‘Covert Affairs’ 2.16 Recap: “Have Fun Working”

Yes, ‘Covert Affairs’ is still on the air, and yes I’m still watching. I can’t pretend that it’s a great show, but it’s passively entertaining enough that I’m still with it. Last week, the series had its second Season 2 finale. As some viewers may recall, the season started in the summer, took a break for a few months, and then picked up again in November.

This finale is called ‘Letter Never Sent’. In some sort of strange, inexplicable joke, all of the show’s episodes were named after Led Zeppelin songs in Season 1 and R.E.M. songs in Season 2. Like most of the episodes, the title has basically nothing to do with what happens in the plot.

In this case, that plot has Annie taking a much-needed vacation to Stockholm. Her annoying sister Danielle decides to tag along after learning that her husband cheated on her. (This is a strange development, given that not too long ago we had a whole episode all about how her husband wasn’t cheating on her.) Naturally, Annie’s vacation is cut short when she receives an assignment to courier a top-secret document. Because this is a TV show that needs dramatic action, the contact that she’s supposed to deliver the document to gets killed, and the assassin (apparently not very good at his job) mistakes Danielle for Annie.

Annie drags Danielle all over the city and eventually to a remote cottage in the countryside, all the while her sister whines about not getting to do the touristy things she had planned. It seems to me that the entire conflict between them could be easily resolved if only Annie would say to her: “Shut the hell up, bitch. Someone is trying to hunt you down to shoot you in the head, and I’m the only thing keeping you alive, you goddamn moron.” Alas, she decides to keep this pertinent information to herself until very far into the episode. Her sister, who knows that Annie is a spy but is quite slow on the uptake, thinks that Annie’s just being annoying.

This all comes to a head at the cottage, where the assassin stalks the girls until Annie shoots him dead. I believe that this is the first time she’s had to kill a person. So, that’s kind of important, I guess.

In a side story, douchebag Jai is put in a position to throw Arthur (Peter Gallagher) under the bus for an old mission that went south. His father Henry (Gregory Itzin) advises him to go for it, as this might be a prime opportunity for advancement. Instead, Jai shifts the direction of his testimony to out his father as the leak who’s been compromising the CIA to the press. Henry is promptly arrested. Arthur thanks Jai for his loyalty, to which Jai informs him that this was all a calculated ploy to make himself look good and make Arthur look weak. It seems that Jai is smarter than he looks.

Finally, Auggie has been seeing a doctor about the possibility of an experimental stem cell treatment that may restore his eyesight. Holding out hope for this, he’s been hanging onto a classic ’67 Corvette that he bought just before he lost his sight. When his doctor tells him that he’s not a candidate for the procedure, Auggie must force himself to let go. In a sort of bittersweet moment, he gives Annie the car and tells her that he’s going off to Africa to find his girlfriend, who shipped out in the Peace Corps. I’m sure he’ll be back next season.

‘Letter Never Sent’ isn’t one of the show’s best episodes, but it’s adequate enough. The scenes with the assassin generate a fair amount of suspense. However, I still think that it was a mistake for the USA Network to bring this show back for additional episodes in the fall. This is a lightweight summer series that would be better served to stick to the traditional 13-episode season length for cable when it comes back for Season 3.


  1. Art0330

    An adequate and fairly enjoyable series at best. I often forget about it,and then rediscover episodes. For me, Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham have a natural on screen chemistry, separate and together, that make this an enjoyable diversion.

  2. Bryan

    Of all the summer cable series, this is one of my favorites. I like the cast – they all seem to have good chemistry. and there seems to be some decent money getting spent on production design/location shooting. It’s about as much as anyone could expect from a show that probably doesn’t have the budget that a big network show.

    • Josh Zyber

      I definitely need to give the show credit for improving its production values in Season 2. There was a lot more location work this time out, whereas the first season blatantly cheated LA for foreign settings in most episodes.

      With that said, I came across the production shooting in Toronto at the same time as the film festival this year. I’m pretty sure they were cheating a museum there for the Smithsonian. 🙂

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