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, which premiered on June 24, 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 is that she works in Acquisitions at the Smithsonian Museum but she is later let go. As of the fourth season, her new cover is that of a glamourous and well-connected importer/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 addition to English, she speaks seven languages fluently and several other languages with various skill levels.
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 World Bank.
Anne Dudek as Danielle Brooks (season 1–2): Annie's older sister, who is married with two children; Annie lives in her guest house. Initially she is unaware of Annie's real career, knowing only Annie's cover, that she works in Acquisitions at the Smithsonian Institution.
Peter Gallagher as Arthur Campbell (season 2–, recurring previously): D/NCS. During his time as a field operative in the late eighties, he posed as a student in Berlin to gather intel on the Stasi.
Hill Harper as Calder Michaels (season 4–): CIA station chief based in Medellin, Colombia who is reassigned to Langley. Calder becomes the new head of the DPD after Joan is made D/NCS.
Nic Bishop as Ryan McQuaid (season 5): The owner of a private security firm for whom Arthur Campbell works, who finds himself working alongside Annie.
Oded Fehr as Eyal Lavin (season 1–): a Mossad operative who occasionally works with Annie on her missions, and has become her confidante. The two are close, and turn to one another when in trouble.
Noam Jenkins as Vincent Rossabi (season 1–): an FBI agent with whom Annie must occasionally work despite their antagonistic relationship.
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 and Jai Wilcox's father.
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 compared to Joan's by-the-book approach.
Emmanuelle Vaugier as Liza Hearn (season 1–2): a journalist with a mysterious source inside the CIA, who publishes 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.
Perrey Reeves as Caitlyn Cook (season 5): Ryan McQuaid's assistant.
Amy Jo Johnson as Hayley Price (season 5): An NCTC official who is investigating the Chicago bombing and soon forms a relationship with Auggie.
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.
The first season of Covert Affairs was met with favorable reviews, receiving a Metacritic score of 64 out of 100, based on 23 reviews. The second season received a score of 69, based on six reviews.
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. This set also includes the "Sights Unseen" webisodes.
^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..."