The Circus

The BEST episodes of The Circus

Every episode of The Circus ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of The Circus!

This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the 2016 presidential race, revealing the intense, inspiring and infuriating stories behind the headlines. Key characters and events from the individual campaigns are presented in real time, as they are happening. Produced in cooperation with Bloomberg Politics, THE CIRCUS is a non-partisan, never-before-attempted take on what promises to be one of the most fascinating and consequential elections in modern history.

Last Updated: 11/26/2022Network:Showtime
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War and Peace
star
8.21
28 votes

#1 - War and Peace

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired 5/13/2018

The gloves are off as Donald Trump fights a 360-degree battle to keep the presidency. He's taking shots at those who stand to threaten it, and is at war against the "deep state" of the FBI, CIA, and the Department of Justice. Stories covered include Michael Cohen's connection to a Russian oligarch, Trump's attempts to undermine the Mueller investigation, the scuttling of the Iran deal, and the Senate confirmation hearing for Trump's controversial CIA Director pick, Gina Haspel.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Raining Chaos
star
8.19
37 votes

#2 - Raining Chaos

Season 6 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/10/2021

In an extended season premiere, The Circus attempts to make sense of a country reeling from the grave implications of a Capitol siege. Incensed by the final blow of a Democratic controlled Senate, President Trump continues to stoke the political fire as his supporters riot to halt the now-certified Electoral Vote count. Hosts John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, Alex Wagner and Jenn Palmieri bring their perspective to the unfolding news, exploring the fallout of a turbulent week and the energy surging from the results of the Georgia run-off.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Who The F*** Are We?
star
8.17
29 votes

#3 - Who The F*** Are We?

Season 5 - Episode 21 - Aired 11/8/2020

As election night passes with many a ballot remaining uncounted, The Circus wraps up an unhinged election season with a special one-hour look at how the 2020 race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden has evolved. With results permeating into the days following, the hosts are on the ground in every key battleground state offering a unique perspective of how the Presidential race is playing out.

Judgment Day
star
8.17
35 votes

#4 - Judgment Day

Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired 9/30/2018

The focus remains tightly on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the future of U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein notwithstanding. As legions of outspoken critics and fans of Judge Kavanaugh vie for attention on Capitol Hill, and allegations of sexual misconduct continue to surface, the temperature in the capital climbs steadily upward. For much of the week John Heilemann is embedded with attorney Michael Avenatti, who may just have the most explosive revelations of all.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Steal This Election
star
8.09
23 votes

#5 - Steal This Election

Season 5 - Episode 18 - Aired 10/18/2020

The Circus dives into voting integrity, specifically issues concerning election day disputes, voter suppression and re-election rhetoric from the President himself. Eager to stave off fears of negative polling numbers, Trump is hot on the campaign trail, despite his recent COVID-19 diagnosis. Among a myriad of perspectives, Mark McKinnon speaks with ACLU Director Andre Segura in Texas, where Republican officials are limiting mail-in voting. And Alex Wagner talks to a militia leader in Michigan about his view on the necessity of poll-watchers.

Watch Now:Amazon
A Place Called Fear
star
8.08
24 votes

#6 - A Place Called Fear

Season 3 - Episode 14 - Aired 11/4/2018

Donald Trump has hit the campaign trail in a big way to aid Republicans in their election efforts, and he is painting frightening pictures to motivate his base. In response, prominent Democrats are issuing dire warnings of what will happen if their party doesn't retake at least some control. With the midterm elections only days away, The Circus travels to rallies and campaign stops around the country to find out how both sides are pulling out all the stops to win these all-important races.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Clear and Present Danger
star
8.06
32 votes

#7 - Clear and Present Danger

Season 6 - Episode 2 - Aired 1/17/2021

At the brink of an historic second impeachment, The Circus delves into the last week in office of a furious, de-platformed President Trump. With last week’s Capitol violence ever relevant, the question remains: will this be a decisive moment for our nation? Alongside social media bans, the hosts explore efforts hindering the rhetoric of Trump and his supporters. John Heilemann speaks with Neil Katyal about the legal implications impeachment brings and Mark McKinnon provides an eye-opening account with Texans still indoctrinated with conspiracy.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
New World Disorder
star
8.06
35 votes

#8 - New World Disorder

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/27/2019

On the season premiere of The Circus, it's a new world order in Washington as a Democratic majority in the House puts a check on the Trump presidency. The second half of his term has begun with total gridlock, a government shutdown, and federal workers lining up for free hot meals. Meanwhile, freshmen representatives are putting a new face on Congress—and introducing a new reality, and the investigation of Trump takes a surprising turn in the wake of Michael Cohen postponing his congressional testimony.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Party of One
star
8.05
22 votes

#9 - Party of One

Season 5 - Episode 11 - Aired 8/30/2020

The Circus is in the thick of the Republic National Convention in D.C., covering speakers, key speeches and the subsequent public reaction. Among other steady Trump confidants, Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz preview the race ahead and break down President Trump's appeal to swing voters. Can Republicans offer a winning perspective on "law & order" in response to national rallies over recent police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin?

Watch Now:Amazon
Black and White
star
8.04
23 votes

#10 - Black and White

Season 3 - Episode 13 - Aired 10/28/2018

As undertones of racial politics make news, The Circus travels south, following two historic gubernatorial races with African-American candidates. In Florida, America's most unpredictable swing state, Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis reap the benefits and face the challenges of being respectively progressive and pro-Trump candidates. Next door in Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams find themselves locked in a virtual dead heat despite being on opposite ends of a statewide voting controversy.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
October Surprise
star
8.04
25 votes

#11 - October Surprise

Season 5 - Episode 16 - Aired 10/4/2020

The Circus covers the fiery first debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Jen Palmieri explores Trump's aggressive debate strategy, swapping war stories with Philippe Reines, a member of the Clinton 2016 debate prep team. John Heilemann spends debate night with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Alex Wagner and Mark McKinnon are on the ground in Cleveland gauging public reactions to the debate, as all the hosts react to the seismic news that President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Cruelest Month
star
8.00
27 votes

#12 - The Cruelest Month

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired 3/15/2020

The results of the Big Tuesday Democratic primaries in 6 states cemented Joe Biden's frontrunner status and gave him a seemingly insurmountable lead in delegates over rival Bernie Sanders. But Sanders has announced he isn't dropping out, and is planning to debate Biden and continue to push his progressive agenda. Meanwhile, with cancelled rallies and limits on travel, the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the race in ways large and small.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
President Trump
star
7.97
30 votes

#13 - President Trump

Season 1 - Episode 26 - Aired 11/13/2016

In a special hour-long episode finale of the real-time documentary series, Mark Halperin, John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon go behind the scenes of both campaigns in the lead up to Election Day - and the fallout that followed.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Full Court Press
star
7.95
19 votes

#14 - Full Court Press

Season 5 - Episode 15 - Aired 9/27/2020

The Circus profiles the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and examines the political battlefield her death has created. Eager to capitalize, Senator Mitch McConnell and conservatives have zealously pushed to fill her vacancy before election day, while progressives strongly object. Republican strategist Charlie Black joins Mark McKinnon to analyze McConnell's motives. Meanwhile, former Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Director of Demand Justice Brian Fallon discuss the implications of rushing a successor.

Watch Now:Amazon
Senatorial Combat
star
7.94
32 votes

#15 - Senatorial Combat

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired 10/21/2018

As the battle for the Senate heats up with post-Kavanaugh polls forecasting a Republican resurgence, The Circus travels the country charting the shifting dynamics in three of the closest races - each considered a must-win if Democrats hope to gain the majority. In Arizona, it's neck and neck between Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally; in Nevada, Jacky Rosen digs deep to take on incumbent Dean Heller; plus, a sit-down with North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp, who's fighting for her political life in the wake of a campaign ad controversy.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Circling Vultures
star
7.93
30 votes

#16 - Circling Vultures

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired 2/3/2019

The list of former allies who are turning on Donald Trump grows daily, the Mueller investigation continues to circle him and the Democrats have been unrelenting in their attacks. The President’s increasing vulnerability has led to a bumper crop of potential 2020 challengers, all of whom are hoping to be the one to unseat him.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Rip Tides
star
7.91
23 votes

#17 - Rip Tides

Season 7 - Episode 16 - Aired 11/13/2022

The Circus concludes yet another turbulent election season with an extended one-hour episode tracking the final days leading up to an historic election night. Hosts John Heilemann, Jennifer Palmieri and Mark McKinnon, along with guest hosts Tim Miller and Errin Haines, are on the ground in the key battlegrounds tracking the stunning election results as a predicted red wave fizzles. Season finale.

Watch Now:Amazon
Tale of the Tape
star
7.91
34 votes

#18 - Tale of the Tape

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired 10/16/2016

Tracking the fallout from the second debate and the scandal surrounding a now-infamous audio tape, could this be the final nail in Trump's campaign coffin - or can he pull off a surprise October Surprise to rally yet another comeback?

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Force Majeure
star
7.91
22 votes

#19 - Force Majeure

Season 5 - Episode 14 - Aired 9/20/2020

As the United States approaches a grim 200,000 deaths, The Circus investigates the politicization of COVID-19. While the Trump campaign continues to prioritize the economy, Joe Biden has emphatically upheld health experts, causing many to question how the discourse between Red & Blue will play in the 2020 election. With regard to the current political game in key battleground states, the hosts interview Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, Biden Senior Advisor Symone Sanders and Republican political consultant Susie Wiles.

Watch Now:Amazon
Man of the World
star
7.91
32 votes

#20 - Man of the World

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 4/29/2018

As Mike Pompeo's nomination for Secretary of State clears a Senate hurdle, official visits from French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel command the administration's attention. John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon sit down with Wendy Sherman, lead negotiator behind the Iran nuclear deal. Plus, Alex Wagner interviews imam Dr. Ismail Elshikh, the plaintiff behind the travel-ban challenge.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The Gathering Storm
star
7.90
30 votes

#21 - The Gathering Storm

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 9/16/2018

With the looming midterm elections, the Trump presidency under relentless siege, and Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolina coast, Washington has a lot on its collective plate. Mark McKinnon and Alex Wagner visit the democratic and republican war rooms respectively, and learn what each camp is doing to secure the majority in the House. John Heilemann interviews Steve Bannon and takes a tour of Breitbart, all in advance of the release of Bannon's inflammatory new documentary.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Mother(f***er) of All Midterms
star
7.89
28 votes

#22 - Mother(f***er) of All Midterms

Season 3 - Episode 15 - Aired 11/11/2018

This special one-hour season finale is all about the midterms: before, during and after. In the run-up to election day, The Circus visits some of the high-profile campaigns to catch their final pushes. On election day, we're backstage and on set at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where John Heilemann and Alex Wagner are guests as the results are coming in. Then we cover the fallout of the historic election, from Trump's reaction to the surprising changes to the political landscape in Washington and beyond.

Watch Now:iTunes
Crisis Mismanagement
star
7.89
28 votes

#23 - Crisis Mismanagement

Season 5 - Episode 17 - Aired 10/11/2020

In a turbulent week following President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, The Circus is covering all the inquiry surrounding his health. As more people in Trump's circle test positive, the current functionality of the White House and outlook for the campaign has come under scrutiny. Alex Wagner talks with Kevin Madden, one of the top GOP communication experts, to discuss the White House's strategy in the days remaining until the election. Meanwhile, John Heilemann sits down with members of The Lincoln Project on the heels of the first Veep debate.

Watch Now:Amazon
Landslide?
star
7.88
24 votes

#24 - Landslide?

Season 5 - Episode 20 - Aired 11/1/2020

As the moment draws closer to election night, President Trump is struggling to contend with Biden in swing states. Biden takes a stand in Georgia, hoping to boost voter enthusiasm in competitive red-state Senate races. The Circus covers debate prep with SC Democratic nominee Jamie Harrison as he threatens incumbent Senator Lindsay Graham's seat. With both presidential candidates using new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to fuel their supporters, the hosts speak with NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg about the impact of her appointment.

Watch Now:Amazon
Trump Country
star
7.86
28 votes

#25 - Trump Country

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 5/6/2018

The Circus goes on the road to Trump country to take the nation's temperature on the president's performance, how the midterm elections are shaping up, and where the two sides currently stand on gun control. John Heilemann catches up with Mitt Romney about his Utah senate campaign, Mark McKinnon interviews Randy "Iron Stache" Bryce in Wisconsin about his bid to turn Paul Ryan's district Democratic, and Alex Wagner travels to Texas for a sit-down with Beto O'Rourke on his surprisingly close race to unseat Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes

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