Northern Exposure

The WORST episodes of Northern Exposure

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Dr. Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow) graduates from Columbia University medical school thanks to a scholarship from the state of Alaska. Though he was promised a placement at the large hospital in Anchorage, he is instead whisked away to the tiny town of Cicely, where he must work off his education debt as the local General Practitioner. The location is remote, the people are weird and quirky, and all Joel wants is to return to New York. The show thrived on this "fish out of water" storyline and the "will they or won't they" dynamic between Fleischman and Janine Turner's Maggie O'Connell.

Last Updated: 5/11/2022Network: CBS
Grand Prix
132 votes

#1 - Grand Prix

Season 5 - Episode 22 - Aired 5/9/1994

Ted tries to impress Marilyn with the rich client he's just landed and learns what makes them different. Maurice organizes Cicely's 1st International wheelchair race and demands too much from the contestant he is sponsoring. Ed prescribes a remedy for a racer with tennis elbow, but the little green man returns to try to undermine his confidence in his healing abilities.

Directors: Michael Lange
Buss Stop
84 votes

#2 - Buss Stop

Season 6 - Episode 20 - Aired 4/24/1995

Michelle decides to mount a stage production of "Bus Stop" unaware of the curse that has plague past stage productions. Ron helps guarantee that Erick gets a coveted role and Shelly is jealous when Maggie gets the female lead. Hayden designs the sets and a stage with a trap door. Holling, Erick and Chris all have issues to deal with about their parts in the play, which they discuss while drinking out at Holling's still.

Directors: Daniel Attias
Baby Blues
143 votes

#3 - Baby Blues

Season 5 - Episode 11 - Aired 1/3/1994

An agent stops by to see Ed about his idea for "The Shaman" but he wants a few "little" changes made to better sell the script. Chris seeks to discover his feminine side. Joel and Maggie "discuss" motherhood. Shelly flees her baby shower as all the pressures of motherhood begin to show themselves to her, when Eve and others tell their child birthing experiences.

Directors: Jim Charleston
Northern Lights
177 votes

#4 - Northern Lights

Season 4 - Episode 18 - Aired 3/1/1993

Joel goes on strike when the state of Alaska will not allow him time off for a Caribbean vacation he was planning. Chris has trouble seeking inspiration for his new sculpture. A vagrant's presence on Main St. outrages Maurice, when he learns the man is an ex-marine he tries to become his benefactor. Maggie debates about having sex with Mike. Holling spends his time in hibernation. The town of Cicely strikes back against Joel.

Directors: Bill D'Elia
Lovers and Madmen
100 votes

#5 - Lovers and Madmen

Season 5 - Episode 24 - Aired 5/23/1994

Joel is the only one awestruck by his discovery of a frozen woolly mammoth. Chris gets reacquainted with a girl whose beauty he remembers from high school; however, when she arrives, all is not as he recalled and she appears to be getting uglier. Maurice has a birthday dinner surprise for Barbara complete with the violin playing of the man who blew up his truck. The next morning he escapes. Joel concedes that he's become a Cicelian.

Directors: James Hayman
Midnight Sun
231 votes

#6 - Midnight Sun

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/5/1992

Joel is charged with energy as the sun hasn't set and he uses his pent up energy to try to coach Cicely's basketball team to victory. Holling is distracted by Shelly's cheerleading outfit. The traveling salesman/tailor comes back to Cicely to sell his wares and he romances Ruth-Anne.

Directors: Michael Katleman
On Your Own
163 votes

#7 - On Your Own

Season 4 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/9/1992

The ever-quiet Bob returns to Cicely, with "The New Perception Players" and still hopes to win Marilyn's affection. Maurice receives a package from his son and it reminds him that he needs to adjust his will to cover his Korean offspring. Maggie tries to develop her relationship with Mike, by helping him with the revisions to Maurice's will. Ed is suffering from a creativity block and finds a ring with the initials F.F. engraved on the inside, and then he begins to have Fellini-like visions.

Directors: Joan Tewkesbury
Little Italy
88 votes

#8 - Little Italy

Season 6 - Episode 18 - Aired 3/15/1995

Ruth-Anne makes her debut on National Public Radio telling about little slices of life from Cicely. The Capras go to Cicely's Little Italy, where it turns out there is an exclusive restaurant in the basement of a house and a feud with the people next door and they get caught in the middle. Maggie in her role as mayor must play marriage counselor for Shelly and Holling.

Directors: Stephen Cragg
A Wing and a Prayer
104 votes

#9 - A Wing and a Prayer

Season 5 - Episode 20 - Aired 4/11/1994

Ed tells one person about the fact that he saw Ruth-Anne and Walt together and later she tells him about the relationship but doesn't want it to get around so he'd better keep quiet, but it slips out. Maggie hires Maurice to help her with the construction of an ultra-light, but fires him when his meticulous details take the project over. Shelly worries about Holling's relationship with the priest that's come to town to baptize Randi.

Survival of the Species
157 votes

#10 - Survival of the Species

Season 4 - Episode 11 - Aired 1/4/1993

Ed becomes gloomy about the future and begins to share Mike's visions about the future. Maggie digs up some artifacts from an ancient female in her front yard and Maurice wants to turn it into a major excavation. A young boy who runs away from a survival camp gets a job at "The Brick" to cover his room and board; he also falls madly in love with Shelly. Maggie and the rest of the women band together against the men who have dominated the dig in her front yard.

Directors: Dean Parisot
The Big Feast
174 votes

#11 - The Big Feast

Season 4 - Episode 21 - Aired 3/22/1993

When Maggie distributes the invitations for Maurice's 25th Anniversary Bash for Minnifield Communications an event "everyone" is attending Joel doesn't get one. Shelly accidentally breaks one of Maurice's expensive bottles of wine and tries to find a way to replace it. Adam and Eve return with the baby, Aldrich, and Adam takes over the food preparation of a special dish.

Directors: Rob Thompson
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My Mother, My Sister
166 votes

#12 - My Mother, My Sister

Season 3 - Episode 18 - Aired 3/16/1992

An abandoned baby gets attention from the whole town and helps awaken Adam's paternal instincts while Shelly's life is unsettled by a visit from her youthful, giddy mother and her new boy friend.

Directors: Rob Thompson
Sons of the Tundra
126 votes

#13 - Sons of the Tundra

Season 6 - Episode 9 - Aired 11/28/1994

A new doctor and his wife move to Cicely to take over Joel's practice and his house. While settling in, they get to know some quirks of the people and their new environment. After eating a trout, Ed starts to see the future. Holling tries to join the "Sons of the Tundra" and Shelly dislikes the "men only" aspect. Joel stops by and trades Holling pelts for a new knife.

Directors: Michael Vittes
Sex, Lies and Ed's Tapes
299 votes

#14 - Sex, Lies and Ed's Tapes

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 8/16/1990

A young man from Saskatchewan further rocks the already delicate relationship between Shelly and Holling. Ed suffers from writer's block and a lack of focus as he tries to begin work on his blockbuster movie. Maggie and Rick tiptoe around "Maggie's curse" when he shows symptoms of a serious medical problem.

Directors: Sandy Smolan
Watch Now:iTunes
A Kodiak Moment
253 votes

#15 - A Kodiak Moment

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired 8/23/1990

Maurice feels his mortality after his brother dies, and decides to adopt Chris as the Minnifield heir, but the title doesn't sit well on the younger man. Shelly distracts Holling when she tags along on a journey to capture an elusive bear on film. Joel is irritated when Maggie takes over the childbirth class he's disdained and makes a success of it.

Directors: Max Tash
Watch Now:iTunes
Learning Curve
152 votes

#16 - Learning Curve

Season 4 - Episode 15 - Aired 2/8/1993

Holling decides to go back to school to get his high school equivalency certificate. Marilyn goes on an adventure in Seattle and Joel is worried for her safety so he tries to over plan her trip for her, plans she just ignores. A worried Joel, ventures down to Seattle to locate her. Maggie is at odds with the teacher over her philosophy about female combat pilots and sisterhood.

Directors: Michael Vittes
The Robe
94 votes

#17 - The Robe

Season 6 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/17/1994

Satan comes to Cicely as a whirlpool salesman; he offers to fulfill Shelly's fantasy of making the Brick a major casino. Ed makes a mistake and skews the results of a cold medicine test that Joel is running for John Hopkins. Chris gets a ventriloquist's dummy and adds him to his radio show, but the dummy becomes more popular, because he "shoots straight from the hip." Maurice is convinced that Joel's cold medicine contains a new appetite suppressant and he presses Joel to tell him what it is. When that doesn't work, he gets Hayden to try to steal the information. To make her fantasy come true, all Shelly must do is burn Holling's old bathrobe.

A Bolt From the Blue
134 votes

#18 - A Bolt From the Blue

Season 5 - Episode 14 - Aired 1/24/1994

The ranger from up in the fire tower asks for Joel when he is distraught over losing his current job. Joel talks him down, but after 15 years of being alone he needs time to adjust. Adam ruins Maurice's plans for a President's Day fireworks show because the guys running the display are there to "get him." While out on a fishing trip with Chris, Ed is struck by lightning and becomes depressed while thinking about why.

Directors: Michael Lange
Blowing Bubbles
153 votes

#19 - Blowing Bubbles

Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired 11/2/1992

Cicely's newest resident, Mike Monroe, is confined to live in a plastic bubble because of M.C.S. (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity), which makes him allergic to nearly everything manufactured in the twentieth century. After Maggie meets Mike she becomes interested in him. Ruth-Anne's son Matthew, the investment banker, comes to Cicely to try to get away from it all when he is fired from his job. Maurice's prospectus on making Cicely a place for sick people to move to and recover from their illnesses draws Matthew back into thinking about money.

Directors: Rob Thompson
Dreams, Schemes and Putting Greens
331 votes

#20 - Dreams, Schemes and Putting Greens

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 8/2/1990

Joel's mind is on helping Maurice sell Alaska as the "new Riviera" to two Japanese businessmen in hopes of becoming the "attending physician"--and playing golf--at their proposed resort. Meanwhile, Holling has proposed to Shelly when he learns that she is carrying his child, when the wedding day arrives, he is somewhat reluctant to go through with ceremony.

Directors: Dan Lerner
Northern Hospitality
102 votes

#21 - Northern Hospitality

Season 5 - Episode 16 - Aired 2/28/1994

Joel discovers that his friends consider him remiss about entertaining them, so he plans a dinner party; later he worries about potential food poisoning. Holling tells Shelly that he is not a Canadian citizen, which makes her worry about not having national health care for "The Pooper." Chris "comes to realize the power of this thing (microphone)," when a listener kills himself after hearing one of his selections, so he revises the play list. Shelly takes "The Pooper" back to Canada and Holling goes after them.

Directors: Oz Scott
127 votes

#22 - Realpolitik

Season 6 - Episode 10 - Aired 12/12/1994

Maggie gets elected mayor. Joel invites Phil up river, for a game of golf and a test. Michelle covers Maggie's first city council meeting as mayor and Maggie makes her first motion for a centrally located dumpster but runs into opposition from the fiscal-restraint minded crowd. Maggie's power as mayor becomes a turn on for Chris. Marilyn invests money in a stud dog that doesn't want to mate.

Directors: Victor Lobl
Do the Right Thing
150 votes

#23 - Do the Right Thing

Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired 11/30/1992

An ex-Soviet member of their state security comes to Maurice and offers to sell him the file of all the information they have in his dossier. Maurice is discomforted by the fact that the information in the file is legitimate and shows things about the past he would prefer not knowing, like the fact he may have divulged top secret information. Maggie is reminded of her mortality when a pilot is killed making a flight she was supposed to make. The health inspector comes to inspect "The Brick" and besides finding many violations is interested in Shelly. Maggie decides to be positive to everyone, including Joel, to the point where is begins to affect her health. The ex-Soviet tries to sell other items of interest as barter for goods & services.

Directors: Nick Marck
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Mi Casa, Su Casa
96 votes

#24 - Mi Casa, Su Casa

Season 6 - Episode 12 - Aired 1/11/1995

Marilyn comes to visit an old friend in the community where Joel is living and he begins to revert to his old ways. Maurice leaves Ed in charge of his house and he returns to find Ed has taken over the place. The Vincoeurs are house hunting and make an offer on Semanski's place but only after Holling gets a few little details fixed; but does he really want it?

Directors: Daniel Attias
132 votes

#25 - Rosebud

Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/8/1993

Ed hits an impasse in his film career when Maurice has him begin to organize Cicely's first film festival and he can't seem to get things going to Maurice's satisfaction. Joel makes excuses for why he can't join the volunteer fire department and goes on the offensive when his truck bursts into flames and the volunteers are nowhere to be found. Leonard becomes frustrated as he researches the healing properties found in white folklore.

Directors: Michael Fresco
Watch Now:Amazon