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Covert Affairs: Season 5

Universal // Unrated // April 28, 2015
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 21, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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.

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." That's not to say that Perabo doesn't make for a sleek secret agent - it's actually a really fitting role that she seems more and more comfortable within. Additionally, the series has gotten darker and more serious in latter seasons and the result is richer and more satisfying. Perabo really does go along with the change in tone well, with a performance that is powerful at times.

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" doesn't really feel like it tries to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the genre. Still, the series went somewhat darker in the fourth season and to good effect. Thankfully the weightier, darker tone carries over to the fifth and ultimately final season. Unfortunately, the series does leave some things up in the air with the finale. The creators have talked online that they did have plans for a sixth season, so hopefully the series would make a good fit for Netflix or another network. Or, at the very least, an additional short season (which has proved successful for "24" and will hopefully prove successful for "The X-Files" soon, among other shows) would at least have provided some closure for fans.

The fifth season starts with Annie off on her own after the events of the fourth season finale. However, remaining off the grid for long is difficult and it's not long before Annie is pulled in as hints about a terrorist attack prove true, but the target turns out to be unexpected as the CIA center in Chicago is attacked. Annie is once again put into play as she tries to track down those behind it, who appear to have extensive working knowledge of the CIA - it's up to her to find out how and stop them. The only problem: Annie is hiding a health condition that may be an obstacle to completing her mission.

For one last time, the series goes on a globe-trotting adventure, as Annie races from Venezuela to Paris and back. Early on, other characters face changes: Arthur is working for McQuaid security, while Calder (Hill Harper) has taken the position of DCS, to the surprise of Joan (Kari Matchett.) Auggie continues to follow Annie across the globe as her handler, but his attentions also turn to Natasha, a hacker Former Navy SEAL McQuaid (Nicholas Bishop) also figures prominently into the season and Annie's life, as well.

Annie's "secret" condition feels a little forced to crate some tension and plot points, but the season otherwise continues to offer strong writing, great locations and strong performances. Some of the highlights include: "Shady Lane" (the season opener has Annie pulled back into action after hints of a potential terrorist plot turn out to be real), "Silence Kit" (Annie tracks down a lead behind the attack, while Auggie helps cover up Annie's medical issue), "Elevate Me Later" (Auggie gets Natasha to build him an Annie a software key, but Annie turns the tables when she believes she needs to, disappointing Auggie), "She Believes" (Auggie is captured and taken to Chechnya by Belenko, leading McQuaid and Annie to go after him) and the finale, "Gold Soundz".

Season 5 (all episodes are song titles by the band Pavement.)
60 5-01 24/Jun/14 Shady Lane
61 5-02 01/Jul/14 False Skorpion
62 5-03 08/Jul/14 Unseen Power of the Picket Fence
63 5-04 15/Jul/14 Silence Kit
64 5-05 22/Jul/14 Elevate Me Later
65 5-06 29/Jul/14 Embassy Row
66 5-07 05/Aug/14 Brink of the Clouds
67 5-08 12/Aug/14 Grounded
68 5-09 19/Aug/14 Spit on a Stranger
69 5-10 26/Aug/14 Sensitive Euro Man
70 5-11 06/Nov/14 Trigger Cut
71 5-12 13/Nov/14 Starlings of the Slipstream
72 5-13 20/Nov/14 She Believes
73 5-14 04/Dec/14 Transport is Arranged
74 5-15 11/Dec/14 Frontwards
75 5-16 18/Dec/14 Gold Soundz

VIDEO: Universal once again gives the show a sharp, sleek 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. Image quality is crisp and detailed, looking as solid a presentation as one can expect to find when watching the series on digital cable. The show's varied locations looked terrific, with strong representation of the color palette and accurate flesh tones. Overall, no real concerns of note.

SOUND: The series gets a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that - while not up to the level of an action film - is once again solidly enjoyable, with the rear speakers used for occasional sound effects and ambience, as well as reinforcement of the score.

Extras: Unfortunately, there's only deleted scenes and a gag reel. Given that it was ultimately the last season of the series, there could have been a little more discussion of wrapping up the show (perhaps a commentary, or even a featurette with some thoughts from the creators about how things ultimately wrapped up.)

Final Thoughts: While not without some concerns, the fifth and final season of "Covert Affairs" sees the show go out a pretty high note. The series continued to offers strong performances and Perabo proved to be a solid core to the series throughout its run. The DVD offers very good audio/video, but for a series that was well-liked, the relative lack of extras is rather disappointing. Still, highly recommended for fans of the series.
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Highly Recommended

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