Sleeper Cell : Season 1

  • Network: Showtime
  • Series Premiere Date: Dec 4, 2005
Season #: 1, 2
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 57 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 57
  2. Negative: 9 out of 57

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User Reviews

  1. CarnieH
    Dec 4, 2005
    10
    This show is awesome! Couldn't beleive I was actually hearing people discuss this topic in depth. I love Michael Ealy and hoipe and pray there's a Darwin out there somewhere.
  2. LawrenceR
    Dec 5, 2005
    10
    I'm with Carnie -- it's the next morning and I still can't believe they were actually dealing with so much REAL WORLD STUFF in a 1-hr TV show, not to mention dealing with it so well. If it stays this good it will be great.
  3. ClarkW
    Dec 6, 2005
    10
    Awesome!!! I just watched the 3rd episode, where they go to Mexico to fix money problems. This show is tight and taught but also is filled with thought! As far as showing terrorists "as if they are hypocrites in their practice of Islam" -- dude, do you think they are NOT hypocrites? And stoning as a means of carrying out the death penalty went on regularly in Taliban Afghanistan. The more Awesome!!! I just watched the 3rd episode, where they go to Mexico to fix money problems. This show is tight and taught but also is filled with thought! As far as showing terrorists "as if they are hypocrites in their practice of Islam" -- dude, do you think they are NOT hypocrites? And stoning as a means of carrying out the death penalty went on regularly in Taliban Afghanistan. The more we learn about the terror cell members the more real they are -- like Walker-Lindh, Jose Padilla, the German "Blonde Emir," etc. This show is like THE WIRE vs. terrorism... I LOVE IT! Expand
  4. DougM
    Dec 8, 2005
    9
    The show is really good past the first episode. Some hokeyness, but overall it's a fun ride to the end.
  5. SamehY
    Dec 8, 2005
    9
    Sleeper Cell is not only about entertainement. It reflects a reality that has been long mis-understood. It also exposes the stereotyping and islamophobia that have flooded the media since 9/11. It is a realistic, objective and honest show that also exposes the fight within the islamic faith on who really represent this faith.
  6. JudyT.
    Dec 9, 2005
    4
    This is an average show. Showtime should take some pointersfrom HBO. I agree with one critic you said that the show was extremely uneven, just when you think their going to do something unexpected they do just the opposite. I think the cast is good, Oded Fehr is great but they give him no character to play. As far as I'm concerned they should have just had the show about the cell and This is an average show. Showtime should take some pointersfrom HBO. I agree with one critic you said that the show was extremely uneven, just when you think their going to do something unexpected they do just the opposite. I think the cast is good, Oded Fehr is great but they give him no character to play. As far as I'm concerned they should have just had the show about the cell and the FBI trying to track them down. They Earley is a good actor, his character is dumb. He says all the rihgt things at the right time and I don't know about anyone else but I think Farik would have caught on to this guy after the first episode in real life. My last criticism is the love interest. Give me a break, I'm a woman, a black woman and I like romance just as much as the next gal, but it's out of place here. And why a white woman, come on it just turned me completely off. I have started to flick the channel a lot going back periodically to see if they've learned from their mistakes. So far they haven't. Expand
  7. DanteV
    Dec 12, 2005
    5
    This is truly an average show that has a very sexy premise and had a lot of potential. However, the writing is so poor and the production values pretty bad, that it can't rise above the tantilizing premise. For example, having an Israeli actor (Oded Fehr) playing a hardcore Arab terrorist is very strange indeed. The main character Darwin looks like he is sleepwalking throughout the This is truly an average show that has a very sexy premise and had a lot of potential. However, the writing is so poor and the production values pretty bad, that it can't rise above the tantilizing premise. For example, having an Israeli actor (Oded Fehr) playing a hardcore Arab terrorist is very strange indeed. The main character Darwin looks like he is sleepwalking throughout the show. Also, some of the production values just look very cheap. However, in the end, it comes down to the writing. It seems like they drew up a 10 point plan and lesson of the day with the first episode being how the cell works, the next one being how terrorists fund their operations, then the moral dillema within Islam to be a terrorist or now, and so on. The writing is so bad that during some scenes, I expected Oded Fehr (Farik) to grow horns and a fang to represent the devil. There are some good moments in the show, but, I can't remember them right now. The love interest angle is really bad. Overall, this subject could have been handled much better with a complete overhaul of their writing staff. Cliches run about in this show. Expand
  8. lucl
    Dec 12, 2005
    10
    it is an awesome picture of what the truth might be. If the truth is less than the movie, well I am sure the terrorist will use these ideas, if the reality is more... Be afraid.
  9. DWIGHTT
    Dec 15, 2005
    9
    great show..love the idea of this show..but at times is just drags on--want to see more action
  10. amardeeps
    Dec 18, 2005
    10
    simply...amazing
  11. ah
    Dec 22, 2005
    10
    dont let the reviews fool you. this was a great show, from beginning to end. only complaint i have is there werent more episodes. definitely deserves a second season.
  12. JudyS
    Jan 1, 2006
    10
    outstanding, riveting drama, best mini series in recent memory on any channel
  13. TomD
    Jan 4, 2006
    10
    Fantastic. Better than 24, sorry it is over.
  14. BradB
    Jan 4, 2006
    10
    Better than 24! Hope it comes on again.
  15. MarinaD
    Jan 15, 2006
    10
    I can't remember another show in which a non-Christian religion is taken seriously as part of the characters' motivation. This series builds and becomes more griipping wtih each episode. Wonderful acting from a talented ensemble, including especially the magnetic Mr. Fehr.
  16. TomT
    Mar 1, 2006
    8
    Yes the writing could be stronger and I have to suspend my disbelief each episode with how flagrantly indescrete these terrorists are...but then again truth being stranger than fiction the cell thought brought about 9/11 were just as indiscrete. However this is brave and challenging television. This show would NEVER last a millisecond on network TV without a huge public uproar.
  17. JillK
    Mar 4, 2006
    10
    I can't think of any show more entertaining than this one. It's riveting, leaving me excitedly waiting for the next episode. A risky and gripping show.
  18. manisht
    Mar 18, 2006
    10
    Definately deserves a second season. Definately
  19. RobK
    Mar 19, 2006
    10
    loved the show, I want a second season!
  20. Angel
    Apr 13, 2006
    9
    love it!! so real, it's scary! can't wait for season 2
  21. martins
    Apr 29, 2006
    10
    excellent
  22. JasonK
    May 5, 2006
    10
    Absolutely fantastic! A gripping thriller with themes and characters that most networks are uncomfortable portraying in their shows such as jihad, Islam and the War on Terror. Bravo Showtime!
  23. ByronA
    May 20, 2006
    10
    Hands down, this is the best show on TV. It's gut-wrenching and real.
  24. JenniferW
    Jun 25, 2006
    10
    I would like to see this come back as a regular series.
  25. carll
    Aug 24, 2006
    3
    I think the script is very shallow and doesn't know any thing about Islam. The scene of " stoning" abdullah habib in the desert is an example of how ignorant is the writer because stoning in muslim practice is only taken as a punishment for committing adultry by a married person and not for any thing. moreover, the writer failed to show that the muslim extreemist would be very I think the script is very shallow and doesn't know any thing about Islam. The scene of " stoning" abdullah habib in the desert is an example of how ignorant is the writer because stoning in muslim practice is only taken as a punishment for committing adultry by a married person and not for any thing. moreover, the writer failed to show that the muslim extreemist would be very religious and would practice islam in every day life. instead they been shown as not believing in what are they doing! I think the writing could have been done better! Expand
  26. DavidB
    Aug 24, 2006
    6
    Intriguing in it's premise, but with an undeniably shallow treatment of the causes and psychology of international terrorism. Absolutely not in the same league as 24 in terms of action or individual performances.
  27. TylerP
    Aug 25, 2006
    3
    Mind-numbingly slow and full of cliched and poorly-acted dialogue. The concept is interesting but the show isn't; it can't overcome the repeated requests for us to suspend disbelief: He's a dedicated muslim but jumps into bed with her? She had no problem at all with him just getting out of prison and not telling her what he did to end up there, and practically drags him Mind-numbingly slow and full of cliched and poorly-acted dialogue. The concept is interesting but the show isn't; it can't overcome the repeated requests for us to suspend disbelief: He's a dedicated muslim but jumps into bed with her? She had no problem at all with him just getting out of prison and not telling her what he did to end up there, and practically drags him into bed with her, but wants nothing to do with him after he stands her up once, and tries to explain himself? The mid-level FBI guy is understandably upset when he learns the main character shot somone, but can easily be talked out of this position by his underling? Fariq pretends he's the world's most dedicated Jew as cover? Fariq risks the whole group being caught by dropping harmless powder in a mall ventilation system at a mall in a full dress rehearsal? No one in the group has the slightest problem, or utters a single word in defense, with they killi one of their tight-knit group? Afterward they go to a topless bar and enjoy it?? Every scene is predictable--and advancing the story is tedious. The whole season would do better as a 10-minute short film. Don't waste your time on Showtime's latest attempt to be taken as seriously as HBO. It's not HBO -- it's TV. Expand
  28. DeydelT
    Aug 26, 2006
    10
    excellent must watch it little kiss from France
  29. MitchellK
    Sep 9, 2006
    10
    I haven't seen television written any better than this.
  30. ShandraS
    Nov 11, 2006
    10
    This show was the best and I think that they should have a season 2! If that is possible because Michael Ealy is very hott!
  31. nickh
    Dec 11, 2006
    10
    Totally refreshing to see anything on tv that attempts to demonstrate why terrorists are willing to go to such extreme measures. Wish more americans were as focused and disciplined. We'd then truely be the strongest nation. But most americans just dont have anything to so strong to believe in. Were too obsessed with american idols and make-up products and plastic surgery and football Totally refreshing to see anything on tv that attempts to demonstrate why terrorists are willing to go to such extreme measures. Wish more americans were as focused and disciplined. We'd then truely be the strongest nation. But most americans just dont have anything to so strong to believe in. Were too obsessed with american idols and make-up products and plastic surgery and football and music with no worthwhile message Expand
  32. TrentB
    Dec 13, 2006
    0
    More mindless neocon propaganda vomited onto our screens. This country is going to collapse into a police state if people are actually believing this garbage. Fellow citizens, start questioning your government for God's sake! They're taking away our liberties and expanding federal police control over states and cities. Terrorists don't have any power over us--in fact they More mindless neocon propaganda vomited onto our screens. This country is going to collapse into a police state if people are actually believing this garbage. Fellow citizens, start questioning your government for God's sake! They're taking away our liberties and expanding federal police control over states and cities. Terrorists don't have any power over us--in fact they have less power to threaten us than street criminals. It's all a facade, and the Feds are using it to grab more control over our lives. Collapse
  33. NancyH
    Dec 20, 2006
    10
    Extremely chilling, terrific acting and very realistic. Can't wait for 3rd season to see if Darwyn survives.
  34. DQS
    Jul 20, 2007
    5
    Wildly uneven episode to episode, and character to character. The dialogue seems borrowed from Tom Clancy novels (which is not a compliment) and most of the characters are two dimensional (some less than that). If you're watching just for action - search elsewhere. If you're watching for a dialectic on America's confusion of Islam with Terrorism - search elsewhere.
  35. 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.
  36. Dec 7, 2014
    8
    It is a common misconception that Sleeper Cell was cables first failed attempt to recreate the hit show 24, in a more extreme format, and that Sleeper Cell was the precursor to the smash hit Homeland. In reality, Sleeper Cell was a highly rated mini-series that was picked up for another year. The show was actually the inspiration for Homeland, as if one were to take Sleeper Cell and mix itIt is a common misconception that Sleeper Cell was cables first failed attempt to recreate the hit show 24, in a more extreme format, and that Sleeper Cell was the precursor to the smash hit Homeland. In reality, Sleeper Cell was a highly rated mini-series that was picked up for another year. The show was actually the inspiration for Homeland, as if one were to take Sleeper Cell and mix it with 24, the result would be Homeland.

    The story follows Darwyn Al-Sayeed (Michale Ealy), the FBI's best undercover agent, who also happens to be a Muslim, making him the perfect choice to infiltrate the domestic side of Al-Queda. Darwyn poses as a recently paroled Islamic militant, who wants to strike a blow against the country that imprisoned him.

    Through his prison contacts, Darwyn is connected to a mysterious man named Farik (Oded Fehr), who even the FBI can't identify. Through a series of tests, Farik introduces Darwyn to the rest of his cell and together they start to plan an attack on Los Angeles.

    Michael Ealy stars and played the role of Darwyn as if it were specifically written for him. Ealy is the kind of actor who is easily recognized from dozens of minor movie roles, but I've never seen him star before. The character he's playing, Darwyn, is basically Jack Bauer with a lot more self-control. He's cool and collected, but ready to take action at a moments notice, making for a great character.

    Ealy is paired with Oded Fehr, of the Mummy series, and he too was terrific. Obviously you need an actor with a Middle Eastern background to play this role, but Farik isn't you're typical Al-Queda, as he is able to easily fit into the suburban community. Farik is a ruthless killer, but also has a peaceful, caring side, that really comes across in the episode where they go to Mexico.

    Sleeper Cell has all the action and edge of your seat drama that 24 had, and more, because let's face it, This was a cable show. Thanks to a top notch cast, some well known Directors, and a great team of Writers, Sleeper Cell was a sleeper hit on Showtime, that was easily overlooked, because it was only on for a short time. Besides only having 18 episodes, Showtime originally presented the show in a very strange way, airing all the episodes on back to back nights. This means that combined, both seasons were on the air for less than a month, and in a time before on demand had gotten popular. That is why this series was so overlooked, but thanks to Netflix, Me and thousands of others have been exposed to this hidden gem, that is worth every second that you put into to watching it.
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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. Entertainment Weekly
    Reviewed by: Gillian Flynn
    58
    All of Sleeper Cell's didacticism would be forgiven if it were more entertaining. [2 Dec 2005, p.67]
  2. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    80
    This engrossing and unnerving nail-biter is a rare treat: a thriller with a brain and a soul.
  3. 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.