The Affair returns this Sunday for a third season of thrilling drama and another deep dive into the psyches of Noah Saloway (Dominic West) and those closest to him.

The new season will pick up three years after Noah took the fall for Scotty Lockhart's (Colin Donnell) murder. He's served his prison sentence and will have to readjust to life on the outside. Meanwhile, Helen (Maura Tierney), Alison (Ruth Wilson) and Cole (Joshua Jackson) have all had to try and move on after the trial.

TVGuide.com talked to The Affair creator Sarah Treem about what's in store for the characters and what other skeletons the show will expose from its central characters' closets.

Dominic West, <em>The Affair</em>Dominic West, The Affair

The first season of the show was how Noah and Alison's affair began and the second season was the fallout from it. What is Season 3 aiming to show and explore?
Sarah Treem: I think that Season 3 is about accountability. I would say that Season 1 was "The Affair" and Season 2 was "The Crisis After the Affair." Before it gets better, it gets worse. Season 3 is basically about the characters taking stock of what's happened and figuring out how they themselves are accountable. I personally think that it's a pretty redemptive season, but I have a dark aesthetic. It's definitely not going to be sunshine and rainbows, but its redemptive for The Affair.

Last season the mystery [of Scotty's death] took on a much larger role in the story than it did in the first season. How much of the fallout of Noah's confession are we going to see in Season 3 and how long will that reverberate through the season?
Treem: The fallout of Noah's confession is a central engine for Season 3, for sure, in different extents for different characters. It's a major part of Noah and Helen's storyline. It's a little bit of a less intense part of Alison's storyline. We start off three years after the end of Season 2, so the season is definitely about what happened immediately after the confession, but also the long-term consequences.

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Should people be as invested in that mystery and drama as they are in the relationships between these characters? What should they expect from this season?
Treem: The question viewers need to be asking themselves is, "Why did Noah confess to a crime he didn't commit?" That's what we're asking ourselves in the writer's room going into the third season. What is it about Noah Soloway that he feels like he needs to be punished? That is a question that we aim to answer. I'm pretty sure we're going to answer it in a way you don't see coming.

Will we finally see the results of Joanie's DNA test and find out who her father is?
Treem: Yes, very early.

In Season 1, the different perspectives worked to show two sides of the same truth. In Season 2, they added different pieces to a larger puzzle. What is their function in Season 3?
Treem: They will work both ways in Season 3. What we've kind of done is found this indistinct harmony, where certain episodes you really see a lot of overlap between point of views. There's certain episodes where you are seeing characters just in their own storylines. The way we figured it out in the writer's room happened kind of organically where we figured out what was needed for the episode. It's not entirely comparative point of views in Season 3, but they aren't gone either.

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We know that Noah has a new love interest this season. What does that mean for his relationship with Alison?
Treem: In terms of Noah and Alison, you're going to find out this season what attracted them to each other, which is something that we have not yet really revealed. Up until this point, the perspective on Noah and Alison is that they were kind of in this passionate damage with each other. We're going to get deeper into their psyches and show you what actually connected those two characters to each other from the beginning. It doesn't necessarily mean they end up together, but you start to understand the relationship as perhaps deeper than you thought it was.

How will Noah be different when we see him this season and he's been punished for this crime?
Treem: We've already leaked that he has a beard at the beginning of the season. I always love Noah. He's my heart. He's a pretty changed man when you meed him at the beginning of this season. A lot of this season is him figuring himself out in a way that he never has before....Noah has some very large problems at the beginning of this season. He's got some immediate threats to himself.

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Montauk has also played a big part in the show. How much will the island be featured in Season 3?
Treem: Cole's relationship to Montauk is really a big part of Season 3 and how that itself actually changes. It's interesting because Montauk is changing. Alison's relationship to Montauk also changes in Season 3. Montauk is always the beating heart of the show.

When you first pitched this show, did you have three seasons planned out? How much more of The Affair story is there to tell?
Treem: I had three seasons planned when I pitched it to Showtime. What I don't know is if there will be more than three seasons. The original pitch was just three seasons, so we'll see.

Do you have an alternate ending planned if you do get a fourth season?
Treem: Yes.

The Affair returns Sunday at 9/8c on Showtime.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, Showtime's parent company)