Domina Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

“Domina” / Domina

Genre historical drama
Creators Simon Burke
Cast Kasia Smutnyak (Livia Drusilla), Nadia Parkes (young Livia Drusilla), Matthew McNulty (Gaius Julius Caesar), Tom Glynn-Carney (young Gaius Julius Caesar), Ben Butt (Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa), Enzo Cilenti (Tiberius Claudius Nero) ), Liam Cunningham (Livy), Claire Forlani (Octavia), Christine Bottomley (Scribonia) and others.
Sky Atlantic channel
Release year 2021
Series 8
Site IMDb

The series begins in 44 BC, when the ruler of Rome changes. While secret meetings are taking place everywhere, where they discuss the rebellion and unleash wars, 15-year-old Livia Drusilla is married to Tiberius Claudius Nero, a cowardly and conceited man. Livia does not have feelings for him, noticing Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian Augustus – a young and ambitious young man who seeks to change history. Their paths diverge for several years, during which time Guy becomes stronger in power, and Drusilla saves a life, hiding on the run.

When Livia Drusilla and Gaius Julius Caesar meet again, they make a deal that will affect not only their marital status, but also the political situation in Rome.

The creators of the series choose an extremely interesting period, when the power over the Roman state was actually in the same hands. The showrunners pick up the facts, carefully supplementing them with frank love affairs and create a rather fascinating eight-episode interpretation of famous historical events, shifting the focus from military operations to chambers in marble palaces.


Among the row of columns, interior mosaics, spacious halls, imperial boxes and imposing sculptures, warm receptions take place, which only at first glance resemble friendly and family meetings. In fact, there, in the best traditions of historical film adaptations, conspiracies are plotted, intrigues are plotted and internal upheavals are carried out.

The production of the series “Domina” took place within the walls of the legendary Roman film studio Cinecitta. Famous films were filmed there, including La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini and The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson.

Unfortunately, the film crew (probably due to a small budget) remained within the studio all the time, occasionally adding sea locations to the shooting. This was reflected in the plot of “Domina” – here all the series are centered around palace intrigues. They are, of course, serious and exciting in their own way (especially in the second half of the series, when the plague epidemic will push the characters to want to fight for the right to choose an heir). However, the story about the strengthening of the power of Gaius Julius Caesar, in which there is not a single large-scale battle, is a big omission.


In general, military campaigns are mentioned in the series, they even involve potential contenders for the place of the ruler. However, we will not see them in action, events simply jump from one to another. This is not very confusing, but creates visual gaps – until recently, the sons of Livia Drusilla were fond of turtle races with childish delight, but these same young men allegedly managed to go to battle (they are played by all the same actors who do not change at all outwardly).

Much better is obtained with the image of Gaius Julius Caesar and Livia Drusilla – the first two episodes we see them very young, and then we switch to other artists depicting more experienced and confident rulers. By the way, these roles are played by Polish-Italian actress Kasia Smutniak and English actor Matthew McNulty.

Liam Cunningham (known from the Game of Thrones series) appears among the main cast in the first series – he reincarnates as the father of Livia Drusilla, who plays a decisive role in determining the political goals in the life of the main character.


It is noteworthy that Livia could not become a high-ranking politician: she, like other Roman women, was supposed to marry and give birth to heirs. However, the Domina showrunners show that the heroine Drusilla is smart, cunning and cunning enough to maintain a dominant position in society and be able to influence government decisions.

Despite this angle of presentation, the creators of the series do not fit modern meanings into it, as is the case with new historical adaptations. In addition to the English-language curses that are quite often heard in the original soundtrack, the characters more or less correspond to the desired historical period (for greater reliability, the showrunners only lack the budget). And, importantly in plots with a lot of characters, almost all the central figures get their line with internal conflict.

Well, in general, everything here is for an amateur – that is, for someone who is ready to delve into palace intrigues.

Pros: interesting period of history; intriguing plot twists related to the distribution of power Cons: there is not a single military scene in the series; At times, a small budget is noticeable, which affects the perception of what is happening. Conclusion:

Domina is an interesting look at those who ruled the Roman Empire, taking part in battles not in war, but within the walls of marble palaces.

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