'The Vampire Diaries' casts 'Dexter's' Courtney Ford as an intriguing grad student

courtney-ford-getty.jpgIt looks like Damon and Alaric will be venturing outside of Mystic Falls this season on "The Vampire Diaries." EW reports that "Dexter's" Courtney Ford has been cast as Vanessa, a student at Duke University who will help Damon ( Ian Somerhalder), Elena ( Nina Dobrev), and Alaric ( Matthew Davis) sort out the files Isobel left behind.

Before Damon turned her, Isobel was so vampire obsessed she could've given the craziest Edward Cullen fangirl a run for her money. The research she did while she was neglecting Alaric is a little overwhelming, so in the season's third episode, Alaric and Damon will head to North Carolina to dig in.

"She's not without her own intrigue," says executive producer Kevin Williamson. "It's a story that hopefully could evolve into this massive story line, or we could gut her like a fish."

"We like to write our new characters with a vibe for the collective experience on the show," jokes co-creator Julie Plec. "Do they come to Atlanta, are they nice to the crew, do they fit in with the group? Can they act? Will they take their shirt off?" Oh, Julie. This is why we love you.

Be nice, Courtney, and you might get to stick around for a while. If that fails, you can always just start removing clothing.

Follow Zap2it and @cadlymack on Twitter and Zap2it on Facebook for the latest TV, movie and celebrity news.

Photo Credit: Getty