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Counterpart (TV series)

Counterpart (TV series).jpg
Genre Thriller
Science fiction
Created by Justin Marks
Composer(s) Jeff Russo
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 5 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Cinematography Martin Ruhe
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 56–60 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network Starz
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original release December 10, 2017 (2017-12-10) – present
External links

Counterpart is an American science fiction thriller television series created by Justin Marks, ordered to series by the premium cable network Starz.[1] The first episode was directed by Morten Tyldum.[1] Starz ordered two 10-episode seasons.[2] The premiere episode first aired on December 10, 2017. It stars Academy Award-winning actor J. K. Simmons in a dual role.


Howard Silk works for a bureaucratic UN agency based in Berlin for thirty years, his station too low for him to be told what his work really involves. In fact, the agency is a crossing point to a parallel Earth, one that diverged from his world during the Cold War. Silk's "other" self, his counterpart from the other side, is, among other things, a field agent who regularly makes crossings to retrieve "others" who have gone rogue. Factional in-fighting in the agency on the other side spills over on to this side, putting Silk and his comatose wife in danger.





No. Title [11] Directed by [12] Written by [12] Original air date U.S. viewers
1 "The Crossing" Morten Tyldum Justin Marks December 10, 2017 (2017-12-10)[b] 0.394[15]
Howard Silk, a low-level bureaucrat in a Berlin-based UN agency works as an "Interface", where he exchanges coded call-and-response messages with another agent; Howard has no idea what it is they're doing or why. In a meeting with his supervisor, director Peter Quayle, Howard asks for a promotion to the Strategy division, but he is denied it. After work, Howard visits his wife Emily who is in a coma after being struck by a car. The next day, Howard arrives to work and his access code is invalid; he is taken to a separate room. There, he is met with Quayle, and Aldrich, the director of operations. They bring in a hooded man, who is revealed to be identical-looking to Howard. Quayle explains to Howard that during the Cold War an experiment by the East Germans took place, which opened a portal to a parallel version of our world and that the doorway between the worlds is under the building they work at. An assassin named Baldwin has snuck over to this side with a kill list (which includes Howard's wife), and Howard Prime[a] knows how to stop her. Howard Prime pretends to be our Howard when he visits Emily at the hospital and a shootout occurs when Baldwin arrives. Baldwin barely escapes, but is wounded by Howard Prime. Howard Prime returns to his side (with walls covered with Soviet-related writings) where he meets his Emily, revealed to be alive, though he previously told our Howard that she had died.
2 "Birds of a Feather" Stephen Williams Justin Marks January 28, 2018 (2018-01-28) 0.506[16]
On the other side, Howard Prime's estranged wife tells him there's a rendition order against him. Three operatives take Prime out of the bar and into a car; inside the vehicle, Prime kills them and walks away. Prime meets with a man named Pope in a church to discuss whether the rendition order was official or a rogue assassination attempt. Pope gets him a 36-hour visa to "our" side. Howard Alpha has been promoted to the Analysis division, and later meets with Aldrich and Prime in a theater to discuss Baldwin. Prime tells them her real name is Nadia Fierro, and the other version of her is a virtuoso violinist. In an old house, Baldwin meets with her handler Clare, who tells her she needs to kill her other self. Emily Prime is revealed to be in a relationship with Ian Shaw, a fellow operative. Nadia's backstory is detailed through flashbacks, showing that she had an alcoholic father. When she was 10, Nadia was playing violin for tips on a subway station and her father slipped and fell drunkenly on the tracks. Instead of getting help, she watched coldly while a train ran over him. In the present, Baldwin goes to the theater to kill Nadia, but is unable to. Baldwin gets into a standoff with OI operatives, and in the process, Nadia is shot and killed while Baldwin is taken into custody. Back at Howard Alpha's apartment, he expresses his anger about Nadia's death and punches Aldrich. On the other side, Emily Prime meets with Pope, and she tells him she wants to keep the peace between both worlds. Pope tells her, "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 (2018-02-04) 0.299[17]
On the other side, Emily Prime is given the authorization code of the culprit who sent her to rendition Howard Prime, and is told of the Baldwin fiasco. She pulls some strings to accompany an Inquiry team led by Ian to the Alpha world. In the Alpha world, OI Diplomacy head Roland Fancher calls in Quayle to discuss impending negotiations over returning Baldwin. Howard Prime surmises that his side is reaching out only to cover up the incident; he decides to visit his side's embassy to persuade Ambassador Claude Lambert to slow-walk the negotiations while Aldrich and Howard Alpha interrogate Baldwin. While Alpha is able to get Baldwin to open up somewhat, Prime fails to gain Lambert's assistance. Emily Prime and Ian cross over and arrive at the embassy to question Howard Prime. At the negotiations, it is revealed that the Prime world was devastated by a deadly pandemic which some Prime OI members continue to believe was purposely caused by the Alpha world; the disaster is a point of great friction between both worlds. Emily Prime tells Howard Prime that Pope was behind his rendition order, while Prime informs her that he had been receiving letters from an Alpha world source detailing the schism in Prime OI's Management. Lambert concedes to Fancher's demands for certain statistical data and the negotiations wrap up, but too soon for Baldwin to divulge her handler. As Howard Alpha and Aldrich drive Baldwin to OI, they are ambushed by masked gunmen from the other side who free Baldwin. Howard Prime realizes the negotiations were a ploy to facilitate the ambush, and that Lambert may be working with the rogue Prime faction. Needing more time in the Alpha world, he decides to switch identities with Howard Alpha to get around the revocation of his crossing privileges. Back on the other side, Emily Prime obtains one of the letters Howard Prime mentioned; his source is revealed to be Emily Alpha, who suspected her life was in danger and 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 (2018-02-11) 0.360[18]
Howard Prime has a message smuggled to the other side to his neighbor and associate, Raash. Howard Alpha discusses his routine with Howard Prime. Baldwin denies to Clare that she revealed anything to her captors. Alpha crosses over to the other side and is taken by Raash to Prime's apartment. Aldrich doubles the personnel monitoring Lambert. Prime arrives at OI for his first day in Strategy, but leaves when he finds he'll only be working payroll. Alpha discovers Prime had a daughter, Anna Burton-Silk, and learns from her that Emily Prime is still alive, albeit barely due to what is apparently the latest in a string of overdoses. Lambert secretly meets with Clare, relaying her superiors' displeasure and their orders to have Baldwin removed even though she has three more targets. Howard Prime visits an old contact, Heinrich, who reveals Pope and Lambert are part of a faction of fanatics who have been smuggling crossers to the Alpha world for years in preparation for something big happening soon. One of those crossers is 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 sees through him immediately. Clare reassures Baldwin and they sleep together, but afterwards Clare takes Baldwin's gun and sends an assassin to dispose of her; Baldwin kills the assassin. Howard Alpha, Emily Prime, and Anna attempt to have dinner together, but Anna storms out. Alpha and Emily discuss their different lives, and how Alpha's Anna was miscarried. They decide to work together to aid Howard Prime, since Emily is under review due to the overdose. Howard Prime and Quayle discuss the mole, with Prime concluding he'll have to live Alpha's nondescript life until Quayle can smoke out the mole.
5 "Shaking the Tree" Stephen Williams Zak Schwartz February 18, 2018 (2018-02-18) 0.416[19]
Three infiltrators cross over from the Prime world. Clare confronts Heinrich about his conversation with Howard Prime, and it is implied he is executed as a traitor. Howard Alpha has an encounter with Pope, who is aware that Alpha and Prime switched and attempts to sow distrust between Alpha and Emily Prime. Quayle confides to Aldrich about the existence of the mole. Howard Prime sees Andrei trying to visit Emily Alpha under another name and tails him. Howard Alpha and Emily Prime discuss Pope, whom Emily believes was behind her "overdose", and Howard Prime's suspicions of Lambert. Aldrich takes Quayle to Alice, a defector from the Prime world. While waiting to speak with a diplomatic courier conveying possible communications between the fanatics and Lambert, Emily elaborates on the Prime world's pandemic, which was a form of flu that killed half a billion people over four years in the early 1990s. The courier divulges that the fanatics have infiltrated every department in both the Alpha OI and Prime OI, and that he delivers diplomatic pouches from Lambert to an address in the Prime world outside Potsdam. Alice explains that Prime OI's Strategy implemented an unauthorized program called Indigo, which set up a facility called the School to train sleeper agents from childhood; Indigo was funded off-the-books by the fanatics, members of Prime OI who blamed Alpha OI for the pandemic despite that theory being officially disproven. She also mentions that an agent codenamed Shadow was slated to infiltrate Alpha OI five years ago, but cannot confirm Shadow's identity or department. Howard Prime breaks into Andrei's apartment and finds a bag holding Emily Alpha's research, but Andrei turns out to only be a civilian whom Emily had been having an affair with before her accident. Clare gives the three infiltrators their orders, while Baldwin trails her. Howard Alpha tries to reconcile with Anna.
6 "Act Like You've Been Here Before" Jennifer Getzinger Justin Britt-Gibson February 25, 2018 (2018-02-25) TBD
7 "The Sincerest Form of Flattery" Alik Sakharov TBA March 4, 2018 (2018-03-04) TBD
8 "Love the Lie" Alik Sakharov Amy Berg & Gary Gilbert & Jordan Horowitz March 11, 2018 (2018-03-11) TBD
9 "No Man's Land, Part One" Stephen Williams TBA March 18, 2018 (2018-03-18) TBD
10 "No Man's Land, Part Two" Jennifer Getzinger TBA March 25, 2018 (2018-03-25) TBD


  1. ^ Per series creator Justin Marks, the "other" Howard is referred to as Howard Prime, and "our" Howard is referred to as Howard Alpha, or simply Howard.[13]
  2. ^ The pilot episode was later re-aired on January 21, 2018.[14]


The series was ordered in April 2015 with J. K. Simmons announced to star.[1] 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,[5] including Berlin, where the series is set.[20]



No. Title Air date Rating/share
DVR viewers
Total viewers
1 "The Crossing" December 10, 2017 0.1 0.394[15] N/A N/A
2 "Birds of a Feather" January 28, 2018 0.1 0.506[16] 0.510 1.016[21]
3 "The Lost Art of Diplomacy" February 4, 2018 0.1 0.299[17] 0.532 0.831[22]
4 "Both Sides Now" February 11, 2018 0.1 0.360[18] TBD TBD
5 "Shaking the Tree" February 18, 2018 0.1 0.416[19] TBD TBD

Critical response

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 29 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Tense and gripping, The Counterpart is an absorbing thrill-fest led by J.K. Simmons' multi-faceted dual lead performance."[23] On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 76 out of 100 based 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[24]


  1. ^ a b c d Jaafar, Ali; Andreeva, Nellie (April 22, 2015). "JK Simmons To Star In Starz Drama Series From 'The Imitation Game' Director". Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ Patten, Dominic (November 2, 2017). "Starz Sets JK Simmons Starrer 'Counterpart' Premiere For Early 2018; Drops 1st Trailer". Deadline. Retrieved November 2, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (September 30, 2016). "'Counterpart': Olivia Williams & Harry Lloyd To Co-Star In Starz Drama Series". Deadline. Retrieved January 28, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c Pedersen, Erik (October 26, 2016). "'Counterpart': Michael Nyqvist, Nazanin Boniadi, 2 Others Join Starz Spy Series". Deadline. Retrieved October 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Petski, Denise (December 1, 2016). "'Counterpart': Ulrich Thomsen Joins In Recasting As Production Begins On Starz Spy Series". Deadline. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Petski, Denise (December 7, 2016). "'Counterpart': Mido Hamada & Kenneth Choi Join Starz Spy Series". Deadline. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  7. ^ Petski, Denise (January 17, 2017). "Guy Burnet Joins 'Counterpart' & 'Pitch Perfect 3'; Johnny Messner In 'Jane The Virgin'". Deadline. Retrieved February 19, 2018. 
  8. ^ a b c Petski, Denise (January 19, 2017). "'Counterpart': Stephen Rea, Richard Schiff & Sarah Bolger Set To Recur On Starz Spy Thriller". Deadline. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (January 26, 2017). "'Counterpart' Casts Nolan Gerard Funk". Deadline. Retrieved January 11, 2018. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Petski, Denise (March 30, 2017). "'Counterpart': Jacqueline Bisset, Stefan Kapicic, Five More Set To Recur On Starz Spy Thriller". Deadline. Retrieved February 19, 2018. 
  11. ^ "Shows A-Z - counterpart on starz". The Futon Critic. Retrieved January 22, 2018. 
  12. ^ a b "Counterpart – Crew". Starz. Retrieved December 20, 2017. 
  13. ^ Fred, Topel (January 19, 2018). "How 'Counterpart' Creator Justin Marks Created Two Worlds With Very Specific Rules [Interview]". /Film. Retrieved January 31, 2018. 
  14. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (January 23, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 1.21.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved January 29, 2018. 
  15. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (December 12, 2017). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.10.2017". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (January 30, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 1.28.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved January 30, 2018. 
  17. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (February 6, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 2.4.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved February 7, 2018. 
  18. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (February 13, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 2.11.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved February 13, 2018. 
  19. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (February 21, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 2.18.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved February 21, 2018. 
  20. ^ "Video: Starz Releases Official Trailer and Premiere Date for New Spy Thriller "Counterpart"". Starz (Press release). November 2, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2018. 
  21. ^ Porter, Rick (February 8, 2018). "'Waco' premiere doubles in cable Live +7 ratings for Jan. 22-28". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 8, 2018. 
  22. ^ Porter, Rick (February 15, 2018). "'The Alienist' doubles in cable Live +7 ratings for Jan. 29-Feb. 4". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 15, 2018. 
  23. ^ "Counterpart: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 13, 2018. 
  24. ^ "Counterpart: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved January 28, 2018. 

External links