Undercovers (TV series)

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Undercovers 2010 Intertitle.png
Created by
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (2 unaired in the U.S.)
Executive producers
Running time42 minutes
Production companies
Original networkNBC
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseSeptember 22 (2010-09-22) –
December 29, 2010 (2010-12-29)

Undercovers is an American action spy television series created by J. J. Abrams and Josh Reims that aired NBC from September 22 to December 29, 2010. They were executive producers of the pilot along with Abrams' frequent collaborator Bryan Burk.

Because of low ratings, the show was canceled on November 4, 2010.[1][2] Two episodes were unaired in the United States, but aired in Australia on January 2 and 9, 2012.[3]


Five years after leaving the CIA to open a catering company, Steven and Samantha Bloom are recruited back into the agency by Carlton Shaw. They take on special missions the average agent cannot handle. Having made a pact to never discuss their pasts with each other, the Blooms find surprising new things about their spouse in the course of each mission. They are aided by Leo Nash, a top agent who was once Samantha's boyfriend, and geeky computer expert Bill Hoyt, who worships Steven. Lizzy is Samantha's sister, a recovering alcoholic who helps run the catering business and is unaware of what the Blooms are really up to. The Blooms are unaware that Shaw has a secret agenda for reactivating them.


On May 3, 2010 Undercovers was officially ordered to series by NBC for a fall premiere, Wednesdays at 8/7c.[4][5] Undercovers premiered on Wednesday, September 22,[6] making it the second spy series produced by Alias executive producer Abrams.

Abrams directed the Undercovers pilot;[7] it was the first time he had directed a pilot since 2004's Lost premiere and the first episode of television he has directed since a 2007 episode of The Office. Abrams said of the show, "This show does have ongoing stories as well but they are much more personal based and character based. But I'm trying to do a show that has a more fun energy and a little more [comedy]..."[8] And on his decision to direct the pilot, Abrams explained that "I just enjoyed the idea of it. I enjoy the script… I enjoyed the chemistry of these two people and it became clear as we were working on it, rather than be sitting on the set every day with someone else directing it, being annoying, I'd rather just take the burden on myself."[8]

The show has been described as a "stand-alone adventure every week" and a "modernized Hart to Hart",[9][10] although Abrams announced just before its cancellation that the show would be starting a serialized storyline concerning the true reasons for the Blooms' reactivation.[11]

On November 4, 2010, after weeks of poor viewership and ratings, NBC canceled the series.[12][2] The show's final three episodes aired in December 2010. Two episodes remain unaired, but NBC has no plans to broadcast them in the immediate future. Warner Home Video has not yet announced if the complete series will be released on DVD and/or Blu-ray. As of December 2020, all 13 episodes are currently available to watch free with ads on the streaming service Tubi.

In May 2011, all 13 episodes of the first season were premiered in the UK on Virgin Media as an On Demand program by WarnerTV.[13]

In an interview, Abrams talked about the failure of the show:

"I've got to say, I feel like it was unfortunate. Of course, I completely blame myself for the entire thing. The conceit of the show was to do a much more frivolous, fun show, but ultimately, I think it was just too frivolous and too simple, and we didn't go deep enough. We were really desperately trying to stay away from mythology and complexity and intensity and too much serious, dark storytelling and, ultimately, that's not necessarily what I do best. I think audiences felt that it was a little bit lacking. I see that and completely take responsibility for its failing".

In retrospect, Undercovers did end up employing a notable writing staff, many of whom have gone on to become successful head writers and Showrunners of other shows (Karin Gist, Showrunner of Star and Mixed-ish; Anthony Sparks, Showrunner of the Ava DuVernay created Queen Sugar; Elwood Reid, Showrunner of The Bridge; and Phil Klemmer, Showrunner of Legends of Tomorrow.[14]



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
U.S. viewers
1"Pilot"J. J. AbramsJ. J. Abrams & Josh ReimsSeptember 22, 2010 (2010-09-22)2967688.57[15]
Married and retired CIA agents Steven and Samantha Bloom are reinstated when a close friend of theirs goes missing.
2"Instructions"Stephen WilliamsJ. J. Abrams & Josh ReimsSeptember 29, 2010 (2010-09-29)2J54527.24[16]
Carlton asks the Blooms to find Dayita Nasir, a doctor that has recently been kidnapped.
3"Devices"Tucker GatesJ. J. Abrams & Josh ReimsOctober 6, 2010 (2010-10-06)2J54536.38[17]
The Blooms go to Berlin to retrieve a code-breaking device.
4"Jailbreak"Anthony HemingwayPhil KlemmerOctober 13, 2010 (2010-10-13)2J54555.93[18]
The Blooms travel to Ireland and then England in their endeavor to find a very important CIA hard drive, which has gone missing.
5"Not Without My Daughter"Dan AttiasElwood ReidOctober 20, 2010 (2010-10-20)2J54545.90[19]
The Blooms are assigned with finding and instigating the defection of a North Korean physicist, who has invented a device capable of changing an object's matter.
6"Xerxes"Stephen WilliamsMichael FoleyOctober 27, 2010 (2010-10-27)2J54565.45[20]
The Blooms are shipped off to Tuscany, with the task of capturing Xerxes, along with a painting in which he has concealed a formula for a biological weapon.
7"Assassin"Brad AndersonKarin GistNovember 3, 2010 (2010-11-03)2J54575.91[21]
The Blooms and Leo head out to Peru to thwart an assassination plot against president-elect Alberto Loya. Meanwhile, Lizzy caters a party for one of Samantha's college friends.
8"Crashed"Rosemary RodriguezAnthony SparksNovember 10, 2010 (2010-11-10)2J54585.13[22]
When a pilot with a bomb for cargo disappears, the Blooms are challenged with locating the man and the bomb he has with him. Meanwhile, Shaw worries about the Blooms and Lizzie takes control with a client.
9"A Night to Forget"Frederick E. O. ToyeAlex KatsnelsonDecember 1, 2010 (2010-12-01)2J54594.82[23]
The Blooms travel to Mexico to help Leo discover why he can't remember the previous night, which ended with a dead woman in his hotel room.
10"Funny Money"Jonas PateTracy BellomoDecember 22, 2010 (2010-12-22)2J54604.21[24]
When $100 bill engraving plates are stolen from the Secret Service, the Blooms have to consult an expert, Steven's brother. The thief is betrayed by his brother, who assists the CIA. Meanwhile, Lizzy declines a manager position at the catering business and decides to go on tour with her new boyfriend.
11"The Key to It All"Tucker GatesPhil KlemmerDecember 29, 2010 (2010-12-29)2J54614.46[25]
The Blooms go on vacation, fully paid by the CIA, but they are called for an emergency in Tel Aviv. After an agent is killed in a hostage situation, Samantha is forced to open her deceased professor's locker. Throughout the mission, the Blooms become increasingly suspicious of Shaw's intentions for reactivating them.
12"Dark Cover"Jeff ThomasElwood ReidJanuary 2, 2012 (2012-01-02) (Australia)2J5462N/A
After a chance meeting with a former criminal accomplice, Steven resumes his former bad guy cover in an attempt to foil a plot to release a deadly smallpox virus.
13"The Reason"Stephen WilliamsMichael FoleyJanuary 9, 2012 (2012-01-09) (Australia)[3]2J5463N/A
Steven and Samantha uncover the startling real reason they were brought back into the CIA - to lure out and capture Samantha's mentor (Joseph), who revealed to be alive after he faked his death in the car explosion, when they find themselves fighting for their lives on a mission to Dubai.


  1. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (November 4, 2010). "NBC cancels 'Undercovers' after 11 episodes". USA Today. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Carter, Bill (November 4, 2010). "NBC Cancels 'Undercovers'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  3. ^ a b Knox, David (October 16, 2011). "Airdate: Undercovers". TV Tonight. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Villareal, Yvonne (May 3, 2010). "NBC picks up J.J. Abrams' 'Undercovers' for 2010-11 season". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  5. ^ Hibberd, James (May 16, 2010). "NBC's Fall Schedule, Upfront Revealed". The Live Feed. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012.
  6. ^ "NBC Announces Series Premiere Dates for Fall 2010 Schedule" (Press release). NBC Universal. July 15, 2010. Archived from the original on July 18, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  7. ^ Bryant, Adam (November 6, 2009). "J.J. Abrams to Direct Pilot of NBC's Undercovers". TV Guide. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Sullivan, Brian Ford (February 4, 2010). "Interview: "Fringe" Co-Creator J.J. Abrams". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "NBC returns to scripted programming for 2010 season". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 9, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  10. ^ Hibberd, James (May 10, 2010). "NBC's Bromstad talks pilots, upfront plans". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  11. ^ Goldman, Eric (November 3, 2010). "Undercovers Embraces Serialization". Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  12. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (November 4, 2010). "NBC cancels 'Undercovers' after 13 episodes". USA Today. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  13. ^ "May 2011 On Demand highlights" (PDF). Virgin Media. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  14. ^ Radish, Christina (January 12, 2011). "J.J. Abrams Talks STAR TREK 2, the SUPER 8 Trailer, FOX's ALCATRAZ, ODD JOBS, PERSON OF INTEREST, UNDERCOVERS and FRINGE". Collider. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  15. ^ Seidman, Robert (September 23, 2010). "TV Ratings Wednesday: Modern Family Leads Night; Survivor, Criminal Minds Very Strong; Undercovers Middling; The Whole Truth Bombs". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  16. ^ Gorman, Bill (September 30, 2010). "Wednesday Finals: Better With You, The Middle, Modern Family, Survivor, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: LA Adjusted Up; Cougar Town, Whole Truth Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  17. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 7, 2010). "Wednesday Finals: Survivor, The Middle, Modern Family, SVU, The Defenders Up; Cougar Town, The Whole Truth Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  18. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 14, 2010). "Wednesday Finals: Survivor, Middle, Modern Family, L&O:SVU, Top Model Adjusted Up; 20/20, Undercovers Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  19. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 21, 2010). "Wednesday Finals: Survivor, Buster Posey (NLCS), Criminal Minds The Defenders, Law & Order: SVU Adjusted Up; The Whole Truth Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
  20. ^ Gorman, Bill (October 28, 2010). "Wednesday Finals: Survivor: Nicaragua, The Middle Adjusted Up; The Whole Truth Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  21. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 4, 2010). "Wednesday Finals: Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  22. ^ Gorman, Bill (November 11, 2010). "Wednesday Final Ratings: Criminal Minds, America's Next Top Model Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  23. ^ Gorman, Bill (December 2, 2010). "Wednesday Final Ratings: America's Next Top Model Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  24. ^ Gorman, Bill (December 22, 2010). "Wednesday Final Ratings: No Adults 18-49 Adjustments For 'Human Target' Or Any Other Original Shows". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on December 26, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  25. ^ Seidman, Robert (December 30, 2010). "TV Ratings Wednesday: Undercovers Hits Series Lows; 'Modern Family' Repeat Tops Night, Leads ABC to Win". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2011.

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