A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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."
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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?