Domina title card.jpg
GenreHistorical drama
Created bySimon Burke
Written bySimon Burke
Directed by
ComposerSamuel Sim
Country of origin
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Simon Burke
  • Faye Dorn
  • Claire McCarthy
  • Patrick Spence
  • Marcus Wilson
  • Nils Hartmann
  • Sonia Rovai
  • Cameron Roach
  • Serena Thompson
  • Cristina Giubbetti
  • John Phillips
  • Carmel Maloney
Production locationRome
  • Denson Baker
  • Ben Wheeler
  • Nicola Daley
  • Tim Fleming
  • Crispin Green
  • Isobel Stephenson
  • Mikka Leskinen
Running time48–55 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNBCUniversal International Distribution
Original network
Original release14 May 2021 (2021-05-14) –

Domina is a British-Italian historical drama television series created and written by Simon Burke for Sky Atlantic (Italy) and Sky Atlantic (UK). Starring Kasia Smutniak as Livia Drusilla, it examines the power struggles of Ancient Rome from a female perspective.[1] The series premiered on 14 May 2021. Domina has been renewed for a second series.


The series charts the life and rise of Livia Drusilla, the powerful wife of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar.[2][3]






No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Fall"Claire McCarthySimon Burke14 May 2021 (2021-05-14)
Livia Drusilla, a young noblewoman, prepares for her marriage to Tiberius Claudius Nero, assisted by her enslaved friend, Antigone. Antigone is freed so that she can join Livia as her companion after she marries. The assassination of Julius Caesar still throws a shadow over Roman politics. Livia's father, Marcus Livius Drusus, a republican, covertly gathers support from other senators, such as his friend Piso. Gaius Julius Caesar, adopted son of Julius Caesar and his friend Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa meet Marcus Antonius and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in secret. They agree to divide the empire between them and kill hundreds of senators and knights sympathetic to Caesar's murderers to raise money. Livia marries Nero but meets Gaius at the wedding and they are immediately attracted to each other. The proscriptions begin. Drusus flees to Brutus and Cassius. He later kills himself after the republicans are defeated at Philippi. Nero is ignored by Gaius and the other triumvirs but after his name is posted on a later list, he and his family go on the run. Gaius marries Scribonia as part of a deal with Sextus Pompeius, who holds Sicily and is protecting many refugees from the proscriptions. Nero makes for Sicily, but on the way, the family is attacked by bandits. Livia kills their leader, Nero knocks Antigone down and she is left for dead.
2"Rise"Claire McCarthySimon Burke14 May 2021 (2021-05-14)
It is 39 BCE. Gaius and Marcus Antonius celebrate their truce with Sextus; Antonius is now married to Octavia, Gaius' sister. Livia, Nero and Tiberius have taken refuge with Sextus in Sicily but an amnesty as the result of the truce means the family can return to Rome. Livia is horrified to find herself pregnant again. Back in Rome, Livia and Nero move in with Livia's new guardian, Libo. Nero considers divorcing Livia to improve his prospects. Livia returns to her family home, looking for news of Antigone; she learns that Antigone has been re-enslaved and sold to a brothel. Livia tries to free Antigone from the House of Balbina but is thrown out. Scribonia, Gaius' wife, sends Livia and Nero an invitation to dinner. The dinner disappoints Nero; Livia makes it clear to Gaius that she's looking for a new husband. Soon afterwards, Livia is invited to visit Gaius alone and she sets out the terms for their marriage. Agrippa fails to dissuade Livia from pursuing Gaius. Livia returns to the House of Balbina with a platoon of Gaius' soldiers and frees Antigone. With Antigone's help, Scribonia gives birth to Julia. Gaius divorces Scribonia the day after Julia is born in order to marry Livia, who has now also divorced Nero. As Livia gives birth to her second son, Drusus, Antigone takes her revenge on Balbina.
3"Family"Claire McCarthySimon Burke14 May 2021 (2021-05-14)
Eleven years on, Livia is married to the powerful Gaius, and is pregnant again. Yet, she does not feel entirely secure.
4"Secrets"David EvansSimon Burke14 May 2021 (2021-05-14)
Livia's marriage to Gaius is compromised when she learns that she can't bear him any children.
5"Plague"David EvansSimon Burke14 May 2021 (2021-05-14)
Gaius' illness causes a political crisis and reveals the weakness of Livia's position without him, a problem she must solve.
6"Nightshade"Debs PatersonSimon Burke14 May 2021 (2021-05-14)
Livia has no choice but to eliminate Marcellus, who plans to kill her sons and exile her when he assumes Gaius' position.
7"Treason"David EvansSimon Burke14 May 2021 (2021-05-14)
As Gaius' rivals taste blood in the water, Livia must outwit both them and her husband if the family is to be kept together.
8"Happiness"David EvansSimon Burke14 May 2021 (2021-05-14)
As Livia tells her sons about their role in her Mission, the truth behind her part in Marcellus' death threatens to come out.


Written by Simon Burke, the lead director is Australian filmmaker Claire McCarthy. Filming for Domina resumed at the Cinecittà studios in Rome in July 2020 following delays from the initial start in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show's title comes from the female version of 'Dominus', the Ancient Roman title for sovereignty, and from which the word 'dominate' originates. As pointed out by Nicola Maccanico (executive vp programming of Sky Italia), Domina is an international production with strong Italian roots. Ancient Rome is brought back to life, bringing together at Cinecittà the great international artistic values and the best Italian talents in the sector: the costumes will be designed by the Academy Award winning Gabriella Pescucci (The Age of Innocence, Once Upon A Time in America, etc.), and production design by the ADG award winner, Luca Tranchino (Prison Break, etc.) [4]

In February 2022, Epix renewed the show for a second series.[5]


The series was released in its entirety on 14 May 2021 on Sky Box Sets and NOW in Italy and the UK. It premiered on television the same day on Sky Atlantic (Italy) and Sky Atlantic (UK).[6]

In the United States, the series premiered on 6 June 2021 on Epix.[7]


The series has received mostly positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 78% based on 9 reviews, with an average score of 6.3/10.[8] Suzi Feay in The Financial Times dubbed the series “Game of Romans”.[9] Historian Tom Holland in The Times agreed that “The echoes of Game of Thrones in the first two episodes are strong, and surely deliberate...the rest of the series approximates more closely to a political thriller”. Holland praised the show “the meat of the show is so enjoyably done that the odd anachronism hardly matters. The 20s BC, sandwiched between the suicides of Antony and Cleopatra and the maturity of Augustus, have never before been the subject of popular drama, but Domina demonstrates to brilliant effect how unjustly neglected they have been... Part of the fun of the series is seeing characters who became significant players in the later decades of Augustus’s life as teenagers”.[10]


  1. ^ "The truth behind Ancient Rome's most controversial woman". BBC. 7 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Sky Original series Domina set to air in May". Cineuropa – the best of european cinema.
  3. ^ Ritman, Alex (21 November 2019). "Sky Sets Ancient Rome Drama 'Domina' With Isabella Rossellini (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 10 May 2021.
  4. ^ <Grater, Tom (31 July 2020). "Sky's Ancient Rome Series 'Domina' With Isabella Rossellini, Liam Cunningham & Kasia Smutniak Resumes Filming At Italy's Cinecitta". Deadline. Archived from the original on 22 May 2021.
  5. ^ Hailu, Selome (3 February 2022). "Epix Announces Billy the Kid Premiere Date, Releases Development Slate". Variety. Penske Media Corporation.
  6. ^ Carr, Flora (14 May 2021). "Domina release date: Guide to Sky's Ancient Rome drama series". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 20 June 2021.
  7. ^ "'Domina' to premiere June 6 on Epix". Epix. 26 April 2021. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Domina". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  9. ^ Feay, Suzi (7 May 2021). "Roman series Domina on Sky Atlantic is action-packed". Financial Times.
  10. ^ Holland, Tom (2 May 2021). "Livia Drusilla gets the Game of Thrones treatment in Domina". The Times. Retrieved 20 June 2021.