Covert Affairs pilot

by wfgodbold

Another new show on USA!  If this one is as good as Burn Notice and Psych, it should do very well.  Spoilers after the jump!The show opens with Annie Walker undergoing a lie detector test for entry into the CIA.  She flashes back to her most recent boyfriend during the test, and we see her facility with languages.   Her boyfriend dumped her unexpectedly in the middle of the night, so I imagine he will turn out to be a spy from a non friendly nation (or a freelancer or something).

She passes (presumably) and the show cuts to her volunteering to be the first to jump out of a perfectly good plane during training.  From the instructor’s reaction, she volunteers a lot.  After landing in the zone, she is picked up by a couple guys in a jeep.

She’s brought in and we find out that she’s been a top student; given her abilities, she is immediately transferred to Langley for a case.  I have no idea how plausible this is, but I doubt they’d transfer anyone to a case when their training was still a month away from being complete.

Apparently the CIA has a leak; someone is feeding stories to the Washington Recorder.

Annie meets a blind guy (Augie, I think) who shows her some of the ropes; then gets her assignment.  Since she speaks Russian, she is assigned as a handler to Stas, a Russian who is going to sell intel to the CIA (she is to go undercover as a call girl and meet up with him in a hotel).

At the hotel she makes small talk with a man who claims to be Spanish, but cuts the conversation short when she gets a text on her pager telling her what floor to go to to make contact with the Russian.

Stas is more interested in hitting on Annie than giving her the intel she came for; while he’s munching on caviar, they hot sync their two-way communicators.  Before she can get the intel, he’s shot from the building across the way by someone using what looks like a silenced AR-15.  It’s probably the Spanish guy from the lobby (or a friend of his).

Annie makes it out of the room (and the hail of bullets) and into an SUV that pulls up by the back door.

After the commercial, Robert and Joan are talking without saying anything; it’s implyed that they’re discussing agency work, but it turns out it’s just couples counseling.

Annie left her device in the hotel in the confusion; she has to get back into the hotel to regain the intel.  Augie gives her another fake blackberry to download the data onto and wipe the other two fakes clean after she sneaks into the room.  She’s all dressed up, in her persona as a call girl.

She gets into the crime scene by claiming that she was there when it happened, and lets the FBI agents assume that she’s a hooker.

Joan follows Robert to a restaurant, where she confronts him about the affair he’s having with the woman at his table; she used CIA assets to track his phone records and determine that he was lying in the counseling session.

Augie, Annie, and Conrad all do some drinking at the local bar; they use their CIA skills to divine information about different patrons, which Augie then exploits as pickup lines.  On the way back from the bar, Annie is followed, and turns the table on her tail.

Commercial time again!  These limited commercial premieres are pretty cool.  I’d like it if every show had 20 minutes between breaks.

Post commercial, Annie pulls up to her house in her crappy car, and has to put her hair up and pretend nothing is wrong at all; no one knows that she works for the CIA.  Her older sister set up a dinner to introduce her to a dorky guy who works at the world bank.

He’s been drinking and won’t shut up; yap yap yap.  The dinner ends and Annie isn’t happy with her sister.

She goes to visit her Russian professor to ask what the word Stas called her meant; it wasn’t Russian, it was from an Estonian small town dialect; the Stas in the room was probably a patsy, and the Spaniard from the lobby was probably the real Stas.

Unfortunately for her, talking to her professor was a big no-no; Joan threatens to fire her.  Augie comforts Annie, and says that she’s fine, because if she were going to be fired, she would have already been fired.

She gets a guy to take her and Augie’s picture, then uses a listerine breath strip to get through a fingerprint door with the morgue doctor’s fingerprint.  She and Augie are looking for prison tattoos on Stas’s corpse; once she’s confirmed they aren’t there, the FBI charge in and want to know why a call girl is in a DC morgue.

And then they cut to commercial again; I think there’s only about twenty minutes left, if USA’s schedule is to be believed.

After some interrogation, the FBI guys get a call from way up the chain of command telling them to set Augie and Annie free.  Once they’re back at Langley, they find out that a DNA check on the body proves that it wasn’t Stas; he faked his death so that no one would be on the lookout for him, and it would be easier to kill his target, a Russian journalist.

We see him sneak a gun into the Smithsonian dressed as a waiter; it’s the Spaniard from the hotel lobby.  Annie spots Stas, but she gets waylaid by the guy from the world bank.

Stas sees her and takes off; Annie follows through the kitchen.  They wind their way out of the museum, and Stas leads her down into the DC Metro.  They both jump the gates and no one even gives them a ticket…

Annie loses him, but he shows up and holds a gun on her.  She points out that the Spanish accent was fake; while the gun is pointed at the back of her head, she spins and knocks it away, then they fight hand to hand.

While she’s being choked, she sees her 3 week boyfriend from Sri Lanka shoot Stas; her vision was cloudy, and then she passed out.

Robert awards her a distinguished service medal, and after the ceremony talks to Joan (earlier she learned that all of the calls from Robert to the woman he was with at the restaurant really were about business; it seems he wasn’t having an affair after all) about the guy that shot Stas (they tell Annie that she was mistaken and one of her colleagues there rescued her).  It’s indicated that they have a history, and the CIA has reason to want him dead.

After she goes home, she hugs her sister and apologizes for how she acted in the morning.  Before going to bed, she gets her album out and looks at the note her boyfriend left her; I don’t think she believed Robert when he claimed it was someone else that shot Stas.

The episode ends with a cut to outside her house; the guy from Sri Lanka and the metro station is there, and he’s holding the bracelet they bought.

All in all it was a pretty good start; the nature of the spy game lends itself well to long TV series.  The writers can hide and obfuscate as much as they want, and only dole out revelations when it suits them and to keep everyone coming back for more.  I’m interested in seeing what happens, even if some of the situations are implausible as hell.  If you can’t suspend your disbelief to enjoy a TV show, you need to lighten up.

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