Covert Affairs

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Covert Affairs TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Snappy spy series packs thrills -- and a plucky heroine.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

An air of suspicion, distrust, and duplicity hangs around most of the characters. There's also a general sense that the world isn't as safe as we'd like to think it is.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although the main character is a strong female role model who's working to take down dangerous criminals on behalf of the U.S. government, she's forced to lie about her job to a variety of people -- including her family. She also breaks into buildings she's not supposed to be in and conceals information from the FBI, etc.


Violence isn't overly bloody, but the action sequences are pretty intense. Both male and female characters experience everything from gun violence to punching, kicking, and choking.


Some sexual banter and steamy simulated sex, with bare backs visible. The main character occasionally uses her sexuality to procure information from male targets.


Words like "damn" and "hell" might be used, but it's infrequent.


Visible logos include Christian Louboutin shoes, Volkswagen, Starbucks, and TGI Fridays. Characters occasionally tout the products, but it's subtle.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Colleagues sometimes use alcohol to blow off steam, meeting in bars for after-hours social drinking. Other characters have wine with dinner, etc.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that they won't be seeing constant violence in this action-packed spy series. But when they do, they'll get fast-paced scenes involving guns, blades, and hand-to-hand combat between male and female characters. There's also some sexual innuendo between characters, along with some steamy implied sex, although there isn't any nudity beyond bare backs. Characters also use alcohol to deal with stress, subtly tout products like Christian Louboutin shoes, and occasionally use words like "hell" or "damn."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySeriousDad October 3, 2019

Well done but only for adults

The show is well done and well acted. However it is marred by casual sex. Several of the characters take part in casual sex on a regular basis. No nudity, but... Continue reading
Parent of a 12-year-old Written bymamafatness January 6, 2014

Great Show!!!!!!!!

great show just be cautions of the scene in the beginning
but there are no real sexual intercourses
Kid, 12 years old January 13, 2019

Sweet show. Great role models.

Though the romance in this show is 100% inadvisable (Asking someone you've only said seven words to on a date, having sex with someone for information, hav... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byhrose2903 July 12, 2017

Very well written and exciting show!

Covert Affairs is a highly underrated gem. The characters are dynamic and fascinating to watch. The plot is full of riveting action scenes and equally absorbing... Continue reading

What's the story?

Piper Perabo stars in COVERT AFFAIRS as gutsy (but green) CIA trainee Annie Walker, a well-traveled language whiz who finds herself promoted to the far more dangerous post of field operative some 30 days shy of her graduation date. Her superiors (including fractious married couple Peter Gallagher and Kari Matchett) say the CIA needs someone with Annie's knack for linguistics. But as the plot thickens, it becomes clear that they've got bigger plans for her. Christopher Gorham co-stars as a fellow agent who lost his eyesight on the job.

Is it any good?

Much like USA's slickly produced buddy dramedy White Collar, Covert Affairs has got legs -- and we're not referring to Perabo's, although they get her around just fine. For one thing, Perabo succeeds in rivaling Jennifer Garner's star-making turn as Sydney Bristow on Alias, and the supporting cast is spot on (particularly Gorham as the charismatic Auggie)> For another, the action is really well done, perhaps in part due to the influence of executive producer Doug Liman, best known for directing The Bourne Identity trilogy and Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Throw in unsettling themes of duplicity and deception, and you've got a compelling plot that isn't afraid to throw curve balls. The very beginning of the series opener doesn't do much to reel you in, but once Perabo finds herself in the thick of a hotel room ambush with a Russian assassin, you'd best buckle up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about lying and whether it's ever OK -- or even necessary -- to purposely conceal the truth from someone else. If lying is part of your job, does that make it less of an issue? Can someone lie for a living and still be trustworthy?

  • How does Annie's gender affect her on-the-job experiences? Is she ever asked to do something a man wouldn't be asked to do? When it comes to stereotypes, does her character undermine or reinforce traditional ideas about women in this line of work?

  • How does the level of violence on this show compare with other action-oriented shows on TV? Does it ever go too far?

TV details

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