Conspiracy thriller
Created byJason Horwitch
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Executive producers
  • Leslie Jacobowitz
  • Kerry Orent
Production locationNew York
Running time45 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseJune 13 (2010-06-13) –
October 17, 2010 (2010-10-17)

Rubicon is an American conspiracy thriller television series created by Jason Horwitch and produced by Henry Bromell that was broadcast on the AMC television network in 2010. The series centers on an intelligence analyst working for the American Policy Institute (API) in New York City. The series stars James Badge Dale, Jessie Collins, Lauren Hodges, Miranda Richardson, Dallas Roberts, Christopher Evan Welch, Arliss Howard, and Michael Cristofer.

The original focus of the series was influenced by conspiracy films of the 1970s such as Three Days of the Condor and The Parallax View, in which an innocent character is caught up in, and slowly unravels, a major conspiracy. Creative differences with the network, however, caused Horwitch to leave the series, after which Bromell focused the episodes more on the workers at API, which was changed from a think tank to a private intelligence agency.

Rubicon debuted on AMC on August 1, 2010, as a two-hour, two episode block. With two million viewers, the August 1 premiere set a record as the most watched debut of an AMC original series at that time. However, due to low viewing figures, AMC canceled Rubicon on November 11, 2010, stating that the show had been "an opportunity to tell a rich and compelling story, and we're proud of the series. This was not an easy decision, but we are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a phenomenally talented and dedicated team."[1]



The show's title references Caesar's 49 BC crossing of the Rubicon in northeastern Italy, an act of war against the Roman Republic. A press release by Bromell noted that the Roman senators "were always afraid that the Roman army would someday take over, which is exactly what happened. And that's when the republic ended and the empire—which is a dictatorship—began."[2] The river's history was also mentioned in episode 12, when Kale Ingram compares Katherine Rhumor's late husband to Cato the Younger, whose suicide permitted his family to "make peace with Caesar and a life of their own".[3]

The narrative of the show involves the main protagonist, an intelligence analyst, during his investigation into the mysterious death of his mentor, which is later revealed to be an act of a larger conspiracy committed by a secret society of war profiteers in corporate America, whose members may include his employer.

Creator Jason Horwitch conceived the show based on conspiracy films of the 1970s such as All the President's Men, Three Days of the Condor, and The Parallax View inspired by their slow-paced action and complex stories.[4] After writing and producing the pilot, Horwitch left the show due to "creative disagreements" with the network.[5] Producer Henry Bromell then took over the role as showrunner,[6] making numerous changes including shifting the workplace from a civilian think tank similar to RAND to an intelligence consulting firm similar to STRATFOR.[5] With Horwitch off-board, further production began on March 29, 2010, in New York City.[6][7] Subsequent episodes shifted much of the series's focus to workplace dynamics instead of the original conspiracy.[5]

Cast and characters

Main cast

Supporting cast


The series debuted on AMC on August 1, 2010, with a two-hour broadcast of the pilot followed by episode 2.[8] The pilot episode was given two preview showings; once after the season 3 finale of Breaking Bad on June 13, 2010, and again after the season 4 premiere of Mad Men on July 25, 2010. The first sneak preview was viewed by 2 million viewers,[9] making it the most watched debut of an AMC original series at that time.[10] The second received 818,000 viewers.[11] The series was cancelled on November 11, 2010, owing to its low ratings.[12]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
1"Gone in the Teeth"Allen CoulterJason HorwitchJune 13, 2010 (2010-06-13)1.07[13]
Intelligence analyst Will Travers suffers a shocking tragedy when his father-in law and mentor, David Hadas, is killed in a train accident. Will believes that Hadas was murdered which leads him to clues in a mysterious conspiracy. While investigating, he gets promoted to team leader - the position previously held by David. Katherine Rhumor questions the unexpected suicide of her billionaire husband, Tom, who killed himself after finding a four-leaf clover in his daily newspaper.
2"The First Day of School"Guy FerlandStory by : Jason Horwitch and Henry Bromell
Teleplay by : Henry Bromell
August 1, 2010 (2010-08-01)1.90[9]
Will faces his first day as the boss to his former teammates, not knowing that his assistant Maggie is spying on him for his supervisor Kale. Katherine goes on the reading of her husband's will and discovers that he had led a double life.
3"Keep the Ends Out"Jeremy PodeswaMichael Oates PalmerAugust 8, 2010 (2010-08-08)1.20[14]
Katherine commiserates with Tom's best friend, James Wheeler, who seems to share her grief and confusion over Tom's suicide. Will disassembles the motorcycle David gave him, finds an encrypted list of numbers and a gun, but David's son Evan visits Will to reclaim the motorcycle. Maggie's ex-husband returns asking forgiveness; when Maggie relays this news to Kale, he warns against trusting the man.
4"The Outsider"Jeremy PodeswaRichard E. RobbinsAugust 15, 2010 (2010-08-15)1.18[15]
Truxton Spangler invites Will on a business trip to DC, leaving Will's team to determine if the American government should proceed with a political assassination without Will's input, who is out of the loop regarding the nature of the assignment. Miles hides from the team the fact that he and his wife are separated and most likely heading for divorce. Katherine's attempt to move on is derailed when she finds a suspicious message on Tom's cell phone from the day before he died.
5"Connect the Dots"Nick GomezNichole BeattieAugust 22, 2010 (2010-08-22)1.14[16]
Frustrated by the lack of progress in the investigation of her husband's death, Katherine takes matters into her own hands by visiting a small, apparently failing company that Tom left her, and decides not to sell the business until she can determine why Tom left it to her. At a charity fundraiser thrown by Spangler's wife Will and Katherine meet briefly, where Will begins to suspect that Spangler is involved in the conspiracy.
6"Look to the Ant"Seith MannZack WhedonAugust 29, 2010 (2010-08-29)1.31[17]
With Ingram's help Will realizes that his apartment is bugged, and he assures himself that someone is following him too. While Maggie's daughter is with her ex-husband for the night, Maggie indulges in a one-night stand. Meanwhile at API Miles engages the assistance of an analyst from another department, Julia (Natalie Gold). Katherine visits the wife of a man who committed suicide, and whom Tom had been researching after replacing him on the board of the company he left Katherine. She is shocked when she finds a four-leaf clover.
7"The Truth Will Out"Alik SakharovEliza ClarkSeptember 5, 2010 (2010-09-05)1.27[18]
The FBI puts API on lockdown and submits Will, Ingram, Spangler, and Will's team to polygraph examinations to expose a possible mole within the organization, which Miles suspects is himself, but proves to be wrong. Katherine realizes that she isn't safe in her own home following a late night break-in.
8"Caught in the Suck"Ed BianchiBlake MastersSeptember 12, 2010 (2010-09-12)1.16[19]
Will′s clues lead him to the company Tom left Katherine - Atlas MacDowell. Meanwhile the CIA sends Miles and Tanya to torture cell to oversee the interrogation of a captured Al-Qaeda member, and later Tanya is suspended from Will's team. Katherine receives a mysterious envelope with a picture and a drawing of a four-leaf clover behind it.
9"No Honesty in Men"Alan TaylorEliza ClarkSeptember 19, 2010 (2010-09-19)1.03[20]
Will decides to move out of his apartment and starts a sexual relationship with his next-door neighbor Andy (Annie Parisse). Julia is put as a replacement for Tanya, to Miles' surprise. Katherine reaches out to Tom's ex-wife for answers about his past. After suspecting both Kale and Will, Truxton approaches Grant asking him if he'll take Will's position if something happens to Will anytime soon.
10"In Whom We Trust"Keith GordonNichole BeattieSeptember 26, 2010 (2010-09-26)0.97[21]
Tanya starts going to rehab and begins her recovery. Will secretly reaches out to Katherine and they understand that they are on different ends of the same path.
11"A Good Day's Work"Brad AndersonZack WhedonOctober 3, 2010 (2010-10-03)1.00[22]
Tanya re-joins the team for a while and is angered after seeing Julia in the team. Truxton decides to terminate Will and orders Bloom to kill him, which he doesn't succeed in and Will kills him. Katherine decides to stay home after Bloom's threat but uncovers a mysterious cassone and the final clue left by Tom in it.
12"Wayward Sons"Michael SlovisRichard E. RobbinsOctober 10, 2010 (2010-10-10)1.26[23]
API joins forces with the FBI and CIA to locate a terrorist before he strikes, much to Tanya and Miles' dismay; Will and Grant are sent into the field to question people involved with the terrorist. Ingram asks Maggie to watch on Katherine, but she decides to go to Andy's house after Will requests her, where she finds out that Andy and Will are in a relationship. Katherine finds Meet Me in St. Louis which she believes is the key to Tom's suicide. Finally, API doesn't manage to stop the terrorist from striking and the USA is under attack.
13"You Never Can Win"Henry BromellHenry BromellOctober 17, 2010 (2010-10-17)1.04[24]
Will uncovers the missing link between Spangler and Hadas' death and finally uncovers the conspiracy by Atlas McDowell to profit from world-changing events. Will confronts Spangler, who was sent the four-leaf clover by the conspiracy group. Katherine finally discovers the real reason why her husband Tom committed suicide and his involvement in the conspiracy. Prior to his suicide, Tom left a message on a DVD that if Katherine is in danger she should visit Andy (Will's mysterious neighbor). Katherine is murdered by a conspiracy agent before she can give Will the DVD message from Tom and David Hadas.


Rubicon received generally favorable reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it received a 69% approval rating with an average score of 7.75 out of 10 based on 29 reviews and a critical consensus of, "Rubicon creates an intellectual puzzle for the mind that is pieced together with skillful writing, acting, and carefully-crafted storytelling."[25] On Metacritic, it scored 69 out of 100 based on 28 critic reviews.[26] Most of the critics praised the show's cast and atmosphere, but many have criticized the lack of action and the slow development of the central mystery.[27][28][29] The show has often been compared to AMC's other shows, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, because of their success and originality, Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker ended his review with such a comparison saying "Rubicon doesn't have the glossy panache of Mad Men or the in-your-face confrontations of Breaking Bad, but I think that's a good thing. It establishes Rubicon as its own distinct creation from AMC."[30] About the lack of action on the show, Scott D. Pierce for the Deseret News wrote, "For a show that's supposed to be a spy thriller, there aren't a whole lot of thrills in Rubicon."[2] Maureen Ryan from the Chicago Tribune commented, "This pleasantly low-key drama has little trouble creating an atmosphere, but the pace is sometimes slack in the first four episodes."[31] However, some critics found the lack of action as smart and creative, as Tucker wrote: "Rubicon does it by creating an eerily quiet world in which small moments can generate great suspense. The discovery of a spy's clues planted in crossword puzzles, or Will's insistence that a guy is following him while we are shown that two different men are tailing him—these carry more dramatic weight than a score of car chases or martial-arts fight scenes."[30]

After the last episode had been aired, Adam Kirsch in The New Republic highlighted that the series had two parallel stories that seemed 40 years apart: Will's unraveling of the conspiracy, which so much tries to recreate the 1970s conspiracy films in which nobody seems to know that emails, databases and USB sticks have been invented; and the work of the analysts, which is definitely set in our post 9/11 world.[32]

Rubicon made appearances in several 2010 top ten lists. Therese Odell, of the Houston Chronicle, listed Rubicon as the third best TV show of 2010,[33] while Time magazine's James Poniewozik called Rubicon the ninth best show of the year.[34] Rubicon also appears in Robert Lloyd's list, published in the Los Angeles Times, of the 10 shows that "made TV worth watching" in 2010,[35] as well as in Maureen Ryan's list for TV Squad of the best TV of 2010.[36]

In a 2010 article entitled "Whither Intelligence? Where Espionage Goes Wrong", David A. Andelman, writing for the World Policy Journal, described Rubicon as "perhaps the single most realistic interpretation of intelligence analysis".[37]

Online promotion

Promotion on AMC's Rubicon website included the "Intelligence Team Aptitude Test", a personality quiz that told users which job they'd be best suited for at the American Policy Institute (the fictional intelligence agency featured on the show).[38] Inspired by Will's discovery of a code hidden within newspaper crossword puzzles in episode 1, The New York Times created an original Rubicon-themed crossword puzzle prior to Rubicon's premiere which eventually became exclusively available on AMC's Rubicon website.[39] Promotion also included "Maggie’s Blog", a personal blog authored by one of the show's characters, Maggie Young.[40] AMC's Rubicon website also featured exclusive sneak peek and behind the scenes videos, trivia games, numerous photo galleries, episode and character guides, a blog, and a community forum.

Awards and nominations

In 2011, Rubicon received a Creative Arts Emmy nomination for Outstanding Main Title Design for Theo Daley (designer), Cara McKenney (producer/art director), Jeremy Cox (designer/animator) and Karin Fong (creative director).[41]


  1. ^ Rice, Lynette (November 11, 2010). "AMC Cancels 'Rubicon'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Pierce, Scott (July 28, 2010). "'Rubicon' will require plenty of patience". Deseret News. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  3. ^ Robbins, Richard E. (October 10, 2010). "Wayward Sons". Rubicon. Season 1. Episode 12. AMC.
  4. ^ Bianculli, David (July 27, 2010). "'Rubicon': Smart Spies Who Connect The Dots". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Sepinwall, Alan (November 11, 2010). "AMC cancels 'Rubicon'". HitFix. Retrieved September 6, 2015..
  6. ^ a b Nellie, Andreeva (February 3, 2010). "'Rubicon' creator departs". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  7. ^ "AMC's Rubicon Begins Production March 29th in New York City" (Press release). AMC. February 4, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  8. ^ Eng, Joyce (April 20, 2010). "AMC Sets Premiere Dates for Mad Men, Rubicon". TV Guide. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (August 3, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'The Glades Rises;' 'True Blood' Hits a 3.0 Adults 18-49 Rating & Much More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 8, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  10. ^ Lond, Harley W. (August 2, 2010). "'Rubicon' Sets Ratings Record for AMC". AOL TV. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
  11. ^ Seidman, Robert (July 27, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: True Blood, Entourage, The Glades, Kourtney & Khloe & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on June 19, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  12. ^ Gorman, Bill (November 11, 2010). "AMC Cancels Rubicon". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  13. ^ Gorman, Bill (June 15, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: True Blood, Breaking Bad, Army Wives, Drop Dead Diva & Much More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on June 20, 2011. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  14. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 10, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'The Glades,' 'True Blood' Steady, 'Rubicon' Goes Unnoticed & Much More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on February 2, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  15. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 17, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Blood, Kourtney & Khloe, Hasslehoff Roast;' + 'The Glades' Slips & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  16. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 24, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Blood, Rubicon, Mad Men, Kardashians' & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  17. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 31, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: More Records for True Blood + The Glades, Rubicon, Mad Men & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
  18. ^ Seidman, Robert (September 8, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: The Glades Down a Little; Rubicon, Mad Men Moreso". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2010.
  19. ^ Gorman, Bill (September 14, 2010). "Big Sunday For Cable Ratings: True Blood, VMAs, Jersey Shore, Iron Chef, Kardashians & Lots More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 18, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  20. ^ Seidman, Robert (September 21, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Boardwalk Empire' Premieres; 'Rubicon' Still Struggling + The Glades, Mad Men, Kardashians & Lots More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  21. ^ Gorman, Bill (September 28, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Boardwalk Empire' Falls; 'Rubicon' Stays Low + Glades, Mad Men, Kardashians, Dexter & Lots More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  22. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 5, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Boardwalk Empire' Mostly Stable; 'Rubicon' Still Tiny; Mad Men, Kardashians, Dexter & Lots More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  23. ^ Gorman, Bill (October 12, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Boardwalk Empire' Plunges; 'Rubicon' Up; Mad Men, Kardashians, MLB Playoffs & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2010.
  24. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 19, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: Kardarshians Lead; 'Mad Men' Finale Up; 'Rubicon' Finale Down; 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Sonny with a Chance' & Much More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 18, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  25. ^ "Rubicon: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  26. ^ "Rubicon: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved November 25, 2009.
  27. ^ Lowry, Brian (July 29, 2010). "Review: 'Rubicon'". Variety. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  28. ^ Zalben, Alex (August 23, 2010). "Rubicon Is All Puzzles, No Answers". Archived from the original on August 26, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  29. ^ Belcher, Walt (July 30, 2010). "'Rubicon' is a slow-burning spy thriller". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  30. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (August 1, 2010). "Rubicon". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  31. ^ Ryan, Maureen (August 12, 2010). "'Rubicon' provides a brooding spy tale for conspiracy fans". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  32. ^ Kirsch, Adam (October 27, 2010). "Why 'Rubicon' Is the Perfect Spy Show for the Obama Era". The New Republic. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  33. ^ Odell, Therese (December 22, 2010). "Tuned In's Ten Eleven Best Shows of 2010". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  34. ^ Poniewozik, James (December 9, 2010). "'Rubicon' – The Top 10 of Everything of 2010". Time. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
  35. ^ Lloyd, Robert. "2010 in review: Robert Lloyd on TV". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 31, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  36. ^ Ryan, Maureen (December 2, 2010). "The Best TV of 2010: The Top 10 Roster". AOL TV. Archived from the original on January 18, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  37. ^ Andelman, David A. (December 2010). "Whither Intelligence?". World Policy Journal. 27 (4): 119. doi:10.1162/wopj.2011.27.4.119. S2CID 154795822.
  38. ^ "Rubicon: API Intelligence Aptitude Test". AMC. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  39. ^ "Rubicon: Crossword Puzzle". AMC. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  40. ^ "Rubicon: Maggie's Blog". AMC. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  41. ^ "Rubicon". Retrieved July 24, 2013.