23 March 2002 | Newshawk
Like the Avro Arrow, it had the potential for greatness
This was a definitely a series ahead of its time, a victim of indecisive CBC programmers who chose to delay this series for almost a year and burn it off just prior to the new television season and after the leads had moved on to other projects.
Aired over three consecutive evenings, this series represented a major first for Canadian television; namely that Canada can put out a spy show in the same leagues as anyone else.
The plot revolves around a surveillance operation gone wrong. When several Canadian agents are killed in a joint Canada-U.S. operation, the FBI suspects a mole in Canadian operations. In order to preserve domestic control over national security, the heads of CSIS and the RCMP (Jackie Burrows and Philip Craig, respectively) recruit their best agents, neither of who initially want to participate, let alone be based in Toronto. Andrew Chase (Colin Ferguson) is a straight-arrow Mountie from Calgary who has unknowingly been working on the case for some time through his investigation of Gregory Pechorin (Gregory Hlady), while Caroline Neron is a reluctant but flamboyant CSIS agent who would prefer to remain on her home turf, away from old demons and well distanced from Anglophone Canada. Meanwhile, Malloy (Neville Edwards) portrays the ambitious FBI agent assigned to oversee American involvement and, potentially, its dominance over Canadian security.
The series had many successes: Philip Craig seemed born to play the role of Endicott, while Gregory Hlady's portrayal of Pechorin was outstanding. Outdoor locations were well-chosen (Yonge Street, and Rosedale especially) and the Ottawa Parliament Building sets were as close to the real thing as can be expected.
"Cover Me" featured an interesting premise but, at the same time, viewers of the series were cheated. Producers gambled on being picked up for a second run of episodes, and chose to leave a great deal of questions unanswered at the end of the 6th episode, leaving a sense of disappointment. This is Canada, and it's naive to think series set domestically will absolutely survive to see a second season.
Should this series ever re-air, make an effort to check it out.