The USA Network has had a great deal of success with series such as "Monk," "Royal Pains" "Burn Notice," "Psyched," and "In Plain Sight" to name a few. The series tend to focus on a combination of drama and action, and in several cases a good deal of humor. One of their newer additions, "Cover Affairs" doesn't have quite as much charisma as some of the network's other series, but does manage to offer some memorable episodes and performances.
Often compared to the popular fox series "Alias," "Covert Affairs" follows a similar base plot but doesn't live up to the same depth as "Alias." While the idea of a new female CIA agent who's learning to balance her work life with her home life is compelling, "Covert Affairs" at times feels been-there-done-that. Still, that's not to say "Covert Affairs" is unwatchable. Some of the best scenes involve CIA agent, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) trying to hide the fact that she's an agent, and the toll that takes on her day-to-day life. Additionally, another great aspect of the series is the dynamic between Annie and her blind best friend/co-worker Auggie (Christopher Gorham). It's really Annie and her life as a CIA agent that drives the show, more than the missions she takes on.
Season Two picks up where season one left off, with the fate of Ben Mercer (Eion Bailey) revealed. Annie gets back to work and finds herself cultivating a potential asset ("Good Advices"), searching for information her former professor and CIA agent hid ("Sad Professor"), posing as a journalist ("Horse To Water"), and eventually finding her life as well as her sister's in danger ("Letter Never Sent"). One of the episodes that stood out the most to me included "Half A World Away" where Auggie finds the man who caused him to go blind. Gorham's performance throughout the series is one of the best, and having an episode focused mainly on his character who also happens to be one of the more enjoyable is a plus.
Since "Coyote Ugly," Piper Perabo has made a lasting impression in several films, but her role as Annie Walker is one of her best. She manages to portray Annie's weakness and strengths in a likeable and realistic way that in other hands may have come off as one dimensional. Perabo's warmth helps us root for Annie, and her strength helps us believe in her. The rest of the cast do a great job in their roles, including Kari Matchett as her boss, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Anne Dudek as her sister, and Peter Gallagher as her boss' husband.
While some of the episodes do feel rather formulaic, there are several that stand out and keep you on the edge of your seat with interest. There are some really great camera moments, with unique, almost film-like shots throughout the second season. However, there are also some green screen issues that can be distracting. Season Two wraps up with Annie and her sister vacationing in Stockholm where Annie's work finds her and she and her sister end up compromised. Overall, "Covert Affairs" is an enjoyable series led by Piper Perabo who offers an engaging performance.
12 2-01 CA201 07/Jun/11 Begin the Begin
13 2-02 CA202 14/Jun/11 Good Advices
14 2-03 CA203 21/Jun/11 Bang and Blame
15 2-04 CA204 28/Jun/11 All the Right Friends
16 2-05 CA205 05/Jul/11 Around the Sun
17 2-06 CA206 12/Jul/11 The Outsiders
18 2-07 CA207 19/Jul/11 Half a World Away
19 2-08 CA208 26/Jul/11 Welcome To The Occupation
20 2-09 CA209 02/Aug/11 Sad Professor
21 2-10 CA210 09/Aug/11 World Leader Pretend
22 2-11 01/Nov/11 The Wake-Up Bomb
23 2-12 08/Nov/11 Uberlin
24 2-13 15/Nov/11 A Girl Like You
25 2-14 22/Nov/11 Horse to Water
26 2-15 29/Nov/11 What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
27 2-16 06/Dec/11 Letter Never Sent
VIDEO: Universal gives the show a slick, attractive 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. Image quality is crisp, detailed and mostly pristine. Colors looked bright and well-saturated with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The series gets a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that - while not up to the level of an action picture - is still solidly enjoyable, with the rear speakers used for occasional sound effects and ambience, as well as reinforcement of the score.
EXTRAS:"Deleted Scenes" - All four DVD's offer deleted scenes and some offer alternate scenes as well. While deleted scenes can be hit or miss, these may be enjoyable for fans of the series.
"Covert Affairs on Location" features a look at the series on location in Istanbul, Venice, Berlin and Stockholm with several handheld camera interviews and footage, as well as some between take footage.
"Piper Perabo Comic-Con Intro" and a "Gag Reel" are also included.
Final Thoughts: "Covert Affairs" builds upon the best elements of the first season and continues to see solid performances from Perabo and cast. The DVD edition offers a few minor extras, as well as solid audio/video. Recommended.