Honestly, the only two reasons why we started watching Counterpart (CraveTV in Canada) is because JK Simmons is in the lead, and it was about spies. We didn’t know anything else about it, hadn’t heard anything, seen reviews, nothing.
Only, the show is not exactly about spies.
And JK Simmons isn’t in the lead. He’s both leads.
The show is like that. You have to pay attention, because it’s about two alternative realities who spy on each other. Think of it this way: your version of you from the other world is sneaking over to your world here and taking back secrets…and smuggling illicit goods like cellphones.
Everyone who knows about the alternative world fantasizes about meeting their counterpart. Howard Silke (Simmons) does meet his counterpart.
I can’t explain any further because I’ll end up laying down spoilers.
I will say that it’s absolutely delicious that the show is set in Berlin (and partially filmed there, too). The setting harks back to the cold war days when spies were crossing the wall on a daily basis and all sorts of shenanigans ensued.
Despite the premise, this show is very deeply immersed in exploring character. JK Simmons does an amazing job playing himself and his counterpart. You never wonder which one is which, despite the two characters sometimes wearing the same clothes and being in the same scenes. It’s absorbing and surprisingly low-key, yet high tension story telling. It is also a real change of pace from the breakneck thrillers we seem to have been watching lately.
We were thoroughly hooked by the end of the first episode.
Give it a try.
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