‘Counterpart’ Review: One of the best spy series currently on offer

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan
J. K. Simmons in Counterpart
J. K. Simmons in Counterpart
In the duplicitous universe of Counterpart there are two worlds, not unlike ours. They are called Alpha world and Prime world, respectively. At first, Prime world was created as exactly the mirror image of Alpha world, back in the late 1980s, by East German scientists.  But subsequently both started growing independently leading to some minor changes initially which gradually made way for much greater divergences.  But the catch is that people living in these worlds aren’t aware of the existence of the other world. This is done to ensure order and sanity intact. Only a handful of operatives on both the sides are aware of the passage that leads to the other world.

Counterpart revolves around a man named Howard Silk, essayed by J. K. Simmons, who has been working for a United Nations agency for over thirty years in Berlin. But given his low rank he is not told about the true nature of the agency’s work which is to gather intelligence about Prime world. But his world turns upside down when he encounters his other self from Prime world. Silk’s counterpart from the other world is a field agent who regularly makes crossings to Silk's world to retrieve those who have gone rogue. Apparently, there is a lot of infighting going around in Prime world which gradually spills over to Alpha world and Silk along with his comatose wife Emily finds himself caught in a major mess.
J. K. Simmons, double role, Counterpart, Alpha World, Prime World
A Still from Counterpart
Needless to say, there is more to Counterpart than meets the eye. One of the best things about it is its fluidity in terms of genre. Counterpart doesn’t merely have interesting Sci-Fi elements but it is ultimately espionage at its finest and it serves as a perfect allegory to the Cold War. In other words, the spies certainly do come in from the cold (pun intended). But at the same time it’s pretty much contemporary and is easily one of the best spy series currently on offer. If you like shows like The Americans and Homeland then you will certainly love Counterpart.
Sara Serraiocco in Counterpart, Mysterious Assassin
Sara Serraiocco in Counterpart
The show’s greatest USP is J. K. Simmons. It’s a real icing on the cake that there isn’t one but two versions of him on offer. And he plays them both brilliantly. The Oscar-winning actor brings his a-game to the table and completely owns it. It’s really a testament to Simmons’ remarkable transformation that just a glance is enough to tell if it is Silk from Alpha world or his counterpart Prime world. Also, the rest of the cast is superb. Here, Sara Serraiocco deserves a special mention. She is absolutely brilliant in the role of a mysterious assassin.   

Viewers in India can catch Counterpart on Sony’s Video on demand service SonyLIV in the English TV Shows section.

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

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