When “Covert Affairs” returns for Season 5, there will be a new espionage expert in the mix. Nic Bishop (“Body of Proof”) joins the show as Ryan McQuaid, the head of a private-security company. Look for this ambiguous character to both cooperate with and butt heads with Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) as the new episodes go forward.

Zap2it chatted with Bishop about the new role. See what was learned in this interview.

Zap2it: Who is Ryan McQuaid and what’s his role on the show?
Nic Bishop: He initially acts as quite a challenge for Annie, the way that he operates and where he comes from and how he ends of coming to be in her space. And then they try to find a way to work together initially. She doesn’t really respond to that very well. She likes to do her own thing and function in her own kind of way, even though they are working toward the same goal. There’s a kind of conflict initially and a bit of pushing and shoving about who’s going to guide the mission.

He owns a private security company. It’s kind of modeled on what Blackwater was. It’s a private security company that has multi-million dollar contracts with the CIA, the US government or big companies that want to pay money for private security work.

What can you say about the relationship between McQuaid and Annie?
What’s interesting about the relationship between McQuaid and Annie, is that it’s nice to keep that tension and keep the audience guessing and wondering how exactly he does fit in, what exactly his motives are. That’s going to last awhile, because she’s a — I would say — very untrusting person with the nature of her job. And so is he, to a degree. So there’s always going to be that conflict between the two of them. I think that she also just sees him as this rich guy who flies around the world in private jets and flies helicopters and wears expensive suits. And he is all those things. He does do all those things. But he’s built that success by working very hard and being extremely good at what he does.

So the two characters interact a lot?
Very much so. To the point where, the second episode … Further on, certainly, there’s a lot more. We go on the road together, we spend time hunting down a bad guy together. There’s a h*** of a lot more Annie and McQuaid to come.

Is the tension just between McQuaid and Annie or also between the CIA and the private sector?
I think there’s always going to be tension — especially if McQuaid ends up going to a place, which happens a few times where McQuaid and his people end up arriving first. The CIA is going to be a little bit grumpy about that. ‘Why didn’t we get there first? Why does McQuaid have the upper hand? Why has he got the jump on us?’ That’s part of the reason of having a company like his. He can get around things and through things that maybe the CIA, being a government organization, can’t do. That’s why people use companies like McQuaid Security. But of course it’s going to cause tension. It certainly creates tension — the whole idea of McQuaid Security gets under Annie’s skin.

Will we learn more about who McQuaid is?
I hope so! What we know about him is he was a Navy SEAL and obviously a highly trained military man who gave many years to his country and saw an opportunity — as a lot of these guys do and there are many of these companies all over the world — he saw an opportunity to keep doing what he was doing and keep serving his country. But his thing is you don’t have to be poor. You can have a great time and you can drive a nice car and you can have a good life, as well as serving your country. That’s another thing where he and Annie kind of butt heads against each other.

What sort of reaction do you hope fans will have to your character?
All that I’m hoping is that they see him as being a welcome addition to the gang. The biggest point of contention is obviously going to be the Auggie character and Auggie and Annie’s kind of on-and-off relationship. I think that obviously people are going to not want McQuaid to be anywhere near her. But with any show — and especially a show that’s in its fifth season — you have to keep reinventing the energy, keep giving the audience something to be challenged about, something for the actors to be challenged about. And McQuaid really does that. I think he’s a really good fit for the style of show. He’s very much a hands-on, let’s push the envelope, let’s take risks, let’s chase people around the streets of Colombia with a gun. I think that that’s going to fit with the show.

“Covert Affairs” Season 5 premieres Tuesday, June 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA.

Posted by:Laurel Brown