• Network: AMC
  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 1, 2010
  • Season #: 1
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 122 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 122

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  1. Oct 25, 2010
    9
    This new series started out slow but only because they invested more in character development and subtle nuance in plot development. The Protagonist is a perfect fit in terms of casting and the plot line was a slow building crescendo well worth the investment I put in paying huge entertainment dividends by seasons end. Like most of the finer things in life it takes a bit of time to let something gather its taste, vintage or what have you, Rubicon is a prime example of this school of thought or philosophy. Bar none this is the best series I've seen on AMC and I'm pleasantly surprised and have been won over by it. If you need car chases, bullets flying and T& A on a minutely basis this isn't the series for you go have fun with fast and furious etc...but if your willing to use make use of a brain cell or two this is the show for you. Expand
  2. Sep 28, 2010
    10
    Simply put, AMC's Rubicon is the most engrossing and thought-provoking drama of the current TV season. Yes, its pace is slow and an episode leaves the viewer with some unanswered questions. But that's exactly the point. We're following in the same footsteps as Will Travers, the CIA analyst who seeks to uncover details behind a deep government conspiracy that killed his boss/father-in-law and led a multi-millionaire to suicide. Rather than revealing it all to the viewer while keeping characters in the dark, we end up feeling the same anxiety and uncertainty that Will battles every day. I like the fact that the show forces the viewer to take in every last detail of what you're watching and hearing, and just when you think you have a grip on someone's M.O., you're later proven wrong. Arliss Howard is outstanding as Kale Ingram, Will's manager and "guardian angel" with questionable loyalties...so much so that I'm hoping that his work is recognized during awards season. Those who are not familiar with 70's conspiracy/espionage thrillers like The Conversation, The Parallax View, All the President's Men or Three Days of the Condor won't grasp the inspiration or flow of the series. An outstanding ensemble of actors, sharp writing, interesting subplots, great character development and a thoughtful use of symbolism all add up to the most worthwhile TV that a viewer could possibly ask for. Expand
  3. Aug 19, 2010
    8
    So far, this has been "Four Episodes of the Condor". Deliberately ponderous in pacing, heavy on the paranoia and relatively subtle in the plotting, ie. on a network like Fox or ABC, they would get cancelled in the pitch meeting. They have a great actress like Miranda Richardson wondering aimlessly through an empty house for three episodes without almost any dialogue. You have to admire that. This is the 70s paranoia thriller made into series for the oppressed minority of people who like their drama slow, meticulous and oppressive, for the introverted OCD people who giggle with silent glee at the two minute essays about the best kinds of bags for carrying secret documents. On the flip side of the equation - young, dumb and ADD need not apply, which could ruin ratings. Expand
  4. Aug 16, 2010
    10
    Loving this show, after four episodes. The characters and shrewd, terse dialogue are stunning. Once again AMC exceed my expectations. I await the next episodes with baited breath.
  5. Oct 18, 2010
    9
    Have just watched episode 13 and im lost for words for how truly absorbing this programme is. The slow, assured build up over the course of the series, where time has been made available for deep characterisation and plot construction, has now developed into its powerful conclusion...oh what the hell...it's brilliant!! My only concern is that how do we get a second series if Will join's up all the dots.

    Spangler may well be my favourite TV character since Ohma in the Wire.
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  6. Oct 13, 2010
    10
    One of the best show of the season. The first episodes are very slow, but all the shows from AMC are like that (like Breaking Bad: the fly). The plot is well done, it is a real conspiracy and not some lost replacement **** like the event...
  7. Sep 13, 2010
    10
    I've been waiting for a drama like Rubicon. It's like a slow, sizzling, cerebral stew of puzzles, red herrings, manipulative characters, politics, and conspiracy. These are great ingredients for an intriguing thought-provoking plot, and well worth waiting to dig into. Tell your friends about this one. It's delivering.
  8. Sep 14, 2010
    10
    I'm eight episodes in, and this show has finally finished its metamorphosis from a plodding non-drama into a complex, writhing machine. Disparate clues and seemingly-random lines are finally making contact with each other, and the paranoia is quickly mounting. James Badge Dale, Arliss Howard, and Michael Cristofer are brilliant in their respective roles, twisting the purposefully-vague dialogue with hints of broader knowledge and deeper meaning, cementing both the humanity of their characters, and the pressure of their environment. The conspiracy is mounting. Expand
  9. Sep 16, 2010
    9
    After watching eight episodes I can see my patience with Rubicon is finally being rewarded. I find the subject matter fresh and the acting first rate. The series was slow in developing, some say plodding, but given the necessary character development and the layered plot lines this is understandable. The series is now moving at a good pace and has characters that finally interest me. Add in the parallels to the real world and I would say this series has legs. I can only hope that AMC does not have this series on a short leash. Expand
  10. Sep 22, 2010
    10
    A mystery inside a puzzle wrapped in a labyrinth. The slow pace helps keep you wondering who is on what side. Refreshing to get to watch intelligent television
  11. Sep 27, 2010
    10
    My favorite show currently on the air. Smart (thank God), subtle writing, first class acting across the board, and motivations/actions that are (usually) more implied and hinted so its audience can fill in layers of meaning as we do in real life when given the option. An intelligent drama is so rare these days--and when one revolves around a story line of good and evil, as this one does, where the characters do their best according to their own priorities, fail and get up to try again, it's just this side of heroic and reminds us of the best (human) life has to offer. Expand
  12. Sep 27, 2010
    9
    It takes its time and lets the plot unfold slowly and subtly, but I enjoy every minute. Smart, nuanced characters. Spangler's tie monologue from episode 4 had me completely hooked.
  13. Oct 5, 2010
    10
    I was interested after the first episode but by now, after the 11th, I'm screaming for more. It's like that friend that took a little while to get to know but ended up being the one you still hang out with. I'm sure the popularity will only shoot up after people can watch one episode right after another instead of having to wait a week. Think Arrested Development but make it a thriller instead.
  14. Oct 11, 2010
    10
    Love the concept, the characters are interesting and captivating, the story is compelling and the acting is superb. My entire family (from age 22 to 82) is hooked. It requires some attention (hooray!) so anyone used to the banalities of reality television might not get it, but for the rest of us, it is a television show to be thrilled about. It is glorious to see people using their minds to solve puzzles, rather than fancy equipment, and the relationships are fascinating. I love CSI as much as the next person, but this show demonstrates another, more interesting, way that crimes can be solved. It has us all on the edges of our seats and we await each Sunday with great anticipation. Thanks AMC. Please keep Rubicon in production!! Expand
  15. Oct 13, 2010
    10
    Rubicon is one of the few intelligent shows on television. Although its pace is slow at first, it keeps building and the suspense builds with it. It is an intriguing, complex, finely written, beautifully acted drama. It demands attention but the attention is well rewarded. The production values of this show are equal to the best shows on HBO. This is the best show yet on AMC, although Mad Men runs a very close second. Expand
  16. Sep 30, 2010
    7
    How glorious. A drama/thriller where neither is a building blown up nor a corpse eviscerated. Why has it taken so long to realize how satisfying were the puzzlers "Three Days of the Condor" and "The Parallax View?" And to give them back as episode TV?
  17. BKM
    Aug 12, 2010
    5
    I'm a big fan of James Badge Dale ever since seeing him in The Pacific, so I'll continue to give Rubicon a chance. But after three episodes, the show feels sluggish and chilly. It tries way too hard to create a sense of paranoia and the codes and clues that Will Travers manages to decrypt border on absurd. I haven't given up on it yet, but things had better turn around quickly.
  18. Aug 17, 2010
    2
    I had high hopes for the show, and yet could only think of how it would follow in the foorsteps of every show that had been their and done it before.

    With the same mystery plot, intregue, conspirancies that we have seen countless times before from Dean Koontz,Tom Clancy, Stephen King and James Patterson or from shows such as LOST ( god what a waste of space ), First Edition, John Doe (
    yet another cancelled show leaving you hanging ) or even the X Files Rubicon does no more to the genre or TV than fill time until the rating season comes back.

    The more I watch the more I see it sink into an excuse to get out of the house and take the dog for a walk.
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  19. Oct 24, 2010
    5
    This...may...be...the...slowest...moving...show...ever...made. The show has a decent premise, but does nothing with it. After setting up a potentially intriguing story in the first couple of episodes, the following 5-6 episodes go ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE. Nothing really happens until the 9th episode. The entire middle of this show was a complete waste. Very little is revealed about the characters and their personalities. They are all very generic and there is almost no character development to speak of. If you're going to do a show where almost nothing happens, you'd better at least have interesting characters and good character development...but this show doesn't. The entire middle portion of the season is just a long, drawn-out tease in which nothing happens. For 5-6 consecutive episodes people just walk around suspiciously looking over their shoulders with intense expressions. It's like the makers of the show are trying to fool the audience into thinking something is happening, but nothing really is. While some characters look over their shoulders, the rest are sitting in rooms spouting off worthless national security jargon that does nothing to advance what little plot there is. This show is an example of style over substance. The makers are giving you an abstract version of what a "thriller" is by playing creepy music while mysterious figures lurk in the shadows...all the while NOTHING is really happening at all. Expand
  20. Aug 21, 2010
    4
    The Opening episode was intriguing, but subsequent episodes have been too packed with senseless dialogue that is both hard to follow and boring. Too bad, I was really looking forward to a strong showing from this series. It is always best to show a lot up front and struggle in the middle, but this appears to be destined for failure right from the get go.
  21. Sep 9, 2010
    10
    Simply stunning. The whole slow atmosphere, and lovable characters are just part of this magnificent made show. This isn't kind of show that hooks you up right away, but it definitely does that after few episodes. The mysterious music, the luxurious and poor scenes, the amazingly good acting and of course the main mystery puzzles you in way you can't imagine. But again this isn't for everyone... Only for the patient intelligence ones. Expand
  22. Sep 17, 2010
    9
    As the characters and the plot develop the show becomes more intriguing - and, addictive. This is not an easy show to get into and is probably too cerebral to draw a large audience. The acting is understated and superb - often without dialog.
  23. Sep 21, 2010
    8
    I really enjoy Rubicon. It moves much slower than the new ADD shows and the Shock and Awe approach, but I like the thinking, writing and story. The intrigue alone has me wanting more. AMC has done a wonderful job at picking shows with characters, story and imagination.
  24. Apr 5, 2011
    10
    Review from France ! Best TV show these last months... Gripping, cerebral, interesting characters and mood. An original TV show. What a shame it' stopped.
  25. Jul 25, 2011
    10
    We want a second season! Rubicon is simply outstanding.

    Obviously for AMC money matters more than stories and, despite I can understand, I can't agree with it. Rubicon cancelled and Walking Dead renewed? C'mon! What a joke!
  26. Jul 16, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is definitely one of the most under rated shows ever. The plot is genuinely compelling and the cast has to be one of the best on TV . Although i found some characters a bit unnecessary the acting was great throughout with James Badge Dale and Arliss Howard definitely standing out among the rest. Dale fit perfectly into the role and Howard was complex and infinitely watchable and the other cast members were also well suited for their characters. The atmosphere heightened the sense of paranoia and the darkness and shadows were pretty creepy. I didn't think the show was as slow as everyone says but that is probably because even when the A storyline-the conspiracy- lagged the episodes were bolstered by such great B stories i tended not to notice. The shows thoughtful and meticulous nature proved its undoing but cerebral television is often criticized for being slow but the time and investment almost always leads to a better payoff. And Rubicon did not disappoint. Episodes 9-12 were one of the best stretches of episodes I've ever seen. Although the actual answer to the conspiracy-causing catastrophic events for profits- was a little lame, the road to those answers made for compelling TV and the actual reveal wasn't bad either. I really wish this show had gotten another season because while it was a great show it could 've been a really great show. Would it have been the next Breaking Bad or Mad Men. Maybe, maybe not i don't know for certain. But COULD it have been. Absolutely. Expand
  27. Jan 16, 2013
    9
    This was a great show. Not for the impatient ADD crowd, but the plot was very intriguing and kept you wanting to see what happened next. The cast/characters were great. I was very disappointed AMC ditched season 2 for stupid shows like Walking Dead and The Killing. Zombie idiots like watching Zombies and totally unrealistic idiot shows. Rubicon was for thinkers. Was in a nice slot behind Mad men too. Perfect. Better than Breaking bad I'd say too. Expand
  28. Aug 23, 2010
    10
    I know people are complaining that it moves too slow, but if you can make it past the first few episodes it DOES start picking up. The fourth episode might be the best episode of tv I've seen this year, bar none. Personally, I don't mind the pace. The acting, writing, and direction are all very well done, and make the experience very enjoyable. But I should warn, it is NOT a good show to watch while multitasking. There is a lot of visual stuff that would be missed if you're not watching. Collapse
  29. Aug 23, 2010
    10
    Rubicon rewards patience; not unlike a Coen Bros. film, it unfolds in front of you, slowly and deliberately, with many characters you aren't supposed to like or admire and only a few characters you do, or at least, might; its plot will make you think and assume and second guess your assumptions - but only if you're paying attention.
  30. Sep 5, 2010
    10
    WHAT PLOT? This is like a meta show itself about suspense. Its like the suspense IS the plot. I had hoped for great things. So far I find it boring. I don't know why I am supposed to care about a single character.
  31. Sep 24, 2010
    3
    I'm still trying to get into "Rubicon," but it seems unbearably slow. Also, the lighting and camera angles seemed better than average at first but then got old fast. Sort of like a film school grad trying out every noir-ish trick all at once. After several episodes I'm still pretty much convinced there is no plot - they're just going to keep hinting until they actually think of one. All we know for certain is that everyone suspects everyone else and the agency director is an ass who talks with his mouth full.

    It. Should. Not. Take. So. Long. To. Utter. Sentences.
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  32. Oct 1, 2010
    9
    Rubicon is an understated drama that builds tension and story slowly as the season progresses. Will Travers is an analyst for what appears to be a government funded research institute that gathers intelligence for the military and other intelligence agencies.

    Within the first episode we discover that something is rotten when Will discovers codewords placed in crossword puzzles, digs into
    it, and soon finds himself biting off more than he can chew. After 10 episodes the tension has built up continually as Will is getting deeper and deeper into a mystery that may better be left unsolved if he hopes to continue living.

    The acting, writing, cinematography, and soundtrack are all top-notch. I can't wait to see where it all goes, but it's clearly relevant to our times and the continual unravelling of our government's interest in protecting the interest of the citizenry over business. Highly recommended.
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  33. Oct 19, 2010
    10
    This show has been such a nice surprise for me. I started watching from episode 1 and at first I just thought it was another boring spy show. Think again this show is so well done. I agree with some of the other reviewers, this show would have not survived 4 episodes on a major network. Thank heavens we have AMC pushing great TV shows. If you like slow paced but intelligent TV/Movies that eventually end up with an amazing well structured plot, then this show is for you. Expand
  34. Oct 11, 2010
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One of my favourite shows. I'm always left wanting more at the end of every episode. At first I was a little disappointed with the pace of the show, but now it's one of the best parts about it. The pace has picked up considerably in the last few episodes on Season 1, which as been incredible and had be on the edge of my seat. Best ending so far in Ep12, with Will returning to his apartment and just collapsing. What next? I'm really curious how the season is going it end. Expand
  35. Oct 4, 2010
    9
    Trying to explain Rubicon without making it sound boring to the average viewing. To best describe a show as layered and complex as Rubicon, one could only say: It's conspiracy thriller done right. Rubicon takes the approach of a thriller in a written real world. don't expect high-speed car chases, exotically attractive femme fattales and explosive gun fights. Rubicon proves you don't need these action movie staples to keep you engaged, instead it forgoes them for compelling characters, pitch perfect pacing and an engaging mystery that's just out of reach. The show simply doesn't feel like it was written for television. It's general content and delivery feels better suited for a novel. Perhaps you can point that out as the shows flaw, and certainly many critics will, but I for one find that it is exactly what television needs. Rubicon spares dumbing down it's content and makes some assumptions; it assumes you I.Q. is above room temperature. It assumes you have some grounding in politics and world affairs. It assumes you can keep up with it's pace. Yes, because while the "action" may be methodical, the plot-point progressive is lightning fast. The show does trip and falter though. It's writing style, while like I said, is refreshing, can occasionally develop some side-storylines that become drawn out and leaving you uninterested. Sometimes this is just a case of developing a plot point for a later episode, which is fine for a novel, but for a t.v. show can end up losing you viewers.

    The show may not be for everyone, but it's unique approach to an age-old thriller genre is refreshing and engaging for those who are willing to put some time into unraveling the conspiracy of Rubicon.
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  36. Oct 9, 2010
    10
    A fine, quiet, thriller almost as paranoid as Damages. Good to better acting, well thought out characterization and a sense of constant, invisible movement make Rubicon one of TV's best.
  37. Oct 10, 2010
    10
    It is perfect. It is a cerebral drama and not as visceral as 24, which I appreciate. I hope AMC keeps this. I have recommended it to many friends and they all love it.
  38. Oct 11, 2010
    10
    I think the verdict is in on this television series. It is 'Rear WIndow' in thirteen parts. In the first several episodes of Rubicon, the audience is pulled into a compelling puzzle. A suicide, a tragic accident, and hints of a conspiracy in a backwater intelligence agency. We learn what makes Will Travers, his team and his bosses tick, and Will winds his way to a conclusion on his conspiracy theory. Patience has its rewards. By the time you get to Episode 11, your heart is in your throat. Expand
  39. Jan 17, 2011
    4
    I tried to get into this and let the whole season sit on my DVR for months, but this show is simply too slow-paced. Nothing happens and everything is vague, but there are some great actors involved. Sorry, AMC, I really did want to like this.
  40. Oct 24, 2010
    10
    Rubicon has the most realistic depiction of how real intelligence is derived, the missing pieces of the puzzle that require your best guess, team members dealing with personal issues, other agencies withholding information or having a different assessment and the big elephant in the room... the politics that you may not know who, how or why effects your analysis. If you want insight into a closed world watch Rubicon. Expand
  41. Oct 24, 2010
    10
    What a gift we've been given by AMC! Rubicon is a simply wonderful dramatic thriller. I had read the rather negative NYTimes review just prior to the season premier, in which the reviewer was whining about the pace of the first episode. I must say that one of the facets that I most love about Rubicon Is The Pace, in fact! The show is SO very confident in how patiently it paces itself--the dialog, scene to scene, and episode to episode. The writing, directing, and editing have S-M-A-R-T written all over them...as do the actors. This is a totally engaging ensemble cast, with a wonderfully diverse and colorful palette of personae. I believe that another criticism of the show by the NYTimes reviewer was the ambiguity and labyrinthine nature of the plot. And, of course, I would say to that, "How wonderful is it finally to have some complexity in a TV drama's story line?!" I would say we were a bit overdue on that score! Again, thank you, AMC for investing in this level of quality entertainment.

    Despite how much I love this show, let me try to add a bit of critique, for some balance. I felt there were times in the final episode (the 13th) that the writers/director/actors were flirting a bit with being melodramatic. AMC, more seasons of Rubicon, please!!!
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  42. Nov 7, 2010
    10
    Rubicon has been a great, spellbinding series! Can't wait for Season Two (there better be a Season 2). I enjoy waiting for the plot to unravel, it makes me think that much more about what will happen next. Keep up the great work!
  43. Dec 16, 2010
    0
    After watching ALL 13 episodes I can only say that it was SO much work for SO meager returns. Awful. The sad thing is with such a cadre of fine actors much more could have been done. Horrible pace--it took me nine episodes to be fully engaged, and the wrap up was tepid, at best.
  44. Jan 19, 2012
    8
    Really good show. Slow, yes, but still very good. Shame AMC didn't give it another year....especially after sitting thru so many episodes of the subsequent AMC show, the Deadwood wannabe , Hell on Wheels...completely mediocre.
  45. Jun 22, 2011
    9
    I found this one of the best shows in quite a while. the acting was great and the story was quite near to the reality it seamed. it was a sad decision to cancel the show.
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. 80
    If you enjoy slowly piecing together a puzzle without having first seen the final image, Rubicon is right up your alley; if not, the brainteasing will likely unnerve you.
  2. It's a dull blend, a slow-moving mind-rot creeping on unsuspecting viewers.
  3. 88
    There are some great characterizations and attention to detail. If you stick with the series, you'll be treated to a lecture on the perfect briefcase by the droll Michael Cristopher that's worth the price of admission. And if you think your office banter is entertaining, try swapping in-jokes with the intelligence community.