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Political Animals: Season 1 (2012)




Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 12

Political Animals often plays more like a high-level soap opera than a political drama, but it still offers some biting, sudsy fun thanks to its formidable cast.


Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 8

Political Animals often plays more like a high-level soap opera than a political drama, but it still offers some biting, sudsy fun thanks to its formidable cast.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.4/5
User Ratings: 16

My Rating

Season Info

Political Animals is a bold, significant look at a fictional former First Family in turmoil.

Genre: Drama

Network: USA




Air date: Jul 15, 2012


In the series premiere, to protect a dark family secret, Secretary of State Elaine Barrish Hammond (series star SIGOURNEY WEAVER) agrees to have hungry D.C. journalist Susan Berg (series star CARLA GUGINO) follow her during the week of her son Douglas' (series star JAMES WOLK) engagement party. Elaine grapples with seeing her ex-husband, former president Donald Bud Hammond (series star CIARÁN HINDS), for the first time in two years, and suspects her other son, Thomas T.J. Hammond (series star SEBASTIAN STAN), might be in trouble. Meanwhile, a hostage crisis in Iran drives her to make a momentous decision for the future of her family and her career. Political Animals also stars ELLEN BURSTYN as Elaine's mother, Margaret Barrish, and BRITTANY ISHIBASHI as Douglas' fiancée, Anne Ogami. Recurring guest stars include ADRIAN PASDAR (Heroes, The Lying Game) as President Paul Garcetti and DYLAN BAKER (The Good Wife, Damages) as Vice President Fred Collier.

Air date: Jul 22, 2012

Second Time Around

With the clock ticking, Elaine sends Bud to diffuse the Iranian hostage situation, throwing him back in the spotlight, but also putting Douglas and Anne's engagement party in peril. Douglas discovers Elaine's intention to run again, propelling him on a mission of his own. Meanwhile, with his secret exposed, T.J. resorts to old habits and, scrambling to find money for the nightclub, stoops to a new low.

Air date: Jul 29, 2012

The Woman Problem

Elaine announces a new plan to her family. Tensions mount as Bud, Douglas and T.J. take an impromptu fishing trip to visit a pollster in order to gauge election standings. Threatened by Elaine's skyrocketing popularity, Garcetti (recurring guest star ADRIAN PASDAR) hatches a plan that finds Elaine at odds with her longtime mentor a Supreme Court justice. Susan lets Alex (recurring guest star DAN FUTTERMAN Judging Amy, Related) in on her top-secret story, and finds it difficult to separate the personal and the professional.

Air date: Aug 5, 2012

Lost Boys

After a grueling overseas tour, Elaine returns to D.C. to find the country in a diplomatic crisis, which leaves her sparring with the Garcetti administration and drives her to make an important decision. On the night of his club opening, T.J. struggles to find support from his family and recalls events that led to his suicide attempt the previous December. Meanwhile, Anne accidentally reveals Elaine's political intentions, and Douglas, strong-armed by Susan, continues to grapple with his betrayal.

Air date: Aug 12, 2012

16 Hours

In the aftermath of T.J.'s overdose, Elaine finds herself torn between staying by her son's side and handling the rescue of a Chinese submarine. Bud discovers the truth behind T.J.'s suicide attempt the previous December, and takes matters into his own hands. In exchange for keeping Susan quiet on T.J.'s overdose, Elaine grants her unlimited access to the submarine rescue mission, placing her at the front of the action, and leaving Douglas to cross a boundary that could jeopardize his future.

Air date: Aug 19, 2012

Resignation Day

President Garcetti (recurring guest star ADRIAN PASDAR) throws a wrench in Elaine's plan to resign from his cabinet. Tensions fly at the Washington Globe when Elaine's resignation letter is leaked. Douglas decides to come clean to Elaine about his betrayal, and makes an impulsive decision. Meanwhile, an unforeseen event leaves the Hammonds and the country at a crossroads.

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All Critics (32) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (12)

Political Animals is seriously flawed, yes, but it's also fun, unafraid to get its hands -- and everything else -- seriously dirty.

September 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Grantland

Sadly, the creators of Political Animals delivered a program more like Dallas than The West Wing.

August 30, 2013 Full Review Source:

The plotting was often eye-rollingly dumb and the dialogue lacked that special Sorkin sparkle.

August 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Television Without Pity
Television Without Pity

What was sold as The West Wing comes out looking a lot more like Dallas. Not necessarily a bad thing, if you can lower your expectations.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter

This is more soap opera than satire, an intermittently entertaining but not exactly subtle look at the private and public lives of one extremely colorful family.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

It is among the most bizarre, if tasty, concoctions ever presented on mainstream television.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal

Like a bawdy, raunchy fusion of Aaron Sorkin and Jackie Collins, merrily ensnaring its brainy power players in outrageously soapy scenarios and displays of bad behavior, [Political Animals] is high-minded, lowdown fun, way racier than the USA norm.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide
TV Guide

Energetic and delicious.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Huffington Post
Huffington Post

Dialogue so inept,... acting performances so preposterous,... plot points so cliched... the only question worth posing is why someone of Weaver's stature would be caught anywhere near a turkey like this.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Newsday

This is more about soap opera than government or power.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post

Sunday's premiere marks an inauspicious debut that ignores the sound advice given to all writers: show, don't tell.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

But with a cast this good, and with so many potentially juicy conflicts already in play, I'm going to take a more optimistic point of view than Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver) might.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: HitFix

Political Animals believes that a good TV show, like a good politician, can make you look past its flaws and believe in its contradictions if it inhabits them lustily enough. In its better moments the show does that.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine

Perhaps Political Animals's greatest act of public service, however, is the outrageously comforting notion that honest and humane politicians might actually exist.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

A well-acted, entertainingly soapy drama that might not crack the Clinton code definitively but still offers a fun and credible look at the complicated intersection of love, gender, and politics.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly

The combination of the ladies propelling the show with their accurate depictions of sharply defined characters, and the men providing the frothy tabloid fodder, will keep you invested in the six installations of the show.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Under the Radar
Under the Radar

It's neither a typical USA series nor a typical summer series, breezy as a warm day on the beach.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News

It's great to see that Alien-slayer Sigourney Weaver still isn't taking guff from anyone.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Contra Costa Times
Contra Costa Times

A lathery miniseries drama that gets off on toying with you.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe

[Creator Greg] Berlanti and his cast waste no time reveling in material that is extra-buttered Washington popcorn.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post

Political Animals [is] a slapdash, invigorating, flawed-but-delectable mini-series with a premise of brass balls.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker

[It is] a high-class, relatively naturalistic, behind-closed-doors soap opera that plays in fairly obvious yet also fairly affecting ways.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times

Animals can't make up its mind whether it's a satire on American politics, an occasional dramatic riff on the marriage and political partnership of our current secretary of state and her husband, or a third-rate soap opera.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle

It would have been better served by focusing on the first word in its title, not the second.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer

What you're getting is what we've come to expect from USA of late: an easy-to-watch light entertainment that goes down relatively painlessly but that is nowhere near as sharp or as on-point as it needs to be.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today

Political Animals, does not...commit the cardinal sin of being boring. Its big pile of over-the-top twists, turns and excesses can be mmm mmm delish.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Uncle Barky
Uncle Barky

The actors are great, but the show isn't.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post

Too much of Political Animals feels like good-enough-for-government-work drama.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture

Its sharply etched characters and their smackdown dialogue make this the show of the summer.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald

Shakespeare would have loved the Clintons. But in the cable TV era, USA's Political Animals will have to suffice.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source:

What do you get when you cross Hillary Clinton with Ellen Ripley? A totally badass presidential candidate.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Political Animals is something special in the recent annals of trash.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Slate

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