Drama fans are in for a wild ride when The Affair returns to SHOWTIME® for its fourth season this summer. The series tells the story of married couples Noah and Helen Solloway (Dominic West and Maura Tierney) and Cole and Alison Lockhart (Joshua Jackson and Ruth Wilson), whose lives are thrown into chaos when Noah and Alison have an affair one summer.
One thing that makes The Affair stand out from other relationship dramas on TV today is the clever storytelling tool used by creators Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi and their writers: Each season of the series depicts the same events from different characters’ perspectives. Oftentimes, the perspective shift causes dramatic changes to the events — many viewers were drawn in by the defining end of season one, where some characters remember Cole brandishing a gun and others do not.
But memory is a funny thing. Sometimes eyewitnesses to a crime have very different stories about what happened: They’re all telling their version of the events, which is influenced by both personal interpretation and the accuracy of their memories. This phenomenon is called the “Rashomon Effect,” named for the famous 1950 Japanese film Rashomon by acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa.