Covert Affairs (2010–2014)
8.7/10
132
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Trompe Le Monde 

Annie and Auggie work together to bring Henry to justice. Calder returns to the States with a win for the Agency, but Joan may remain his only true ally within Langley.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Annie Walker
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Auggie Anderson
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Joan Campbell
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Calder Michaels
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Arthur Campbell
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Oliver Lee
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Henry Wilcox
Craig Eldridge ...
Eric Braithwaite
Paul Miller ...
Alex Boulware
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Sarah Tam
Meilie Ng ...
Braithwaite's Secretary
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Raymond Kent
Wayne Hissong ...
US Consulate Security Guard
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Suzanne Williams
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Tactical Team
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Storyline

Auggie brings Oliver Lee to Calder, who now can completely convince the CIA brass and is acclaimed first in line to head the division, yet refuses to 'jump over Joan', who gives Arthur a healthy baby. Henry feels safe in Hongkong, a raid on his Lexington Glbal Oriental HQ having failed, escapes from Annie's trap and manages to buy Chinese protection by handing her over. However she overpowers torturer Jonathan and goes now for pure revenge on 'utterly immoral' Henry, Auggie calls markers to arrange her extraction if she succeeds. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-14
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Details

Release Date:

21 November 2013 (USA)  »

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All Time Low
(uncredited)
Performed by Nine Inch Nails
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User Reviews

Season 4: Still falls short of its aspiration to be darker due to weak writing and some lacking performances; use of locations remain awesome though
15 January 2014 | by See all my reviews

When Covert Affairs started a few years ago it was a very simple affair with limited budget and an approach that seemed to very much want to be a slick and fun little piece about a very well dressed and attractive woman in the CIA. The second season saw that model refined a little with a lot more money and then the third season moved into more serious territory as the show decided to be more of a thriller. With the fourth season we very much continue this journey and it is made evident very early on because the title sequence (one of the last links to the initial tone of the show) is now also gone, replaced by words on a black screen.

The plot this time sees Henry Wilcox trying to use Annie to help expose some shady dealings involving Arthur, in particular his supposed links to a terrorist organization working in South America. From here things get a little more complicated as roles and actions that seem clear are subject to change and all the time the weasely Henry Wilcox seemed to be involved or manipulating things somehow. The season 4 narrative relies very much on plot points, with lots of changing ground all the time which creates a constant overall plot even though people come and go. It sort of works and sort of doesn't. Although it is more serious, it is still not the tightest show and because it doesn't grip the viewer, it does feel a little relaxed wandering through all its plots and turns. I'm not suggesting 24 is perfect, but Covert Affairs does fall short of it despite clearly trying to become that sort of darker spy thriller and still be network friendly entertainment.

It does still work though and generally I like the direction it is continuing to move – I just wish that it would really embrace it because at times it feels very superficial. So the plot is all about events and devices, which keeps things moving but lacks a bit of depth. The writing remains a bit clunky in dialogue and plot. The biggest change in that way is the show is allowed to say "shit" a few times each episode and you can feel the writers working out where to use their quota. The writing of the characters is also inconsistent and some things occur totally out of context with the people and situations – these things provide plot points, but they don't convince in the world we have been put in. President Loga- sorry, Henry Wilcox, is the worst for the "plot device" thing as he spends most of the season drifting in and out like the ghost of the narrative, nudging the show onwards before becoming its core. It engages and is entertaining enough but it never really gets up a consistent head of steam and it never quite has the dramatic impact that it could have done. A part of this is where the show comes from – because it still pretty much has the same cast, same wardrobes etc as it did when it was lighter and more fun.

The cast here are mixed but Perabo continues to be good. She is good in the serious stuff and I think whatever they give her to do she can do. Gorham not so much, he doesn't seem to have much range and is not helped by having close to zero romantic chemistry with Perabo. Meanwhile Gallagher, Matchett, Harper and others are just left with narrative to deliver more than characters. Itzin is good as a presence and he works well with Perabo despite not being allowed to make as much of an impact as he could have done. The comparisons between Henry and Annie give a nice theme but again it is one not fully explored. The strongest part of the show remains its look and use of locations; yet again the show really makes the most of places with plenty of great locations which are well used. The "shooting tour" takes us into South America but also into Europe again and then Hong Kong. Ultimately great locations cannot cover for weaknesses in the writing, but it does add weight to the show and make it work better than the same script being entirely on soundstages.

Anyway, this fourth season sees Covert Affairs continue to go for a darker dramatic tone but it still doesn't quite get there, with the delivery mostly being a matter of "good but could be better" in almost every regard apart from location. It is interesting to see this and Burn Notice be popular as lighter fare but then try to shift to something else; Covert Affairs does it more successfully than Burn Notice, but it still needs more sharpness and tightness in the writing and the structure – not just on the surface but below as well.


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