Review and Recap: Covert Affairs: The Pilot

The husband and I happened to get the kids to bed early enough to allow us to watch some television. We flipped through the dial and came upon a new show on the USA network called Covert Affairs. I’d seen some commercials advertising this one and it looked like it was an Alias-light spy show. I LOVED Alias, but wasn’t taken by the promos so I hadn’t actually planned to watch this show. It airs Tuesdays at 10pm Easter on USA. We ended up recording the last half on the DVR because I couldn’t stay awake any longer, but we caught up with the end a couple days later.

Having watched the pilot episode (titled Pilot), I am engaged enough with the premise and two of the side characters that I am willing to give it a few more episodes.

The two things holding me back from wholeheartedly enjoying the show are (1) the fact that I wish I liked the lead actress more ( Perhaps I am waiting for a Sydney Bristow, and am finding that Piper Perabo is no Jennifer Garner) and (2) that the plot, at least of the pilot, was horribly predictable. The second isn’t normally as important to me in my enjoyment of a light drama/action television show. If I like and care about the characters, I will suspend all sorts of disbelief to follow them along their journey. For me, it is first and foremost about the characters. If I don’t care about the characters in your story, television show, movie, I won’t stick around to read or watch to the end. So, unless the lead actress steps up her game, I might not be in this one for the long haul.

Flashforward interlude
Incidentally, I felt this very same way about Flashforward on ABC. I didn’t much care for Joseph Fiennes portrayl of Mark Benford and I felt that the writing for Dr. Olivia Benford (played by the delightful Sonya Walger) was atrocious and inconsistent, but I absolutely loved Dominic Monaghan as Simon Campos and John Cho as Demetri Noh. I would have kept watching Flashforward just for their two characters had ABC brought it back for a second season.

Now back to Covert Affairs.
The pilot starts with our heroine during her CIA training at “the Farm”, as we see flashbacks of her job interview to join the CIA. Fresh off a bad ending to a whirlwind romance overseas, Annie Walker is looking to lose herself in the life of a government agent. Fluent in multiple languages, Annie is called up to help the Agency bring in a Russian Spy who wants to hand over some intelligence data. Disguised as a high paid call girl, Annie meets with the “Russian” only to nearly escape an assassins gunfire aimed at both Annie and the Russian. It turns out that the Russian wasn’t the spy at all, and Annie figures out who the real spy was the whole time. There’s a subplot about Annie’s love interest from her bad breakup flashbacks that is related to her being called up to the Agency before her training is completed.

My favorite parts of the show are two of the secondary characters. Annie’s direct supervisor, Joan Campbell, played by the fantastic Kari Matchett is a strong presence in the Agency and one of those tough love sort of bosses. I fell in love with Kari on the short lived mystery series Nero Wolf on A&E, but also enjoyed her in her stint on Day 6 of 24, and look forward to watching her in another show. My most favorite part of the show is the tech expert, Auggie Anderson played by Christopher Gorham. Auggie was blinded in the course of his first few days with the CIA, and becomes Annie’s confidant and sidekick as she navigates her way through her first few days with the CIA. Auggie is the one character that is going to keep me watching the show. Kill him off, and I walk.

I won’t ruin the ending in case you haven’t checked out the show, but if you pay attention, it’s not hard to figure out who the russian hit man actually is. Solving the mystery of the hour isn’t the strong suit for this show, but they’ve managed to get some quirky characters fleshed out even in the first episode. The second episode aired last night, but it’s still on the DVR and I haven’t yet viewed it. I will report here once I have gotten around to watching it.

The web presence
In writing this up, I did a lot of searching on USA’s website for details about the actors, episode titles, etc. They’ve got a whole onlline presence for the show. While the site is heavy on flash, and therefore unreadable on my iPad, the content is pretty fun. There are plot summaries, photo links, streaming episodes with commercials from the site, an online interactive game called “the Farm” as well as a blog with one of the show’s creators/directors. They even have an official twitter feed for the show. I’ve added both the show and Christopher Gorham’s twitter handles to the tweets I follow.

About rocketsciencemom
I am a rocket scientist in my day job, and a mother of two all the time. I'm a pop culture addict and amateur artist in my spare time. My typical preferences tend toward sci-fi and fantasy genres but I love a good drama or comedy. Reading the blogs of fellow Lost fans over the years has motivated me to finally write my own. All drawings and images on this blog are property of RocketScienceMom

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