1 9 9 1 (USA)
13 x 60 minute episodes
This espionage series got into trouble by reflecting real-world events too realistically.
In the post-Cold War era, the operatives of the National Intelligence Agency – especially married couple Dylan (Anthony John Denison) and Kate (Linda Purl) Del’Amico from suburban Maryland – were concerned as much with their personal lives as with enemy spooks.
Would Kate’s youthful affair with a Soviet scientist return to haunt her? How would they tell their children, 16-year-old Megan (Arlene Taylor), 9-year-old Emily (Marne Patterson) and 7-year-old Marlon (Adam Ryen), what their parents did for a living?
With backup from John Rhys-Davies and Josef Sommer (as their Q and M, respectively), the pair kept their roles secret from their children, who often suspected they were up to no good.
Their assignments dealt with leftover Soviet spies and third-world troublemakers – and it was one of these that caused the series so much grief . . .
In a two-part story (“Sacrifices”), an American team was sent to Kuwait just before an Iraqi invasion. Part one aired on 12 January, but part two – in which Iraq plotted to fire virus-carrying missiles into Israel – would have appeared right after the actual Gulf War broke out and was abruptly pulled from the schedule.
The episode eventually aired on 13 July 1991 (preceded by a repeat of part one) as an ABC Saturday Night Movie entitled Before the Storm.
Two additional unaired episodes were telecast the following Saturday, 20 July, disguised as the movie Spy Games.
Audiences preferred to watch either the CBS Saturday movie or chuckle along with the gentle comedy of The Golden Girls on NBC, and Under Cover wasn’t renewed at the end of its thirteen-episode run.
The series was created by former soldier William Broyles Jr, who would later write Cast Away for Tom Hanks.
Anthony John Denison
G. W. Bailey