The Affair (TV series)

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The Affair
The Affair 2014 Poster.jpg
Television release poster
Psychological drama
Created by
Opening theme"Container" by Fiona Apple[1]
Composer(s)Marcelo Zarvos
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes50 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Production location(s)Brooklyn, New York City
Long Island City, New York City
Westchester County, New York, Montauk, New York
Los Angeles, California
CinematographySteven Fierberg
Tod Campbell
Editor(s)Louis Cioffi
Todd Desrosiers
Dana Congdon
Agnes Grandits
Pete Beaudreau
Running time50–60 minutes
Production company(s)Sheleg
Showtime Networks
Original networkShowtime
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseOctober 12, 2014 (2014-10-12) –
External links
Official website

The Affair is an American television drama series created by Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi.[2] The series premiered on Showtime on October 12, 2014.[3] A 12-episode second season of The Affair premiered on October 4, 2015.[4] On December 9, 2015, the series was renewed for a third season,[5] which debuted on November 20, 2016.[6] On January 9, 2017, Showtime renewed the series for a fourth season,[7] which premiered on June 17, 2018.[8] The series was renewed for a fifth and final season which debuted on August 25, 2019.[9][10][11]

The series primarily stars Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney, and Joshua Jackson, and it explores the emotional effects of extramarital relationships. Episodes are often separated into two parts, with each half being told from the point-of-view of a specific character. The use of this dramatic device has been used by Treem to describe The Affair as "the Rashomon of relationship dramas".[12]

The series won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama and Wilson won for Best Actress – Television Series Drama at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards in 2015. At the 73rd Golden Globe Awards in 2016, Maura Tierney won the award for Best Supporting Actress.

Series overview[edit]

The Affair explores the emotional effects of an extramarital relationship between Noah Solloway and Alison Lockhart (Dominic West and Ruth Wilson) after they casually meet at the diner where Alison works. The show begins with the Solloway family packing up the family van to stay in the resort town of Montauk, New York. Noah is happily married with four children, but he resents their dependence on his wealthy father-in-law. Alison is a local waitress trying to piece her life and marriage back together in the wake of her young son's tragic accidental death at the age of four. The story of the affair is depicted from Noah's and Alison's perspectives respectively, complete with memory bias which often results in vastly different scenarios.[13] Each episode has two parts, one as remembered by Noah, the other by Alison.

In the second season, the narrative is expanded to include the perspectives of Noah and Alison's original spouses, Helen Solloway and Cole Lockhart (Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson), as they all move forward with the dissolution of their marriages and deal with the ramifications.[14] The subsequent death of Alison's brother-in-law, Scott (Colin Donnell), and the ensuing police investigation and criminal trial, are explored in flashforward scenes at the end of most episodes.

The third season is set three years later, following the culmination of the flashforward trial scenes, after Noah is released from prison. Season 3 introduces an occasional perspective, Juliette Le Gall (Irène Jacob), Noah's new love interest.[15]

In the fourth season, Noah has moved to Los Angeles to be closer to his younger children Trevor (Jadon Sand) and Stacey (Abigail Dylan Harrison), as Helen and Vik (Omar Metwally) have moved there. Cole and Luisa (Catalina Sandino Moreno) are living together in Montauk, while Alison is working as a grief counselor. Season 4 features opening flashforward sequences, featuring Noah and Cole, in its first four episodes, which ultimately lead to the discovery of Alison's death.

The fifth and final season takes place in two different time frames: a present-day storyline including Noah, Helen, and their four children and the other decades later featuring a now-adult Joanie Lockhart (Anna Paquin) returning to Montauk to find out the truth about her mother's death.[9] The season uses a range of new perspective characters in addition to the central figures of Noah, Helen and Joanie.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110October 12, 2014 (2014-10-12)December 21, 2014 (2014-12-21)
212October 4, 2015 (2015-10-04)December 20, 2015 (2015-12-20)
310November 20, 2016 (2016-11-20)January 29, 2017 (2017-01-29)
410June 17, 2018 (2018-06-17)August 19, 2018 (2018-08-19)
511[11]August 25, 2019 (2019-08-25)November 3, 2019 (2019-11-03)[16]


Main cast[edit]

Actor Character Season
1 2 3 4 5
Dominic West Noah Solloway Main
Ruth Wilson Alison Bailey Main Does not appear
Maura Tierney Helen Butler Main
Joshua Jackson Cole Lockhart Main Does not appear
Julia Goldani Telles Whitney Solloway Main
Jake Siciliano Martin Solloway Main Guest Recurring
Jadon Sand Trevor Solloway Main
Leya Catlett Stacey Solloway Main Does not appear
Abigail Dylan Harrison Does not appear Recurring
Josh Stamberg Max Cadman Recurring Main Guest Does not appear
Catalina Sandino Moreno Luisa León Does not appear Recurring Main Recurring
Omar Metwally Vik Ullah Does not appear Recurring Main
Irène Jacob Juliette Le Gall Does not appear Main Does not appear
Sanaa Lathan Janelle Wilson Does not appear Main
Anna Paquin Joanie Lockhart Does not appear Main

Perspective characters[edit]

The Affair is told from multiple distinct perspectives, marked by title cards at the start of each 'part'. Episodes in season one are split between the perspectives of Noah and Alison, with additional characters incorporated in subsequent seasons.

1 2 3 4 5
Alison Does not appear
Does not appear Helen
Does not appear Cole Does not appear
Does not appear Juliette Vik Joanie
Does not appear Whitney
Does not appear Janelle
Does not appear Sierra

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Victor Williams as Detective Jeffries (seasons 1–2, 4)
  • John Doman as Bruce Butler, Helen's father (seasons 1–3, 5)
  • Kathleen Chalfant as Margaret Butler, Helen's mother (seasons 1–3, 5)
  • Mare Winningham as Cherry Lockhart, Cole's mother (seasons 1–2, 4)
  • Colin Donnell as Scott Lockhart, Cole's brother (seasons 1–2)
  • Danny Fischer as Hal Lockhart, Cole's brother (seasons 1–4)
  • Michael Godere as Caleb Lockhart, Cole's brother (seasons 1–4)
  • Kaija Matiss as Mary-Kate Lockhart, Hal's wife (seasons 1–2, 4)
  • Deirdre O'Connell as Athena Bailey, Alison's mother (seasons 1–2, 4)
  • Darren Goldstein as Oscar Hodges, owner of The Lobster Roll (seasons 1–4)
  • Nicolette Robinson as Jane, waitress at The Lobster Roll (seasons 1–2, 4)
  • Stephen Kunken as Harry, Noah's publisher (seasons 1–2, 5)
  • Lynn Cohen as Joan Bailey, Alison's grandmother (season 1)
  • Jennifer Esposito as Nina Solloway, Noah's sister (seasons 2–3)
  • Richard Schiff as Jon Gottlief, Noah's attorney (seasons 2, 5)
  • Joanna Gleason as Yvonne, a publisher who, along with her husband Robert, owns the guest house in which Alison and Noah stay (season 2)
  • Peter Friedman as Robert, Yvonne's husband (season 2)
  • Brendan Fraser as John Gunther, a prison guard (season 3)
  • Reagan and Savannah Grella as Joanie, Alison and Cole's daughter (seasons 3–4)
  • Christopher Meyer as Anton Gatewood, an intelligent student at the school where Noah teaches (seasons 4–5)
  • Russell Hornsby as Carl Gatewood, Janelle's ex-husband and Anton's father (seasons 4–5)
  • Emily Browning as Sierra James, Helen and Vik's neighbor (seasons 4–5)
  • Ramon Rodriguez as Ben Cruz, a Marine veteran and Alison's love interest (season 4)
  • Zenobia Shroff as Priya Ullah, Vik's mother (seasons 4–5)
  • Claes Bang as Sasha Mann, an A-list movie star and Helen's love interest (season 5)[18]
  • Lyriq Bent as Paul, a sports agent and Joanie's husband (season 5)[19]
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh as Adeline Taylor, Sierra's mother (season 5)[20]
  • Michael Braun as EJ, an epigenetics scientist who helps Joanie (season 5)[21]


On February 8, 2013, it was announced that Showtime had ordered a pilot for The Affair.[22] The network officially picked up the series on January 16, 2014, with a 10-episode order.[2] On November 10, 2014, Showtime renewed the series for a 10-episode second season;[23] however, it was later changed to 12.[24] On December 9, 2015, the series was renewed for a third season.[5] On January 9, 2017, Showtime renewed the series for a fourth season.[25] On July 26, 2018, Showtime announced it had renewed the series for a fifth and final season.[10]

After the conclusion of the fourth season and prior to the start of production on the fifth and final season, several series regulars departed the series. Ruth Wilson requested to leave ahead of season four, and her character was killed off at the end of the season.[26] Joshua Jackson did not return for the final season.[9] Omar Metwally and Sanaa Lathan appear until episodes 2 and 3 respectively, and are removed from the main cast thereafter. Catalina Sandino Moreno appears in episodes six and seven as a guest star, in both the present-day and flashforward storylines.[27]


Critical response[edit]

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 90% (51 reviews) 85 (28 reviews)
2 90% (23 reviews) 78 (15 reviews)
3 71% (21 reviews) 72 (8 reviews)
4 91% (23 reviews) N/A
5 93% (14 reviews) 77 (4 reviews)

The first season received praise from critics. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 90%, based on 51 reviews, with an average rating of 8.18/10. The consensus reads: "Thanks to some smart, creative storytelling and spectacular performances, The Affair is a somber, bewitching exploration of truth and desire."[28] On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 85 out of 100, based on 28 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[29]

The second season received continued positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 90%, based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 8.01/10. The consensus reads: "The Affair shifts its emphasis in season two, moving psychological drama to the foreground and expanding the show's central crime story to include two new points of view."[30] On Metacritic, it has a score of 78 out of 100 based on 15 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[31] Gwen Ihnat of The A.V. Club gave it an "A-" grade and wrote that "With its bold new move to double our number of perspectives, it appears that The Affair will sail over that sophomore slump that has felled so many other Showtime dramas.[32]

The third season received positive reviews from critics, although less acclaimed than the first two seasons. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 71%, based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 7.67/10. The consensus reads: "The Affair adds to its cast of strong characters and deepens the mood, tension, and intrigue, even if the plot sometimes struggles to move forward."[33] On Metacritic, it has a score of 72 out of 100 based on 8 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[34]

The fourth season received continued positive reviews from critics.[35] On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 91%, based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 7.44/10. The consensus reads: "The Affair's captivating character study returns with fewer kinks than its previous outing, resulting in a more emotionally grounded season that regains much of the show's initial allure."[36]

The fifth season received continued positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 93%, based on 14 reviews, with an average rating of 6.71/10. The consensus reads: "As addicting and outlandish as ever, season five proves the perfect farewell for The Affair."[37] On Metacritic, it has a score of 77 out of 100 based on 4 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[38]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Association Category Nominee(s) Result
72nd Golden Globe Awards[39] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Dominic West Nominated
Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth Wilson Won
Best Television Series – Drama The Affair Won
19th Satellite Awards[40] Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth Wilson Nominated
Best Television Series – Drama The Affair Nominated
67th Writers Guild of America Awards[41] Best New Series The Affair Nominated
6th Critics' Choice Television Awards[42] Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Maura Tierney Nominated
73rd Golden Globe Awards[43] Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Maura Tierney Won
42nd People's Choice Awards[44] Favorite Premium Cable TV Actor Joshua Jackson Nominated
20th Satellite Awards[45] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Dominic West Won
68th Primetime Emmy Awards[46] Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Maura Tierney Nominated
7th Critics' Choice Television Awards[47] Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
21st Satellite Awards[48][49] Best Television Series – Drama The Affair Nominated
Best Actor – Television Series Drama Dominic West Won
Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth Wilson Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Maura Tierney Nominated
Location Managers Guild Awards[50] Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary TV Series Sean Ilnseher Nominated
22nd Satellite Awards[51] Best Television Series – Drama The Affair Nominated
Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth Wilson Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards 2018[52] Television: Episodic Drama Lydia Diamond, Sarah Sutherland and Jaquén Castellanos for "Episode 407" Nominated

Home media[edit]

The first season was released on DVD in region 1 on August 4, 2015. The set contains all 10 episodes, plus special features, including character profiles and costume featurettes.[53] The second season was released on DVD in region 1 on August 16, 2016.[54] The third season was released on DVD in region 1 on April 25, 2017.[55] The fourth season was released on DVD in region 1 on October 16, 2018.[56]

International broadcast[edit]

In Canada, the series premiered simultaneously with the American broadcast on October 12, 2014, and airs on Movie Central and The Movie Network.[57] The series premiered on Showcase in Australia on February 10, 2015.[58] Sky Atlantic bought the rights to air The Affair in the UK with season one beginning in May 2015.[59]


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External links[edit]