias</i> Comparisons

USA gets into the she-spy game tonight with Covert Affairs, a show about a lady ass-kicker for the government played by Piper Perabo. The less said about that casting the better, so let's move on to more exciting things, like the fact that Peter Gallagher plays her boss on the show. To promote the premiere, The Eyebrowed One got on the horn with a whole bunch of blogger types to address the Alias comparisons, what Sandy Cohen would think of the show, and why USA is less of a clusterfrak than the broadcast networks. Read on for highlights.

Obviously, the show has been compared a lot to Alias, but it seems like Covert Affairs is a little bit more realistic. Do you think that that's a fair assessment?
Peter Gallagher: Well, you know what? I really know nothing about the CIA. I've always read about it. I've always been fascinated with it. I always think I have a couple of friends that are in it, but of course, they can never tell me. So I don't know, but I will say this: That the reason that working with Doug Liman and Dave Bartis appeals to me so strongly is, obviously, their strong storytelling skills and what I saw Doug bring to The O.C. in the pilot episode was real. If it feels real, chances are the story will be better told.

How would you describe Arthur's relationship with Piper Perabo's character on the show?
PG: What I would surmise is that Arthur is a busy guy and he is becoming very much aware of this very young and very valuable asset, Piper. So she obviously has his attention and, judging from the last episode I shot, his respect. So I think it's an open relationship.

How long do we have to wait until you sing on the show?
PG: Well, don't hold your breath. But you never know. Listen, do you know what's funny? Nothing would surprise me about what Matthew [Corman] and Chris [Ord] and Doug and Dave and their extraordinary writers might come up with. But I know it will be credible. I know they all came to see me do my own live show where I sang, so they know that I do that kind of thing, so anything is possible, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Of the episodes that you've done so far for the season, do you have a favorite moment?
PG: I had some fun with Emmanuelle Vaugier on a scene. I love Kari [Matchett], and I had a fun little bed scene. Don't worry, I keep my clothes on. I'm going to be doing three more, so I look forward to seeing what's in store. All I can tell you; it's a wonderful set. You might have been up there, but the vibe is very good. Our DP was from The O.C. as well, Jamie Barber, who just is a marvelous cinematographer. He's a great guy.

USA has such a strong focus on building character. What do you think is the motivation behind your character? What helps him get out of bed every day?
PG: I think it's a really strong sense of duty. I think he honestly believes that what he does is important. I think he's very patriotic. I think he cares a lot for the country, and I think he cares a lot for the people under him. I think that's what gets him out of bed. I think he honestly believes that what he does and what the Agency does is important, and that, like all large organizations, it's not perfect, and he likes the challenge.

What has it been like being a part of the USA Network?
PG: There's not a really heavy, heavy bureaucracy there at USA. There are a couple of people that do the job that, in some places, 50 people do, so they're people who are responsible and you get to know them. So things happen. I haven't felt there's been unproductive interference from them; they're sort of allowing us to do our jobs. Obviously, we're not screwing it up too badly, at least in their eyes.

What would Sandy Cohen say about Arthur Campbell? Because Sandy was kind of a hippie, he probably wouldn't agree with your new character so much.
PG: No. He'd be protesting him. Then they'd bump into each other and realize they had a lot more in common than they thought.

Really good-looking wives.
PG: And they were played by the same person. "Wait a minute, weren't you played--?" "Yes." "Me, too. Oh. That's why."

Covert Affairs premieres tonight at 10/9C on USA. Check out a preview below!

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