The BEST Episodes of Political Animals

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2021

Network: USA Network

Sigourney Weaver portrays Elaine Barrish, a divorced former First Lady and Governor of Illinois, as well as the current Secretary of State. While the lead character does have some similarities to Hillary Clinton, Weaver has said in interviews that the show is "very much about families who have been in the White House and the price they've paid for being in the White House and the fact that families who have been in the White House often try to get back in the White House or continue to try and get in the White House.

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16 Hours

#1 - 16 Hours

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Aug 12, 2012

Elaine's attention is torn between catering to T.J. and a Chinese submarine rescue mission. She also makes a deal with Susan allowing her unlimited access to the rescue mission in exchange for her discretion about T.J.

star 7.93
232 votes
Second Time Around

#2 - Second Time Around

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Jul 22, 2012

Douglas discovers Elaine has plans to run for office again as T.J. revisits his old habits and hits rock bottom. Elaine has Bud negotiate for the lives of Iranian hostages, placing him back into the spotlight.

star 7.79
335 votes
Directors: Bethany Rooney
Writers: Molly Newman
Resignation Day

#3 - Resignation Day

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Aug 19, 2012

In the Season 1 finale, Elaine's plan to resign hits a snag and her resignation letter leaks to the press. Elsewhere, Douglas confesses his betrayal and makes a rash decision; and a surprising event leaves everyone at a crossroads.

star 7.71
224 votes
Directors: David Petrarca
The Woman Problem

#4 - The Woman Problem

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Jul 29, 2012

Elaine makes an announcement to her family; the Hammond men visit a pollster during an impromptu fishing trip; Garcetti enacts a plan that puts Elaine in conflict with her longtime mentor; and Susan shares her top-secret story with Alex.

star 7.69
246 votes
Directors: Michael Morris

#5 - Pilot

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Jul 15, 2012

In this series opener, the US Secretary of State tries to protect a shocking family secret all the while dealing with an Iranian hostage crisis.

star 7.68
376 votes
Directors: Greg Berlanti
Writers: Greg Berlanti
Lost Boys

#6 - Lost Boys

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Aug 5, 2012

T.J. recounts the events that lead up to his suicide attempt while dealing with his family's lack of interest in his club opening. Douglas struggles to cope with his betrayal and meanwhile, Elaine has a diplomatic crisis on her hands upon her return from overseas.

star 7.62
233 votes
Directors: David Petrarca
Writers: Geoffrey Nauffts, Speed Weed