Fighting with the Sky

Covert Affairs

Posted on: July 26, 2010

I have really like a lot of USA Networks original series.  I’m a big fan of Psych, Burn Notice, White Collar, and Royal Pains.  But all of these shows focus around male leads and only have female sidekicks that are really only there to support their man/male lead.

So I was really excited to see their new show this summer, Cover Affairs.  From the previews of the show, it seemed to focus on a kick ass female CIA agent.  Granted, the previews didn’t really reveal much about the show, but at least it was a show that had a female lead.

So far, I have seen the first two episodes of Covert Affairs.  The show focuses on Annie (Piper Perabo), a new CIA agent who is thrown into the Domestic Protection Division because her language skills are needed.  She always seems to face new threats on her missions, which her boss claims is rare.  Her “guide” through her transition into the department is Auggie, a blind technician for the DPD.  Annie always seems to get herself out of the trouble that she digs herself into throughout the episode, with the help of Auggie and the occasional other CIA agent.  Annie, not surprisingly, also has a pretty flawed social and love life.

So, sounds great…a show that centers around a kick ass female CIA agent.  But as we learn at the end of the first episode, Annie was really only brought into the DPD because her past relationship with Ben Mercer.  She met Ben when she was on vacation and they spent three great weeks together before he mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night.  Joan, the head of the DPD, and her husband Arthur, the Director of National Clandestine Services in the CIA, seem to have an invested interest in Ben Mercer.  Ben seems to have gone off the grid, and not just in Annie’s life.  Annie was only brought into the DPD in the hopes that it would bring Ben out of hiding.

I also thought it was great that there was a female director of the DPD.  Joan is a powerful woman who won’t take any crap from the people around her.  And while Joan is all of those things, she is also obsessed with the thought that her husband Arthur might be cheating on her.  She uses CIA resources to track his every move and monitor his phone calls.

I thought this was going to be a great show that focused on powerful women.  It kind of is.  But it mainly focuses on these women in terms of their relationships with men.  Annie is valuable not because of her skills, but because her relationship with Ben.  Joan is part of a CIA power couple, but focuses more on her relationship with Arthur than on the missions.

I’d love to see more story lines about how Annie acquired all of her skills than about her relationship with Ben.  And I’d like to see more of why Joan came to be the director of DPD and why she is so good at her job, than focusing on her relationship with Arthur.

1 Response to "Covert Affairs"

I’ve only seen the first two episodes, and pretty much agree with your take on it. I had high hopes, but they haven’t really panned out. I really do not like the Joan character. I mean, really? A petty, jealous wife would rise that high in the CIA?

Have you watched any In Plain Sight? It’s much better, imo.

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