The Affair (TV series)

Last updated
The Affair
The Affair 2014 Poster.jpg
Television release poster
Genre Drama
Psychological drama
Created by
Opening theme"Container" by Fiona Apple [1]
Composer Marcelo Zarvos
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes53 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Production locations Brooklyn, New York City
Long Island City, New York City
Westchester County, New York
Montauk, New York
Los Angeles, California
CinematographySteven Fierberg
Tod Campbell
EditorsLouis Cioffi
Todd Desrosiers
Dana Congdon
Agnes Grandits
Pete Beaudreau
Running time50–90 minutes
Production companiesSheleg
Showtime Networks
Original network Showtime
Picture format 1080i
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseOctober 12, 2014 (2014-10-12) 
November 3, 2019 (2019-11-03)
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] It ran for five seasons, concluding with its final episode on November 3, 2019.


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". [4]

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

The Affair explores the emotional effects of an extramarital relationship between Noah Solloway (Dominic West) and Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson) after they casually meet at the diner where Alison works. The series begins with the Solloway family traveling to the resort town of Montauk, New York. Noah is happily married to Helen (Maura Tierney) with four children–Whitney (Julia Goldani Telles), Martin (Jake Siciliano), Trevor (Jadon Sand) and Stacey (Leya Catlett and Abigail Dylan Harrison) but he resents their dependence on his wealthy father-in-law. Alison is a local waitress trying to piece her life and marriage to Cole (Joshua Jackson) back together after the death of their four-year-old son. 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. [5] 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 and Cole, as they all move forward with the dissolution of their marriages and deal with the ramifications. [6] 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. Alison gives birth to her second child, Joanie.

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), a professor and Noah's love interest. [7]

In the fourth season, Noah has moved to Los Angeles to be closer to his younger children Trevor and Stacey, as Helen and Vik (Omar Metwally) have moved there. Noah is also an English teacher at a charter school where he gets romantically involved with its principal, Janelle Wilson (Sanaa Lathan). 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 central perspectives of Noah, Helen, Alison and Cole continue, with the latter two reaching their conclusions; a one-off part from Vik's perspective is also featured.

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 and discovering the truth about her mother's death. [8] The season introduces the perspectives of Joanie and Whitney alongside Noah and Helen, as well as one-off parts from the perspectives of Janelle and Sierra (Emily Browning).

Perspective characters

Does not appearHelen
Does not appearColeWhitney
Does not appearJulietteVikJanelle
Does not appearSierra


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 10October 12, 2014 (2014-10-12)December 21, 2014 (2014-12-21)
2 12October 4, 2015 (2015-10-04)December 20, 2015 (2015-12-20)
3 10November 20, 2016 (2016-11-20)January 29, 2017 (2017-01-29)
4 10June 17, 2018 (2018-06-17)August 19, 2018 (2018-08-19)
5 11August 25, 2019 (2019-08-25)November 3, 2019 (2019-11-03)


Main cast

Dominic West Noah Solloway Main
Ruth Wilson Alison BaileyMain [lower-alpha 1] Does not appear
Maura Tierney Helen ButlerMain
Joshua Jackson Cole LockhartMain [lower-alpha 1] Does not appear
Julia Goldani Telles Whitney SollowayMain
Jake Siciliano Martin SollowayMain Guest Recurring
Jadon SandTrevor SollowayMain
Leya CatlettStacey Solloway [lower-alpha 2] Main [lower-alpha 1] Does not appear
Josh Stamberg Max CadmanRecurringMainGuestDoes not appear
Catalina Sandino Moreno Luisa LeónDoes not appearRecurringMainRecurring
Omar Metwally Vik UllahDoes not appearRecurringMain [lower-alpha 3]
Irène Jacob Juliette Le GallDoes not appearMainDoes not appear
Sanaa Lathan Janelle WilsonDoes not appearMain [lower-alpha 4]
Anna Paquin Joanie Lockhart [lower-alpha 5] Does not appearMain

Recurring cast


  1. 1 2 3 4 Also appears in season 5 through archive footage.
  2. Abigail Dylan Harrison portrays Stacey Solloway in seasons 3 to 5, credited as a recurring guest star.
  3. Until season 5 episode 2.
  4. Until season 5 episode 3.
  5. The younger Joanie is uncredited in season 2, and played by recurring guest stars Reagan and Savannah Grella in seasons 3 and 4.
  6. Tony Plana plays an older Ben Cruz in one episode of season 5.


On February 8, 2013, it was announced that Showtime had ordered a pilot for The Affair. [13] 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; [14] however, it was later changed to 12. [15] On December 9, 2015, the series was renewed for a third season. [16] On January 9, 2017, Showtime renewed the series for a fourth season. [17] On July 26, 2018, Showtime announced it had renewed the series for a fifth and final season. [18]

Ruth Wilson requested to leave ahead of season four. [19] Although Wilson did not fully disclose the reason for her departure in 2019, The Hollywood Reporter did an exposé alleging that Wilson had been uncomfortable with the amount of nudity required for the role and naming showrunner Sarah Treem and executive producer and director Jeffrey Reiner as behaving inappropriately towards actors on set. [20] Treem would later deny the accusations that she had coerced Wilson into nude scenes while admitting that Wilson was not comfortable with the amount of nudity required for the character and that body doubles were frequently used. Treem also corroborated that there had been an investigation into Reiner after he allegedly shared nude photos of a body double with producer, writer and actress Lena Dunham despite the fact that she was not involved in the show in any capacity. [21]

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. Joshua Jackson did not return for the final season. [8] 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. [22]


Critical response

SeasonCritical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
190% (51 reviews)85 (28 reviews)
290% (23 reviews)78 (15 reviews)
371% (21 reviews)72 (8 reviews)
491% (23 reviews)N/A
587% (15 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." [23] On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 85 out of 100, based on 28 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". [24]

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." [25] On Metacritic, it has a score of 78 out of 100 based on 15 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [26] 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. [27]

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." [28] On Metacritic, it has a score of 72 out of 100 based on 8 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [29]

The fourth season received continued positive reviews from critics. [30] 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." [31]

The fifth season received continued positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 87%, based on 15 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." [32] On Metacritic, it has a score of 77 out of 100 based on 4 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [33]

Awards and nominations

72nd Golden Globe Awards [34] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Dominic West Nominated
Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth Wilson Won
Best Television Series – Drama The AffairWon
19th Satellite Awards [35] Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth WilsonNominated
Best Television Series – Drama The AffairNominated
67th Writers Guild of America Awards [36] Best New Series The AffairNominated
6th Critics' Choice Television Awards [37] Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Maura Tierney Nominated
73rd Golden Globe Awards [38] Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Maura TierneyWon
42nd People's Choice Awards [39] Favorite Premium Cable TV Actor Joshua Jackson Nominated
20th Satellite Awards [40] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Dominic WestWon
68th Primetime Emmy Awards [41] Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Maura TierneyNominated
7th Critics' Choice Television Awards [42] Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
21st Satellite Awards [43] [44] Best Television Series – Drama The AffairNominated
Best Actor – Television Series Drama Dominic WestWon
Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth WilsonNominated
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Maura TierneyNominated
Location Managers Guild Awards [45] Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary TV SeriesSean IlnseherNominated
22nd Satellite Awards [46] Best Television Series – Drama The AffairNominated
Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth WilsonNominated
71st Writers Guild of America Awards [47] Television: Episodic Drama Lydia Diamond, Sarah Sutherland and Jaquén Castellanos for "Episode 407"Nominated

Home media

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. [48] The second season was released on DVD in region 1 on August 16, 2016. [49] The third season was released on DVD in region 1 on April 25, 2017. [50] The fourth season was released on DVD in region 1 on October 16, 2018. [51] The fifth and final season as well as a complete series collection were released on DVD in region 1 on March 10, 2020. [52] [53]

International broadcast

In Canada, the series premiered simultaneously with the American broadcast on October 12, 2014, and aired on Movie Central and The Movie Network. [54] The series premiered on Showcase in Australia on February 10, 2015. [55] Sky Atlantic bought the rights to air The Affair in the UK with season one beginning in May 2015. [56]

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