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Showtime refuses to break up with The Affair

Ruth Wilson, Dominic West (Photo: Showtime)

While the first two seasons of Showtime’s The Affair moved at a pretty good clip, framing the central relationship between Noah (Dominic West) and Alison (Ruth Wilson) with a compelling murder mystery, season three has veered into a weird Misery/Black Swan-like detour. After a stint in prison, Noah is now being stalked by his former guard (Brendan Fraser, doing a bang-up job)—or is the guard’s torment all in Noah’s traumatized and drug-addled head? Alison, now Noah’s second ex-wife, is getting the short shrift this season, still stuck on Montauk and trying to get custody of her daughter Joanie. Season three has also added the perspective of an unappealing new character, Irène Jacob’s Juliette Le Gall, who the A.V. Club commenters have rightfully dubbed Professor SexFrench. In short, The Affair’s season three is a bit off the rails.

So Showtime’s announcement that The Affair has been renewed for a fourth season comes as a bit of a surprise, although it does align with the cable network’s tendency to stick with shows that are past their peak. Showtime president and CEO David Nevins made the announcement today at the 2017 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. Past seasons of the show have been a bit more critically acclaimed: Its first season won the Golden Globe for best drama in 2015, as well as a best actress trophy for Ruth Wilson. Last year, Maura Tierney took home a Golden Globe for best supporting actress for her role as Helen, Noah’s other ex-wife. The current run of The Affair wraps up on January 29, with three episodes left to attempt to rejuvenate the series for the now-upcoming season four.

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