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September 8, 2010

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Review: Covert Affairs

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010

So the problem with starting a site to review cool stuff that you like is this: When you first start the site, the backlog of all the cool shit you want to talk about is endless, and some of the things you end up talking about are not at all timely. But that doesn’t make them any less cool. Such is the case with Covert Affairs, one of the new shows this summer on USA, which, while still in the middle of the first season, started a little over a month ago. We here at NNAR are generally pretty big fans of USA (Tom and myself are card carrying, fist bumping members of the Psych fanclub. Well, if there were such a thing, we would be), so my ears perk up anytime I hear about a new show coming out of that magical place.

Uncover Covert Affairs after the jump.

Covert Affairs follows the exploits of recent Georgetown (!) grad Annie Walker (played by gorgeous girl-next-door Piper Perabo), who finds herself working for the Central Intelligence Agency.  In the pilot, she is part of the new class of recruits at CIA camp (you might remember this camp from the Al Pacino/Colin Ferrell flick, “The Recruit”).  She quickly finds herself pulled out of camp to assist with an operation, and from then on she is part of the team, carrying out a new and exciting mission every week.  Through all of this she has to deal with the bureaucracy inherent to clandestine intelligence organizations, keeping her job a secret from her family, relationships with co-workers, and a mysterious lost lover from her past in whom the CIA has a great interest, unbeknownst to her.  Perabo is joined by a cast of sometimes lovable, sometimes deplorable characters, including her sister, Danielle (Anne Dudek from House); the head of her agency division, Joan (Kari Matchett who plays the gorgeous sexual harassment lawyer on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, which deserves a post-or six-entirely to itself); and resident tech guy and nerd, Oggy (Christopher Gorham, whom I’ve never seen before, but apparently was in Harper’s Island and Ugly Betty).

When you get right down to it, Covert Affairs is like most other spy shows.  There’s a new exciting challenge, adventure, or bad guy every week, and things rarely go as planned, and our inexperienced heroine Annie is thrown in over her head every time.  Just because it’s not a particularly unique or novel concept doesn’t make it any less fun.  Fun, sassy, and gorgeous, Piper Perabo is a joy to watch.  The moments that really shine, however, are those Annie spends with tech dude Oggy.  Oggy is a former soldier and agent who went blind during an accident on a mission in Iraq.  Since then he’s been forced to stay out of the field and in the control center, providing intel to agents on their missions.  He is funny, wise, self-depricating, and a total nerd.  Two episodes ago, he talked about when he met the girl he used to be in love with.  She was reading a copy of Snow Crash and it was love at first sight.  Hell. Yes.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time watching movies or TV shows featuring technology/computers/hacking/etc. with me knows that I am constantly shaking my head at the multitude of inaccuracies in how they do things.  Those 8 screens and pretty graphics while Hugh Jackman is hacking in 2001’s Swordfish? Total BS.  That’s why I was pleasantly surprised that the tech stuff in Covert Affairs is fairly on point.  When attending a hacker convention on a recent episode, most of the stuff was at a pretty low level, but it was all pretty true to life.  The only outlandish things on the show are the occasional gadget that just doesn’t exist yet, like Oggy’s green laser pointer thing that replaces the typical red and white striped cane used by most blind people.

Overall, Covert Affairs is a solid new entry from USA, and if you have the time, I’d recommend giving it a shot.  The 2-hour season finale is coming up this Tuesday (9/14) at 9pm/8 central.  You’ve also got some time to watch a few back episodes beforehand on USA’s website.

  • Anne Dudek also the Krav Maga girlfriend from HIMYM.