Bates Motel: Season 1 (2013)


Season 1
Bates Motel

Critics Consensus

Bates Motel utilizes mind manipulation and suspenseful fear tactics, on top of consistently sharp character work and wonderfully uncomfortable familial relationships.



Critic Ratings: 43


Audience Score

User Ratings: 826
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Air date: Mar 18, 2013
Air date: Mar 25, 2013
Air date: Apr 1, 2013
Air date: Apr 8, 2013
Air date: Apr 15, 2013
Air date: Apr 22, 2013
Air date: Apr 29, 2013
Air date: May 6, 2013
Air date: May 13, 2013
Air date: May 20, 2013

Bates Motel: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Intended as a prequel to the events depicted in Alfred Hitchcock's iconic film "Psycho", "Bates Motel" follows Norma Bates' (Vera Farmiga) attempt to start a new life running a small town motel with her son, Norman (Freddie Highmore), after the death of her husband. Her hopes are almost immediately dashed when she is sexually assaulted by the motel's former owner, which starts a chain of events that leave her both desperate for income and under the watchful eye of Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonelle). The family's twisted dynamics become clearer as time passes, particularly with Norman, whom she constantly manipulates, though her relationship with Norman's brother Dylan (Thieriot) is also far from healthy. Norman, despite suffering from hallucinations and blackouts, tries to have a somewhat normal high school experience, and attracts the attention of Emma (Olivia Cooke), an intelligent classmate who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Though Norman is fond of Emma, he becomes obsessively drawn to Bradley (Nicola Peltz), a pretty, popular student who opens up to Norman in the aftermath of a death in her family. When Norma's relationship with police deputy (Mike Vogel) goes terribly wrong, Norman's behavior becomes increasingly disturbing, and before long he finds himself suspect in a shocking act of violence.


Freddie Highmore
as Norman Bates
Vera Farmiga
as Norma Louise Bates
Max Thieriot
as Dylan Massett
Nicola Peltz
as Bradley Kenner
Richard Harmon
as Richard Slymore
Olivia Cooke
as Emma Decody
Nestor Carbonell
as Sheriff Alex Romero
Mike Vogel
as Deputy Zack Shelby
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bates Motel: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Bates Motel Season 1

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (23)

They've done a smart job of building a cryptic, threatening world around the disturbing relationship at its center.

Mar 17, 2013 | Full Review…

Having started with a bad premise, producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin then made it infinitely worse by rejecting the loneliness and isolation that were the nucleus of Hitchcock's film.

Mar 18, 2013 | Full Review…

Ya know what? It ain't bad.

Mar 18, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

This property is definitely worth the hourly rate.

Mar 18, 2013 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

All in all, its assured storytelling and fine performances give a worthy contemporary spin to a classic.

Mar 15, 2013 | Full Review…

We keep getting distracted from what should be the main focus of the series - Norman's bizarre relationship with his mother - by subplots involving other bad guys.

Mar 18, 2013 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The good news is that Highmore and Farmiga are game for everything and sell every false smile, blank stare and horrific scream that comes their way.

Mar 18, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Thus, the series can be seen perfectly without having seen Psychosis and is equally enjoyable for those who pay homage to Hitchcock. [Full Review in Spanish]

Jul 29, 2018 | Full Review…

If it can balance out the tone a little better, Bates Motel has a shot at being a fascinating show. If not, it looks on its way to be just another show that uses violence to shock rather than for the sake of story.

Dec 15, 2017 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

The show has been a surprise and delight in the way it has woven its story in an open, intricate and twisty way, along with the quality of its cast (particularly, of course, Vera Farmiga), as well as its ability to create some compelling new characters.

Dec 15, 2017 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Between Farmiga as Norma and the potential for Highmore to bloom as Norman descends further into madness, the journey through an insidious small coastal town's underbellycould prove to be a ride worth taking

Dec 15, 2017 | Full Review…

The result is a show respectful to the memory of its illustrious predecessor, yet confident enough not to be overshadowed by it.

Mar 6, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bates Motel: Season 1

  • Dec 17, 2019
    Great suspense series, could not stop watching. I think the actors were fabulous, I was never distracted by bad acting, IMO that means these are all great actors in this series. The story was also great, I was on the edge of my seat for the entire 5 seasons. The crux of this story shows how the ripples of domestic violence affects many more than just the two initial fighting adults (parents). Like a virus it affects anyone and everyone, and lasts for years, maybe forever.
  • Nov 19, 2019
    Couldn't stop watching! A masterpiece!
  • Aug 23, 2019
    Vera Farmiga is Talented best Show
  • Jul 07, 2019
    i binged the entire show in a week each episode becomes more intense Freddie does a great job as Norman and Vera is great as Norma
  • Mar 29, 2019
    Entertaining, lots of twists and bizarrely sub-plots. But don���t necessary feels like a true sequel to psycho. The modern setting felt a little off in the beginning, but I got soon used to it. Farmiga is great as the mother. Norman���s brother Dylan feels a little out of place with both his sub-plot and casting.
  • Nov 04, 2018
    Great series!! Definite binge worthy material. The only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars is because so many scenes are too dark to tell what is happening. The characters are so well played. Phenomenal acting!!
  • Oct 29, 2018
    Fantastic viewing !! All the actors are to be highly commended for their outstanding performances, especially Freddie and Vera. I absolutely love you both. Just finished watching it second time around....... Highly recommended, cannot praise it enough!
  • Jul 25, 2018
    Really enjoyed this Season overall . The storyline is perfect, the plot twists , Setting , and how you can build a connections with every character, Specially Norma, Norman & Emma.
  • Jun 17, 2018
    Loved this show! It had very strong in depth characters that you will love and hate. It is incredibly suspenseful especially in the last season. One of the best things about this show is that it has such a solid story line and everything ties in to the main plot there aren't too many mini stories to fill it up along the way, 4 seasons of fantastic television
  • Jun 12, 2018
    I have to say this is the biggest surprise of a tv show that I have had. Far better acted, written, and was far more interesting then I ever would have given it credit. When I originally saw teasers and trailers for the show I assumed that it was going to be A&E's copy of a teenage CW show with teen angst and drama. I had absolutely no interest after catching the first episode because it dealt with Norman at a new high school. I was entirely wrong about the show. I had assumed it was only a teenager show mostly because the actor looks like, and it is a young Norman Bates, and they focused on his mom a lot in the beginning, but for some reason I assumed she wouldn't be a lasting character. I mean how do you make Norma Bates, AKA "MOTHER!" a regular character. Not only is she a regular (and she is there on screen until the last episode), she is on the same level as Norman and they are both great characters, acted by very good actors. There is of course a lot of drama, violence, death and insanity, but that is expected from a reboot prequel of the original movie "Psycho". It hit all the notes for me, including the surrounding characters, unexpected reveals and even though several key facts about Norman are changed it is definitely Norma Bates. The only thing I hesitate on, and this isn't a poor reflection it is still great, I would have handled the last 3 or 4 episodes differently. SPOILER ALERT: I would have not had the final 3 or four episodes end the way they did, wrapping up the storyline 100%, instead I would have changed a couple of things that would allow it to end, right about where the movie started. That however isn't a bad thing, just a style thing. Pros: Excellent acting, writing, and kept my interest over the five seasons, even if I cringed sometimes. Cons: I stylistically would have wrapped it up at a different point, but that is purely a dramatic choice. I am really glad I did start watching it, and I encourage others to give it a try.

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