The Affair

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Affair TV Poster Image
Drama weaves a dark, sexy tale about adult relationships.

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age 18+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series explores the characters' motivations to commit adultery and, by adding the unexpected element of a police investigation, implies that something went horribly wrong as a result of their affair. Iffy choices seem to lead to negative consequences, but right and wrong aren't really the focus.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Noah and Alison are relatable and sympathetic characters -- depending on whose version of events you believe. But, in the end, they choose to be unfaithful to their partners. In terms of role modeling, there's far more gray than black and white.


Scenes aren't graphic but can be disturbing and include a teen's faked suicide by hanging and a love scene that toes the line between consensual sex and rape.


Simulated sex with a variety of partners. Nudity isn't excessive, but you'll see nipples, buttocks, and so on.


Unbleeped language includes "f--k," "s--t," "whore," and so on.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking, with discussion of habitual teen drug use of marijuana. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Affair chronicles a budding flirtation between a man and woman, both of whom are married to other people. Sexual scenes aren't necessarily graphic, but there's very little left to the imagination, and you'll see brief shots of nipples, buttocks, and so on. You'll also hear unbleeped swearing ("f--k" and "s--t") and see some disturbing scenes of implied violence (including suicide and rape). There's some social drinking, too, and discussion of teen drug use.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byaboy26 October 10, 2014

Another showtime show thats not for kids

This is not like anything you would see on the showtime network, it is something that HBO would kill for, the name of the show says it all, but as the show does... Continue reading

What's the story?

When Brooklyn writer and teacher Noah Solloway (Dominic West) arrives in Montauk to spend the summer with his wife (Maura Tierney), his kids, and his wealthy in-laws, his primary concern is starting work on his second novel. But a chance meeting with alluring local waitress Alison Lockhard (Ruth Wilson) -- a married woman still grappling with unimaginable loss -- ignites an unplanned passion he can't ignore, and THE AFFAIR that follows breeds serious consequences.

Is it any good?

There's a saying that it takes two to tango, and The Affair takes that concept one step further in an intriguing and unexpected way by telling a shared story of infidelity from two wildly different points of view. The result is an engrossing mystery that effectively hooks you with unanswered questions and inconsistencies and stirs provocative questions about cheaters, liars, and truth-tellers.

In The Affair, whom -- or what -- is to be believed often comes down to a matter of perspective, even if it's a detail as mundane as what a character might have been wearing. And it's messages such as these, in addition to edgy (albeit tasteful) simulated sex, that make this Affair a better fit for adults who can emotionally relate to the characters and mine the most value from their struggles. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Affair's use of a Rashomon-like narrative structure (referring to a classic Japanese film wherein the characters provide very different versions of the same event). How do Noah and Alison's recollections differ? In what ways are they similar? What's the purpose of dividing the story into two points of view?

  • Why do people choose to cheat on their spouses, particularly if they appear to be happy? Is it purely sexual or partly emotional -- and are those reasons different for men than they are for women? Is infidelity ever OK?

  • How do Noah and Alison's actions in The Affair affect the other people in their lives, including their respective spouses and children? Are they ultimately punished for their actions? Is there a lesson to be learned?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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