Six Feet Under: Season 1 (2001)

Season 1
Six Feet Under

Critics Consensus

Six Feet Under's unusual setting provides a perfect backdrop for the macabre meditations on mortality made by its brilliant, brooding cast.



Critic Ratings: 39


Audience Score

User Ratings: 320

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Air date: Jun 3, 2001

The premiere episode of the HBO drama Six Feet Under -- which was created by Alan Ball, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of American Beauty -- introduces viewers to the members of the Fisher clan, a family who owns and operates the Fisher and Sons Funeral Home in Los Angeles. After Nathaniel Fisher, the family patriarch, is killed in a Christmas Eve car accident, his wife and children find themselves having to cope with the myriad dramas that have been catalyzed and exacerbated by the tragedy. Chief among these is the homecoming of Nate (Peter Krause), the prodigal son who left the family business to work in Seattle. Upon his return, he discovers that his mother, Ruth (Frances Conroy), has been having an affair with Hiram (Ed Begley Jr.), a hairdresser; his sister Claire (Lauren Ambrose) has been dropping crystal meth; and his brother David (Michael Hall) has been conducting a closeted gay relationship with Keith, a police officer. Nate's one source of relief comes from Brenda (Rachel Griffiths), a woman he met on the flight from Seattle and with whom he quickly finds himself engaging in raunchy broom-closet sex. But their affair -- and the death of Nathaniel -- is overshadowed by both the intentions of a rival funeral company to buy out the family business and the discovery that Nathaniel wasn't exactly the man his family thought it knew.

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Air date: Jun 10, 2001

The death of an inventor forms the backdrop for this episode, which sees Nathaniel's will being parceled out to his surviving family members. Ruth (Frances Conroy) finds herself reaping the benefits of her late husband's insurance policy, stocks, and money; Nate (Peter Krause) and David (Michael Hall) split the family business (to David's great horror); and Claire (Lauren Ambrose) gets money for college, which she considers trading for hard cash. In the aftermath of the will's reading, Ruth breaks up with Hiram (Ed Begley Jr.), Claire sucks her boyfriend's toes in the back of a hearse, and David gets a surprise -- and not entirely welcome -- visit from his ex-fiancée.

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Air date: Jun 17, 2001

Following the particularly messy death of a bakery owner, Federico (Freddy Rodriguez) has his hands full preparing the body for viewing. His task is complicated when the baker's foot goes missing -- little does he know that it's in the possession of Claire (Lauren Ambrose), who plans to use it to exact vengeance on her ex-boyfriend Gabe, who told the entire school about her toe-sucking exploits. Meanwhile, Nate (Peter Krause) learns that their business rival Kroehner has bought the house across the street, which he plans to turn into a cut-rate crematorium that will put the Fishers out of business. However, Kroehner's plan hits an unforseen obstacle when the house goes up in flames after Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) and Nate enjoy an incendiary session of their own in its abandoned living room.

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Air date: Jun 24, 2001

Following the burning of the abandoned house across the street, the Fishers wonder if Claire (Lauren Ambrose) might be the mystery arsonist. In the midst of the arson investigation, Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) makes an appearance at her first dinner with the family, but her desire to make a good impression on Ruth (Frances Conroy) is severely compromised when Ruth discovers her and Nate (Peter Krause) in a somewhat graphic situation. Meanwhile, the family grapples with the funeral arrangements for a murdered Mexican-American gang member, from whom David (Michael C. Hall) mines some unexpected courage that helps him end an argument with Keith (Mathew St. Patrick).

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Air date: Jul 1, 2001

The funeral of a porn star creates an uncomfortable situation for Ruth (Frances Conroy), who doesn't quite know how to cope with the casket-side presence of the dead diva's friends and co-stars. Deciding to spend some more quality time with Claire (Lauren Ambrose), Ruth takes her sullen daughter to visit some cousins, whose wholesome, perpetually cheerful lifestyle serves as even more of a shock than the porn star's funeral. Back at home, David (Michael C. Hall) has yet another argument with Keith (Mathew St. Patrick), this time over David's intent to take over his late father's position as deacon of their church. And Nate (Peter Krause) experiences an uncomfortable family visitation of his own when, sans Brenda (Rachel Griffiths), he has dinner with her parents and a disturbing introduction to her brother Billy (Jeremy Sisto).

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Air date: Jul 8, 2001

Two generations of Fisher women try to juggle the demands of lust when Claire (Lauren Ambrose) meets and indulges a dangerous mutual attraction to Brenda's (Rachel Griffith) brother Billy (Jeremy Sisto), and Ruth (Frances Conroy) spurns Hiram (Ed Begley Jr.) and is subsequently hit on by Nikolai, the family's florist. David (Michael C. Hall) also has his hands full when he is hotly pursued by Tracy Montrose Blair, a fellow church member and overbearing divorcée. Meanwhile, Nate (Peter Krause) makes some unexpected discoveries about his late father, and the grief of an ornery widower, who has just lost his wife of 56 years, teaches everyone something about the unpredictable nature of love.

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Air date: Jul 15, 2001

Ruth (Frances Conroy) takes decisive and overdue action by inviting Hiram over for dinner and then going to work for Nikolai, the family's amorous florist. David (Michael C. Hall) also takes a stand when he casts a swing vote in the church committee's decision to hire a progressive young priest. Nate (Peter Krause) and Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) decide to take a weekend vacation, unaware that Billy (Jeremy Sisto) might have objections to this, while an algebra class leads Claire (Lauren Ambrose) to question the subject's value in her life.

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Air date: Jul 22, 2001

Business at the Fisher's is slow, inspiring Nate (Peter Krause) and David (Michael C. Hall) to seek out an additional source of income and Federico (Freddy Rodriguez) to consider taking extra work at Kroehner's. Nate's workplace stress is exacerbated by Brenda's (Rachel Griffiths) visiting Australian friend Connor, who rubs Nate the wrong way, while David's workplace stress is dramatically reduced by news of a bus crash that has killed numerous local residents. Ruth (Frances Conroy), meanwhile, is stressed out by her complicated feelings towards Hiram, and Claire (Lauren Ambrose) is similarly stressed in her quest to find the meaning in a mountain hike with her outreach group.

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Air date: Jul 29, 2001

Brenda (Rachel Griffiths) attempts to improve Nate's (Peter Krause) skills as a salesman by suggesting they pose as a grieving couple at several area funeral homes, while David (Michael C. Hall) improves his cruising skills when he and his new boyfriend Kurt decide to sample the disco scene. Claire's (Lauren Ambrose) life takes an unexpected turn when a tragedy brings her together with Gabe, the toe-sucking fetishist who humiliated her at school, and Ruth (Frances Conroy) has some unexpected experiences during a camping trip with Hiram.

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Air date: Aug 5, 2001

Nate (Peter Krause) and David (Michael C. Hall) hire Angela (Illeana Douglas) as a replacement for Rico: although she is good at what she does, it quickly becomes apparent that she is also very adept at speaking her mind. Brenda's (Rachel Griffiths) brother Billy (Jeremy Sisto) continues to prove his facility for unsettling everyone around him when he includes a somewhat shocking photograph in a gallery exhibit of his work, and Gabe continues to unsettle Claire (Lauren Ambrose) with his erratic behavior. Meanwhile, David (Michael C. Hall) renews some old familiarity with Keith, and Ruth (Frances Conroy) has dinner with lusty florist Nikolai.

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Six Feet Under: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Series 1 of this macabre drama begins with the Fisher family coming to terms with the death of their funeral director father.

News & Interviews for Six Feet Under: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Six Feet Under Season 1

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (25)

Six Feet Under was the perfect, accidental post-9/11 show.

Nov 7, 2017 | Full Review…

In the end, Six Feet Under seems a stiff rather than the next Sopranos.

Sep 22, 2017 | Full Review…

... It's hard to imagine anyone watching Sunday night's plodding and pretentious pilot and coming back for more.

Sep 22, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

This is a superb cast at the top of their game, and it's a pleasure to watch them work.

Mar 28, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Now is the time to raid the canon.

May 8, 2020 | Full Review…

Luckily, God invented Alan Ball, the brilliant mind and pen behind American Beauty, and now Six Feet Under, HBO's er, groundbreaking newish show. Ball is not afraid of death. Really.

Mar 30, 2020 | Full Review…

Like a summer beach book that is impossible to put down. Each member of the Fisher family has evolved during the final seven hours.

Mar 30, 2020 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Six Feet Under gives us much to dig into.

Sep 22, 2017 | Full Review…

With careful pacing, sometimes surreal direction, and first-rate writing, Six Feet Under is a compelling, if dark, delight.

Mar 15, 2017 | Full Review…

Maybe Six Feet Under isn't the first series to unfurl like a novel, painstakingly, artfully destabilizing our understanding of the point-of-view character, but if another one as successful exists, I can't think of it.

Nov 7, 2017 | Full Review…

The show establishes its understanding of loss immediately in how it portrays the differences between each family member's initial reaction.

Nov 7, 2017 | Full Review…

The promise of a complex archetypal subtext gives hope that [the] current series (renewed for a second season) will live on as a classic.

Nov 7, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Six Feet Under: Season 1

  • Oct 24, 2020
    "UNA DE LAS MEJORES SORPRESAS QUE HE EXPERIMENTADO" A pesar de que esta serie sea una obra multi premiada, creo que hablare por algunos al decir que desde que salió hasta hoy nunca había oído hablar de ella hasta hace poco, pero no importa el tiempo que tarde en llegar a mi, lo importante es que llego y doy gracias por esto, porque a pesar que no se lo que me espera mas adelante con esta serie, estoy muy emocionado por averiguarlo, es de esas serie que con el primer capitulo tea atrapa y en mi opinión en esta primera temporada dejan todo en el asador como si fuera su única temporada, no falta entender mucho de narración para sentir que la serie es redonda y completa, con personajes vivos y que evolución cada capitulo y caen y vuelven a levantarse, con una temática que permite decirme y darle el calificativo que es una de las obras mas humanas que existe, ya que constantemente tratamos con el tema por excelencia un nuestra existencia que es la inevitable muerte, pero también exploramos lo que es estar vivo sin caer en una pseudo-filosofía entendida por pocos, cada uno de sus personajes están tan bien construidos que es imposible no sentir la empatía y cariño suficiente para poder conocerlos y charlar con ellos, en especial a mi parecer la mama de los Fisher Ruth Fisher, interpretada por Frances Conroy, que es una especie de Phoebe de Friends con un toque del humor y comportamiento de Sheldon Cooper y una calidez y transparencia al momento de reflejar emociones que te deja absorbido por ella, es sin duda el personaje que mas cariño le he agarrado sin dejar de lado al resto de la familia Fisher, que con los hermanos Fisher, forman un elenco portentoso que no puedo esperar por ver mas de ellos, porque la serie se toma en serio cuando quiere y cuando relaja te relaja con ella, nada que esta intente termina en un termino medio y llámenme loco, pero para mi eso es todo un éxito.
  • Oct 01, 2020
    A funny and original tv series
  • Apr 05, 2020
    I've been binge watching all seasons about 6 episodes per day because of the current pandemic. Season 1 was excellent, great character development, drama and hilarious situations. My favorite is Freddy Rodriguez, he cracks me up... his role is a far cry from his current role on "Bull". The depictions of Nate and David's drug episodes were absolutely hilarious because they were pretty spot on. Unfortunately after seasons 1 & 2 there was a sharp drop off as season 3 became boring and uneventful.
  • Dec 31, 2019
    Truly unique and original with some outstanding acting from start to finish.
  • Oct 29, 2019
    The first season is the best season of the series. This season is as dark and witty as you would expect from Alan Ball's stellar writing. The pilot, arguably the best episode in the series, introduces us to a family that you will grow to love and hate through the series. The three children, Peter Krause, Michael C.Hall, and Lauren Ambrose are all fantastic. Each person deserves their own awards.
  • Sep 12, 2019
    Great start to one of the best shows of all time
  • Aug 20, 2018
    Would probably rate this a bit lower if this show came new today, however it is important to recognize how revolutionary much of the subject matter and presentation must have been to audiences 17 years ago. That said, there is still plenty for those like me watching for the first time in 2018. *This show has been recommended to me by more people than any other show for at least the last decade so also huuuge expectations to live up to unfortunately.
  • Jul 29, 2018
    Que familia tan desquiciada. La forma como cuentan la historia es genial y diferente.
  • Dec 30, 2017
    Quirky and different.
  • Aug 28, 2016
    brilliant tv show...touching amusing and full of insight

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