The Affair
Television release poster
Created by
Opening theme"Container" by Fiona Apple[1]
ComposerMarcelo Zarvos
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes53 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Production locations
  • Steven Fierberg
  • Tod Campbell
  • Louis Cioffi
  • Todd Desrosiers
  • Dana Congdon
  • Agnes Grandits
  • Pete Beaudreau
Running time50–90 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseOctober 12, 2014 (2014-10-12) –
November 3, 2019 (2019-11-03)

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 and Alison Bailey 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 with four children–Whitney, Martin, Trevor, and Stacey, 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 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, 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, 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 have moved there. Noah is also an English teacher at a charter school where he gets romantically involved with its principal, Janelle Wilson. Cole and Luisa 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 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.

Perspective characters

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 Janelle
Does not appear Whitney
Does not appear Sierra


Main article: List of The Affair episodes

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)
511August 25, 2019 (2019-08-25)November 3, 2019 (2019-11-03)


Main cast

Actor Character Season
1 2 3 4 5
Dominic West Noah Solloway Main
Ruth Wilson Alison Bailey Main[a] Does not appear
Maura Tierney Helen Butler Main
Joshua Jackson Cole Lockhart Main[a] 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[b] Main[a] Does not appear
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[c]
Irène Jacob Juliette Le Gall Does not appear Main Does not appear
Sanaa Lathan Janelle Wilson Does not appear Main[d]
Anna Paquin Joanie Lockhart[e] Does not appear Main

Recurring cast


  1. ^ a b c d 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

Critical response of The Affair
SeasonRotten TomatoesMetacritic
190% (130 reviews)85 (28 reviews)
290% (126 reviews)78 (15 reviews)
371% (21 reviews)72 (8 reviews)
491% (23 reviews)
588% (16 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 130 reviews, with an average rating of 8.15/10. 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 126 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. 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 acclaim than the first two seasons. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 71%, based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10. 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 7.4/10. 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 88%, based on 16 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. 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

Association Category Nominee(s) Result
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 Affair Won
19th Satellite Awards[35] Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth Wilson Nominated
Best Television Series – Drama The Affair Nominated
67th Writers Guild of America Awards[36] Best New Series The Affair Nominated
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 Tierney Won
42nd People's Choice Awards[39] Favorite Premium Cable TV Actor Joshua Jackson Nominated
20th Satellite Awards[40] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Dominic West Won
68th Primetime Emmy Awards[41] Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Maura Tierney Nominated
7th Critics' Choice Television Awards[42] Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
21st Satellite Awards[43][44] 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[45] Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary TV Series Sean Ilnseher Nominated
22nd Satellite Awards[46] Best Television Series – Drama The Affair Nominated
Best Actress – Television Series Drama Ruth Wilson Nominated
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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