Show­time puts fi­nal touches on ‘The Af­fair’

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tap - BY JAY BOB­BIN

To re­pur­pose a fa­mous story’s ti­tle, it’s the end of “The Af­fair.” The fifth and fi­nal sea­son of the Show­time drama se­ries be­gins Sun­day, Aug. 25, with no­table cast al­ter­ations for its con­clud­ing stanza. As its view­ers well know, Ruth Wil­son left the reg­u­lar cast last year, and so has Joshua Jack­son – but the legacy of their for­merly mar­ried char­ac­ters Ali­son and Cole re­mains in the cou­ple’s now­grown daugh­ter Joanie, played in adult­hood (and in for­ward-flash­ing seg­ments) by “The Pi­ano” Os­car win­ner and “True Blood” alum Anna Paquin.

“I had seen the first sea­son,” Paquin says, “and when the of­fer came, I sat down and watched ev­ery­thing else that had come out af­ter that. It says a lot when you’re go­ing to pre­sume to sit down and watch four sea­sons of ‘The Af­fair’ ... but it’s an amaz­ing show, neatly writ­ten and con­structed, and it was a spe­cial thing to join it.”

Though Joanie was seen in the third and fourth sea­sons of “The Af­fair,” she was played then by much-younger Sa­van­nah Grella, so Paquin ef­fec­tively is creat­ing the char­ac­ter in prob­ing ex­actly what hap­pened to Ali­son. “The writ­ing is so com­pelling, a lot of my work was done for me,” Paquin re­flects, “as far as who that per­son is and the place in the story that she in­hab­its. And as much fun as it is to start out with some­thing, it’s also fun to get to be part of a fi­nal act.”

It seems in­evitable that the adult Joanie’s path will cross that of Noah (Do­minic West), the novelist turned teacher whose ex­tra­mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ship with Ali­son set “The Af­fair” in mo­tion. She also may en­counter He­len (Maura Tier­ney), Noah’s ex ... but ow­ing to the se­crets that se­ries co-cre­ator and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Sarah Treem (who wrote the fi­nal-sea­son opener) wants to keep for now, Paquin re­frains from pro­vid­ing such de­tails. She con­firms, “I’m in­volved in a lot of that not-to-be-dis­cussed ma­te­rial and how the en­tire se­ries is wrapped up.”

As Sanaa Lathan and Rus­sell Hornsby re­turn to the cast, also join­ing “The Af­fair” for its wrap-up round are Jennifer Ja­son Leigh, Lyriq Bent (“Rookie Blue”) as Joanie’s sports-agent hus­band, and Claes Bang (“The Girl in the Spi­der’s Web”) as the in­trigued-by-He­len star of a movie be­ing made from one of Noah’s books.

Paquin re­cently ap­peared in hus­band (and fel­low “True Blood” vet­eran) Stephen Moyer’s movie-di­rect­ing de­but, “The Part­ing Glass”; she’s pleased to build a re­sume of se­ries work also in­clud­ing “Flack,” which Pop is giv­ing a Sea­son 2. She notes, though, that she’s “very happy with my work in gen­eral. Wher­ever it is, I’m glad to take what­ever job makes sense for my life at the time.”

Anna Paquin joins “The Af­fair” as the fifth and fi­nal sea­son of the Show­time se­ries starts Sun­day.

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