OK, now it's official that Tuesday (June 24) is overloaded. I already sent papers (see previous blogs) stories on that night's superb "Freedom Summer" film and its interesting "Motor City Masters." Meanwhile, "Covert Affairs" opens its season that same night and reruns often. Here's the story I sent to papers:
By MIKE HUGHES
Heading into the fifth season of “Covert Affairs,” Piper
Perabo is on fresh turf. “I’ve never been the same character for this long,”
She’s used to flitting between movies – some excellent
(“Looper,” for instance) and some not, some artful independents and one
“Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” But now the fifth season-opener marks her 60th
episode as Annie Walker, CIA agent.
Fortunately, the settings and stories keep changing; so does
Last season, she was on the run and on her own, after faking
her death. “It was really fun,” Perabo said. “The writers could avoid a lot of
the caveats that come” with working for a mega-agency.
That story meant travel, including two-and-a-half weeks in Hong
Kong. Perabo recalls some off-time, viewing a giant brass Buddha; that’s not
your usual workday experience.
Even when she’s rooted in one place, she seems to travel. At
various times, “Covert Affairs” has made Toronto look like Rome, Paris, Istanbul,
Berlin, Venice, Amsterdam and more.
Then there are the skills Perabo keeps adding. “I didn’t
know how to reload a shotgun,” she said.
Forgive her for such gaps; shotguns don’t always go with
being the daughter of a poetry professor.
Perabo did study a little poetry (her dad’s field) and Latin
in college, plus a lot of theater. In high school, she edited the literary
magazine and sang in all the musicals.
That was in New Jersey, close enough to a cultural center.
“I went into New York a lot to [i]see
theater,” she said. Appropriately, one of her first roles out of college was
starring in “Coyote Ugly” (2000), as a young Jersey woman, reaching for fame in
Critics disliked that film, but Perabo has redeemed herself
with the independent films and even an off-Broadway play. She’s become part of
the New York world, even becoming a restaurateur.
“In New York, the apartments are pretty small,” she said. “Your
living room is part of your kitchen.” When friends get together -- often, in
her case – they often eat out. “You get really involved in the restaurant
culture” … so much that she now owns parts of two Manhattan spots.
Still, half of each year is spent in Toronto and beyond.
There, Annie Walker hopes to settle back into the CIA, complete with rules; she
also works with a private contractor (played by Nic Bishop) who sheds any rules.
“He’s a real cowboy and – at least in the beginning – we don’t get along very well.”
That’s a key change – important in her 60th hour
of being Annie Walker.
“Covert Affairs,” 10:01 p.m. Tuesdays, USA Network;
opener (June 24) reruns at 1:03 a.m.
Opener also reruns Saturday night at midnight,
then 9 a.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Tuesday.