HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

TV Review: ‘Covert Affairs’ Puts the Team Back in the CIA

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – In an era where America’s budget concerns are front and center, a TV series celebrating the awesomeness of the CIA seems a bit ill-timed. Piper Perabo portrays an undercover operative in the second season premiere of USA Network’s “Covert Affairs.”

HollywoodChicago.com TV Rating: 3.0/5.0
TV Rating: 3.0/5.0

The series does score some points for intrigue, mostly through the character of Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher), who portrays the CIA Director of the National Clandestine Service. He’s in a bit of a legal pickle regarding his the division’s actions, and the whole agency is on pins and needles regarding it. In the foreground is Perabo’s Annie Walker, who is the centerpiece agent of the assignment du jour.

The second season opens with a flashback. Annie is romping on the beach, remembering a mission in Sri Lanka, where a former rogue operative Ben Mercer (Eion Bailey) is injured in a firefight trying to rescue an “asset” (CIA informant). Annie saved him, and their admiration for each other is growing deeper. Annie is with Ben as he recovers, but their idleness is broken by a team of gunmen shooting up the hospital.

Not Your Daddy’s CIA: Christopher Gorham (Auggie) and Piper Perabo (Annie) in ‘Covert Affairs’
Not Your Daddy’s CIA: Christopher Gorham (Auggie) and Piper Perabo (Annie) in ‘Covert Affairs’
Photo Credit: USA Network

Annie moves Ben back to Washington, D.C., and resumes her life as an undercover operative in the Domestic Protection Division (DPD), who lives with her clueless sister (Anne Dudek) in upper middle class heaven. Annie’s first case back is connecting with a Russian tennis star, who is also a CIA asset. She is aided by Auggie (Christopher Gorham), a ex-army veteran who was blinded in Iraq, and mentored by Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett), the director of the DPD. Campbell is married to Gallagher’s Arthur, and his internal troubles infiltrate their domestic life. Maybe Homeland Security can help?

There is a suspicion that the CIA helped fund this show (it is on the USA Network. Coincidence?) because all of the characters, even the blind guy, are just so gosh darn fabulous. There might even be, from the looks of it, an undercover hairdresser on staff. This is entirely distracting, including Annie’s undercover story that she is a acquisitions expert for the Smithsonian Institution. Luckily her sister lives the domestic goddess life of soccer practices and her gourmet kitchen, because she has yet to notice Annie’s sudden killer squints.

The second season of any television show is where elements of character and story get more savory, and Covert Affairs does have its share of possibilities. Ben Mercer is a here today, gone tomorrow spy, and obviously Annie wants to break that secret. Kari Matchett’s Joan Campbell, despite her penchant for wearing cocktail dresses to work, does have a certain air about her that says she knows too much, and what she knows is dangerous. And although the blind guy is superfluous, Christopher Gorham turns on the charm and keeps him lucid.

Most Popular Couple, CIA Yearbook: Kari Matchett (Joan) and Peter Gallagher (Arthur) in ‘Covert Affairs’
Most Popular Couple, CIA Yearbook: Kari Matchett (Joan) and Peter Gallagher (Arthur) in ‘Covert Affairs’
Photo Credit: USA Network

It’s hard to buy Piper Perabo as a spook, especially when she clicks her 4-inch heels on the shiny floors of CIA headquarters. The Case of the Russian Tennis Player is shoehorned in among all the back story, and doesn’t work in context of everything else going on. This series is a fantasy world government agency, but most viewers buy that when relaxing in front of the tube, does anybody really care about line item budgets when Piper is in a bikini?

This show could make you wonder, where does the CIA rank in the new Homeland Security structure? What is the agency’s greatest secret? And where does Joan Campbell get those stylish cocktail dresses? Now we’re talking Covert Affairs.

”Covert Affairs” starts its second season Tuesday, June 7th at 10pm EST/9pm CST on USA Network. Check local listings for channel location. Featuring Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett, Anne Dudek and Peter Gallagher. Created by Dutch Oven and Universal Cable Productions.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Senior Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2011 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

Anonymous's picture

Covert Affairs

Piper Perabo is a horrible horrible actress. That chase scene in the first episode of this season was actual laughable. and what with the background when she walked up to the house of her tv boss?? I thought I would give it one more shot even after how bad it was last season but after the first episode of this season, I knew it would be my last. Terrible show.

shay's picture

covert Affairs

This is a great show. Pure enjoyment. The characters are wonderful and the actors who play them do it perfectly. I love Ben Mercer played by Eion Bailey. The character is dark and mysterious and in love with Annie played by Piper Perabo. They make an amazing couple, and you can’t help but tune in to see if they will meet again. This is one of the best show on TV

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web


User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

  • reno 911 front.png

    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

Advertisement


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker