Aired on: USA Network
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In Covert Affairs, a new television series from USA Network, Piper Perabo is Annie Walker, a former intern at the Smithsonian Museum who has now become a rookie member of the CIA. Her path to the CIA begins with a clandestine meeting while on vacation. Annie believes that her new found beau Ben (Eion Bailey) may be the man of her dreams…that is, until he mysteriously disappears, leaving behind a cryptic message, never to be heard from again. Hoping to move past this recent let down, Annie throws herself into her newly chosen career.
She soon discovers that being a CIA agent is not all it is cracked up to be. For one thing, having a rather tight knit family can be an issue, especially when you are not allowed to share your workday with your loved ones and must continually lie about your whereabouts. For another, high speed chases can be hard on your only car.
Annie’s first job is no cake walk either. Assigned to the Clandestine Services division of the agency, Annie is tasked with making contact with Stas, a Russian assassin holed up in a motel in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, her first assignment is anything but easy as the assassin is taken out in a hail of bullets and Annie is nearly killed. Her new mission is to now protect a Russian journalist targeted for assassination. As it turns out, the man she met in the motel was a fake and the real assassin is still out and about.
Her CIA “guide” Auggie (Christopher Gorham), a blind tech-savvy analyst, finds himself dragged along for the ride as Annie hunts down Stas in an effort to foil his next hit. Somehow, she manages to prevent the assassination, only to find herself in mortal danger. It’s in her final moments, when she believes that all is lost, that a man strongly resembling her former lover, Ben, saves her life. Could it be that Ben is still watching over her? Who is he and why did he save her?
Of course, the CIA downplays the whole thing, insisting that Annie was rescued by one of their own agents, but Annie doesn’t completely buy it. We learn that the CIA is actually lying and that they have some interest in Ben, but why…well, we’ll just have to keep watching to find out.
The pilot episode of Covert Affairs gave me a roaring case of déjà vu. I was a fan of the early years of Alias and while there are differences, Covert Affairs seemed very similar to the old spy action series. Alias was a very dramatic show and Covert Affairs has quite a few moments of levity thanks to the quirkiness of Annie Walker and her family, but it is mostly a drama with quite a bit of action and intrigue. The main character joined the CIA shortly after her husband was murdered and Annie joins up shortly after losing what she believes was the love of her life. There is definite chemistry between Annie and her handler/guide Auggie just as there was between Alias’ Sydney and her handler.
Too many similarities and not enough uniqueness in Covert Affairs makes this pilot a one night stand for me. I won’t be adding this series to my must watch list any time soon.