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Covert Affairs

Covert Affairs - Inside DPD #2 by The Televixen

Covert Affairs TV
“What kind of cryptic nonsense is that?,” asks Annie (Piper Perabo) on Tuesday night's (Aug. 31) “Covert Affairs.”

Yeah, that's what we'd like to know.

Spoiler alert! Watch the episode “What is and What Should Never Be” before proceeding further.

As “Covert's” summer run begins to wind up, we turn from Auggie (Christopher Gorham) to Annie, delving into her character more. While there's still a bit of that “operation of the week” feel, there's one major change in her life: Ben Mercer (Eion Bailey) is back.

Well, we always knew he was around. Joan (Kari Matchett) and Arthur (Peter Gallager) knew he was around. Shoot, maybe Annie's sister (Anne Dudek) even knew it. The difference is, Annie only found out for certain last night that he was alive and meddling.

We have to say, we wish he stayed away. Well … okay, we're going to amend that. Part of us is happy that Ben is back. We're not thrilled with these unattainable off-screen loves (like Neal and Kate on “White Collar”). They just serve to put the protagonist in limbo. So yeah, it's good they didn't keep him off to the shadows that long.

What's sad is that Ben comes back and doesn't live up to that romantic vision we had of him. Don't get us wrong. Bailey is an attractive guy, but for some reason, seeing him wearing non-tropical civvies sans cowrie shell necklace, Ben seems to be lacking.

And then he comes back and lays all this mystery crap on Annie? Look Ben, you either stay gone or you come back with some definitive answers, declarative statements. Don't sphinx it up for the CIA's greenest recruit.

Also, we wanted to punch the screen at this cheesetastic point:

Ben: “Do not trust Joan and Arthur. Trust the man you fell in love with in Sri Lanka.”
(Cue music. They gaze at the goddamned cowrie shell necklace.)

Argh! Incredibly frustrating, right? Why should she trust you? At this point, we'd be happy if Annie just kept her friendship with Auggie and swore off all other men, including Jai (Sendhil Ramamurthy), for a while.

Okay, not to be too negative. We'll see how this Ben thing plays out in the last two episodes.

What we did like about the episode:

  • Auggie of course. His advice about the speakers, avoiding felonies and then admitting that he'll always cover for Annie was just too sweet.
  • Joan's people skills are hilarious. Threatening Annie with “I'd hang you out to dry” is a sure way to build up that employee trust and loyalty.
  • You can tell Annie means business this episode. Not only does her hair get mussed, but she's wearing Chucks!
  • Sophie (Sienna Guillory ) gets killed. Okay, we're not happy she died, but that killing took us totally by surprise. That was gutsy.
  • Annie's stubborn streak: She doesn't bow to the CIA nor Ben (much).

What did you think of the episode? Did you like Ben's involvement this week?

Photo credit: USA

8:00pm One Tree Hill CW – Season Premiere.

9:00pm Covert Affairs USA – Annie needs to be recruited by smugglers; Arthur and Joan must bring Henry Wilcox back into the fold.

9:00pm Life Unexpected CW – Season Premiere.

9:00pm Warehouse 13 Syfy – Mrs. Frederic becomes ill and Pete, Myka and H.G race to save her.

10:00pm Parenthood NBC – Season Premiere. Adam is overwhelmed with increasing demands from his boss (William Baldwin) and family needs; Sarah searches for a career path

10:00pm Sons of Anarchy FX – To get intel on Abel's whereabouts, Jax and the club help a bounty hunter track down a skip; Gemma deals with her family issues.

10:00pm The Colony Discovery – VOPA returns, leading to contact with loved ones; a pending attack starts the colonists on the path to escape.

10:00pm Covert Affairs USA – Annie is forced to confront her past when Ben Mercer walks into CIA Headquarters.

11:00pm Lopez Tonight TBS – Actor Ken Jeong; musician Juan Luis Guerra; Enrique Iglesias performs.

11:00pm The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Comedy Central – Former British PM Tony Blair

12:05am Jimmy Kimmel Live ABC – Actor Dax Shepard; actress Joanna Garcia; Brandon Flowers performs.

12:35am The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson CBS – Actress Kristen Bell; Sarah McLachlan performs

12:35am Late Night With Jimmy Fallon NBC – Actor Justin Long; a performance from Broadway's “Promises, Promises”; fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.

Peter Krause speaks about “Parenthood”:

Dax Shepard speaks about “Parenthood”:

Covert Affairs

Check out these Covert Affairs fansites:
Covert Affairs

Piper Perabo by Wolfworks2008

Covert Affairs

The “Covert Affairs” summer finale gave us a cliffhanger, a revelation and even a vocabulary lesson.

Spoilers: Really, must we warn you by now? Watch the show first!

What we've learned from the two-hour finale:

Part I: “I Can't Quit You Baby”

1. Anna Chlumsky – So that's what happened to the “My Girl” star. You know, even as Vivian Long, she kind of looks the same.
2. Wonk – (noun, slang) a “student who spends much time studying and has little or no social life” (according to
3. Auggie is better than Ben Stiller.
4. Annie is still very, very green despite knowing enough Turkish “to get by.”
5. Toothaches hurt like the dickens, but if you wait till next episode, you won't have to worry about it anymore.

Part II: “When The Levee Breaks”

1. Excruciating office parties are universal.
2. It's a cowrie bracelet not necklace. Oops.
3. Liza Hearn's leak is former Director of the National Clandestine Service, Henry Wilcox, that dog.
4. Joan and Arthur's marriage just might have a fighting chance.
5. USA is determined to leave us cliffhung with possible fatal shootings. First “White Collar,” now this?

All in all, we'd have liked more conclusions, but hey, there's still the second half of the season for that … in Summer 2011. Sigh.

[UPDATE: A previous version of the article erroneously listed the return date as January, which is actually when “Covert Affair's” sister show “White Collar” returns.]

How did you like the “Covert Affairs” finale?

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Photo credit: USA Network

In the duplicitous world of “Covert Affairs,” one's ex is never merely an ex.

Auggie Anderson's (Christopher Gorham) former girlfriend Natasha Petrovna, played by Canadian actress Liane Balaban, isn't just a disgruntled old flame, but a notorious hacker whose cyber attack on Washington catches the attention of the CIA on Tuesday's (Aug. 24) episode “Communication Breakdown.”

The combination of beauty and tech savvy is a lethal combination for lady-magnet Auggie, who seems to have never quite gotten over Natasha, who would fit into his line of work if she weren't so anarchic.

“In the script Natasha's described as 'chaos in a bottle,'” Balaban tells Zap2it. “She's headstrong and impulsive, but also a woman with deeply held beliefs about what's right and wrong. She is courageous, someone who speaks truth to power.”

Auggie and Natasha reconnect and — as expected when emotions are involved — it's not all just business.

“I would say there is a lot of love there. I don't know how much I can reveal,” says Balaban, demurring when asked for comment on the more romantic scenes or Gorham's hard-earned physique. She offers, “Chris was fantastic. Just so welcoming and down to earth. We laughed a lot, which to me is the ultimate chemistry test.”

The episode not only delves into Auggie's backstory and personal life, but does so in a stylish way. The plot veers into caper mode and feels classically cinematic when Auggie and Natasha hop a train.

Balaban says, “One of the most memorable moments for me was gazing over a bridge in rural Ontario, at midnight, down into this valley where they had the train lit from all angles, with flashing cop cars, FBI agents with flashlights and barking dogs. It really didn't feel like a TV show. It felt like a big budget action film.

“I think the whole cast had a secret weapon in this episode, and that was our director, Kate Woods,” she continues. “She was one of the most inspiring people I've ever worked with. She was just so precise with the storytelling moments, constantly adding layers of meaning to what was on the page. Making us feel free to play and explore and go deeper.”

For Balaban, inspiration is key for her craft. She received a special jury award at the Toronto International Film Festival for her very first role as an ambitious teenager in 1999's “New Waterford Girl” and she's followed that with acclaimed performances in “Seven Times Lucky” and “Last Chance Harvey.” She can be seen next as a guest star on “NCIS: Los Angeles” and the film “The Future Is Now.”

One of the attractions of playing Natasha was getting to put on a Russian accent again after Balaban played a Russian aesthetician in “The Trotsky.” She mainly does European accents and turns to dialect coaches or occasionally her father, a Polish Romanian, for some ad libs. Thanks to her half Chinese niece and nephews, she can also do a “wicked” Chinese accent.

She also gives good advice for a surprisingly fun way to brush up on Russian accents.

“To refresh, I watched dozens of interviews on YouTube with the girl band T.A.T.U.,” she reveals.

But in the end, it's not just the accent that drew Balaban to take on the “Covert Affairs” role.

“I find it easier to act when your character has such clearly defined motivation,” she explains. “Natasha is really active. She's got stuff to do, places to go, people to see — or not see as the case may be. Agency is usually reserved for male characters, so it's wonderful to play a female who is the star of her own adventure … a woman who is so politically aware and confident.

“But that's what 'Covert Affairs' is all about, isn't it? A smart, fearless woman saving the world.”

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Photo credits: USA