• Network: Showtime
  • Series Premiere Date: Dec 4, 2005
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    50
    Despite laudable elements -- particularly the magnetic Oded Fehr as the cell leader -- [the] series is too uneven to dub this ambitious mission a complete success.
  2. In theme and execution, in caliber of performance and level of dramatic tension, "Sleeper Cell" is an impressive, relentlessly gripping drama.
  3. Smart, thrilling and politically timely, "Sleeper Cell" works overtime to mix believable character drama with jolts of surprising plot twists.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    80
    This engrossing and unnerving nail-biter is a rare treat: a thriller with a brain and a soul.
  5. 80
    An eerie -- and excellent -- new series that makes ''24" look more than ever like a broadly drawn comic strip.
  6. 38
    Cobbled together out of hundreds of undercover/caper movie clichés, Sleeper Cell is so absurdly detached from the real world, it makes 24 look like a documentary.
  7. 75
    The second half builds steadily and surely toward a potential meet-and-greet with the apocalypse. [12 Dec 2005, p.39]
  8. "Sleeper Cell" is better than "24."
  9. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    70
    Imperfect but chilling.... In the end, Sleeper Cell is every bit as nailbiting as 24, with one crucial difference: neither the terrorists nor the Feds are supergeniuses.
  10. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    80
    A rich character drama and riveting suspenser that makes Fox's "24" seem lackluster.
  11. 80
    Sleeper Cell moves with more sophistication than most crime dramas.
  12. This is a first-rate series that explores the hearts and minds of terrorists even as it presents scene after scene of suspense and action.
  13. 75
    "Sleeper Cell" works as a smart, sharply styled thriller about a very serious subject.
  14. The one thing “Sleeper Cell” does commendably is to suggest that there is a struggle going on for the soul of Islam, and that al-Qaida does not have the only say in the matter. But that message is swamped by predictable thriller filler and cheap production values.
  15. While it is more intriguing than gripping, the drama has considerable power in its best moments, many of which will come in the last episodes.
  16. Fehr's performance is worth noting, if only because his cool demeanor is frighteningly at odds with the insane rhetoric pouring out of his mouth. His portrayal may be the show's greatest point of interest -- that is, if you aren't annoyed by Shields, or hypnotized into a slumber by Ealy's never-ending "haunted past" routine.
  17. Highly compelling most of the time.
  18. 60
    If one is looking for a TV drama that earnestly tries to reflect and speak to our lives and times, it would be hard to do better than Sleeper Cell.
  19. All of Sleeper Cell's didacticism would be forgiven if it were more entertaining. [2 Dec 2005, p.67]
  20. 80
    At times it plays like a hybrid of the ticking-bomb thrills from ["24"] and the moral thorniness that undergirds HBO’s excellent crime series The Wire.
  21. 70
    Sleeper Cell is compelling television primarily for its excellent performances and chilling premises, rather than its plots. Alarming as these may be, they are rendered here with predictable rising and falling action, a bit of romance, and some tidily resolved conflicts.
  22. For all its putative complexity, then, its passing examination of radical Islam versus peaceable Islam, its allusions to Guantanamo Bay and the Iraq insurgency, "Sleeper Cell" feels more like "The Shield," the L.A.-based cop drama on FX, the characters talking in overly stylized, expository quips, the L.A. cityscape whipping past in convincing fashion.
  23. Sleeper Cell tries laudably to entertain us and to complicate us simultaneously. But we also experience the Stockholm syndrome in reverse. The more time we spend with these people, the less we care about them.
  24. 60
    Despite the mostly awful dialogue, “Sleeper Cell” succeeds on the strength of its plot.
  25. 40
    Sleeper Cell moves way too slowly to get anyone's pulse racing—except maybe the Arab American community, which will almost certainly protest, despite the writers' awkward attempts to give equal screen time to "good" and "bad" Muslims.
  26. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    60
    Most of the time, it's... pretty gripping.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 52 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 35
  2. Negative: 4 out of 35
  1. Apr 15, 2012
    1
    What a bad show. The dialogue, acting, plot and music is all just horrible. Beyond unrealistic (in the worst ways).

    A friend recommended this
    and said it was similar to Homeland. This show is much worse and a far cry from Homeland. I'm surprised that the ctritic's and user reviews are so high. Full Review »