'Covert Affairs,' 'Suits' return

CIA agents in love, played by Christopher Gorham and Piper Perabo, are back in "Covert Affairs" for its fourth season.
CIA agents in love, played by Christopher Gorham and Piper Perabo, are back in "Covert Affairs" for its fourth season.
Posted: July 17, 2013

* COVERT AFFAIRS. 9 tonight, USA.

* SUITS. 10 tonight, USA.

NOTHING says summer TV like the USA Network, whose shows, I know, come and go all year 'round in a pattern I've never quite caught on to, but which always seem to carry a whiff of sunscreen with them.

Not that summer TV's a simple concept. HBO's "True Blood"? TNT's "Rizzoli & Isles" and "Perception"? Summer shows all the way. But Showtime's "Ray Donovan" and FX's "The Bridge" - and BBC America's "Broadchurch," which premieres Aug. 7 - are as rich and dark as anything you'll find to curl up with in the dead of winter.

Whatever the season, the "Characters Welcome" network allows a little more license to suspend disbelief, even if it's just that the CIA employs so many beautiful people, as it seems to on "Covert Affairs," or that a college dropout masquerading as a Harvard Law grad could be hired, and thrive, in the cutthroat world of corporate law that's portrayed on "Suits."

As "Covert Affairs" and "Suits" return tonight, the former for its fourth season, the latter for its third, I'm happy just to have them back.

Though "Covert Affairs" no longer seems quite such a fantasy, at least when measured against the second season of Showtime's "Homeland" (which, honestly, I continued to enjoy even as it grew more and more far-fetched).

The romantic in me would be happy enough that Annie (Piper Perabo) and Auggie (Christopher Gorham) are finally together, even if they weren't running around Colombia (in scenes shot on location in Medellin) with Hill Harper - who joins the cast as CIA station chief - trying to untangle some kind of web spun by the slimy Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzin, "24").

Did I mention that Auggie is that rarest of TV types - a blind action hero?

How do people whose job is to keep secrets achieve intimacy? The new couple's bosses, Arthur (Peter Gallagher) and Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett), one of my favorite TV pairings, continue to provide tantalizing glimpses of a marriage complicated enough to deserve its own spin-off, and four seasons in, I'm still not sure whether theirs is a cautionary tale or a blueprint for marital success.

National security apparently being involved, I'm not sure they know it themselves.

The stakes aren't quite as high on "Suits," where the action tends to take place in boardrooms and corner offices - and the occasional bedroom - but it's the characters, too, who drive this show.

I'm actually less fascinated by how far the creator of "Suits," Penn grad Aaron Korsh, has managed to take his supersmart fraud, Mike (Patrick J. Adams), and by Mike's troubled bromance with his mentor, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), than I am by some of the show's secondary characters.

Who cares who runs the law firm? The petty office wars are where it's at. In tonight's season premiere, a fight over Uni-ball pens and raspberry bran bars gets deliciously nasty, while Harvey's assistant, Donna (Sarah Rafferty), and his in-house nemesis, Louis (Rick Hoffman), have a scene together that would have done Jim and Dwight of "The Office" proud.

What can I say? Sometimes it's the simplest things that make me happy.


Phone: 215-854-5950

On Twitter: @elgray

Blog: ph.ly/EllenGray

|
|
|
|
|