Covert Affairs is a USA Network television series starring Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham. The one-hour drama premiered on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. The show concluded its first season on September 14, 2010 and was renewed for a second season on August 19, 2010. The second season began airing on June 7, 2011, and a DVD set of the first season was released on May 17, 2011. The series was renewed for a third season by USA Network on September 15, 2011. The third season began on July 10, 2012. On September 25, 2012, Covert Affairs was renewed for a 16-episode fourth season, which began airing on July 16, 2013. On October 3, 2013, USA Network renewed Covert Affairs for a 16-episode fifth season to air in 2014.
A young CIA trainee, Annie Walker, is sent to work in the Domestic Protection Division (DPD) as a field agent. August "Auggie" Anderson, a blind tech operative, is Annie's guide in her new life. In the beginning, Annie's cover story was that she worked in Acquisitions at the Smithsonian Museum but that she was later let go. As of the fourth season, her new cover is that of a glamourous and well-connected Import/Exporter, with expensive tastes and dealings that may not always be legal.
Cast and characters
Piper Perabo as Anne Catherine "Annie" Walker: a CIA trainee who is suddenly promoted to field operative in order to, unwittingly, help capture her ex-boyfriend. In addition to English, she speaks seven languages fluently and several other languages with varied skill levels.
Christopher Gorham as August "Auggie" Anderson: a CIA military intelligence/special ops officer who was blinded while on a mission in Iraq where he served in an Army Special Forces unit. Even though he is still grieving about his injury, he frequently lightens the mood by cracking jokes about his disability. He guides Annie through the paces of her new job. Auggie is an exceptional athlete, winning two high school state championships in wrestling. He has four older brothers and is an Eagle Scout.
Kari Matchett as Joan Campbell: a senior officer who heads the Domestic Protection Division (DPD); she is Annie's supervisor, Arthur Campbell's wife, and a skilled spymaster who was quite talented in her field days. She attended Pennsylvania State University, and her cover is that of an executive at the International World Bank.
Anne Dudek as Danielle Brooks (main cast seasons 1 and 2, recurring season 3): Annie's older sister, who is married with two children; Annie lives in her guest house. She is unaware of Annie's real career, knowing only Annie's cover, that she works in Acquisitions at the Smithsonian Institution. Later discovers Annie's secret life in season 2. Moves to California in season 3.
Sendhil Ramamurthy as Jai Wilcox (season 1-3): CIA officer assigned to the DPD by Arthur Campbell. His family has a difficult history with the CIA; his father, Henry Wilcox, was formerly the D/NCS. Jai dies in a car explosion of the season premier of season 3.
Hill Harper as Calder Michaels: (season 4-present) CIA station chief based in Medellin, Colombia. Calder becomes the new head of the DPD after Joan was made D/NCS.
Eion Bailey as Ben Mercer (season 1-2): Annie's ex-boyfriend, who was being targeted by the CIA, before returning to the Agency. He is hired by Arthur as a "black ops" agent.
Gregory Itzin as Henry Wilcox (season 1-4): the former CIA Director of the National Clandestine Service; Jai Wilcox's father. Henry later becomes the main antagonist in season four and is killed by Annie in the season finale.
Oded Fehr as Eyal Lavin (season 1-present): a Mossad operative who occasionally works with Annie on her missions. By the end of season 3 Eyal leaves Mossad but continues to help Annie out on her missions.
Noam Jenkins as Vincent Rossabi (season 1-present): an FBI agent with whom Annie must occasionally work despite their antagonistic relationship.
Sarah Clarke as Lena Smith (season 3): Annie's supervisor in another CIA division. Lena is not satisfied with Annie's performance and sends Annie back to the DPD. Lena believes in a more hands-on, direct action approach to espionage as compared to Joan's by-the-books approach. She is killed by Annie when revealed to be a traitor.
Emmanuelle Vaugier as Liza Hearn (season 1-2): a journalist with a mysterious source inside the CIA, who hoped to publish a series of damaging articles about the Agency.
Richard Coyle as Simon Fischer (season 3): A venture capitalist, and suspected FSB spy, whom Annie is assigned to cultivate while working in Lena's division during season 3. Simon later falls in love with Annie and plans to run away with her. He is later killed by Lena.
Season One of Covert Affairs was released on DVD on May 17, 2011 in Region 1 and region 4 on June 2, 2011. The three-disc set features all 11 episodes of season one, commentary on the "Pilot" episode, "Communication Breakdown", and "When the Levee Breaks" outtakes, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes entitled "Welcome to the Farm" and "Blind Insight", a set tour, and "Celebrate the ADA" PSA. The DVD is also equipped with Descriptive Video Service, a feature that provides descriptive narration of key visual elements for the visually impaired.
Season Two was released on May 1, 2012 as a Region 1 encoded collection, containing all 16 episodes on 4 discs. featuring deleted scenes, a gag reel, Comic Con intro and behind the scenes location documentary
Season Three was released on May 28, 2013 as a Region 1 encoded collection, containing all 16 episodes on 4 discs.
Development, casting, and production
Covert Affairs first appeared on USA Network's development slate in July 2008. The pilot episode was written by Matt Corman and Chris Ord. Casting was underway in June 2009, with the expectation that successful casting would lead to a production commitment. Piper Perabo was the first actress cast in early July 2009, as CIA officer Annie Walker. The casting of Christopher Gorham came in late July, quickly followed by an announcement that the pilot had been green-lighted by USA Network.
In early August 2009, Tim Matheson signed on to direct a 90-minute pilot. Further casting announcements included Anne Dudek in mid-August, followed by Kari Matchett and Peter Gallagher in early September.Eric Lively was cast as a fellow CIA officer and peer to Perabo's character, and Eion Bailey was cast in a recurring role as Perabo's ex-boyfriend. The pilot began filming in Toronto in September 2009.
In January 2010, the Covert Affairs pilot received a 10-episodes order. Sendhil Ramamurthy was added to the cast as a CIA officer, replacing Lively's character, along with Emmanuelle Vaugier in a recurring role as a journalist.
The series executive producers are Doug Liman and David Bartis and the co-executive producer is Jonathan Glassner. Production of the series takes place in Toronto, Ontario, at primary static sets housed in a studio, as well as at "stock" shooting locations throughout the local area. This is combined with material filmed at various international locations in which the series' episodes are set, such as Washington, D.C., capturing geographically unique elements of these places. In some instances, the series' producers use a stand-in location for shots where the costs and logistics of the actual location shoot are impractical, or if the location specified is fictional.
^IMDb on executives "The show airs on July 13 (10/9 C) Executive produced by Doug Liman and David Bartis, Jonathan Glassner (Co-executive producer). A New Series From the Producers of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and the Producer of the “Bourne” Trilogy..."