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Hostages: Season 1 (2013-2014)




Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 18

Hostages has an intriguing premise and handsome production values, but its twisty plot sometimes strains credulity.


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 9

Hostages has an intriguing premise and handsome production values, but its twisty plot sometimes strains credulity.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 65

My Rating

Season Info

A deadly cat-and-mouse game between a world-renowned surgeon and a rogue FBI agent begins in Season 1 of this high-octane suspense thriller. Dr. Ellen Sanders (Toni Collette), a respected Washington, D.C., surgeon is selected to operate on U.S. president Paul Kincaid (James Naughton). But the day before the surgery armed intruders, led by FBI agent Duncan Carlisle (Dylan McDermott), take her family hostage and demand that she kill Kincaid during surgery or they will murder her husband, son and

Network: CBS

Premiere Date: Sep 23, 2013




Air date: Sep 23, 2013


A deadly cat-and-mouse game between a surgeon and a rogue FBI agent begins. In the opener, Dr. Ellen Sanders is selected to operate on the U.S. president but armed intruders take her family hostage and demand that she kill him during surgery or they will murder her family.

Air date: Sep 30, 2013

Invisible Leash

HD. When Ellen disobeys Duncan's orders to assassinate the President during surgery, he tells her it will cost her a family member's life.

Air date: Oct 7, 2013

Power of Persuasion

Duncan threatens Ellen that if she doesn't convince the president to keep her on as his surgeon that there will be severe consequences. Meanwhile, Ellen meets Duncan's daughter and gains insight into his life.

Air date: Oct 14, 2013

2:45 PM

Ellen and Brian devise a plan with their kids to escape from Duncan. Meanwhile, Duncan's wife tells him that she wants to discontinue her treatment and spend her time with him and their daughter.

Air date: Oct 21, 2013

Truth and Consequences

Ellen makes a life-changing choice when she performs emergency surgery at home. Meanwhile, Duncan demands answers when Archer tells him that an innocent person in their plan has become a victim.

Air date: Oct 28, 2013

Sister's Keeper

HD. When Ellen's sister, Lauren, shows up unexpectedly at their house intending to stay, Duncan forces Ellen to get rid of her without making it look suspicious.

Air date: Nov 4, 2013

Hail Mary

HD. Ellen and Brian agree that they need to take down Duncan to have any chance of escaping, so she sneaks away to see a man who has previously helped her solve problems.

Air date: Nov 11, 2013

The Good Reason

HD. Ellen must decide whether to save Duncan's life, and later decides to confront his wife.

Air date: Nov 18, 2013

Loose Ends

HD. When investigators get closer to discovering the conspiracy to kill the President, Duncan is ordered to get rid of an insider by someone very connected to the plot.

Air date: Nov 25, 2013

Burden of Truth

When a member of the president's staff is murdered, Ellen urges Duncan to end the assassination plot. She also searches Nina's medical records and finds someone who may be a viable bone-marrow donor.

Air date: Dec 2, 2013

Off the Record

Duncan locks the Sanders family in a room for the day while he and his unit go to New York to eliminate the two-person sniper team targeting the president. Meanwhile, Nina's mother tells Burton that she wants to expose the president.

Air date: Dec 9, 2013

The Cost of Living

Brian goes to the police to expose Duncan, but Burton shows up and presents him with evidence that Ellen and Duncan are getting close. Meanwhile, Duncan's trip to New York City threatens to derail his plan to kill the president.

Air date: Dec 16, 2013

Fight or Flight

HD. Ellen reveals to Duncan that she will not kill the President but will help him get what he needs, as long as he gives her something in return.

Air date: Jan 6, 2014

Suspicious Minds

Duncan discovers Sandrine's betrayal and uses it to his advantage to save his wife and daughter.

Air date: Jan 6, 2014


Season finale. Just before Ellen is to operate on the President, the First Lady confronts her and forces Ellen to tell the truth about the assassination plot.

Friend Ratings

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All Critics (42) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (18)

We can enjoy the exhilarating ride you'd expect from exec producer Jerry "Blow 'em up" Bruckheimer. Say what you will about Con Air and Armageddon, but this guy knows how to hold an audience's attention.

January 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Independent

There will be no episode two account of Hostages from this reviewer. They took an hour of my life and I refuse to enter into a dialogue with my captors.

January 13, 2014 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

The 14 and 15th final episodes of Hostages aired Monday night, bringing the story of Dr. Sanders and her family's kidnapping to a gripping close, and those who did choose to tune in were rewarded with a great final hour.

January 8, 2014 Full Review Source: The Loop
The Loop

Real talk: Dylan McDermott can hold us hostage anytime.

October 10, 2013 Full Review Source: E! Online
E! Online

Suspense-filled from the get-go, Hostages revolves around a family full of secrets.

October 8, 2013 Full Review Source: TheWrap

The plot of CBS's new thriller Hostages could easily be mistaken for the first act of a box office flop or the opening chapters of an airport paperback.

October 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out Chicago
Time Out Chicago

Hostages delivered a gripping pilot that didn't let go until after the credits rolled.

September 26, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Fanatic
TV Fanatic

There are, of course, subplots - Sanders' husband (Tate Donovan) and teenaged kids are each shielding their own secrets, uncovered by Carlisle and his crew - and covered up by them as well. Unfortunately, they're fairly pedestrian.

September 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger

This is a show that feels a lot more like Fox's 24 or Showtime's Homeland than your average CBS crime drama.

September 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

If the writing can bring invention to the thriller parts and smarts to the domestic parts, and invention, Hostages could have an indefinite hold on our imagination.

September 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly

Unless this show is intended as a one-and-done season-long miniseries, I can't imagine how it could possibly hold our attention.

September 24, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture

Nothing stands out. It's a level playing field of minimum competence.

September 24, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

The saddest thing about Hostages is that Toni Collette is so quietly strong in it, a character I would be excited about in nearly any other circumstances.

September 24, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

With all the promising plot permutations, the show reminds me (in the best possible way) of The Good Wife, which deftly balances the case of the week, with Peter's political career, Alicia's love triangle and the law firm power struggle.

September 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Morally murky drama is compelling, tense; some violence.

September 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

There's room for a slick thriller in everyone's TV diet. Too bad a lot of Hostages seems stuck in the mud.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source:

Lean and mean, Hostages is an exquisitely heart-pounding piece of work.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald

By pilot's end, the tension level is more Parenthood than Homeland.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times

The movie-like concept behind Hostages is intriguing.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today

Hostages treats its premise like a club and beats the audience over the head with it.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Grantland

The idea of seeing Toni Collette in another lead role on a weekly series (after United States of Tara) is exciting enough and Dylan McDermott is a perfectly cast foil for Collette's strong performance.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Under the Radar
Under the Radar

There's nothing outwardly wrong with Hostages. It's very, um, serviceable. Very standard. It could do well.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

Hostages unfolds with the crisp efficiency of a humorless event planner checking tasks off a list.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Huffington Post
Huffington Post

For a series that bills itself as a twisty, edge-of-your-seat drama, Hostages is relatively light on thrills.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

It's got the feel of a great action movie, a piece of escapism that doesn't necessarily challenge you mentally but offers a nice break from reality.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source:

Collette is fascinating to watch; there's always so much happening just under the surface. Her nuanced portrayal obviously shows Ellen's terror, but also a steely determination to protect her family and the president.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: RedEye

Hell, Prison Break managed to wring four seasons of ridiculous, pulpy fun out of a narrative dead end. But Hostages starts from a premise even more constrained and takes itself far more seriously.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters

The series already could be catching a case of the stupids, in which case, no cast, no matter how talented, will be able to save this show.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

The characters wander a spectrum from boring to irritating, and the situation already feels unsustainable by the end of the first episode.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: HitFix

The show has a good cast in an exciting pilot that unpacks surprises and adds plot layers in satisfying fashion.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer

If I give a slight edge to Hostages, it's because Collette is one of those actresses I'd watch in just about anything, and because its 15-episode season means that whatever's going on here should become clear (or at least clearer) a bit sooner.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

Hostages hardly breaks new ground as a psychodrama with violence hovering in the air. But it could open new options for the television procedural.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News

Once [the] mysteries are solved, and the crisis is over, any prolongation turns into soap opera. And not the fun, campy kind on Scandal or Revenge.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times

Smart, intriguing thriller, but the opener is slightly overheated.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Newsday

If the writers go for the twist that seems absolutely essential for survival, then Hostages goes in a completely different direction that might be quite intriguing.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter

[It] has a polished feel to it, and the limited-series approach certainly makes the prospect of committing to the show more palatable.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Variety

What makes Hostages such a disappointment is the overly familiar/lame dialogue and plotting.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

[The] pilot episode ends with a cliffhanger worthy of the name-a kind that should bring audiences back lusting for more.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal

Despite all its unanswered questions, Hostages is appreciably easier to grasp than NBC's competing new The Black List.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Uncle Barky
Uncle Barky

Hostages is based on an Israeli series and it exudes the kind of taut confidence that CBS likes in its dramas. It's handsomely made and yet patently ridiculous.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post

If you get past the large leap and buy into the premise, Hostages promises surprising switchbacks and character development ranking among the best of the season.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post

A show like Hostages really only has one chance to sink the hook into viewers. This premiere lets us get away.

August 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Media Life
Media Life

Audience Reviews for Hostages: Season 1

Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette lead the cast in the CBS drama Hostages. When the President goes under the knife for a routine surgery a group of mercenaries hold the surgeon's family hostage in order to force her to kill the President; but soon things get complicated and the family begins to question whether they should be helping the mercenaries instead of resisting them. The season starts out a little weak as it tries to seed too many subplots, but around midseason it finds its focus and begins to weave a compelling conspiracy. While there are some problem with story structure, Hostages delivers an entertaining 15 episode first season that's exciting and full of thrills.
February 2, 2014
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

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