|Created by||Hannah Fidell|
|Based on||A Teacher|
by Hannah Fidell
|Music by||Keegan DeWitt|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Running time||21–29 minutes|
|Distributor||Disney Platform Distribution|
|Original release||November 10 –|
December 29, 2020
A Teacher is an American drama television miniseries created by Hannah Fidell based on her film of the same name. The series stars Kate Mara and Nick Robinson. It is produced by FX and premiered on sister streaming service Hulu on November 10, 2020. Critical reception to the miniseries was generally positive. The characterization of the two leads, performances, pacing, and expansion over the original were largely seen as improvements upon the film, while the ending was generally criticized for its rushed nature, lack of closure, and simple handling of complex issues.
Set from 2013 to 2014, A Teacher focuses on Claire Wilson, an English teacher at the fictional Westerbrook high school in Austin, Texas, who engages in an illicit sexual relationship with her 17-year-old high school student, Eric Walker. The miniseries explores the complexities of the relationship and the consequences for both of them and those around them.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"Episode 1"||Hannah Fidell||Hannah Fidell||November 10, 2020|
|In 2013, 32-year-old Claire Wilson starts her new job as an AP English teacher at Westerbrook high school in Austin, Texas. Claire is unsatisfied in her marriage and she and her husband Matt have been unable to conceive a child. Popular 17-year-old high-school senior Eric Walker and his friends are excited to learn about the young, attractive teacher. Eric, Logan, and Josh smoke weed outside a diner where Eric works and, inside, they find Claire eating alone. They sit with her and, after his friends leave, Eric bonds with Claire, who offers to tutor him for his SATs and drives him home.|
|2||"Episode 2"||Hannah Fidell||Hannah Fidell||November 10, 2020|
|Eric attends a party at his friend Logan's house, where he hooks up with his ex-girlfriend Alison. The party is raided by the police and, after noticing that the officer collecting his information is Claire's brother Nate, Eric asks him to call Claire, who convinces Nate to let her pick him up and throw out Eric's underage drinking citation. Matt spends his and Claire's savings on music equipment, creating tension between the couple. Instead of their regular SAT study session, Claire takes Eric to tour her alma mater, the University of Texas, where they are invited to a frat party by Logan's brother Cody. At the party, Eric and Claire almost kiss. Claire ignores a text from Eric, but accepts his Instagram follow request. At school, Eric confronts and kisses Claire.|
|3||"Episode 3"||Hannah Fidell||Andrew Neel||November 10, 2020|
|Claire, angry at Eric for kissing her, initially refuses to tutor him, but he apologizes and convinces her to continue. While he is hanging out with Logan and Cody, Eric lies about who Claire is, claiming she is a college girl. Eric asks Alison to the school's homecoming dance with him, which she accepts. Matt begins to suggest Claire try in vitro fertilization to start their family, which creates further tension. After Eric skips the tutoring session, Claire confronts him about it at the dance. He says he cannot control himself around her; later, after sharing longing glances, Eric and Claire leave together and have sex in the back of Claire's car.|
|4||"Episode 4"||Gillian Robespierre||Ruby Rae Spiegel||November 17, 2020|
|Claire sets ground rules for her and Eric's relationship. Matt notices Claire acting strange, but she allays his suspicions by giving him oral sex. Eric lies to his friends about why he left the dance early and is confronted by an angered Alison. Claire goes out for drinks with her co-worker Kathryn, who notices a hickey on Claire's neck. Claire sends Eric a scandalous photo and, breaking their rules, asks to meet Eric for sex. Eric, who is babysitting his brothers while his mother is on a date, leaves the kids in the care of a neighborhood girl. Eric tells Claire he genuinely cares for her and wants more than just sex, and Claire reciprocates those feelings. Eric returns home to find his mother is home and she reveals his younger brother burned himself while he was gone. Eric psyches himself up in the mirror to justify his behavior.|
|5||"Episode 5"||Andrew Neel||Rosa Handelman||November 24, 2020|
|Eric and Claire spend a weekend at a rented ranch house to celebrate Eric's 18th birthday. Eric is upset that Claire expects the relationship to end when Eric goes to college and laments that their relationship has to be secret. They profess their love for each other. Claire goes to a bar where Matt and his band are performing their first show. She and Kathryn drink in the parking lot and Kathryn deduces Claire is having an affair. Initially reluctant to share more, Claire eventually reveals she is having sex with Eric. Despite Claire's attempts to justify their relationship, Kathryn tells Claire she has no choice but to report her and leaves, panicking Claire.|
|6||"Episode 6"||Gillian Robespierre||Andrew Neel||December 1, 2020|
|Police detectives arrive at Eric's house to question him and he reveals his relationship with Claire. News of the relationship spreads and Eric's friends react with shock. Claire reveals her affair to Matt, who seeks counsel from Claire's brother, Nate. While heartbroken and angry, Matt declares to Claire his intention to save their marriage. Claire abruptly leaves to meet with Eric, who suggests they run away together; she accepts. At a motel, Claire receives a call from Nate, who says the police may look at the situation as a kidnapping. Claire and Eric have drunken sex but, after seeing missed calls and texts from his friends and his mother, Eric leaves the motel in the early morning. He tearfully reunites with his mother. Awaking to find Eric gone, Claire turns herself in at the police department.|
|7||"Episode 7"||Andrew Neel||Boo Killebrew||December 8, 2020|
|In 2014, Eric attends UT-Austin and rushes a fraternity. It is revealed that Claire and Eric's scandal has been all over the news and she will soon be released from jail. Eric is revered by his male friends for having sex with his teacher. He hooks up with a female student, who reveals she knows about his situation. Eric informs Cody that he feels responsible for ruining Claire's life. Eric refuses a suggestion from his mom that he seek counseling. Eric attempts to hook up with the female student again, only for her to apologize and tell him that he is a survivor of abuse. Eric becomes aggravated and pushes her away when she suggests they take things slow. Eric gets drunk with his friends and encourages them to drive recklessly until he is thrown from the car and injured. During his fraternity initiation, the members bring out an exotic dancer who teases Eric with teacher comments until he uncomfortably leaves and decides not to join the frat. He meets a student who offers him shrooms. While high, Eric admits that he still has feelings for Claire and misses her terribly.|
|8||"Episode 8"||Hannah Fidell||Rosa Handelman||December 15, 2020|
|Claire is released from jail and her formerly alcoholic father Wyatt addresses their estrangement, but proposes to be closer with her. Revealing that Matt filed for divorce, Nate allows Claire to stay over at his house and encourages her to look for a job. Nate's wife Lisa is uncomfortable around Claire. Claire meets with her probation officer. At a store in hopes of obtaining a job, Claire is recognized and called a "sexual predator." After a heated argument with Nate and Lisa at dinner, Claire realizes she is not welcome at Nate's home. Claire receives a text message from Eric to meet up and reluctantly allows him to visit her. The two confess their continued feelings, but Claire warns Eric to stay away and move on with his life. A devastated Eric leaves for good and Claire leaves Nate’s house to go live with her father.|
|9||"Episode 9"||Hannah Fidell||Boo Killebrew||December 22, 2020|
|Claire begins working in her father's retail store and uses Tinder to hook up with her date, who is aware of who she is and verbally degrades her. She finalizes her divorce with Matt. Claire again hooks up with her date, asking him to hit her; he does so, eventually causing her to bleed. Claire leaves after he refuses to continue hitting her. She later becomes angry at her father for trying to help her, but he encourages her to see her situation through. Eric meanwhile has been put on academic probation and is in danger of losing his scholarship after withdrawing from college life. At a bar, Eric encounters a bachelorette party attempting to get their single friend Chloe to connect with Eric. After the party leaves, Eric dances with Chloe, who breaks down in tears, explaining that she recently got out of a long-term relationship that she realized was unhealthy. This impacts Eric, who goes home the next morning and admits to his mom that he needs help.|
|10||"Episode 10"||Hannah Fidell||Hannah Fidell & Dana Kitchens||December 29, 2020|
|In 2024, Claire has remarried, has two daughters, and lives in Houston. Eric leads therapeutic wilderness retreats and makes the two-day drive back to Austin for his high school reunion. Eric encounters Claire in a grocery store, leaving them both shaken. At the reunion, Eric meets up with Logan and Josh; he also reunites with Alison and the pair rebuild their damaged relationship by hooking up in her hotel room. Claire texts Eric, asking to meet for lunch. At the restaurant, the conversation is strained and Eric reveals the bitter feelings he now has for Claire, saying he blamed himself for years before realizing that Claire took advantage of him. Claire shows contrition and apologizes multiple times for violating her role as an educator, revealing that people still judge her for what happened, but Eric tells her that she is still not taking responsibility and he will not absolve her guilt, as she wants. He says they both have to live with what happened and then abruptly leaves.|
In February 2014, it was revealed that Fidell's film A Teacher would be adapted for television by HBO. Fidell would write and executive produce the series along with Danny Brocklehurst. Kate Mara who is starring in the series also be serving as an executive producer, while Fidell will also direct the series, set up at FX instead of HBO. Following the completion of the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney in March 2019, The Walt Disney Company became the majority stakeholders of Hulu and with FX becoming one of the assets acquired through the purchase., it was announced in November 2019 that the show would premiere on Hulu instead of FX, as part of "FX on Hulu". Keegan DeWitt composed the series score.
In August 2018, it was announced Kate Mara and Nick Robinson were cast in lead roles for the series. In September 2019, Ashley Zukerman, Marielle Scott, Shane Harper, and Adam David Thompson joined the cast as series regulars, while Rya Kihlstedt, Camila Perez, Cameron Moulène and Ciara Bravo joined in recurring roles.
Principal photography began shooting in Calgary, Alberta, in August 2019. and wrapped on October 13, 2019.
The miniseries premiered on November 10, 2020, with the first 3 episodes available and the rest debuting on a weekly basis on Hulu. It also premiered on BBC Two in the UK on January 3, 2021. Internationally, it is available on Disney+ under the dedicated streaming hub Star as an original series since April 23, 2021, and in Latin America the series premiered on August 31, 2021 On Star+.
According to Whip Media, A Teacher was the top rising show, based on the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a specific program, during the week of November 15, 2020, and the 6th during the week of April 25, 2021. In January 2021, it was reported that A Teacher became FX on Hulu's most-watched series to date, surpassing Mrs. America and Devs.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 73% based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 6.20/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Beautiful, but slight, A Teacher's attempts to unpack its cautionary tale are admirable, even if its approach is too muted to make a meaningful impact." Metacritic gave the miniseries a weighted average score of 67 out of 100 based on 25 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Caroline Framke of Variety praised the performances of Kate Mara and Nick Robinson, complimented how the miniseries explores the consequences of the abuse experienced by Robinson's character across his relationship, and wrote, "A Teacher is an intensive, immersive study of how abuse works and the intimate damage it can wreak." Emily St. James of Vox wrote that Hannah Fidell succeeds to reimagine and expand the central notion of her film across the miniseries in a thoughtful way, and praised the miniseries for portraying the relationship between the lead characters as wrong and abusive, stating it does not shy away from depicting the negative repercussions of Mara's character on Robinson's. Liz Shannon Miller of Collider gave the miniseries a grade of A−, applauded the performances of Mara and Robinson, and stated the show succeeds to depict the negative consequences of an abusive relationship, writing, "A Teacher is not a love story. It really has nothing to do with love. But those who find themselves in these situations in real life don't know that, something which A Teacher is trying to capture, and ultimately makes it one of the most daring and complex series of 2020." Matt Cabral of Common Sense Media rated the miniseries 4 out of 5 stars and highlighted the strong sexual content and language, writing, "A Teacher is a mature drama series about an illicit, sexual affair between a high school teacher and her student. The show depicts the predator's grooming of her victim, as well as the ensuing relationship and its fallout. [...] The victim is portrayed as a kind, if flawed, individual who values his relationships with his friends and family." Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly gave the miniseries a B, praised the performances of the actors, complimented the chemistry between Mara and Robinson, but criticized the ending of the series, writing, "Television is a medium that allows us to live with characters; instead, A Teacher gives us a highlight reel of psychic convalescence, before ending on a note of oversimplified closure."
|2021||Gold Derby Awards||Movie/Limited Series Actress||Kate Mara||Nominated|||
|Women's Image Network Awards||Outstanding Made For Television Movie / Limited Series||A Teacher||Nominated|||
|Film Independent Spirit Awards||Best New Scripted Series||Hannah Fidell, Michael Costigan, Kate Mara, Louise Shore, Jason Bateman, Daniel Brocklehurst, Daniel Pipski||Nominated|||
|2022||BMI Film & TV Awards||BMI Streaming Series Awards||Keegan DeWitt||Won|||