Thursday, July 15, 2010

Covert Affairs on USA Network

Covert Affairs checked in with a strong pilot on the USA Network last night.   The series stars Piper Perabo - said to be the new Julia Roberts - as new CIA agent Annie Walker.  She does have a lot of Julia Roberts, her beauty and smile, and also something of Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow in Alias, one of my all-time favorite series due to its Chinese box-in-a-box complexity and style.   Bourne Identity producer Doug Liman is producing Covert Affairs, so it also has a lot of the style and pace of that fine movie, too.

The pilot had car chases and pursuits on foot you don't often see with such power and speed on television.   The plot had some good twists and supporting acting, including Anne Dudek (best seen on House) who plays Annie's older sister, Kari Matchett (best seen, at least in my view, on ABC's Invasion a few years ago) who plays Annie's boss, and even Clarke Peters (The Wire, Treme) as Annie's professor.   Christopher Gorham as Auggie Anderson, Annie's bright, young, blind colleague was also pretty good, and the character is refreshing.  No blind detective on television has been as compelling as Longstreet, from back in the 1970s, so it will be interesting to follow Auggie's role on the show.

As Auggie tells Annie early on, the CIA lifted its hiring freeze after September 11, so most of the people at Langley are new hires and young.    They're also often involved with each other - Kari Matchett is problematically married to Peter Gallagher's character, head of Annie's division - because that way secrets can (usually) be kept a little safer, at least not likely to be divulged to a reporter or worse, an enemy agent, during pillow talk.    We'll no doubt see that proposition sorely tested during the series.

Annie's heart was broken right before she joined up - and that was indeed her motive for becoming an agent - but the guy is still watching over her, stalking her, who knows about his ultimate intentions.

More than enough story, color, and action to keep me watching.


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"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

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