I’m binge-watching the end of Season 4 and am almost ready to start Season 5. Last season (4) was a bit of a muddle for me and I didn’t watch each episode as it aired. Until episode 10 when I finally figured out who were the good and bad guys and who I should root for. Then when I was engrossed again, our DVR skipped an episode and I couldn’t proceed until I’d seen it. Well, the episode is finally available on Amazon Prime so I watched it and now I’m in the penultimate episode of Season 4.
The hiatus and return gave me some time to reflect on the series and what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for me, both in terms of story and structure.
A quick summary: Annie Walker is a young CIA operative working to keep America safe from threats both at home and abroad.
In the beginning, we followed Annie as she juggled being a spy with having a personal life. She lied to her sister regularly about where she was and what she was doing. Her cover was that she worked for the Smithsonian which allowed for a certain amount of secrecy and traveling.
In Season 4, Annie and her handler/co-worker, Auggie finally acknowledged what everyone else knew: they loved each other as more than friends.
The beginning of the season was too tentative, although that seems like an odd description for a show full of treachery, torture, and turmoil. I rooted for Annie and Auggie but I had hard time connecting with the new characters brought in to up the tension, fellow agent Calder Michaels and possible terrorist/drug kingpin/deep cover agent Teo.
Once Teo died and Calder became “nice,” I had a clearer understanding of where the story was headed and then I became hooked again like I had been at first.
It’s a good lesson for me: Know your characters and be sure the reader knows that you know them.
Every time I get stuck in a story, it comes back to that point: I don’t know the character well enough yet. So I pull out a worksheet or a book and delve deeper and deeper into the character. When I know them as well as I know myself (and quite possible better) then it becomes clear what needs to happen next.
What do you think? Covert Affairs fan? Or just a fan of great characters?