Counterpart is a new Starz Original Series created by Justin Marks. The SciFi/Drama stars J. K. Simmons as Howard Silk, a lowly cog in the bureaucratic machine of the Office of Interchange in Berlin. Howard discovers that the agency is really overseeing The Crossing, a portal into a parallel dimension.
In addition to the cross-dimensional espionage at its core, the show explores the themes of identity, what ifs and lost love.
30 years ago, at the end of the cold war, there was an accident during an experiment in the USSR-controlled area of East Berlin. The site of the accident, the building now known as The Crossing, became a nexus point allowing travel between two dimensions.
While identical in every way at the moment the portal opened, the two sides have diverged significantly in the 30 years since and are now involved in a cross-dimensional cold war with each other.
Bureaucracies on both sides of the portal control access, diplomacy, and espionage between dimensions through the Office of Interchange.
- J. K. Simmons as Howard Silk
- Olivia Williams as Emily Burton Silk
- Harry Lloyd as Peter Quayle
- Nazanin Boniadi as Clare
- Sara Serraiocco as Baldwin
- Ulrich Thomsen as Aldrich
- Bernhard Forcher as Andrei
- Kenneth Choi as Bob Dwyer
- Nolan Gerard Funk as Angel Eyes
Marks described the process on The Bitter Script Reader Blog in 2016 -
- "It’s an original, something I was specing as a feature. I had a meeting at MRC (Media Rights Capital) one day and had just been working on this idea. They asked what I was working on, so I told them and they said, 'That should be a TV show. We’ll buy that. Let’s develop it together as a script and we’ll see if we can find interest in it.' We brought it out to the marketplace and got J.K. Simmons and Morten (Tyldum) attached to it right after the Oscars last year."
Marks and co-executive producer Amy Berg spent a year in the writers' room with Gary Gilbert, Jordan Horowitz, Erin Levy and others before production began. Marks described the first season as a 10-hour movie with ten chapters. The first episode is directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game). Jennifer Getzinger (Mad Men, Outlander) directed three episodes as did Stephen Williams (Ray Donovan, Westworld)
According to Marks, Starz has already ordered a second season of Counterpart.