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Covert Affairs - Season One

Covert Affairs poster

Written by : published Monday 26th November 2012

Covert Affairs - Season One main image

Covert Affairs is the latest show that I’ve discovered thanks to Netflix. The only thing I knew about the show beforehand was that one of the leads was Christopher Gorham, who I still fondly remember as Henry from Ugly Betty. The series revolves around CIA agent Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) who works as an agent for the Domestic Protection Division. As she can’t reveal the nature of her job to anybody, she tells people that she works as a curator at the Smithsonian Museum. Si Gorham stars as Auggie, Annie’s colleague and mentor. Kari Matchett plays Joan Campbell, Annie’s intimidating but good-natured boss who is experiencing marital problems with her husband, who is a Director of Affairs in the CIA.

From our first introduction to Annie in the pilot, we see that she has been hurt by Ben Mercer, a man she fell in love with while in Sri Lanka. Each episode contains a flashback to their time together and we learn that Annie is haunted by the cryptic note that he left her before he deserted her.  This incident seemed to be Annie’s sole motivation for joining the CIA, saying that she didn’t want to get hurt again, which seems pretty extreme. About halfway through season one, we learn that Ben worked for the CIA before he went rogue and he returns to Sri Lanka on a mission with Annie at the end of the season. While I liked this plotline, I thought that it was a little too obvious and that we could tell that Ben and Annie would return to ‘the scene of the crime’ by season’s end.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Perabo and Gorham. Annie and Auggie strike up a firm friendship from the pilot and Auggie goes out of his way to help her any way he can. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers about seasons two and three but I’m guessing that this relationship could become a romantic one as the seasons continue.

The biggest fault that I’ve found with Covert Affairs is Annie’s family. She lives in her sister and brother-in-law’s guesthouse. Danielle (Anne Dudek) and her family flit in and out of the series but I couldn’t help but feel annoyed every time they appeared. Danielle seems to overreact to everything Annie says – in one episode Danielle wants to make Annie the legal guardian of her kids in case anything happens to her or her husband. When Annie hesitates, partly concerned about the demands of her job, Danielle overreacts and accuses Annie as being selfish and self-centred. A similar exchange took place when Annie asked her sister to remove her picture from Danielle’s new catering website. Maybe Dudek was at fault – every time she appeared on screen I couldn’t help but think of her small role on Friends as Mike’s annoying girlfriend Precious. Either way, I thought the familial storyline wasn’t developed enough to be truly interesting and it merely became painful to watch. Another flaw with the series was that I don’t think the series has fully taken advantage of the potential for exciting storylines. Annie works for the CIA but I feel that a lot of the missions she has been involved in so far are pretty unadventurous and boring. Hopefully this can be capitalised on during season two.

Overall Covert Affairs is an enjoyable but not a perfect series, with Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham’s chemistry being its undeniable strength. I’ve heard that the series continues to improve and develop throughout seasons two and three so I hope Netflix gets around to adding them shortly.

About the author David


I'm a 21 year old English student from Ireland. To put it simply, I love TV, Some of my current favourites include Parks and Recreation, Community, Veep, Parenthood and Revenge. Follow me on Twitter @losingstreak12

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