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Covert Affairs Mid-Season Report Card: B+

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TV Fanatic's end-of-season Report Card series includes our favorite summer hits, as well. Today, we break down the second season of USA's Covert Affairs.

Are there enough superlatives to describe Auggie's greatness? What were the best plot lines, and which fell a little bit short? What's keeping the show from reaching the next level of truly must-watch TV instead of just a fun summer escape?

Here's our critic's postmortem of a summer of Covert Affairs ...

Laughing Auggie

Best character: Is it too obvious to say Auggie? Is he not everyone's favorite? Maybe it's his dashing good looks, his relentless charm, or even his ability to his job with a ridiculous disadvantage, but it is extremely difficult not to love Auggie Anderson.

Best episode: If you find Auggie as interesting as I do, it is hard to go with any episode besides "Half A World Away." Finally learning how Auggie became blind was great, but watching Christopher Gorham play out those scenes with such conviction was even better. The fact that it was a subject we were anticipating since the beginning, and it still managed to knock it out of the park, is a credit to how good "Half A World Away" was.

Worst character: None. You might think that not hating any of the main characters on a series would be a positive thing, but I beg to differ. Having a jerk or two to hate on is one of the crucial aspects to any show. The way that I hate Kurt Hummel on Glee, Gabe Lewis on The Office, or Tara Thornton on True Blood, makes those shows more interesting. Bringing someone in to root against could make Covert Affairs better moving forward.

Worst episode: I didn't watch an episode in this second season that I didn't like, but "The Outsiders" was probably the most disappointing. It's a good sign that there was not an hour that I can point to and say, "I wanted to scratch my eyes out."

Best storyline: Annie telling Danielle that she works for the CIA. It might have only just developed recently, but the act itself should create a number of after effects that will make the back half of season two that much more interesting. Also, anything that allows Anne Dudek to have more screen time is a plus.

Worst storyline: The quick introduction and even quicker disappearance of Reva.  When Reva came in as Auggie's replacement, it seemed like she could have acted as some sort of foe for Annie, and maybe even someone the audience could root against!  Unfortunately, she quickly became much nicer than she appeared, and then an episode later Auggie was back at the DPD full-time and Reva was gone.  Oh well.

Least-utilized character: I could easily agree with Jai, Danielle, or even Joan on this one, but I have to go with Arthur Campbell. Just think about his performance in the summer finale, and how he manhandled that guy in the bathroom. Who couldn't use more of that on their television screen? Also, the more Peter Gallagher gets in front of the camera, the more chances I get to reminisce about The O.C.

Worst programming idea: I am a bit worried that they will be coming back with only six episodes in the winter. The splitting up of a 16-episode season doesn't make all that much sense to me. They couldn't have aired the next six episodes and finished mid-late September like they did with season one? Most new fall shows don't start until then anyway. Six episodes is just too difficult to build off of.

Hopes for the future: Covert Affairs has done well thus far, and I don't see that changing. Maybe bringing in a new character or two, or developing some of the under-utilized ones they have at their disposal, can bring the USA series closer to a "can't miss" series. For now, it's an entertaining summer escape.

Overall grade: B+.

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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I could agree with B+. I agree "The Outsiders" was several levels lower in enjoyment than most of the others. The second season premire wasn't much better to tell the truth. The season really hit it's stride with "Half A World Away" and built nicely to the summer finale. Annie is my favorite character with Auggie a close second, and Danielle third. The rest are all pretty much equal. Jai is either going to become a player in the next six or be gone. It is a crime to keep an actor like Ramerthy on the shelf. Same for Dudek. I think they have accumulated a history of some good characters for future stories - E. Lavin (obviously), Agent Resabi, The Stewardess, Megan (who was the hostage), Dr. Weiss (who could be in a foreign country), Michael (Danielle's husband who hasn't showed could be a bad guy freeing Dudek to have a greater role, or hook up with Dr. Scott - I thought their chemistry was great), the Italian Reporter, the child genius from the S1E2, Mcaley (sp?) the retired agent who had the cabin on the river and Annie worked well together - they could pair up in a pretty strong episode, the options are about endless to make the series really interesting with out resorting to cheap tricks or hackneyed love triangles. I would like to see stronger stories, more drama, some stories that span two episodes. I'd like to see higher stakes on the table during episodes. The actors are definitely up to it. Unless they have to do it to make a story work, I think crossing between Covert Affairs, White Collar, or Burn Notice is a bad idea. It is going to be hard to write a story that arcs over any two of those shows with out it feeling contrived and fake - the three shows just don't have the same feeling at all. I realize the last six are probably "in the can" or so close the difference doesn't matter, so I'm hoping they read our comments when planning next season. I'm expecting the series to be renewed, the numbers are looking better than last year.

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I love the series, but last year's mistery over Ben and his secret relationship with Annie, even watching over her, like in the first two episodes, added a touch of romance and intrigue to the plot. It was very well done. I don't mean to repeat it, but don't run away from it either. Ben's character has tremendous appeal and it makes sense to use it more.

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Worst Character: Henry Wilcox - with his lust for power I would call him the worst character. I definitely root against him and Liza Hern. Not to mention he has sucked Jai into his scheme. What kind of a dad is that? I also think this is a credit to Gregory Itzen (the actor) for his portrayal of the character.

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Gotta agree that Auggie is the best character and his scenes are always the most interesting... and as a female I have to add that shirtless Auggie scenes are always a VERY welcome additon to the show. Other than that, I really do wish they would have a better overall storyline than just the case-of-the-week. I'm also hoping that Jai's phone call in the last episode will lead to more of an arc for him.

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I disagree with this season overall, I'd give it a solid C. There were some good episodes including the mid-season finale, but the format is getting a little tired. I wish they would create a multi-episode or season story arc and move away from the "mission-of-the-week" set-up that made other USA shows like "Burn Notice" so infuriating to watch. I know that story arcs in general scare away some viewers and might make it hard to get into the show for newcomers..but if USA is trying to get more viewers well into the second season, they're going to have a tough go at it. Time to build on what they have, flesh out the characters more, create more suspense, set up an enemy that is a constant threat to the agency, Annie, her friends, and family. I was hoping the new love interest wasn't who he said he was, but that turned out to be a dead-end. Mix up the show a little bit and I'll keep watching!

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disagree with you again,dan. the controlling campbells are just plain awful people. hope sleazy arthur goes to jail and his unprofessional(what happened to jai),complicit wife just goes,leaving auggie officially in charge of everything.
rating-c. only enjoyed 5 episodes. favorite s2-8:piper(my favorite)at her best. liked annie teamed up professionally with mercer. their forward abseiling down the building was awesome. apparently,the two actors did their own stunts. how cool was that?
missing this season was the humor,continuity, clarity on confusing issues from s-1,flirting with jai and the detective factor. not as much fun. also,have to agree with my (male) friends that it has become more of a female oriented show. shirtless auggie doesn't do it for them. needs a spike factor especially this fall when the competition will be fierce and to draw back my friends. i like piper's show too much and wouldn't want to see it fail.

Fortyseven

I agree about Auggie being best char and Reva's storyline being the worst.

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Gabe (The Office) is the worst!

Covert Affairs Quotes

Is this about me hooking up with my taekwando instruction? Because I checked, and that's not against the rules.

Anne

CIA agent: The sex was good?
Annie: It rocked.

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