The Following: Season 1 (2013)


Season 1
The Following

Critics Consensus

The Following is a grisly and violent thriller with some great twists and fine acting.



Critic Ratings: 51


Audience Score

User Ratings: 300

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Air date: Jan 21, 2013

In the series premiere episode, FBI Agent Ryan Hardy (KEVIN BACON) is called out of retirement to track down serial killer Joe Carroll (JAMES PUREFOY) whos escaped from prison.

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Air date: Jan 28, 2013

Ryan Hardy, Agent Mike Weston and FBI Specialist Debra Parker, who is brought in to lead the investigation into Joe Carroll and his followers, dive deeper into the history of Carrolls psyche. To do so, they enlist the help of Carrolls ex-wife, and Hardys former love, Claire Matthews. Meanwhile, Emma (series star VALORIE CURRY), Jacob (series star NICO TORTORELLA) and Paul (series star ADAN CANTO) keep Claires son Joey at a house in the country as they prepare for their next move.

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Air date: Feb 4, 2013

A new follower is uncovered in Rick Kester (guest star MICHAEL DRAYER), who is on a determined path to follow through on Carrolls orders. Hardy and the FBI attempt to predict Ricks course of revenge, which leads to a surprising outcome. Meanwhile, Pauls jealousy over Emma and Jacobs relationship leads to a breaking point, and the origin of Hardy and Carrolls relationship is revealed.

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Air date: Feb 11, 2013

Maggie (guest star VIRGINIA KULL) devises a plot to put an end to Hardy. Meanwhile, tension rises as Paul reveals a secret that Jacob has been keeping from Emma and more information about Hardy and Claires past relationship is revealed.

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Air date: Feb 18, 2013

When Claire receives a phone call that may lead her to find her son, the FBI and Ryan Hardy set their next move into motion, causing panic at the farmhouse. Meanwhile, Joe Carroll seeks a lawyer from his past (guest star RENEE ELISE GOLDSBERRY) to send a message that has deadly results.

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Air date: Feb 25, 2013

Joe Carrolls true intentions are revealed through a new follower, Charlie Mead (guest star TOM LIPINSKI). As Ryan learns of Joes plans, he tries to stall Emma, Jacob and Paul by taunting them in hopes of turning them against each other. Meanwhile, Emma makes a shocking decision.

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Air date: Mar 4, 2013

With the help of attorney Olivia Warren, Joe Carroll makes a case against Ryan and the FBI to be transferred to a different facility, but Ryan suspects a larger plan may be at play. Meanwhile, Emma and Joey arrive at a meeting point and come across another one of Rodericks men who has a secret of his own.

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Air date: Mar 11, 2013

With Joey Matthews still missing and the search for Joe Carroll escalating, the FBI brings in Nick Donovan (guest star MIKE COLTER) to run lead on the case much to Ryan and Parkers dismay. Meanwhile, a follower from the past meets up with Joe Carroll, and their plans have a life-threatening result.

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Air date: Mar 18, 2013

With Weston still in the hospital, Ryan and Parker attempt to outsmart their new boss, Donovan in order to continue their search. In a surprising move, Joe reaches out to Ryan to demand Claires location and reveals that he will go to great lengths to lure her out of FBI custody. Meanwhile, followers from the past make a shocking return.

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Air date: Mar 25, 2013

After discovering Claires location, Joe sends two followers to capture her but Ryan may be one step ahead of him. Meanwhile, Jacob struggles with recent decisions causing his reunion with Emma to be less than ideal. Also, a relationship from Ryans past plays a significant role in his future.

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The Following: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Kevin Bacon stars in this roller coaster-like thriller as former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who's called out of retirement to help catch escaped serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), whom he helped put away years earlier in a case that, quite literally, almost killed him. Carroll, a charismatic former English professor obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe, hasn't forgotten his old nemesis, either: the orchestrated mayhem he unleashes, which is carried out by acolytes he cultivated through the Internet and prison visitations, is designed to torment Hardy, who had an affair with Carroll's ex-wife Claire (Natalie Zea) after his arrest. In fact, Carroll has so much faith in his followers that he intentionally allows himself to be caught?all the better to taunt Hardy in person. Chief among his disciples: Emma (Valorie Curry), who worked as the live-in nanny for Claire's and Carroll's young son Joey (Kyle Catlet), and Claire's seemingly sweet gay neighbors Jacob (Nico Tortorella) and Paul (Adan Tanto). The three make off with the boy, setting in motion a season-long cat-and-mouse game with Hardy and the FBI. At the same time, other followers pull off a never-ending series of stunts, ranging from murders that mimic some of Carroll's to self-immolation to an attempt to kill Hardy's sister.

Critic Reviews for The Following Season 1

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (26)

It turns out pushing the envelope solely to shock doesn't make something edgy; it makes it quite dull.

Sep 16, 2013 | Full Review…

After the pilot, it's not hard to figure out which of the seemingly-innocuous characters are Carroll's plants, but watching the followers bond and bicker like a demented Brady Bunch is part of the show's cringe-y, creepy charm.

Jan 21, 2013 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Those who can stand the seas will enjoy the ride.

Jan 21, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The Following is a bummer of significant proportions.

Jan 21, 2013 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

Though dazzlingly plotted and acted, the show is not easily watched.

Jan 21, 2013 | Full Review…

Bacon, as a world-weary hero with a pacemaker and a drinking habit, is tragically sympathetic.

Jan 21, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The Following is a forgettable, over-hyped bucket of violence against women, that tries to set itself up as a big conspiracy - that's not really a conspiracy at all.

Feb 20, 2020 | Rating: F | Full Review…

While I thought the pilot was pretty strong, The Following disintegrates a little bit more with each episode.

Mar 11, 2019 | Full Review…

Kevin Williamson is one brilliant and sick man.

Aug 26, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Some of the visuals here are so boldly attention-getting - you'll know them when you see them - the TV series begins with style. And with his brooding intensity, Kevin Bacon in The Following can carry you a long way.

May 14, 2018 | Full Review…

When I saw the pilot, I was hooked by its mood and surprise -- it's genuinely suspenseful -- and couldn't wait to see more. Now, I don't know whether Williamson can sustain things over the long haul

Jul 11, 2017 | Full Review…

Clearly the big draw is the show's power to give you the creeps. - See more at:

Jan 21, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Following: Season 1

  • Feb 26, 2020
    Not bad, some highly implausible plot lines. Find myself saying "as if you'd let that happen". "There is no way they would let him do that" etc.
  • Feb 25, 2020
    I thought this show started fantastically. It had some of the classic cop show tropes of no backup ever but the suspense and left turns were there and the acting was great.
  • Jan 28, 2020
    Well its definitely not great but its still watchable. It will keep you guessing and there will be surprises but it does fall into that very network tv predictability. Check it out if you have the time .
  • Jun 19, 2019
    As good as Kevin Bacon is, James Purefoy is so much better. Purefoy's Joe Carroll is deliciously evil, particularly in the way he taunts Bacon's Ryan Hardy and the FBI on his tail. I love how he has seemingly thought of EVERYTHING and remain one step ahead of the feds at all times. Unfortunately, "The Following" suffered from a classic TV series problem: an interesting premise that could not be credibly sustained over three seasons. The new breed of villains we see in Season 2 and the weird alliance Hardy and Carroll form to save Claire (played unevenly by Natalie Zea) seem way too contrived. At its best, "The Following" is about a struggle between an evil mastermind and a flawed hero who is struggling to catch up to him...all the while fighting over a woman. Agent Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) is a reliable sidekick who has to save Hardy from himself and his own worst instincts. Ashmore displayed a lot of depth and complexity in this role and deserves a serious nod. At its worst, it's a series of absurd, eyeroll-inducing plot twists in a desperate attempt to keep the series going...all with villains less interesting than Joe Carroll.
  • Jan 06, 2019
    Please bring this back :D!!
  • Feb 10, 2018
    Oh my god, this is bad. I know I'm late to the party on this series but I had to write a review anyway. And I'm still watching it, for the same reason I watch pretty much any and all horror movies, knowing full well they're more likely to be awful than not. But this is just so bad. It's like a spoof of a serial killer/crime investigation show, complete with the whole "I read your file and I know you don't work well with others" troubled ex-cop routine (I seriously almost fell over when that line was delivered). This is pretty much made up of anything you've ever seen in any cop show, crime show, suspense show, conspiracy show, horror show, etc. memorable enough for a writer to copy and paste into another script, and I mean everything, and not really anything else. The writing and directing are so bad that even Kevin Bacon comes off as such a bad actor it's almost funny. Almost. It's a all just slightly too sad to be funny. Oh, and the Edgar Allen Poe stuff! It's like the story line from something a 14 year old Smiths fan would have written in the late 80's. It's just so silly. And I'm on episode 10 of season 1 and still no hint at the actual point of all of this. Like I get the guy is a serial killer. I get that he's obsessed with Poe. I get that he got his fan club organized enough from behind bars to kidnap his son and help him escape. But now what? What's the plan? They just live and hang out and pull weird stunts like killing a bunch of women with his ex-wifes name for pretty flimsy reasons? Is that really it? Two more seasons to go and I just hope to god they aren't STILL doing nothing but almost finding the killers son/almost finding the killer/trying to keep the ex-wife from being kidnapped for very much longer. Oh, and it isn't even scary, or creepy, or interesting. But I'm still watching it. It's perfect for playing in the background while I do something else.
  • Jan 04, 2018
    I had high hopes for this show as I am a fan of Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy who both give great performances but like many shows today it seems that tight camera angles are taking the place of good writing. I can't count the number of times I said, "how could they not see that coming!" as I watched. And if you want to catch the criminals all you really have to do is send Kevin Bacon into any random building by himself and they will all be there (something the FBI would never do) Fifty freakin cops enter a building and Ryan Hardy will undoubtedly find the bad guy the minute he wanders off by himself. Its ok to pull that once or twice but every episode? I beg all writers to stop treating the audience as if we are all stupid and just take the time to write good television! The premise of the show is good but I truly hope that people in the real world aren't the mindless sheep that Joe Carrolls followers are and they never make another episode before I lose all interest in watching Kevin or James ever again.
  • Oct 02, 2017
    I like Kevin Bacon, but this is not his best. I have only seen a few episodes and I'm bored already.
  • Aug 22, 2017
    Addictive but insulting on a mental level. Not nearly as smart as ittries to come off, and featuring the most incompetent law enforcement on television. Acting is great though.
  • Jan 08, 2017
    FBI painted as utterly incompetent. Baddy always 5 steps ahead. Really irritating.

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