'My character is like a 50-year-old newborn!' Olivia Williams stars in a second season of spy thriller, Counterpart

Olivia Williams
(Image credit: Julia Terjung)

British actor Olivia Williams who has starred in Hollywood hits including The Postman and The Sixth Sense is back on screen for a second series of espionage series, Counterpart....

Pay attention! Starz’ hit espionage show Counterpart is returning for a second season and that means more parallel lives, actors playing two versions of themselves and general mind-bending sci-fi drama.

In season one Howard Silk (J.K. Simmons), a low-level desk worker at a Berlin-based spy agency, discovered that his employers were protecting an opening to a parallel dimension. In this other dimension, he met his counterpart named Prime (also J.K. Simmons).

Season two at the Office of Interchange will see the Crossing closed, meaning that Howard, his wife Emily (Olivia Williams) and the various ‘Prime’ versions of themselves are stranded in each others’ worlds.

TV & Satellite News  spoke to Olivia Williams to find out more...

TV& Satellite News: Can you set the scene for your character, Emily Silk, at the start of Season Two?

Olivia Williams: "My character has just woken up from a coma and doesn't remember anything. She’s like a newborn, but a 50- year-old newborn. That means she has to trust everything that she’s told which is the opposite of everyone else in this programme – nobody trusts anybody; everything is a lie. And then like a spy she has to work out who she was, with moments of clarity gradually coming back to her."

Olivia Williams

Olivia Williams stars as Emily Silk (Image credit: Steffan Hill)

TVS: How does Counterpart mirror current affairs and world politics?

OW: "Usually we say life imitates art but here life is in serious competition with art and no one knows which one is winning. We kind of predicted Novichok in our plot lines last year - this idea of releasing a virus into society on the other side, getting a few of the people you want to get and killing a load of others as collateral damage. We’ve also had someone wandering into an embassy thinking they’re going to get their papers and disappearing... I mean diplomacy internationally is in this really rancid place right now… and we’re making a TV show about it."

TVS: We confess, we sometimes get a bit confused by Counterpart…

OW: "That means you went to get a cup of tea at the wrong moment. You’ve got to sit there and concentrate!"


TVS: Do you think the writer Justin Marks actually knows what’s going on?

OW: "Oh yes. He’s a terrifying brain. In season one he gave us this bible that had all the rules and regulations of the Office of Interchange. It had a spider gram of the different departments – how strategy linked to management to housekeeping to diplomacy. And all the time that he is explaining it to you he will have some kind of bizarre rubik's cube style puzzle that he’ll be fiddling with – and before the end of the conversation he’ll have solved it. He’s telling you the plot of the most complicated TV show in the world and solving a puzzle at the same time."

TVS: What would ‘the other’ Olivia Williams be in a parallel life?

OW: "I had two application forms and one stamp. One form was for drama school and one was for law school. My parents are both barristers so I wanted to be a solicitor."

Counterpart starts on Sunday 9th December on STARZPLAY  available on Amazon Prime Channels



Tess Lamacraft
Senior Writer for What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite week, Whattowatch.com

Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.