Covert Affairs, Season One (2010)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Naturally, after someone is left heartbroken, the thing to do is join the CIA. True maybe most people don’t go that route in order to pacify being dumped all while on a romantic beach, but that is exactly what savvy Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) has done. 

Back-backing through Sri Lanka, she met and shared a whirlwind romance with Ben Mercer (Eion Baily), a man teaching English in the small village, but one morning he merely left a cryptic note and was gone. Now, back home on the East Coast, living in her sister Danielle’s gatehouse, Annie is determined not to be burned again by love so she agrees to be recruited by the CIA. Hoping to utilize her six language skills on a broader scale, the trainee is suddenly whisked away from “The Farm” to Langley and put on an easy mission. Overwhelmed at the busyness and overall quick pace at which she is read into one of the agency’s most secretive branches, Annie is soon thrust into work as a Russian defectors handler.

Working closely with the DPD department head, Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett) – whose own life is in tethers not the least of which is her husband (Peter Gallagher) being her boss, Annie’s preparation includes cautionary warnings from Joan and her one bright spot at Langly is the presence of her handler and techno genius Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham). An ex-military officer who is now blind, Auggie takes Annie under his wing, helping her adjust to unfamiliar territory – and Auggie’s a shoulder Annie may need when she realizes she was chosen for ulterior motives. 

Since further “researching” USA Network, I have come to realize that they do not abuse their status as a cable network as much as some do (I won’t name names). They are meticulous about their programming choices – so much so that each show has to radiate generally happy moods even in the bad times. Though I only watch four or five of their programs, that theme is true of each. One of their newest on the docket, Covert Affairs is quite impressive. At the helm is Bourne Identity originator Doug Liman and reflections of his influence are present in the premiere – everything from a high-octane car chase to mysterious origins setting the stage for its debut season, from its opening frames, writers pull us into Annie’s story. What that extended premiere does is set the pace for the entire season – one full of thrills (and chills!). 

Any good spy show will see the good guys win without the loss of life – or without the justifiable loss of life. Every once in a while someone who wasn’t meant too or didn’t have an ulterior agenda loses but the asset of the show is its protagonist, which offsets some of the stickier situations. Annie feels deeply about what she is doing; her ability to love and care also leaves her mind spinning in reaction to the double-crossing and lying she is asked to engage in for the greater good. Particularly poignant was a conversation she shares with one of her co-workers when she questions him about the job becoming easier – his reply is to warn her that when it does, only then she must begin to worry about her emotional state. Several of the characters continue in these easy-going manners and have dynamic chemistry. Especially Auggie and Annie – these two are impossibly cute (I dare you not to like them together) together not to mention good for each other. Added into the relationship mix, there are a couple of potential romances for Annie – added just for those of us who cannot resist a good love story. *wink* 

Red herrings and secrets are the main affairs of the freshman season. (Favorite episodes include: “Fool in the Rain,” “I Can’t Quit you Baby” and “When the Levee Breaks.”) Luckily the show has since gotten multiple renewals and unlike some, there is a lot of banter to enjoy; even the back-and-forth arguing between Joan and Arthur was comical. Writers gave viewers a nearly full docket of characters to invest in (which newbies can do knowing, it’s “long term”), even in their weakest moments and its heroine is more relatable than your average spy thriller because she was thrust into something unknown to her and is merely trying to navigate the ways of the world – much like the rest of us. 
(Cautions: unfortunately, there are a few suggestive flashbacks of an intimate relationship, removal of clothing and the like. Another scene shows lovers dressing after spending the night together to a man romancing his ex to get information from her. Elsewhere there are accusations throughout that a man is having an extra-marital affair as well as some sexual innuendoes [Annie plays a hooker for a job]. Annie interrupts her sister and brother-in-law’s impromptu intimate reunion; implications suggest Annie spends the night with her ex in the finale. There is some gunfire and mild swear words.)


  1. I have enjoyed this show immensely--though because I have USA, I am watching season 2 and I haven't seen Season 1. Oh well.

    I love Annie and Auggie!! Right now, they have a great brother/sister relationship...though I can hope that in a few seasons, they will get together. I have a tendency to do that =D

    I do have a least favorite character, though. Jai is definitely not one of my favorites...and trust me, he won't be in season 2 either, but that is as much as I will say =)

  2. Oooh! I am sorry to hear Jai is not good - I actually liked him! But I did have my concerns considering his family history.

    So not fair, Ella! I like spoilers. =) Oh, well, I'll just look on the Internet when the time comes.

    Enjoy the rest of S2 and I hope you see season one sometime.


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