Howard Silk is the name of the two primary characters in the Starz Original Series Counterpart. Two different versions of Silk appear on the show, each from a distinctly different dimension. Both Howard Silks are played by J. K. Simmons.
According to executive producer Amy Berg, the writers called Dimension One Howard "Alpha" while referring to the Dimension Two version as "Howard Prime." The scripts also delineated by calling the D1 version "Howard" and the D2 version "Prime."
Howard Silk apparently met and married Emily Burton Silk in both Dimensions. The circumstances surrounding their nuptials diverged a bit. In D1, the couple held a wedding shortly after they met 28 years ago. In D2, Howard and Emily eloped.
While both tried to keep Howard from learning the truth about the OI's work, D1 Emily mostly succeeded while D2 Emily did not.
The revelation seems to have put stress on both marriages. In D1 Howard and Emily worked on their relationship and remain together. The revelation was too much for D2 Howard and eventually led to divorce.
Another difference between the two involves Howard and Emily's daughter Anna Burton-Silk. In Dimension One, she died prior to birth whereas her counterpart survived and is alive currently.
The primary difference in the Howards' careers seems to be D2 Howard's recruitment by Alexander Pope. Pope credits his training with turning him into a capable espionage operative.
Howard Silk Dimension One
The Dimension One Howard Silk is a low-level bureaucrat at the Office of Interchange in East Berlin in Germany. He's worked for the agency for 29 years and, as the series begins, is part of what is known as "Interface."
His initial job is to enter a small room with a glass partition facing another worker and read off what appear to be nonsense phrases and make notes on the replies his counterpart offers to each one. Howard is tired of this job and seeks a new position in a department known as "Strategy."
Each night, Howard visited his wife Emily Burton Silk at the hospital where she is being treated following a car accident. She was comatose for six weeks, and Howard brought her fresh flowers on each visit and read to his wife from her favorite books, poetry mostly.
After learning about Dimension Two and meeting his counterpart, Howard is now in the middle of a complex espionage operation spanning two worlds.
Howard Silk Dimension Two
The second Howard Silk introduced on the show - Dimension Two or "Prime" Howard - is a confident and accomplished spy from a parallel dimension. There he works in the same agency as his counterpart. His job is officially "4C Diplomacy" but in reality, Howard is part of "Section 2." In this position, he is tasked with cross-dimensional espionage through The Crossing and has spent his career building a clandestine network of agents working in Dimension One.
Howard initially contacts the officials of D1 for help in tracking a contract killer who is targeting people on their side as part of an escalating power struggle on his side. He uses and then switches places with his counterpart in an effort to catch the killer.
Howard is an unrepentant liar, first reports that his wife, Emily Burton Silk, died of cancer as well as lying to counterpart about the fact that D1 Emily's condition is improving.
D2 Howard visits his side's ambassador in an attempt to keep Baldwin from extradition while he sends his counterpart to question the assassin at police headquarters. (See The Lost Art of Diplomacy)
D1 Howard and D2 Emily make a gruesome discovery in Potsdam. He then confronts D2 Howard face to face about his failures as a husband and father. (See Love the Lie)
D2 Howard briefly goes on the run after Quayle claims he is the leak. He then turns himself in to the OI. D1 Howard wants to come home. (See No Man's Land (Part One))
D2 Howard wants to run, but stays to protect D1 Emily. D1 Howard faces off with Alexander Pope. Both Howards are stuck on the wrong side of the door when D1 closes access to The Crossing (See No Man's Land (Part 2))