Sarah Treem

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Sarah Treem
EducationYale University (BA, MFA)
Years active2010–present
Known forIn Treatment
The Affair
SpouseTorfi Frans Ólafsson

Sarah Treem is an American TV writer-producer and playwright. She is the co-creator and showrunner of the Showtime drama The Affair, which won the Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Drama Series, and was a writer and co-executive producer on the inaugural season of House of Cards, which was nominated for nine Golden Globes, including Outstanding Drama Series. She also wrote on all three seasons of the HBO series In Treatment.

Early life[edit]

Treem was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to a mother who works as a consultant/angel investor and advisor to start-ups and to a father who is a pediatric gastroenterologist.[1][2] She grew up in New Hampshire, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and North Carolina with her parents and brother.[1] Treem considers New Haven to be her home town.[2]

Treem has been writing from a very young age, beginning with poetry when she was eight years old. When she was twelve, Treem's first play won a young playwright contest and was staged in Connecticut.[3][4] She continued to write throughout high school and college.[5]

Treem graduated high school from Durham Academy in Durham, North Carolina in 1998. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 2002, where she was in the residential college Branford College,[6] and a 2005 M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama. During college, Treem interned at New Dramatists.[7]


Having started her career in theater, Treem's most recent stage production When We Were Young and Unafraid premiered in the summer of 2014, which starred Cherry Jones and was directed by Pam MacKinnon. A Feminine Ending premiered at Playwrights Horizons and went on to be produced at South Coast Repertory and Portland Center Stage, among others. The How and The Why premiered at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey. It was directed by Emily Mann and starred Mercedes Ruehl. It also went on to productions at Interact Theatre and Trinity Repertory. Treem's other plays include Empty Sky (Bloomington Playwrights Project), Orphan Island (Sundance Theater Lab), Human Voices (New York Stage and Film), and Mirror Mirror.

Treem's work in television began on the acclaimed HBO series In Treatment. She then moved on to writing and co-executive producing the political drama House of Cards. In 2014, Treem co-created the hit Showtime series The Affair. Set in Montauk, New York, the show examines the psychological effects of an affair between a married waitress and a teacher who spends his summer at his in-laws' estate in the small coastal town. The series tells the same story from multiple perspectives and won the Golden Globe for Outstanding Drama Series in 2015. Treem said that "the concept is that two people can be in the same conversation and have radically different experiences." In addition to her Golden Globe win, Treem's work has earned her nominations for the Humanitas Prize, Primetime Emmy Awards and four Writers Guild of America Awards, including two wins for New Series for House of Cards and In Treatment. In December 2019, a Hollywood Reporter article reported that Treem had been accused of inappropriately pressuring actors to do nude scenes on The Affair.[8] Treem denied the claims in Deadline shortly after.[9]

In November 2019, Treem signed a multi-year deal with Fox 21 television studios to create and produce series for their network, cable and streaming platforms.[10] She is currently developing a limited series based on the life of actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr, for actress Gal Gadot to star in.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Treem wrote an essay about the reality of "having it all" as a working mother for Red Magazine in 2017, in a post that eventually went viral.[12][13]

In October 2022, Treem married Icelandic game designer Torfi Frans Ólafsson.[14]


She also teaches on Series Mania Writers' Campus, with fellow television writer Martie Cook, a week-long intensive on television drama.[15] She has previously taught at Yale College.

Writing style[edit]

All of Treem's plays and film work have high percentages of female roles.[16] Treem has forged ongoing creative relationships with actresses like Zoe Kazan (who knew each other from Yale) and Alison Pill.[3][16]



Works or publications[edit]


  • Treem, Sarah. A Feminine Ending. New York, NY: Samuel French, 2008. ISBN 978-0-573-65235-6[21][22]
  • Treem, Sarah. Against The Wall.
  • Treem, Sarah. Empty Sky.
  • Treem, Sarah. Human Voices.
  • Treem, Sarah. Mirror, Mirror. New York, NY: Samuel French, 2010. ISBN 978-0-573-69826-2
  • Treem, Sarah. Orphan Island.
  • Treem, Sarah. The How and the Why. New York, NY: Dramatists Play Service, 2013. ISBN 978-0-822-22731-1[23][24]
  • Treem, Sarah. When We Were Young and Unafraid.[25][26][27]


  1. ^ a b Citron, Cynthia (9 August 2011). "Sarah Treem Gets the Ojai Treatment". LA Stage Times. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Dunlap, LucyAnn (12 January 2011). "The Unexplored Terrain of Being a Woman". U.S. 1 Newspaper - PrincetonInfo. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b Sontag, Deborah (14 May 2009). "Young Talents Entwined 'In Treatment'". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  4. ^ Peterman, Scott (20 October 2000). "Damn the Canon: Yalies take on the word". Yale Herald. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  5. ^ Littlefield, Kinney (28 February 2014). "Sarah Treem: On a different path". The Writer. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  6. ^ Treem, Sarah (13 September 2001). "For the readers of 2101: my 9/11/01". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Sarah Treem". PDC (Philadelphia Dramatists Center). Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  8. ^ ""The Environment Was Very Toxic": Nudity, a Graphic Photo and the Untold Story of Why Ruth Wilson Left 'The Affair'". The Hollywood Reporter. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  9. ^ Treem, Sarah (2019-12-21). "'The Affair's Sarah Treem Speaks Up: Addresses Ruth Wilson's Exit, Sex Scene Accusations & Alison's Death". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  10. ^ Low, Elaine (2019-11-13). "'The Affair' Co-Creator Sarah Treem Inks Overall Deal With Fox 21". Variety. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  11. ^ Petski, Denise (2020-05-28). "Gal Gadot-Led 'Hedy Lamarr' Series From Sarah Treem Moves To Apple From Showtime". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  12. ^ Treem, Sarah (2019-02-08). "The truth about being a working mother". Red Online. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  13. ^ "Working Mom's Powerful Essay Shows The Reality Of 'Having It All'". HuffPost. 2017-06-22. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  14. ^ "Icelandic voices/American accent - Episode 4: Torfi Frans Ólafsson'". 2022-11-20. Retrieved 2022-11-24.
  15. ^ "BBC - Series Mania Writers' Campus - Writers Room". Archived from the original on 2018-01-28.
  16. ^ a b Rickwald, Bethany (17 June 2014). "Zoe Kazan Discusses Taking on Sarah Treem's Weighty New Play About Womyn". TheaterMania. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  17. ^ Longwell, Todd (16 September 2008). "Humanitas Prize luncheon". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Writers Guild Awards - 2014 Nominees & Winners". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on 1 September 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  19. ^ "The Affair". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Finalists Announced for 41st Annual HUMANITAS Prize". Humanitas. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  21. ^ Vittes, Laurence (14 January 2008). "Theater Reviews: A Feminine Ending". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  22. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (17 October 2007). "Review: 'A Feminine Ending'". Variety. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  23. ^ Sommers, Michael (25 January 2011). "Review: 'The How and the Why'". Variety. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  24. ^ "A Conversation with Sarah Treem and Emily Mann". McCarter Theatre. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  25. ^ Rooney, David (17 June 2014). "'When We Were Young and Unafraid': Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  26. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (17 June 2014). "Off Broadway Review: 'When We Were Young and Unafraid' Starring Cherry Jones". Variety. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  27. ^ Soloski, Alexis (12 June 2014). "Sex, Violence and Power, With a Feminist Slant". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 October 2014.

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