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|Created by||Justin Marks|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||56–60 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||December 10, 2017– present|
Counterpart is an American science fiction thriller television series created by Justin Marks on the premium cable network Starz. It has been picked up for two 10-episode seasons. The first episode was directed by Morten Tyldum. The premiere episode first aired on December 10, 2017. It stars Academy Award–winning actor J. K. Simmons in a dual role.
In February 2018, Starz announced that production had begun in Berlin on the second season.
Howard Silk has been working for a bureaucratic UN agency based in Berlin for thirty years; however, his station is too low for him to be told what his work really involves. In fact, the agency oversees a crossing point to a parallel Earth (the "Prime world"), a copy of Howard's world, which was created by East German scientists in 1987, and which has been diverging ever since. Silk's "other" self, his counterpart from the Prime world, is, among other things, a field agent who regularly makes crossings to Silk's world (the "Alpha world") to retrieve "others" who have gone rogue. Factional in-fighting in the agency in the Prime world spills over to the Alpha world, endangering Silk and his comatose wife, Emily.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1||"The Crossing"||Morten Tyldum||Justin Marks||December 10, 2017[b]||0.394|
|Howard Silk is a low-level bureaucrat in a Berlin-based UN agency called the Office of Interchange, where he works in the Interface division, exchanging coded call-and-response messages with another agent. Despite his long tenure, Howard has never learned the purpose of Interface or OI. Peter Quayle, OI's Director of Strategy, later denies Howard a promotion to his department, citing Howard's age and lackluster career. After work, Howard visits his comatose wife Emily, who was struck by a car. The next day, Howard is taken to a room with Quayle and Aldrich, the Director of Housekeeping. A man identical to Howard is brought in: Howard Prime.[a] Quayle explains that during the final years of the Cold War, the East Germans accidentally created a portal to a divergent parallel universe in the basement of what would become the OI building. Howard Prime explains that an assassin from the Prime world codenamed Baldwin has crossed over with a kill list that includes Howard's wife. That night, Howard Prime imitates Howard Alpha at Emily's hospital and ambushes Baldwin, but she escapes. Howard Prime returns to his world and visits a bar where he encounters Emily Prime, whom he had told Howard Alpha was dead.|
|2||"Birds of a Feather"||Stephen Williams||Justin Marks||January 28, 2018||0.506|
|After Howard Prime's estranged wife tells him of a rendition order against him, he kills the contractors sent to bring him in and then meets with Alexander Pope, his mentor and an influential member of Prime OI, to discuss whether the rendition order was official or a rogue assassination attempt. Pope gets him a 36-hour visa to the Alpha side. Meanwhile, Howard Alpha has been promoted to the Analysis division, and later meets with Aldrich and Prime to discuss Baldwin. Prime tells them her real name is Nadia Fierro, and her Alpha version is a virtuoso violinist. Baldwin meets with her handler Clare, who orders her to kill Nadia Alpha. Emily Prime is revealed to be in a relationship with Ian Shaw, a fellow operative. Baldwin goes to kill Nadia, but is unable to follow through. Alpha OI agents corner Baldwin, resulting in Nadia's death and Baldwin's arrest. Afterwards, Howard Alpha fumes over Nadia's unnecessary death and punches Aldrich. Emily Prime meets with Pope and declares she wants to keep the peace between both worlds. Pope answers, "I wonder when we've ever had peace" and "if there will ever come a reckoning for what they did to us".|
|3||"The Lost Art of Diplomacy"||Jennifer Getzinger||Amy Berg||February 4, 2018||0.299|
|Upon learning of imminent negotiations for Baldwin's return, Howard Prime visits Prime world ambassador Claude Lambert to have him stall for time while Aldrich and Howard Alpha interrogate Baldwin. Lambert dismisses Howard Prime's request, and Emily Prime and Ian cross over to question him about the Baldwin fiasco. At the negotiations between Lambert and Alpha OI Diplomacy director Roland Fancher, lingering tensions over the cause of a deadly pandemic that devastated the Prime world initially block progress. Emily Prime explains to Howard Prime that Pope ordered his rendition, while Howard Prime reveals his source on the schism in Prime OI's Management is from the Alpha world. The negotiations wrap up, but Baldwin fails to crack and is later freed in an ambush engineered by Clare. Howard Prime realizes the negotiations were a ploy and suspects Lambert's involvement. To circumvent the revocation of his crossing privileges, Prime decides to switch identities with Howard Alpha. In the Prime world, Emily Prime discovers Howard Prime's source was Emily Alpha, who asked Howard Prime to reach out to her husband if she was harmed. At her apartment, Emily Prime is drugged by intruders, who stage the drugging to look like a self-inflicted overdose.|
|4||"Both Sides Now"||Alik Sakharov||Erin Levy||February 11, 2018||0.360|
|Howard Alpha and Howard Prime discuss their routines. Baldwin denies to Clare that she revealed anything to her captors. Alpha crosses over to the other side and is taken to Prime's apartment by Raash, an associate of Prime. Prime arrives at Alpha OI to work, but leaves when he finds the position is drudgework. Alpha discovers Prime has an estranged daughter, Anna Burton-Silk, and learns from her that Emily Prime is still alive but hospitalized due to an apparent overdose. Lambert secretly meets with Clare, relaying her superiors' dissatisfaction and orders to remove Baldwin. With Quayle in tow, Howard Prime visits an old contact, Heinrich, who reveals Pope and Lambert are with a faction of fanatics who have been smuggling crossers to the Alpha world for years. Among the crossers was a mole who has been placed high-up in Alpha OI's Strategy. Howard Alpha bluffs his way through meeting Emily Prime and Ian, but Emily catches on. Clare deceives Baldwin and sends an assassin to dispose of her; Baldwin kills the assassin. Howard Alpha and Emily Prime decide to work together to aid Howard Prime. Howard Prime concludes he must live Alpha's life until Quayle can smoke out the mole.|
|5||"Shaking the Tree"||Stephen Williams||Zak Schwartz||February 18, 2018||0.416|
|Three infiltrators cross over from the Prime world. Clare confronts Heinrich over Howard Prime. Howard Alpha encounters Pope, who is aware that Alpha and Prime switched and attempts to sow distrust between Alpha and Emily Prime; Alpha informs Emily, who believes Pope was behind her "overdose". They seek out a diplomatic courier linked to the fanatics and Lambert. Emily elaborates that the Prime world's pandemic was a form of flu that killed half a billion people in the early 1990s. Prime world defector Alice explains to Quayle and Aldrich that Prime OI's Strategy implemented an unauthorized program called Indigo, which set up "the School" to train sleeper agents from childhood; Indigo was funded off-the-books by Prime OI staff who blamed Alpha OI for the pandemic. Alice also mentions an agent codenamed Shadow may have been sent to infiltrate Alpha OI five years ago. When Andrei suspiciously tries to visit Emily Alpha under another name, Howard Prime breaks into his apartment and uncovers Emily Alpha's research, but discovers Andrei is only a civilian who had been having an affair with Emily. Clare gives the three infiltrators their orders, unaware Baldwin stalks her. Howard Alpha tries to forge a relationship with Anna.|
|6||"Act Like You've Been Here Before"||Jennifer Getzinger||Justin Britt-Gibson||February 25, 2018||0.429|
|Angel Eyes, an infiltrator, experiences Berlin's nightlife. When questioned by his compatriot, Ringleader, he reaffirms that the people of the Alpha world are "filthy" and deserve to die. Anna discusses her father's odd behavior with Emily Prime. Ian is told of Emily and Howard Alpha's encounter with the courier and submits Howard to a lie exam, which Howard "beats" because he has no knowledge of Howard Prime's activities. Emily Prime shares a Potsdam address gleaned from the courier with Ian. They, Howard Alpha, and a squad of agents travel there, but Pope is tipped off by the lie exam administrator and alerts the building's residents. Baldwin attends her other's funeral, then strikes a bargain with Clare to finish her contract. She later develops feelings for Greta, a barista. Howard Prime confirms Emily Alpha's research is photocopied Alpha OI Strategy documents that had been passed to Prime OI, and tells Quayle to identify the documents' origin. When Heinrich is found dead, Howard Prime deduces that the mole is somehow getting intel directly from Quayle. While Aldrich concludes from his own investigation that Quayle is Shadow, Quayle notices the documents are from his personal files, leading him to suspect his wife: Clare.|
|7||"The Sincerest Form of Flattery"||Alik Sakharov||Gianna Sobol||March 4, 2018||0.268|
|In 1997 in the Prime world, Clare Fancher is taken in by the School after her parents succumb to the flu epidemic. She is ruthlessly molded into a copy of her other, and taught by supervisor Mira to hate the Alpha world for unleashing the flu virus. In 2013, Clare crosses over after her other becomes engaged to Quayle, then a Deputy Director in OI, and observes her in preparation for assuming her identity. When Clare Alpha breaks the engagement off after Quayle cheats on her, Clare Prime kills her, replaces her, and sets the marriage back on track. In the present, Quayle sends Clare on an errand and has Howard Prime search his house for evidence of her duplicity. They find a cyanide capsule in Clare's medicine cabinet, and realize Clare has been tracking Quayle's whereabouts through his phone. Since Clare is unaware she has been exposed, Quayle is forced to play innocent during his birthday party, but drinks heavily. After the guests depart, an agitated Quayle openly accuses his wife of being a spy and tries to get her to swallow the cyanide, but Clare confesses that she let the pill expire because of her baby, the first thing in her life which is truly hers.|
|8||"Love the Lie"||Alik Sakharov||Amy Berg||March 11, 2018||0.310|
|Ian's team raids the School. The fanatics fight to the end while Mira escapes. Howard Alpha finds the students' bodies, all of whom were poisoned to prevent their capture. While most evidence was destroyed, Ian and Emily Prime deduce the School's purpose. Howard Alpha uses Howard Prime's clout to obtain the identities of the three infiltrators, and the two arrange to meet in an Interface room. After Howard shares the intel, he and Prime clash over their growing dislike for each other. Emily Alpha wakes up, but remains unresponsive, and her mother Charlotte informs Howard Prime that she'll be taking up residence in Berlin to supervise Emily's care. Baldwin kills the first of her three remaining targets. Kept handcuffed in their bedroom, Clare reveals some details of her infiltration and her faction's plans to Quayle, but dissuades him from turning her in because of how it would affect him and their infant daughter. Aldrich visits, and uses the story of how he drove his counterpart mad to deprive Prime OI of his talents to convey that Quayle should surrender himself. That night, Quayle admits to Aldrich he leaked the documents, but claims Howard Prime was the true mastermind all along.|
|9||"No Man's Land, Part One"||Stephen Williams||Erin Levy||March 18, 2018||0.342|
|Howard Prime eludes capture by Aldrich, as well as a clumsy attempt by Quayle to capture or kill him. Aldrich is skeptical that either Quayle or Prime is Shadow. Ian and Emily Prime apprehend Kaspar, the informant who told Pope of the Potsdam raid, before Pope's operatives can silence him. While being pressured to flip, Kaspar reveals that Pope arranged Emily Alpha's accident to end her snooping. Howard Alpha decides to return to the Alpha world. Baldwin passes various identifications and personal effects from her victims to the three infiltrators, who then take up their dead counterparts' roles in Alpha OI. Clare orders Baldwin to assassinate Howard Prime and Emily Alpha. Quayle deliberately crashes his car with Clare in the passenger seat. Howard Prime turns himself in to Aldrich to expose Clare as Shadow and warn about the infiltrators. Having smuggled weapons past security, the infiltrators massacre nearly a dozen Alpha OI staff. Aldrich and Howard Prime kill two infiltrators, but Angel Eyes manages to enter the neutral territory of the crossing before succumbing to his wounds. Aldrich refrains from pursuing him, noting "we can't touch him now".|
|10||"No Man's Land, Part Two"||Jennifer Getzinger||Gianna Sobol & Justin Britt-Gibson||April 1, 2018||0.383|
|Security forces monitor Angel Eyes from both sides of the crossing. Quayle and Clare survive the collision with minimal injuries. Clare explains the attack was just the beginning. The Management departments of both OIs order their staff to leave Angel Eyes untouched; Alpha OI wants Prime OI to claim him in order to demand reparations, while Prime OI wants to avoid culpability for the unsanctioned Indigo program. When Angel Eyes dies unclaimed, Alpha OI seals off the crossing. Howard Alpha begs Pope for help crossing back, but he kills Pope when the latter pulls a gun on him, and Ian uses the opportunity to have Howard put in solitary confinement. Greta rejects Baldwin after connecting her to the late Nadia Fierro. Aldrich uses Emily Alpha as bait to trap both Howard Prime and Baldwin, but Prime outwits him and bribes Baldwin into walking away from the contract killing. Baldwin then kills Aldrich to avenge Nadia. Meanwhile, Clare kills Cyrus in her house when he confronts her. Howard Prime calls a truce with Quayle, agreeing to keep Clare's secret in exchange for Emily Alpha's safety. Later, as Prime takes up Howard Alpha's life in earnest, Emily Alpha regains consciousness.|
The series was ordered in April 2015 with J. K. Simmons announced to star. Production began in December 2016 in Los Angeles, and it was announced that the series would be filmed in additional locations across the U.S. and Europe in 2017, including Berlin, where the series is set, and in Potsdam at Babelsberg Studio, which is co-producing the series. Amy Berg served as showrunner, an executive producer and a writer for the first season, but departed after the season completed filming, in a mutual decision.
|1||"The Crossing"||December 10, 2017||0.1||0.394||N/A||N/A|
|2||"Birds of a Feather"||January 28, 2018||0.1||0.506||0.510||1.016|
|3||"The Lost Art of Diplomacy"||February 4, 2018||0.1||0.299||0.532||0.831|
|4||"Both Sides Now"||February 11, 2018||0.1||0.360||0.484||0.844|
|5||"Shaking the Tree"||February 18, 2018||0.1||0.416||N/A||N/A|
|6||"Act Like You've Been Here Before"||February 25, 2018||0.1||0.429||N/A||N/A|
|7||"The Sincerest Form of Flattery"||March 4, 2018||0.1||0.268||0.485||0.753|
|8||"Love the Lie"||March 11, 2018||0.1||0.310||0.344||0.654|
|9||"No Man's Land, Part One"||March 18, 2018||0.1||0.342||0.333||0.675|
|10||"No Man's Land, Part Two"||April 1, 2018||0.1||0.383||0.364||0.747|
Counterpart has been well received by critics. The first season has a "certified fresh" 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating 8.39 out of 10 based on 32 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Tense and gripping, Counterpart is an absorbing thrill-fest led by J. K. Simmons' multi-faceted dual lead performance." On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 76 out of 100 based 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The first season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 24, 2018. The set includes all 10 episodes plus two behind-the-scenes featurettes.