'Chuck': Lauren Cohan and Robin Givens join the action

chuck-lauren-cohan-320.jpgAfter two weeks of close-ended, comedy-heavy episodes, "Chuck" dives back into a bigger story arc Monday (Feb. 21) with the introduction of two new characters.

One is Vivian McArthur ( Lauren Cohan of "The Vampire Diaries" and "Supernatural"), a "reclusive young heiress" whom Team Bartowski is assigned to protect in "Chuck vs. the Masquerade." Co-creator Chris Fedak says her story "folds into" the Volkoff arc from earlier in the season.

"Now that Volkoff [ Timothy Dalton] has disappeared ... there are repercussions out in the world of bad people," Fedak tells Zap2it. "Lauren plays a character who's a good person -- a totally decent, honest, good person -- who finds herself falling into that world. She's affected by Volkoff's capture, and Chuck [ Zachary Levi], Sarah [ Yvonne Strahovski] and Casey [ Adam Baldwin] are brought in to protect her."

Fedak says he and his fellow writers think of Vivian as kind of a female version of Chuck circa Season 1: She's been dragged into a situation she doesn't quite understand and is having to adjust on the fly. "It's kind of a looking glass on how scary the spy world can be," Fedak says.

The other newcomer is Jane Bentley (Robin Givens, late of "Nikita" and "Drop Dead Diva"), a National Security Council official who comes into Castle "because of secret projects she's working on," Fedak says rather cryptically. She'll also try to recruit Casey for her operation. Like Cohan, Givens is slated to appear in several episodes of "Chuck."

"She also speaks to the mythology of the show," Fedak says. "... It's kind of neat -- in Season 1 there were a lot of things Chuck didn't know, [like] Beckman ordering him to be assassinated by Casey. There were all these things outside of Chuck's purview. Bentley is kind of a Season 1 character in that way -- she brings in her own secrets that will weigh heavily on Chuck. ... We're having a lot of fun expanding the mythology of the show even inside Castle."

"Chuck" airs at 8 p.m. ET Monday on NBC. Here's a preview:

Photo/Video credit: NBC