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.
In 1848, two real life warships, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, sent on a Royal Naval expedition to find the treacherous Northwest Passage become trapped in ice near Arctic and face starvation, mutiny, cannibalism and a demonic polar bear.
Counterpart is about a mysterious world hidden beneath the surface of our everyday existence. Howard Silk is a lowly cog in the bureaucratic machinery of a Berlin-based United Nations spy agency. When Howard discovers that his organization safeguards the secret of a crossing into a parallel dimension, he is thrust into a shadow world of intrigue, danger, and double cross - where the only man he can trust is his near-identical counterpart from this parallel world. The show explores themes of identity, fate and lost love, posing the eternal question, "what if our lives could have been different?"Written by
The first episode opens with a hint of something sinister.
Then we meet Howard Silk (J. K. Simmons), an affable everyman, a schlub with little ambition or backbone. Still, the mechanics of his job are a real tease. Like most viewers, I know the series revolves around an alternate reality, but much is not explained early on. When Howard, who has worked the same job for thirty years, says, "I don't know what we do here", it hints at a huge mystery .
He fills his personal life with games of Go and reading tomes to his comatose wife.
Then, the alternate reality impinges on Howard's life and everything is changed. Like layers of an onion, the details of a clandestine reality peel away, leaving plenty more to discover.
Simmons gets to play with multiple aspects of his character, making for an enjoyable viewing that revolves around many acting nuances.
The show is a contemplation on experience versus free will. And it explores the possibilities that might result from different life choices.
Though Howard Silk starts as a victim of his own life, and his professional choices, this story is not like "The Prisoner", where the truths can never be known. Counterpart" promises plenty of fun in discovering those truths. And the end of episode one hints at more depths. This ride of discovery looks very promising indeed.
Update 2/17/08: A few more episodes in, I am upping my grade to "10". This has a good plot, well written.
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