If you are curious what to compare this to, think of it as a “soft” version of the now gone ABC show Alias. Having now seen the latter, I can honestly make that leap and not just make educated assumptions; the similarities are not far-fetched. This network has standards and those consist of always producing shows that are whimsical and overall, cheerful. There can be realistic conflict but there does have to be a happy medium. With that being the case, we get to say: Hello, happy. Goodbye, suspense.
Covert Affairs, Season Two (2011) USA TV Review
Unfortunately for Annie Walker (Piper Perabo), the reason she joined the CIA is back. CIA novice-in-training, Annie joins the agency not out of a stoic duty to American patriotism but a guy. Come to find out, Ben isn’t just any guy Annie meets serendipitously, he is Ben Mercer (Eion Bailey), an agent they say is rogue. Seizing their opportunity, the agency recruits Annie hoping she will lead them to Ben. In the aftermath of their joint mission in Sri Lanka along with the assistance of the ambitious fellow field agent Jai Wilcox (Sedhil Ramamurthy), Annie remains with Ben at the Guam Naval hospital during his recovery. Up until the point that he vanishes.
Back home, Annie reunites with her sister (Anne Dudek) who believes she’s a Smithsonian employee. Without the resources to find out where Ben is, Annie has to assume that her boss Joan (Kari Matchett) knows where he is. Instead of trying to get answers from her by the books boss, she gets back to work. With the assistance of her handler and friend, Auggie (Christopher Gorham), Annie’s asset misses her last two check-ins. The question is, why?
Before this show, I think the three-letter government agency that usually came to mind when in the mind-set of what makes good suspense is FBI. This light, breezy show can hold its own in dishing out a bombshell or two. It isn’t your typical spy caper that blows things sky high instead Annie uses her smarts to escape capture. The show grows leaps from its freshman season. It knew how to better use its characters and to play to their strengths. The writer’s of this show like to take us back into the past and re-introduce characters whom Annie met while on missions. Some may find this distracting because you get the feeling that we should know the character but cannot remember them. But the method of story telling does a good job reminding us.
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Most of these characters are men who seem to fall over Annie; each of them have designs on her for some purpose, one that is (usually) only for their own benefit. If there is one subplot I don’t like, it’s her wishy-washy emotions. She seems (finally) be coming to terms about Ben, then writers throw multiple romantic possibilities into the mix. Instead of settling on one, all of the relationships are danced around, and none are special. A lot of fans want to see Annie and Auggie wind up together, and usually I root for that also (they are cute together). However, I actually don’t mind that this subplot isn’t falling into the clichéd trap of best-friends-falling-for-each-other. Fans of these would-be lovers will enjoy the ending (I find it inauthentic).
Covert Affairs comes across as a breezy piece of escapism set in an espionage world of spies gathering intelligence but it does grow in its years of television. There is something about the premise of the girl-next-door turning spy that is fun. Piper pulls that off with all the finesse that she needs to be both characters. In the end, her character is what keeps us returning to find out what is next for the globe-trotting super spy, Annie Walker. Some of the characters fall this season, some of the characters I found myself second-guessing and others I empathized with on a new level. Fortunately, the finale isn’t a cliff-hanger in the traditional sense but as previously alluded to, I have issues with its ending.
Considering that, there is nothing overt about this gem of a series – everything is a mystery.
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You can find Covert Affairs, season two digitally on Amazon Video
CONTENT: occasional violence [Annie doesn’t carry a gun]; weapons are drawn and fired on people – some barely escape with their life. Women wear inappropriate clothing, including Annie in her form-fitting business attire. Profanity is infrequent but there may be a few instances of it. A man engages in a fling with a stewardess while on an extended trip and then with a former Special Forces friend’s sister; there are some sensual scenes in this context with characters in states of undress. The rating is TV-14.