Covert Affairs Series Premiere Review: The Blind Leading the Blonde

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The opening scene of the Covert Affairs pilot episode was meant to be an information dump. We learned the following about Annie Walker immediately:

  • She's fliuent in six languages.
  • She's a CIA trainee.
  • She met a man in Sri Lanka years ago and fell in love, only for him to vanish in the middle of the night with nothing but a note.

It was revealing stuff, but nothing told us more about this main character than her response to the polygraph adminstrator's question over whether or not the sex with this past love was good. Undeterred and not remotely embarrassed, Annie replied: "It rocked."

That was the same attitude Annie later displayed throughout her missions with the CIA. Other shows may present such an individual as nervous, or overly reliant on her sex appeal or charm - but Covert Affairs did a great job of depicting a confident woman that may feel overwhelmed at times, but also knows how to use her talents and personality to overcome any trepidation.

Annie Walker Picture

Piper Perabo is perfect in the role. Eerily, she even resembles Jennifer Garner to an extent, as it's impossible not to make comparisons to Alias.

That show, of course, focused on a heavy mythology surrounding its female lead, and Covert Affairs also leaves the viewer wondering what the deal between Annie, the CIA and mystery man Ben Mercer is all about.

But it's to the episode's credit that I'd tune in again next week even if this subject was not on the table. This introductory hour-plus moved at a brisk pace, tossed in a few funny lines and kept my interest throughout. It will be interesting to see how it balances self-contained storylines with a larger background as we move forward.

Other notes from the pilot:
  • I can never get enough of Peter Gallagher. It was entertaining to watch him and Joan go through a marital spat while using CIA resources for personal reasons. Didn't exactly make Joan seem like a strong, confident woman, however.
  • I'm not sure which is more unusual: a blind technology expert, or a blind ladies' man? The scene between Auggie, Annie and Conrad at the bar - where each used his skills to take guesses about the woman sitting next to them - was very well done.
  • It's early, but seems like the show is wasting Anne Dudek. She plays a role on Mad Men and was incredible as Wilson's late girlfriend on House. She's worthy of a lot more than Annie's boring sister.
  • I'm not CIA expert, so maybe a reader can help: Must all CIA agents keep their jobs a secret? Couldn't Annie's loved ones know her occupation, without knowing its exact details at least?

What did everyone else think of the episode?

Pilot Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (91 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Covert Affairs Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

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


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