Auggie Gets Back Into The Field on This Week’s Covert Affairs!

COVERT AFFAIRS - "Communication Breakdown" Episode1007 - - Photo by Kerry Hayes USA Network

It’s taken a while, but with Covert Affairs [USA, Tuesdays, 10/9C], Christopher Gorham seems to have finally gotten himself on hit series. This week’s episode, Communication Breakdown, finds Gorham’s character, blind tech wizard Auggie Anderson getting the chance to go back into the field, though it’s not under the most auspicious circumstances.

When the Washington, DC communications [land line and cell phones, internet, TV] grid goes offline for fifteen minutes, it’s no coincidence – it’s a hack. And with the semi-annual DataTech conference of hackers and prospective employers happening the next day, it’s obvious that the hacker will be there to sell the hack to the highest bidder. The only problem is that the hack bears all the earmarks of Auggie’s ex-girlfriend, Natasha Petrovna [Liane Balaban].

The problem is that Auggie broke up with her, under orders from the CIA, just before she was busted for hacking a Department of Agriculture server and has only just gotten out of prison. When she learns he’s CIA, she concludes that he set her up and things just go from bad to worse…

In order to serve Auggie’s character, Matthew Lau’s script has Annie [Piper Perabo] acting as his eyes at the conference. Then, when an attempt is made on Natasha’s life [by a couple of Russians she’d argued with at the conference], Auggie goes on the run with her and it falls to Annie and Jai [Sendhil Ramamurthy] to track them down.

COVERT AFFAIRS - "Communication Breakdown" Episode1007 - - Photo by Kerry Hayes USA Network

Communication Breakdown is filled enough with cool stuff to please the most ardent fan: when Auggie and Natasha flee, he leaves behind his ID, cell phone and keys – in effect, taking himself off the grid; Auggie and Natasha take a train [!] to Canada – and forge a travel pass; Annie and Jai follow in the CIA Director’s plane, and Auggie gets in a fight [!] – and uses a smart tactic to gain the advantage.

In between the dramatic spy moments, Annie runs afoul of the agency’s policies when she lets her sister [Anne Dudek] post photos of her on the website for her catering business, with predictable results. Then, just to add to the ep’s layers, there’s the reappearance of Liza Hearn [Emmanuelle Vaugier] and the way her appearance plays into the issue of trust [not always a good thing for an agent] and, in particular, Annie’s trust of Auggie.

Director Kate Woods keeps things flowing and introduces an element of noir into the ep with a few shots that utilize interesting angles and lighting.

Usually, it takes a while for a series to find its footing, and Covert Affairs did seem to have a bit of a problem in balancing its many and diverse elements. Now, however, only a mere seven episodes in, it seems to have achieved that much desired balance. Communications Breakdown is assured on every front and the most entertaining hour of the series so far.

Also, let the record show that the series has the best opening credits sequence since season one of Chuck [what is it about spy shows that generate great opening credits sequences?].

Final Grade: A