Covert Affairs

Common Sense Media says

Snappy spy series packs thrills -- and a plucky heroine.

Age(i)

2
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4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
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15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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

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.

Sex

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

Language

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

Consumerism

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.

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."

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Cast:Christopher Gorham, Peter Gallagher, Piper Perabo
Network:USA
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Covert Affairs was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old July 29, 2010
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Good for tweens

This show is good, but not as good as 24
Parent of a 12 year old Written bymamafatness January 6, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Great Show!!!!!!!!

great show just be cautions of the scene in the beginning but there are no real sexual intercourses
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written byKatie-Kakes September 10, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Really great show.

Covert Affairs in obviously just something that started as a filler show, but has, like most filler shows grown into something more. The dynamic between Auggie and Annie is intense but something that makes all of the fans keep coming back for more. There isn't as much violence as some of the shows that are shown around the same time as this but, there are several episodes where people get shot on screen. Annie as a whole is a very good role model for young women and teenagers despite the brief 3 week fling that she had while abroad in sri lanka. Auggie is also a good role model most of the time but there is the issue of the women such as Natasha Petonova and Liza Hern, who he has been in relationships with but have been influenced by the CIA. All in all Covert Affairs in one of the best shows on TV at the moment.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models

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