“Covert Affairs” is back for Season 4, and this time it’s back with a whole lot more romance than ever before.

But is “Covert Affairs” back in a good way? The answer to that may depend on your perspective. Season 4 has some major changes — the show is darker, and there is a whole lot of romance going on.

For some people, the darker tone is definitely a positive. At this point, “Covert Affairs” barely resembles the bright and fluffy spy tale it was during its first couple of seasons. It’s more like “24” than that now.

And then there’s the romance. If there’s one thing that divides “Covert Affairs” fans, it’s Annie and Auggie. They are very much together now, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Only time will tell which it really is.

The tease

Alas for happiness and simple plots, Season 4 begins with elevators and gunplay. Annie (Piper Perabo) rides up in a dark building, about to face something terrible. Even though she tells Auggie (Chris Gorham) she loves him, this is not a moment about love.

The door opens and Annie points her gun at a man. He points two guns back at her.


Never mind

We won’t find out the answer for awhile — this elevator moment is 10 weeks in the future. For now, “Covert Affairs” is all about the lovemaking and the Henry Wilcox-inspired plots. Wilcox has given Annie a file about some South American terrorist called “The Puma” whose existence is about to bring down Arthur Campbell and all associated with him.

Auggie is somewhat skeptical about all this. But Annie doesn’t care because she’s Annie and she’s on a mission now.

At least she doesn’t have to go to Colombia alone. This is the benefit of having a CIA boyfriend.

Tracking the elusive puma

Naturally, Annie and Auggie undertake their mission completely off the record, making it look like a romantic getaway. It’s not. Not unless your idea of romance involves tracking bank records, getting shot and chasing down really hot terrorists.

There’s also a new guy in the mix — Calder Michaels (Hill Harper), a man who will somehow be a regular in Season 4. Also, he just happens to be the guy that we saw Annie shooting at from her 10-weeks-from-now elevator. Michaels turns out to be the CIA station chief in Colombia.

He doesn’t like spies showing up and not giving a reason. But at least Michaels buys the beer!

Anyway, Annie tries to get some bank records, a move that gets a sleazy banker shot. Both of the spies would have met the same fate, except Michaels shows up just in time to shoot a bad guy. Their second attempt is kind of more successful — this time they manage to track a courier with the money.

Only to get Auggie shot right before men with guns kidnap them.

At least the gunmen bring the spies directly to the Puma! He turns out to be a reasonably nice guy who is very, very hot and good at extracting bullets.

Also, the Puma is Arthur Campbell’s son. So there’s that.

Spies can miss obvious stuff

Joan and Arthur may be master spies, but they sure do miss a lot of stuff that happens under their noses. Both initially think that Annie and Auggie have merely run off on a romantic tryst. Although Arthur does get other ideas when he hears that they went to Colombia …

Meanwhile, Joan totally doesn’t pick up on the fact that Arthur is being super suspicious throughout the episode. And Arthur doesn’t notice that his wife is pregnant and pointedly not telling him about it.

At least we can blame this on both people being distracted. After all, Arthur’s career is abruptly finished and Joan has a baby in her belly. Oh yeah, that’s a big reason why Arthur is being suspicious — he has to resign because of secrets about to come to light. That’s maybe a good excuse for missing a few other secrets.

This is the only good thing Arthur has going for him, most likely, what with the cheating allegations and the fact that his long-lost son is a terrorist.

Posted by:Laurel Brown