'Covert Affairs': CIA minus the intelligence

From left, Christopher Gorham as Auggie Anderson, Piper From left, Christopher Gorham as Auggie Anderson, Piper Perabo as Annie Walke in "Covert Affairs." Photo Credit: USA Network Photo

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REVIEW

REASON TO WATCH: Doug Liman - Mr. "Bourne" trilogy himself - gets back into series TV with this spy thriller.

WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday night at 10 on USA

THE SHOW "Covert Affairs"

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WHAT IT'S ABOUT A couple of years ago, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) was on a trip 'round the world when she stopped in Sri Lanka and had a two-week affair. Then the guy up and left her in the middle of the night with a $50 bar tab. Longish story shortened - she joins the CIA. Annie is cute, sweet and has a hard time with the opposite sex, but her agency profile also found out she was a marvelous liar. She gets into training, and before she finishes, is pulled to Langley, Va., because she looks like a hooker and speaks six languages. (Are you still with me, reader?)

Annie finds life at the Clandestine Service Department nothing like she expected - it's run by a cute, bickering husband-wife team - Arthur (Peter Gallagher) and Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett) - while the tech guru is cutie pie Auggie (Christopher Gorham). He's blind - happened in the line of duty when he was an agent.

MY SAY I'm punchy after an hour-and-change of lame chases, inane dialogue, ludicrous plot twists and absurdist acting techniques. But by the end of this, I pretty much had a crush on Piper Perabo and Anne Dudek (who plays her sister), so I guess it was worthwhile after all.

BOTTOM LINE If the CIA is even remotely like this place, we are all doomed. But "Covert Affairs" is just a perfectly innocent summer trifle. It's also almost a dead ringer for "Alias." (Perabo / Jennifer Garner: Separated at birth?) Just be sure to check your brain at the door.

GRADE C

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