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Undercovers “Pilot” 

Photo by: Frank Ockenfels/NBC


  • Steven and Samantha Bloom are former spies that are now living the normal life as husband and wife caterers. Their marriage is all routine and no spice; they’ve let the day-to-day obstacles and stressors affect their relationship. Well that all changes pretty quickly. A cranky CIA agent named Carlton Shaw (Gerald McRaney) tries to lure them out of retirement. Of course they immediately turn him down but since there’d be no show if the rejection stuck, the couple separately goes to Shaw to accept the “one-time” mission to locate their spy friend who was running an operation on his own and then proceed to disappear. In the end, it doesn’t end up being just one mission. They’re back in the game and it seems like there’s a reason why they were re-enlisted. I’m assuming we’ll find out as the season continues.

Favorite Parts of the Show

  • The  chemistry between Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe is electric. They work as a couple. They work as spies. And I like that it’s them against the world. I also like that they’re sort of rediscovering each other as they head into dangerous situation after dangerous situation.
  • I like that the Blooms never debriefed each other about their spy pasts. I’m sure this means there will be built-in conflict as the season goes on. Anything that creates a little angst in this light, fluffy show is welcome. In the pilot, Steven finds out about Samantha’s past with Leo Nash, the agent (possibly double agent) they’re trying to track down.
  • I know that the character of Bill Hoyt, Steven and Samantha’s CIA contact agent, is going to annoy a lot of people. And I would have agreed at first. But I did quickly grow to like how he managed to suck up and have a man crush on Steven the entire time. Call me crazy but I did.
  • I like the global feel of the show. In the pilot, they jetted off to Madrid, Paris and Moscow.
  • Unfortunately it’s a risk these days to focus a network show on two black lead characters. I’m really happy that J.J. Abrams (and subsequently, NBC) took the risk.

Random Thoughts

  • It does me good to know that Gerald McRaney is part of the Undercovers cast. I love him from his Simon & Simon days. I was always about Rick Simon.
  • When Steven shows up at Shaw’s hotel room to accept the mission and he says he’ll do it on one condition: “My wife can never know about my involvement ever.” The CIA agent cracks open the door even further and there’s Sam. What followed was a really cute interaction of Steven trying to backtrack.
  • The action was solid. I really think you can add GuGu and her character Samantha Bloom to the quickly growing list of badass women making waves on primetime TV these days.
  • I’m surprisingly okay with the word “sexpionage.”


  • This being a J.J. Abrams series, it’s not a surprise when visions of Alias and Lost come to mind. But Undercovers is not like those two shows. And I’m okay with that, but I still can’t forget about the intricate and complex mythologies each of those two classics entertained and perplexed us with for years and years. I like the lighter vibe of Undercovers but I also would love to see more substance added to the show. It’s just the beginning so maybe this will come with time. There does seem to be some sort of underlying mythology as to why the couple was really reactivated so I look forward to finding out more about that.
  • I do like the 90210 actress who plays Samantha’s sister Lizzie (Mekia Cox) but I’m not sure if I want to see yet more spies lying to their family about what they do. I know it’s inherent in the whole spy life, but I’ve seen this recently on Chuck and Covert Affairs so it’s just getting to be a tired plot point.

The Verdict

I’m with Undercovers for what I hope will be a long run. It’s cute and entertaining and I think it has a lot of potential for growth. I just don’t know if “cute” is what the producers were going for with this spy series. It doesn’t hurt that Boris Kodjoe and GuGu Mbatha-Raw have instantly become the most beautiful couple on all of TV but I hope people see past the looks and stick with the show as it develops and grows. I’m really pulling for Undercovers to succeed.

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