COVERT AFFAIRS “Pilot” Early Review

Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, Christopher Gorham as Auggie - COVERT AFFAIRS

I had a chance to take an early look at the pilot of COVERT AFFAIRS and I had a sudden realization: more of my favorite shows air during the summer than the rest of the year. And I’m not talking reality shows – there are just so many top-notch scripted shows on right now that are keeping my DVR busier than ever. The shows on just USA alone – Psych, White Collar, Burn Notice, and Royal Pains – are awesome, and I think Covert Affairs is going to fit right in. In fact, I think I’m season passing it after just the first episode.

Covert Affairs stars Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly) as Annie Walker, a CIA trainee who is called up to field duty a month early because the agency claims they need her linguistic skills. She befriends fellow agent and tech geek, Auggie (played by Christopher Gorham from Ugly Betty), who was blinded during his military service. He helps Annie adjust to the weirdness of her new job, something she can’t even talk about with her sister (Anne Dudek from House), who thinks she works at the Smithsonian.

Annie and Auggie’s boss at the CIA is Joan (Kari Matchett), who is in a rocky marriage with CIA head honcho Arthur Campbell, played by Peter Gallagher (The O.C., While You Were Sleeping). It doesn’t take much to make a spy suspicious and just imagine what you would do if you suspected your husband/wife of cheating and you had the resources of the CIA at your disposal. These two might need more help than even Dr. Phil could provide.

Although he’s not in the pilot, Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes) is apparently going to join the show in the next episode as another CIA agent. I liked him as Mohinder on Heroes, so I’m excited to see him on this show.

When I first saw the previews for Covert Affairs I was a little worried that it was too much like Alias, but, now that I’ve seen it, I think it has a very different feel. You know what it reminded me of? The Veronica Mars reboot – fast-forwarding a few years to Veronica as a rookie FBI agent – that was proposed a few years ago. Like Veronica, Annie is a spunky, blond rookie and, unlike Sydney Bristow on Alias, you get the sense that she’s a total newbie and is learning on the fly (like using Listerine breath strips to break into a secure building).

Piper Perabo is tough yet vulnerable as Annie, and I think she’s great in this role. She’s very likeable and has great chemistry with Chistopher Gorham (whom I loved on Ugly Betty). Her action scenes aren’t quite as flawless as Jennifer Garner’s on Alias, but I’m sure that will improve as time goes on.

Overall, I loved Covert Affairs and I think it fills a void left by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alias for female action stars on TV. I can’t wait to hear what everyone else thinks of the show, so after you watch Covert Affairs on Tuesday, July 13 at 10 pm on USA, come back here and leave me a comment with your thoughts on the episode.