"The Affair" explores the emotional/psychological effects of two affairs. Young diner waitress Alison and her husband, rancher Cole, are struggling -- personally and financially -- in the wake of tragedy. Noah, a settled teacher and would-be novelist, is summering at his in-laws' Hamptons estate with his wife, Helen, and four kids. When Noah meets Alison, they begin an affair. For her, he's a welcome escape; for him, she's a pretty distraction. But, the tryst eventually ends two marriages -- one that was already a bit shaky, the other that was on solid ground.
Ray Donovan is a "fixer" for Hollywood's elite. He is the go-to guy that the city's celebrities, athletes and business moguls call to make their problems disappear. It's a much more lucrative job than his previous work as a ruthless South Boston thug, vaulting him within reach of the truly wealthy and powerful. But no amount of money or the expensive things it can buy can completely mask Ray's past, a past that continues to haunt him with troubled brothers always calling and his father's recent release from 20 years spent in prison. Now a free man, Ray's father, Mickey, arrives in Los Angeles to get what he feels is rightfully his. Mickey's desire to reconnect and settle old scores with his family -- including Ray's wife and kids, who have never met the family's patriarch and are anxious to get to know him -- threatens to destroy everything Ray has built for himself.
In 1960s New York, alpha male Don Draper struggles to stay on top of the heap in the high-pressure world of Madison Avenue advertising firms. Aside from being one of the top ad men in the business, Don is also a family man, the father of young children.
Hip-hop artist and CEO of Empire Entertainment, Lucious Lyon, has always ruled unchallenged, but a medical diagnosis predicts he will be incapacitated in three years, which prompts the sharks to circle. Without further damaging his family, he must decide which of his three sons will take over. His favorite, young Hakeem, is a gifted musician but values fame over hard work. Middle son, Jamal, is talented and shy but gay -- embarrassing to Lyon. The oldest, Andre, is business-minded but lacks charisma. The reappearance of Cookie, his ex-wife, complicates things; she says he owes her for taking the fall for the drug-running that financed his early career.
Wealth, influence and corruption collide in this drama set in New York. Shrewd U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades is embroiled in a high-stakes game of predator vs. prey with Bobby Axelrod, an ambitious hedge-fund king. To date, Rhoades has never lost an insider trading case -- he's 81-0 -- but when criminal evidence turns up against Axelrod, he proceeds cautiously in building the case against Axelrod, who employs Rhoades' wife, psychiatrist Wendy, as a performance coach for his company. Wendy, who has been in her position longer than Chuck has been in his, refuses to give up her career for her husband's legal crusade against Axelrod. Both men use their intelligence, power and influence to outmaneuver the other in this battle over billions. The high-profile cast is led by Emmy winners Paul Giamatti ("John Adams") and Damian Lewis ("Homeland") as Chuck Rhoades and Bobby Axelrod, respectively.
Bassam "Barry" al-Fayeed, who has fully assimilated to living in America, is the son of a Middle Eastern dictator. Barry is a pediatrician in Los Angeles, but he and his family return to his native country for his nephew's wedding. It's his first visit in 20 years, but things don't go as planned. When his father dies suddenly, Barry and his family are embroiled in political upheaval and forced to stay in the country. A clash of cultures ensues as Barry is thrown back into the familial and national politics of his youth, which he had escaped by self-imposed exile.