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Herc’s Seen USA’s New Romantic CIA Drama COVERT AFFAIRS!!

I am – Hercules!!
A romantic CIA drama from “Deck The Halls” writers Matt Corman & Chris Ord, USA’s “Covert Affairs” stars piping hot Piper Perabo (“Coyote Ugly,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”), Christopher Gorham (“Jake 2.0,” “Ugly Betty”), Keri Matchett (“Invasion,” “Studio 60,” “ER,” “Crash”), Peter Gallagher (“The OC”) and Anne Dudek (“House,” “Mad Men,” “Big Love”). Spoiler alert! Just like Sydney Bristow and Clarice Starling and the FBI girl from “Haven,” it looks like Perabo’s character’s big brain is not the only reason she’s getting a few choice assignments. I loved “Alias” and like Perabo and thought the “Covert” pilot started well, but by the end I grew convinced the project was just too airy to make me bother with its second episode. USA Today says:

… Beautiful young female spy, sad romantic past, conspiracy-filled future: Surely by now you're thinking Alias. And certainly when Perabo pops up on screen in her more eye-popping outfits, that's where your mind will wander. Still, in keeping with USA's sunnier outlook, this is a far lighter show than Alias: less complicated, less morally complex, less deep and, while fun, just simply "less." Even on its own simpler-pleasures terms, Covert could use a little more heft. In the pilot, Auggie's blindness plays like a gimmick; Joan's marital problems (with husband Peter Gallagher) don't play at all. Plug the holes, and this could be an Affairs to remember.

The New York Times says:

… “Covert Affairs” is fun and clever and Ms. Perabo has panache in the role. The show has a bad habit of blasting maudlin pop ballads to signal Annie’s moodier moments, but the action scenes — particularly a hotel room barrage of sniper fire in the pilot episode — are first rate. The series is not as taut or intense as “24” or the “Bourne” trilogy; at times it’s closer in spirit to “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.” But at a moment when the nation seems nostalgic for cold war simplicity, this espionage drama answers the call.

The Los Angeles Times says:

… may not have the revenge factor of "Burn Notice" or the bromantic banter of "White Collar," but it's fast-paced, fun and every bit as charming. … Neither as bumbling as Chuck nor as predictably lethal as Bourne, Annie is a convincing novice, with just enough special training (not to mention all those languages!) to keep her alive but not so many to make her Angelina Jolie scary. At its heart, "Covert Affairs" is about Every Woman Starting a New Job. Because of course it isn't just the bullets and the high-speed car chases that have Annie so frazzled, it's the internal politics, the possibly double-agent new colleagues and Annie's inability to forget That Guy. …

The Chicago Tribune says:

… things on USA shows aren't ever supposed to get too heavy. So why does "Covert Affairs," a new USA show that features tropical beaches, skydiving and spy games, feel so leaden? True, it's not exactly heavy, but it also isn't particularly engaging. There are quite a few chase scenes and action sequences as newly minted CIA spy Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) gets on-the-job training in the pilot episode, but those scenes end up being quite boring, because the show and Perabo's performance don't do much to make the viewer care about Annie or her goals. During one chase scene, I found myself more concerned about the random passersby that Annie might careen into than in the spy herself. Less action, more character development and a more charismatic lead might have helped "Covert Affairs" stand out from the crowded summer cable calendar, but as it is, I can't see a reason to tune in again. …

The Washington Post says:

… Predictable espionage procedurals are not exactly the cure for predictable murder procedurals, but compared to "Rizzoli & Isles," USA's new series "Covert Affairs," debuting Tuesday night, has a lot more zip to offer. … Bullets fly, Annie runs around a lot, the BlackBerry gets lost, then found. And then there's this and then there's that, requiring Perabo to play cute and tough and sexy and smart all at once -- which, by gosh, she can do. A perpetual motion machine, Perabo is fun to watch. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

… a propulsive and entertaining if somewhat bland 90-minute pilot … Pretty much every character and character trait will be old-hat to regular TV viewers but director Tim Matheson makes the pilot episode hang together pretty well. The actors are likeable and writers/creators Matt Corman and Chris Ord do a decent if unexceptional job of introducing the characters, their relationships and situations. Like so many USA shows, "Covert Affairs" is an entertaining enough diversion without depth -- upbeat, spirited programming that's the TV equivalent of junk food.

HitFix says:

… The pilot script by Matt Corman and Chris Ord (whose work belies their only previous screen credit, "Deck the Halls") strikes a smart balance between the relationship scenes (there's obvious chemistry between Perabo and Gorham, and Annie also takes a shine to a handsome young agent who works for Arthur) and the actual spy mission, which involves a Russian assassin named Stas who wants to come in from the cold. (And in this post-9/11 era, it's almost comforting to hear such a phrase from Cold War days that seem so much safer in hindsight.) Perabo has a lot of unfortunate titles on her resume, first making a splash (sort of) in "Coyote Ugly" and "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle," but she's quite good here. The polygraph scene is there to dump a lot of exposition on the audience in a short period of time, but there's a nice moment where the interviewer, clearly trying to judge her self-control as well as her honesty, asks her whether the sex with an ex-boyfriend was good. Annie smiles, not phased or embarrassed at all, and says, "It rocked."… for all that “Alias” fans complain about the nonsensical story arcs in retrospect, if they weren’t there at the moment and the show was just Garner fighting in various wigs and fetish outfits, would the show have been half as addictive? The trick isn’t to ditch serialized stories, but to do good serialized stories. Maybe the bigger “Covert Affairs” arc will turn out to be a dud, but in Perabo, her co-stars and this world, the show has a solid foundation to build on.

The Boston Herald says:

… Compared to the network’s other mild fare (“Psych,” “White Collar”), “Covert” stands out as the most handsomely produced and gifted with a superior cast. Boston native Anne Dudek (“House”) plays Annie’s older sister, a married mother of two who is clueless about Annie’s work, and “Heroes” veteran Sendhil Ramamurthy joins the show next week. Gorham has never had a better role. Perabo’s cheekbones could probably cut your TV screen. If the show can strike a balance between chuckles and capers, “Covert Affairs” won’t be a secret. It will be USA Network’s biggest hit.

The Boston Globe says:

... “Covert Affairs’’ is essentially a lightweight version of “Alias,’’ with a far more sexed-up star, a simpler story line, and a more openly comic tone. … The mood is bright and whimsical — easy to take and just as easy to forget.

The Hollywood Reporter says:

… perfect summer television -- just turn off the excess brain cells and let Agent Walker do the seduction, and the shooting, for you.

Variety says:

… based strictly on this first assignment, USA -- which will launch the show behind the similarly themed "White Collar" -- probably won't have to worry about "Affairs" remaining covert for long. …

10 p.m. Tuesday. USA.

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