Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

The WORST episodes of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the 12th and latest series from the renowned cultural critic and Harvard scholar. In this 10-part series, Professor Gates continues the quest he begun in African American Lives 1 and 2 and Faces of America delving into the genealogy and genetics of an all new group of famous Americans. The series combines history and science in a fascinating exploration of race, family, and identity in today's America. Each hour features a different pair of celebrity guests, who are bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden link, whether it be as old friends, through long-lost relatives, or even through a common ancestral past.

Last Updated: 6/24/2022Network: PBS
Share:
Where Did We Come From?
star
0.00
0 votes

#1 - Where Did We Come From?

Season 8 - Episode 10 - Aired 4/19/2022

Guests: Amy Carlson, André Leon Talley and Erin Burnett.

Watch Now:Amazon
Criminal Kind
star
6.50
2 votes

#2 - Criminal Kind

Season 6 - Episode 10 - Aired 2/25/2020

Guests: Laura Linney, Lisa Ling, Soledad O'Brien. In Loving Memory: Johni Cerny, Lead Genealogist, Finding Your Roots. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of actor Laura Linney and journalists Lisa Ling and Soledad O’Brien—telling them stories of tricksters, scoundrels, and outright criminals, who nevertheless laid the groundwork for their success. (Contains content from previous episodes: Laura Linney originally appeared in S05E08. Lisa Ling originally appeared in S05E03. Soledad O'Brien originally appeared in S03E02.)

Watch Now:Amazon
Anchored to the Past
star
6.50
6 votes

#3 - Anchored to the Past

Season 7 - Episode 8 - Aired 4/20/2021

Guests: Gretchen Carlson and Don Lemon. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. examines how journalists Gretchen Carlson and Don Lemon were able to overcome biases in their careers, drawing parallels to relatives who met profound challenges of their own.

Watch Now:Amazon
Science Pioneers
star
6.75
4 votes

#4 - Science Pioneers

Season 6 - Episode 7 - Aired 2/4/2020

Guests: Francis Collins, Shirley Ann Jackson, Harold E. Varmus. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. traces the family trees of Francis Collins, Shirley Ann Jackson, and Harold E. Varmus — three pioneering scientists who’ve made dramatic contributions to our understanding of the world, all the while knowing little about their own ancestry.

Watch Now:Amazon
Ancient Roots
star
6.80
5 votes

#5 - Ancient Roots

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired 11/18/2014

Tina Fey, George Stephanopoulos and David Sedaris, three quintessential voices in American life, descend from ancestors that were part of the wave of Greek immigrants that flooded America’s shores in the early decades of the 20th century.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Eye of the Beholder
star
7.00
5 votes

#6 - The Eye of the Beholder

Season 5 - Episode 9 - Aired 4/2/2019

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. shares the family histories of director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, iconoclastic performance artist Marina Abramović and painter Kehinde Wiley. These visionary artists find their identities challenged—and affirmed.

Watch Now:Amazon
Secrets & Lies
star
7.00
3 votes

#7 - Secrets & Lies

Season 6 - Episode 6 - Aired 1/28/2020

Guests: Sigourney Weaver, Justina Machado, Amy Ryan. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps actors Sigourney Weaver, Justina Machado, and Amy Ryan unearth surprising revelations about their family histories, forever altering how they see themselves.

Watch Now:Amazon
Fashion's Roots
star
7.00
3 votes

#8 - Fashion's Roots

Season 6 - Episode 11 - Aired 10/13/2020

Guests: Diane von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez, RuPaul. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. steps into the world of fashion and meets three icons of style — Diane Von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez, and RuPaul Charles — introducing ancestors who were just as audacious as they are.

Watch Now:Amazon
War Stories
star
7.00
2 votes

#9 - War Stories

Season 6 - Episode 13 - Aired 11/10/2020

Guests: Kehinde Wiley, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of actor Julianne Moore, comedian Bill Hader, and painter Kehinde Wiley, revealing how their ancestors’ military service left an indelible mark both on their families and on their country. (S03E06 was also titled "War Stories." Kehinde Wiley originally appeared in S05E09. Julianne Moore originally appeared in S03E06. Bill Hader originally appeared in S03E04.)

Watch Now:Amazon
Funny Business
star
7.08
13 votes

#10 - Funny Business

Season 4 - Episode 10 - Aired 12/19/2017

Garrison Keillor, Amy Schumer and Aziz Ansari, three guests who have found fame mining their family stories for comedy learn about ancestors who overcame immense suffering.

Watch Now:Amazon
Roots in Politics
star
7.14
7 votes

#11 - Roots in Politics

Season 5 - Episode 6 - Aired 2/12/2019

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the diverse family histories of politicians Paul Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard and Marco Rubio. They each see a shared vision of the great American melting pot reflected in their ancestors’ stories.

Watch Now:Amazon
Laughing on the Inside
star
7.20
5 votes

#12 - Laughing on the Inside

Season 7 - Episode 10 - Aired 5/4/2021

Guests: Lewis Black and Roy Wood, Jr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. provides comedians Lewis Black and Roy Wood, Jr. with accounts of hardship in their family trees which may have led them to each find humor in adversity.

Watch Now:Amazon
Hard Times
star
7.25
12 votes

#13 - Hard Times

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired 2/26/2019

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the family stories of filmmaker Michael Moore and actors Laura Linney and Chloë Sevigny—three people whose distant ancestors overcame great hardships in ways that resonate with their lives today.

Watch Now:Amazon
Kevin Bacon - Kyra Sedgwick
star
7.27
30 votes

#14 - Kevin Bacon - Kyra Sedgwick

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 4/8/2012

What do Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick have in common? They are both famous actors and both descend from prominent American families that have been in this country since its inception. But they share something else, too: both had ancestors who were early opponents of slavery. Bacon's Quaker ancestors repudiated slavery long before the rest of the country, in 1780. And Sedgwick's ancestor Theodore Sedgwick argued the freedom case of Elizabeth Freeman, also known as "Mumbet," in 1781 -- which helped bring an end to slavery in Massachusetts. We reveal this fact - and many others - to Sedgwick and Bacon in this episode, and learn quite a bit about slavery in the North in the process.

Watch Now:Amazon
Breaking Silences
star
7.33
3 votes

#15 - Breaking Silences

Season 6 - Episode 15 - Aired 1/5/2021

Guests: Gayle King, Jordan Peele, Issa Rae. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the family secrets of journalist Gayle King, film director Jordan Peele, and comedian Issa Rae, introducing them to ancestors who raise profound questions about the shape and meaning of their family trees.

Watch Now:Amazon
Songs of the Past
star
7.33
3 votes

#16 - Songs of the Past

Season 8 - Episode 8 - Aired 2/22/2022

Guests: Leslie Odom, Jr. and Nathan Lane.

Watch Now:Amazon
War Stories
star
7.54
24 votes

#17 - War Stories

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired 2/9/2016

Senator John McCain and Oscar winning actresses Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette sit down with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to look at the military service in their families.

Watch Now:Amazon
Michelle Rodriguez - Adrian Grenier - Linda Chavez
star
7.56
18 votes

#18 - Michelle Rodriguez - Adrian Grenier - Linda Chavez

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired 5/20/2012

Watch Now:Amazon
The Pioneers
star
7.60
20 votes

#19 - The Pioneers

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired 2/23/2016

Discover how Neil Patrick Harris, Gloria Steinem and Sandra Cisneros are connected to pioneers who broke new ground and paved the way for their modern day descendants to continue shaping our culture.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Irish Factor
star
7.63
35 votes

#20 - The Irish Factor

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 1/12/2016

Explore the shared Irish ancestry of Soledad O'Brien, Bill O'Reilly and Bill Maher and how they have been deeply influenced by their Irish roots.

Watch Now:Amazon
No Laughing Matter
star
7.64
11 votes

#21 - No Laughing Matter

Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired 2/19/2019

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. shows comedians Seth Meyers, Tig Notaro and Sarah Silverman that their family trees are filled with people whose struggles laid the groundwork for their success. Gates also reveals to each one news of an unexpected DNA cousin.

Watch Now:Amazon
On Broadway
star
7.67
3 votes

#22 - On Broadway

Season 7 - Episode 9 - Aired 4/27/2021

Guests: Audra MacDonald and Mandy Patinkin. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. investigates the family histories of Broadway stars Audra MacDonald and Mandy Patinkin, discovering ancestors whose struggles laid the groundwork for their success.

Watch Now:Amazon
Harry Connick Jr. - Branford Marsalis
star
7.67
46 votes

#23 - Harry Connick Jr. - Branford Marsalis

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 3/25/2012

Their European immigrant ancestors blazed unconventional trails in America, from capturing British ships for the American Revolution to crossing racial barriers in slave-era Louisiana. Generations later, as children growing up in New Orleans, Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis found a deep and abiding friendship through their common love of jazz and of the city itself. In this hour, we trace the turbulent and contradictory history of the city of New Orleans through the family stories of these two fascinating men.

Watch Now:Amazon
In Search of Freedom
star
7.69
35 votes

#24 - In Search of Freedom

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 1/19/2016

Learn how the ancestors of Maya Rudolph, Shonda Rhimes and Keenen Ivory Wayans struggled for freedom, and how each of these cultural trailblazers gain a new understanding of how they fit into this proud trajectory.

Watch Now:Amazon
Reporting on the Reporters
star
7.70
10 votes

#25 - Reporting on the Reporters

Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired 1/22/2019

Journalists Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry and Lisa Ling that the stories within their own family trees are every bit as compelling as the news stories they have been covering for the world.

Watch Now:Amazon