There's nothing quite like the Starz series Counterpart anywhere else on TV — star J.K. Simmons portrays both an employee at a German spy organization that accidentally opened up a secret, alternate dimension, and his own AU double. The show blends aspects the genres of sci-fi, crime, and straight-up thriller, and there's still a lot to unpack, even as Season 1 comes to an end on April 1. So, when will Counterpart return for Season 2?
Collider reported that production on a second season was already underway as of last month, though a premiere date has not yet been set, so fans of the show can breathe a sigh of relief that the series won't be ending forever on a huge cliffhanger. And a renewal didn't seem like a longshot as of the premiere. Critics have been singing the show's praises since the beginning. The Atlantic's Sophie Gilbert wrote that Simmons "brings gravitas and emotional heft to a project that could easily careen off the rails toward crazytown," and that the show's premise is "fresh" despite it borrowing from premises and tropes that have been done before.
Variety's Maureen Ryan praised the show's use of "graceful and well-modulated sci-fi elements to ask thoughtful questions," and also said that the program "avoids many of the traps of the Prestige Drama category." Not to mention, Counterpart also boasts the coveted 100 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The dark, gritty tone of Counterpart has definitely been explored before in a ton of ways, so the fact that the TV community at large isn't exhausted by the show's dive into these tropes is a great sign for its staying power.
In the show, Simmons plays Howard Silk, who stumbles unknowingly onto a secret dimension that's been covered up for years. Another version of Howard exists in this new universe — Howard Alpha — and though the two differ, they learn to trust one another as more and more information is revealed about the spy agency that's defined both of their lives. Simmons himself was always down for a second season, it seems. In an interview with Collider, the Oscar-winning actor said he's keeping up with the twists and turns right alongside viewers.
"I’m not privy to all of where [Season 2 is] going. And when we have conversations about where it’s going, I sometimes say, 'Don’t tell me.' There’s stuff I don’t want to know," he said. "Backstory stuff, of course, is different. I’m looking forward to being surprised and getting the new episode script." He also said that because he plays two versions of the same man — one from each dimension explored in the show — it takes away a lot of his ability to play off of other actors in a scene when it's only the two versions of himself interacting with one another. "When the other actor is you, it takes away part of that process and forces me to go back, in a way, to my original experience and training in theater, and be more prepared and rehearse more, just for those scenes, specifically, where I’m playing two characters," he said.
Despite that experience, he said that playing two Howards is one of the more interesting tasks he's taken on as an actor, as he tries to get to know both of them and portray them both honestly. "It’s a fascinating opportunity, even though that wasn’t what originally drew me to the project," he continued in the same interview. "It’s been fun to have the opportunity to play two different versions of the same human being, and to try to find those, as subtlety and realistically as possible."
Season 2 has already seen some changes in terms of cast — Deadline reports that Betty Gabriel, perhaps best known for her deeply unsettling turn as Georgina in the Oscar-winning Get Out, has signed on for the 10-episode season. With production more than a month underway, a premiere date announcement for Season 2 could be coming soon, but even if not, Counterpart has given fans plenty to stew upon in the lull between seasons.