THE SPYING GAME
I spy with my little eye, an entertaining new show about secret agents. Guy Davis reveals all about Seven’s Covert Affairs.
Nikita, which will star Die Hard 4.0’ s Maggie Q as an assassin working for a top-secret organisation.
And Rubicon, a new series that has just premiered in the US, stars The Pacific’s James Badge Dale as a think-tank analyst who finds himself enmeshed in a dangerous conspiracy.
But beating them all to the punch is Covert Affairs, a clever and charming action thriller starring Piper Perabo as a trainee with the Central Intelligence Agency who finds herself prematurely placed in the shadowy world of global intrigue when her fluency in foreign languages makes her the ideal choice to debrief a Russian arms dealer ready to spill the beans about his dirty dealings.
OK, the fact that Perabo’s Annie Walker can also “ pass for a callgirl” helps as well.
If the notion of a young female secret agent frequently called upon to don some revealing outfits in the line of duty rings a bell, then you’re probably still mourning the loss of Alias, the Jennifer Garner spy series that came to a conclusion a few years back. ( Don’t worry, you’re not alone.)
While Covert Affairs has its fair share of drama and action, though, it’s a far lighter show than Alias or even Burn Notice, where the wry wit is a cover for an underlying cynicism about the spy game.
Once she finds herself in the thick of the top-secret intelligence community, Annie quickly comes to realise that there’s just as much treachery afoot within the walls of the CIA offices as there is in any war zone.
While she may find allies such as charming tech whiz Auggie ( Christopher Gorham from Ugly Betty), she must also contend with the likes of her ambitious, controlling boss Joan ( Kari Matchett), who is perpetually brawling with a fellow department head ( Peter Gallagher) … who just happens to be her husband.
Indeed, the lines between professional and personal often intersect in Covert Affairs, with Annie forced to keep her new role a secret from her big sister Danielle ( Anne Dudek), who believes Annie is working a boring nine-to-five job.
Danielle also thinks Annie just needs to meet the right guy. But Annie is still smarting from a relationship that ended abruptly and mysteriously. Or did it? ( Of course that’s going to play a part in future episodes. That’s just the way this kind of show works, right?)
With Bourne Identity director Doug Liman lending his expertise with espionage to the project as executive producer, it’s little wonder that Covert Affairs is sleek, stylish fun.
And Perabo, who has long struggled to land that one breakout role, makes the most of every opportunity the character of Annie offers. Strong, sweet, smart and funny, she’s this show’s secret weapon.
Dangerous charm: Piper Perabo ( centre) joins forces with ( from left) Anne Dudek, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Christopher Gorham, Peter Gallagher and Kari Matchett in the new spy-drama.