counterpart (S1)

Starring: j K simmons, olivia williams, harry lloyd, and sara serraiocco

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★★★

A hapless UN employee discovers the agency he works for is hiding a gateway to a parallel dimension that's in Cold War with our own, and where his other self is a top spy. The war slowly heats up thanks to spies from both sides.

We are in a golden age of television. With TV companies competing with streaming giants Netflix and Amazon, Hollywood is producing its most innovative and original productions through the medium of television. But with competition comes a lot of product making it difficult for TV shows to demand to be compulsive viewing (outside Game of Thrones and Line of Duty of course. ) However, Counterpart is one of those very rare shows. 

What might be different if a person could co-exist in an alternate world? Howard Silk, a low-level agent whose career is winding down at a Berlin-based United Nations spy agency, unwittingly learns the answer. Upon discovering his organisation is harbouring a secret, that of a gateway to a parallel dimension, Howard becomes immersed in a mysterious world of espionage, intrigue, and government conspiracies. There, the only man Howard can trust is Prime, his almost identical counterpart from a divergent reality.

Sure we've seen TV shows and films that deal with other reality dimensions before, but never in such an original, sleeks, and addictive way. Counterpart leaves you wanting so much more, like a great book that demands you turn the page no matter how sleep deprived you are. 

At the heart of this is the mystery of the other dimension and the motives behind the assassin that moves between both worlds. Since the popularity of streaming, TV feels like an eight part film instead of feeling episodic. Counterpart, although it has a clear story arc, is particularly episodic in that it demands the viewer watches the next episode. 

J K Simmons. This guy is an acting freak of nature. The production team have him wear different costumes to help the audience differentiate between Howard and Prime, his identical counterpart. They didn't need to do it really. In one particular scene when only Simmons' costume was obstructed I knew that it was Howard and not Prime. The extreme subtlety in Simmons performance of each character is out of this world good. Those two performances alone are worth catching Counterpart

Original and highly addictive, Counterpart is must watch TV. 

★★★★

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Counterpart is available on DVD and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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