GenreComedy drama
Created byTom Kapinos
Opening theme"Main Title Theme from Californication" by Tree Adams and Tyler Bates
  • Tyler Bates
  • Tree Adams
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes84 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Lou Fusaro (seasons 1–2)
  • Gina Fattore (season 3)
  • John H. Radulovic (seasons 4–7)
Production locationsCalifornia
New York (some episodes)
  • Michael Weaver (seasons 1–6)
  • Tim Bellen (season 7)
  • Shannon Mitchell
  • Kevin D Ross
  • Michael Ornstein
  • Todd Desrosiers
  • Tony Solomons
  • Mark S Manos
Running time27–33 minutes
Production companies
  • Totally Commercial Films (pilot only)
  • Aggressive Mediocrity
  • Twilight Time Films (season 1)
  • And Then...
  • Showtime Networks
Original release
ReleaseAugust 13, 2007 (2007-08-13) –
June 29, 2014 (2014-06-29)

Californication is an American comedy-drama television series, created by Tom Kapinos, which aired for seven seasons on Showtime from August 13, 2007, to June 29, 2014. The show follows New Yorker Hank Moody (David Duchovny), a troubled novelist who moves to California and suffers from writer's block. His drinking, womanizing, and drug abuse complicate his relationships with his longtime lover, Karen (Natascha McElhone), and their daughter, Becca (Madeleine Martin). The show's other main characters are Hank's best friend and agent Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) and Charlie's wife Marcy (Pamela Adlon). Recurring themes are sex, drugs, and rock and roll, all of which are featured regularly, as well as the seedier side of Los Angeles. The show won several awards, including two Emmy Awards (nominated for two others) and one Golden Globe Award (nominated for five others).

Series overview

Main article: List of Californication episodes

The series revolves around Hank Moody, a novelist plagued by alcoholism. He blames his longtime writer's block on reasons ranging from the hedonism of Los Angeles to the departure of his girlfriend Karen. Hank constantly deals with the consequences of his inability to say "no" to temptation while trying to show his family that he can be a responsible, caring father to Becca and a reliable partner to Karen.

The show was renewed for a second season on September 7, 2007.[1] The season-one finale, "The Last Waltz" (in homage to Martin Scorsese's concert film),[2] originally aired on Showtime on October 29, 2007. Season two began filming in April 2008,[3] and was underway as of June 2008.[4] The premiere episode of season two aired September 28, 2008. The first season was released on DVD in the US on June 17, 2008. Showtime renewed Californication for a third season,[5] which premiered on Sunday September 27, 2009, at 10 pm.

The show is laced with rock culture references. It frequently alludes to Warren Zevon and featured Henry Rollins in a guest appearance; some episode titles, such as "Filthy Lucre", "Turn the Page", and "The Land of Rape and Honey", allude to album and song names (Sex Pistols' "Filthy Lucre Live", Bob Seger's "Turn the Page", and Ministry's The Land of Rape and Honey, respectively. "Turn the Page" was also covered by Metallica; episodes "...And Justice for All" and "The Unforgiven" are named after Metallica songs). Hank's lawyer in season four is called Abby Rhoads; his first three novels, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss, and God Hates Us All, are all named after Slayer albums. The books Crack the Sky and Blood Mountain by Richard Bates are also the names of two Mastodon albums. A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the movie based on God Hates Us All, is named after the song by the rock band Queen from their album The Game.[6] The segment before the opening theme is the introduction to The Stooges' song "I Got a Right".

Season one

Season one (August 13 – October 29, 2007) followed Hank and the other main characters in the months leading up to Karen's planned marriage to Bill, a Los Angeles publisher. Hank wallows in self-loathing following the release of A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, a drastically altered and watered-down, yet commercially popular movie adaptation of his most recent novel, God Hates Us All.[7]

Hank spends most of his time drinking and not writing. One day, he picks up a young woman in a bookstore; after they have sex, he discovers that she is Bill's 16-year-old daughter Mia. Mia proceeds to harass Hank during his visits to his family. She uses the threat of illegal sex charges to extort stories from him that she passes off as her own for her high-school creative-writing class.

The death of Hank's father drives Hank on an alcohol-fueled binge and a sexual encounter with Karen. After the funeral, Hank stays in New York to finish a manuscript for a new novella. Upon returning to LA, he believes the original copy to be lost when he is carjacked, but Mia had previously stolen the plot, and now she takes credit for it herself and attempts to have it published. On Karen and Bill's wedding day, Hank chooses to be unselfish and accept the situation so as not to destroy his beloved's wedding day, but that evening, as Becca and he leave the reception, Karen runs out and jumps into his car, presumably to resume their life together.

On June 3, 2008, Showtime released the season-one soundtrack Temptation: Music from the Showtime Series Californication , which features music from the original series. Included artists are The Rolling Stones, Peeping Tom, My Morning Jacket, The Doors, Tommy Stinson, Bob Dylan, Harvey Danger, Madeleine Martin, Gus Black, Mexican institute of sound, Warren Zevon, The Heavy, Champion, Steve Earle, Elton John, and two original tracks created for the show by Tyler Bates and Tree Adams.

Season two

In season two (September 28 – December 14, 2008), Hank and Karen's relationship seems to be working out, Becca seems happy again, and their house is on the market, as they plan a move to New York. Hank gets a vasectomy, and attends a party thrown by Sonja, a woman with whom he had sex in season one. A mistake and a fight with an obnoxious police officer land Hank in jail, where he meets world-famous record producer Lew Ashby, who commissions Hank to write his biography.

Office masturbation costs Charlie Runkle his job. Circumstances lead him to go into the porn industry, as he becomes the agent/paternal figure of a porn star named Daisy, and spends the majority of his wife Marcy and his nest egg financing the artsy porn movie Vaginatown (a take on Chinatown), starring Daisy. Marcy goes into treatment for her cocaine addiction, and Charlie starts an affair with Daisy. Hank proposes to Karen on the night they discover that Hank could be the father of Sonja's child. Karen refuses his proposal, leading him to go back to his old ways and continuing the show's central focus on clandestine sexuality.

Hank moves in with Ashby, who—to Hank's dismay—starts a romance with Mia. Becca finds a boyfriend named Damien. Mia's book is a hit and Ashby holds a party in her honor, where Damien cheats on Becca while Charlie announces he wants to leave Marcy for Daisy. After the party, Hank sees that Ashby's old girlfriend, the one who got away, has finally resurfaced. Hank then heads to Ashby's room, finding him with girls and cocaine. After Hank convinces him to rekindle the relationship, Ashby snorts some of what he believes is cocaine (but is actually heroin he had grabbed from a pile of drugs earlier in the party) and overdoses.

Hank finishes Ashby's biography. Charlie ends up working at a BMW dealership in the Valley, introducing himself as Chuck Runkle. Sonja's baby arrives; it is biracial, which proves that Hank cannot be the father. Hank and Karen slowly move toward reuniting. Karen is offered a job in New York, and Hank is happy to go there with her. When Damien apologizes to Becca, though, and they reconcile, Hank decides taking Becca out of LA would be wrong, and stays there with her while Karen starts her job in New York. The season closes with Karen's plane leaving for New York City and Hank and Becca walking on the Venice boardwalk.

Season three

Season three (September 27 – December 13, 2009)[5] began where season two ended. Key elements include Hank becoming a creative-writing teacher, and the various shenanigans he gets into when let loose on a college campus.

The father/daughter relationship between Hank and Becca becomes decidedly moodier as she progresses through her teenage years. Hank keeps questioning his fathering ability as he watches his daughter become more like him than he ever wanted. He also continues to complicate his relationship with Becca's mother, his longtime love Karen, with various relationships with women of all ages. Hank's various relationships include a female student, his teaching assistant, and the dean's wife, all of whom fall for Hank.

In the season finale, Hank has recurring nightmares of floating in a pool, drinking heavily while talking to his most recent conquests, who are swimming naked around him; Karen and Becca watch poolside. In reality, Mia returns to Hank's home and invites the family to the media launch of the paperback edition of her book. At the after party, Hank talks to Mia's manager, who is also her new boyfriend, who says he knows of Mia's history with Hank and offers Hank a way out by coming clean to the press about how the novel came about. Since it will affect Karen and Becca, though, Hank must decline.

When they meet again, the men fight and the manager/boyfriend threatens to call the police. Hank hurries home to Karen and confesses that he slept with Mia when she was 16. Karen breaks down uncontrollably, the argument bursts onto the street, and a police car arrives as Hank is trying to calm Karen. When an officer grabs Hank from behind, Hank belts him and is bundled into the back of the car as Becca runs out to try to stop the police. The final scene shows a dream sequence of Hank in the pool again, drinking out of the bottle. He falls from his seat and drops his drink. The last shot shows Hank sinking while the bottle remains visible.

Season four

Season four (January 9, 2011 – March 27, 2011)[8] filming began on April 19, 2010. Guest stars included Carla Gugino as Hank's lawyer Abby; Zoë Kravitz as Becca's new friend, who gets her to join Zoë's band, Queens of Dogtown;[9] Addison Timlin as Sasha Bingham, a movie star; and Rob Lowe as Eddy Nero, a famous actor who wants to play Hank's character in a movie. Zakk Wylde, singer and guitarist for Black Label Society and former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, has a cameo as a guitar-shop employee in episode two, the title of which, "Suicide Solution", comes from the Ozzy Osbourne song. Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee also has a cameo in the episode "Lights, Camera, Asshole", where he performs his solo version of Mötley Crüe's song "Home Sweet Home", on a piano at a bar at the end of the episode. Michael Ealy played a new love interest for Karen in four episodes, and Madeline Zima returned as Mia for four episodes.

The story picks up 72 hours after Hank is arrested at the end of season three, and revolves around Hank's thoroughly destroyed life. His secrets have come to light; the world knows that he penned Fucking & Punching, and that he slept with the underage Mia. Karen is disgusted and Becca is disappointed, so Hank goes to live at a hotel. Season four follows his new legal troubles, such as his lawyer's attempts to get him acquitted of statutory rape charges, plus the development of a film adaptation of "Fucking & Punching" and his sexual involvement with Sasha and Abby. Other developing storylines include Charlie learning his vasectomy may have been botched, Marcy moving in with a movie producer and learning she is pregnant by Charlie, Becca joining an all-female rock band, and Karen finding a new boyfriend.

On January 11, 2011, the season-four soundtrack was released.[10] Exclusive tracks include Tommy Lee's solo version of "Home Sweet Home" and three rock covers from the show's on-screen band Queens of Dogtown. Other artists on the soundtrack are Shooter Jennings and Hierophant, Eagles of Death Metal, Better Than Ezra, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Monster Magnet vs. Adrian Young, Cracker, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Warren Zevon, and Gregory Alan Isakov.[11] The soundtrack was co-produced by Nora Felder and Budd Carr, the show's music supervisors.[12]

Season five

The show returned to Showtime for its fifth season in January 2012.[13] Creator Tom Kapinos stated the show needed to take a completely new direction to stay fresh.[14] The narrative takes place 2 years and 9 months after season four, almost at the end of Hank's probation. Hank has since made New York his home, but he returns to Los Angeles for a short, business-related visit. His family issues end up extending it. Karen is married to Professor Bates, 19-year-old Becca is in college and has a new boyfriend, and Marcy is married to Stu Beggs, sharing the custody of her son Stuart with Charlie. Hank meets with rapper-turned-actor Samurai Apocalypse (RZA), who wants Hank to write a screenplay for a movie starring Samurai. Hank originally turns down the job but eventually ends up writing Santa Monica Cop because he needs the money. Hank has a hard time working with Samurai, and their strained relationship leads to some unpleasant situations. Hank is disgusted with Hollywood after his book God Hates Us All was adapted into a movie that he hated so is not thrilled with the prospect of working on another movie.

Season six

Season 6 started on January 13, 2013. Its storyline revolves around Hank's relationship with Faith (played by Maggie Grace), whom he meets in a rehabilitation facility, in parallel with Hank's artistic participation in the music industry. Initially, Hank reluctantly agrees to rehab, not because of a drug dependency, but rather because of depression over his role in ex-girlfriend Carrie's suicide at the end of season five. After being dumped by him, Carrie, emotionally devastated, drugs Hank and herself, but Hank is the only one who awakes, making him lose control over his alcoholism for feeling deeply guilty. At this point, Hank's family and best friends intervene, sending him to rehab.

Faith is a famous rockstar groupie/muse who is in rehab dealing with the recent death of a rockstar with whom she was involved, ultimately becoming Hank's muse. Faith and Hank seem to be made for each other, as they take off in a bus to follow a tour of Atticus Fetch (played by Tim Minchin), a rockstar who recruits Hank to write for him during the season, but in the end, Hank is too weak to move on from Karen, and though their relationship apparently has run its course, he leaves Faith and goes back to see Karen.

Season seven

Production for the seventh season began in 2013.[15][16] In December 2013, Showtime announced that Californication would end its run after the seventh season.[16][17] Mary Lynn Rajskub plays a neurotic writer, whom Charlie Runkle takes on as a client. Michael Imperioli plays Rath, a television producer for whom Hank begins to work.

On June 4, 2013, actress Mercedes Masohn announced that she would have a guest role as Amy Taylor Walsh, a TV star whose plea for Hank's help ends up putting him in an uncomfortable, compromising position. Amy apparently has ties to a season-four character, Sasha Bingham.[18] Roger Howarth plays Karen's yoga teacher.[19]

Oliver Cooper plays Levon, Hank's son from a previous relationship; Heather Graham plays Julia, Levon's mother. Comedian Jim Florentine plays a pimp, and Rob Lowe reprises his role as movie star Eddie Nero.[20]

Cast and characters


Character Actor Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Henry James "Hank" Moody David Duchovny Main
Karen Van Der Beek Natascha McElhone Main
Rebecca "Becca" Moody Madeleine Martin Main Special guest
Charlie Runkle Evan Handler Main
Mia Lewis Madeline Zima Main Guest Recurring
Marcy Runkle Pamela Adlon Recurring Main


Guest stars

Critical reception

The critical reaction for the first season of Californication has been generally favorable, with a rating of 70 on Metacritic.[23] American critic Nathan Rabin, though, gave that season an "F" rating on The A.V. Club, calling it "insufferable".[24]

The show and the lead actor, David Duchovny, were both nominated for Golden Globes in 2007; Duchovny won the lead actor award, but the award for best TV series in this category went to Extras.[25]

Awards and nominations

American Cinema Editors (ACE)

BAFTA Television Awards

Casting Society of America

Emmy Awards

Golden Globe Awards

PGA Awards

Prism Awards

Satellite Awards

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Telekamery Tele Tygodnia


The Red Hot Chili Peppers filed a lawsuit on November 19, 2007, against Showtime Networks over the name of the series, which is also the name of the band's 1999 album and hit single.[29] They state in the lawsuit that the series "constitutes a false designation of origin, and has caused and continues to cause a likelihood of confusion, mistake, and deception as to source, sponsorship, affiliation, and/or connection in the minds of the public".[30]

Pointing to Dani California, a character who appears in both the series and three songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (including "Californication"), as well as confusion when shopping for their album and that of the series soundtrack, the lawsuit asks for unspecified damages, and requests that a new name be found for the show.[30]

Showtime Networks argued that the band did not in fact create the term Californication. They point out that the term appeared in print in Time magazine in 1972, in an article called The Great Wild Californicated West,[31] while show producer Tom Kapinos cites the inspiration as coming from a bumper sticker he saw in the '70s that read Don't Californicate Oregon.[6][32] Canadian art-rock band the Rheostatics released an album called Whale Music in 1992, with a song called "California Dreamline". In this song, the word Californication appears in the phrase "Californication, spooning in the dry sand".[31][33]

Kim Walker, head of intellectual property at Pinsent Masons, states that the band should have registered Californication as a trademark. Instead, the only application for such was filed in April 2007 in the US, by Showtime. The mark has not yet been registered. Walker has also stated:

Successful songs, albums and movies can become brands in themselves. What's really surprising is how few songs and albums are properly protected... The Chili Peppers could almost certainly have registered a trademark for 'Californication', notwithstanding Time's article. They made the word famous, but it doesn't automatically follow that they can stop its use in a TV show.

If they had registered the title as a trademark covering entertainment services, I very much doubt we'd have seen a lawsuit. The TV show would have been called something else. As it is, the band faces an uphill struggle.[30]

In the United States, character names and titles of works are only subject to trademark protection, not copyright protection.[34]

According to an article on Hollywood news site TheWrap in 2011, the lawsuit was settled out of court.[35]


The season-two (December 14, 2008) finale drew 615,000 viewers, with a combined total of 937,000 for the evening, retaining less than 50% of its lead-in from the season-three finale of Dexter. Season three steadily gained viewership, and the show was quickly picked up for a fourth season by Showtime.[36]


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  3. ^ Adalian, Josef (September 6, 2007). "Showtime renews 'Californication'". Variety. Archived from the original on December 4, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
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