'The Affair' Star Dominic West on His Philandering Novelist: "Life Isn't What He Thought"

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Joshua Jackson, Maura Tierney, Ruth Wilson and Dominic West at Monday's 'The Affair' premiere

Meanwhile, Ruth Wilson, who plays West's married love interest calls his character "her escape"

The Wire alum Dominic West trades in the mean streets of Baltimore for the idyllic, sandy beaches of Montauk in Showtime's steamy new drama The Affair. The British actor plays a New York City public school teacher and novelist who thinks he's happily married until he meets someone else, specifically Ruth Wilson's Alison, a waitress in Montauk with whom he falls in love.

"He realizes that his life isn't what he thought it was, and his life eventually falls apart," West told The Hollywood Reporter of his character at Monday night's series premiere in New York.

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Wilson's character also is married, and for her, West's character comes along at the right time.

Alison and her husband, Paul, played by Joshua Jackson, "lost their child, so she's in a place of numbness," Wilson told THR. "And then this man [West] enters her life who is very different — older and more sophisticated and seemingly confident and caring and nonjudgmental about her life. She falls in love instantly with the man, and it's her escape — it's what she's been needing."

But Showtime Networks president David Nevins said the series, created by House of Cards writer Sarah Treem and her former In Treatment collaborator Hagai Levi, is about more than relationships: "It's also a real mystery because something happens in the future that drives a criminal investigation, and there is a police interrogation. It's very vague at first, but it becomes clear over time what exactly happened and who was hurt."

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West, Wilson, Jackson, Nevins and Treem were joined by fellow castmember Maura Tierney and Showtime CEO Matt Blank at the screening. Other stars in attendance included Jackson's longtime girlfriend Diane Kruger, West's The Wire co-star Michael Kenneth Williams, Mamie Gummer, CNBC's Carl Quintanilla, John Doman and designer Jason Wu.

After the screening, guests headed a block over to the North River Lobster Company, a swaying boat docked along the Hudson River, and dined on lobster rolls, chicken sliders, bacon cheeseburgers, French fries and a raw bar selection of Montauk oysters, lobsters and clams.

The Affair premieres Sunday, Oct. 12 at 10 p.m. on Showtime, with the pilot episode available online now.

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