Is it possible to find love inside the work place without it leading to disaster, especially when secrets are involved? That’s part of the premise behind the fourth season of USA’s “Covert Affairs,” which followed one spy’s request to work and maintain a relationship at the same time. Of course, not everything goes according to plan, which left for some very interesting results.
“Covert Affairs” followed CIA Agent Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) as she launched right in the middle of a mystery that involved her colleague/new boyfriend Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham). She was learning to trust her boyfriend, but she didn’t realize that Auggie’s secrets could end their relationship before it began. Annie decided to go along with Henry Wilcox’s (Gregory Itzin) plan to destroy her boss Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher) in an effort to expose Henry’s darker intentions. Unfortunately, Annie’s quest managed to put her in even greater danger that involved a near death experience with a CIA mole and a future gun battle months in the making that could get her killed. Arthur’s secret could also spell for his marriage to Joan (Kari Matchett) who was rising among the ranks inside the Agency after Arthur unexpected resigned in an effort to protect her. Joan’s unexpected pregnancy could either be a blessing in disguise or a curse depending on the circumstance. Only time will tell if either scenario is the case with Henry Wilcox involved.
In terms of plot, “Covert Affairs” took a huge risk by pairing Perabo’s Annie with Gorham’s Auggie, because their on-screen rapport helped to ground the show from focusing too much on the cloak and dagger mystery of the week. Annie and Auggie’s friendship was a way to make viewers relate to both characters, especially when both characters had their personal lives constantly rewritten. It seemed like a mistake at the same time, but the show was wise to write out Annie’s sister because she served as more of a distraction than an actual character. As for the relationship between Annie and Auggie, it’s too early to tell if it will make in the long run or just be another workplace romance gone wrong once the truth comes out. The show was also wise to establish the complicated dynamic between Gallagher’s Arthur and Matchett’s Joan, especially when work wasn’t between them anymore. Matchett will also likely have the opportunity to explore what makes Joan tick as she had to find a balance between her character’s impending motherhood with a possible new job title. Itzin’s presence as the sinister Henry Wilcox might have been done before, but he can still instill fear into everyone he meets without saying a word. One look and viewers will be creeped out for the duration of the episode. Hopefully, the show will find a way to keep Itzin, or at the very least let him go out with a bang.
As for breakout performances, Perabo and Matchett led the pack as two very different women who had a lot more in common than they thought. Perabo’s Annie was an agent of principles who often acted on instinct, while Matchett’s Joan was a woman of skill that often hid her vulnerability to protect herself in the long run. Both characters had to make an effort to balance their work and personal lives, especially when their partners lied to them in the name of their jobs. Over the course of four seasons, Perabo’s Annie had grown up a lot and seemed more like a seasoned agent than a romantic comedy heroine. She still gave Annie a sense of humor that demonstrated her character’s naive nature, but the character has been burned too many times to count. Perabo has designed Annie to see the good in people, even when a gun was pointed directly at her. She also had a decent dynamic with Gorham that will continue to be explore as the characters continued to date one another. Matchett, on the other hand, had the challenging task of making an overly tough woman relatable to viewers. Her most memorable scene came in the second episode of the season as her character struggled with the early stages of her pregnancy and the revelation that her husband might have cheated on her. Matchett has designed Joan to be more than her job because she was just as capable of running the CIA as any man could, even if that man was her husband. Future episodes will indicate if she replaced her husband, or step away for different reasons.
“Covert Affairs” premiered on July 16th and airs Tuesdays at 9:00 PM on USA.
Verdict: The show has come a long way this season, because it found a way to balance Annie’s work and personal lives without taking away from the overall story.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)