The Secret Circle
The Secret Circle, written in black type against a white cloud background
Based onThe Secret Circle
by L. J. Smith
Developed byAndrew Miller
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes22
Executive producers
Production locationsVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Running time42 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkThe CW
ReleaseSeptember 15, 2011 (2011-09-15) –
May 10, 2012 (2012-05-10)

The Secret Circle is an American supernatural fantasy teen drama television series that aired on The CW from September 15, 2011, to May 10, 2012. It is based on the book series of the same name written by L. J. Smith.[1] Set in the fictional town of Chance Harbor, Washington, the series focuses on Cassie Blake who, after moving to the town, discovers that she is a hereditary witch and becomes the sixth member of a secret coven. The series was developed by Andrew Miller and was picked up by The CW on May 17, 2011.[2] On October 12, The CW ordered a full 22-episode season.

The CW canceled the series on May 11, 2012. Ratings had declined in the second half of the season; the high costs of special effects and location shooting were also cited as reasons for the cancellation.[3]


Following her mother's death in a tragic fire, orphaned highschooler Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) moves to Chance Harbor, Washington, to live with her grandmother. Her plans to adjust to her new life are made more complicated when five of her classmates—Adam Conant (Thomas Dekker), Diana Meade (Shelley Hennig), Faye Chamberlain (Phoebe Tonkin), Melissa Glaser (Jessica Parker Kennedy), and Nick Armstrong (Louis Hunter)—recognize her as a witch and invite her to join their coven, the Circle. With her, they can unlock the full extent of their powers. Initially, Cassie refuses to believe that she is a witch, even after Adam helps her to unlock her powers. It is only after she discovers an old leather-bound book of spells left to her by her late mother, Amelia, that she begins to accept her power. Inside the book is a message from Amelia explaining that she kept secret their real family history and her powers in order to keep Cassie safe. As the Circle soon finds out, the witches' powers attract dark and dangerous forces that constantly put them in harm's way.

Main cast

Circle members


Recurring cast

Guest cast


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
U.S. viewers
1"Pilot"Liz FriedlanderTeleplay by : Andrew MillerSeptember 15, 2011 (2011-09-15)2968083.05[4]
After her mother's death Cassie Blake moves to Chance Harbor, Washington, to live with her grandmother, Jane. Cassie's life is changed forever when her new classmates tell her that she is a witch, the sixth and final member of their Secret Circle.
2"Bound"Liz FriedlanderKevin Williamson & Andrew MillerSeptember 22, 2011 (2011-09-22)2J62522.12[5]
Cassie attempts to distance herself from the Circle, even making friends with a non-witch, Sally Matthews. As the witches use their magic more and more recklessly, Diana is convinced they need to bind their powers. This is a problem for Faye, who revels in the increase of the Circle's magic now that Cassie has returned to Chance Harbor. Adam struggles with his feelings for Cassie, while Melissa flirts with Nick. Dawn Chamberlain receives a surprise in the form of her father-in-law, Henry.
3"Loner"Colin BuckseyRichard HatemSeptember 29, 2011 (2011-09-29)2J62532.12[6]
Each member of the Circle reacts to the upcoming school dance in a different way. Cassie is asked to go by a classmate, Luke, and accepts after seeing Adam and Diana spending time together. Melissa sees it as an opportunity to get closer to Nick, while Faye has no plans to attend it at all. She prefers to focus on regaining her individual powers, now that the Circle is bound. A man named Zachary Larson has been asking questions about the Circle, causing Dawn to ask Charles to watch over the children.
4"Heather"Dave BarrettDavid EhrmanOctober 6, 2011 (2011-10-06)2J62541.96[7]
After the incident with Zachary Larson, Cassie looks up her mother's old friend, Heather Barnes. She discovers Heather has been in a catatonic state since the night of the fire, sixteen years ago. Knowing that Heather was there that night, Cassie decides to use magic to restore Heather, and asks Faye to help — who is willing to do so, for a price. The girls' witchcraft has unforeseen consequences, when a demon that was possessing Heather is unleashed and wants to use the Circle's power.
5"Slither"Liz FriedlanderDana BarattaOctober 13, 2011 (2011-10-13)2J62551.89[8]
Cassie struggles with maintaining her loyalties, as she is forced to keep the Circle's secrets from her suspicious grandmother, and Diana tries to maintain hold of her relationship with Adam and arranges a date night. Melissa recruits Nick and Faye to help her find her family's Book of Shadows; however all is not what it seems. The six members of the Circle are brought together in order to fight off a dark force that threatens them from within. Dawn tries to continue making plans for the Circle with Charles, only to discover that he may have more than business on his mind.
6"Wake"Guy BeeAndrea NewmanOctober 20, 2011 (2011-10-20)2J62562.12[9]
Following Nick's death his brother, Jake, returns to town. His presence re-constitutes the Circle, however it is up to Cassie to try to convince the other members to accept him; Jake is a man with a past, and not everyone is as willing to trust him. Jake is not the only newcomer to town, as a witch hunter named Simone poses a threat to the Circle.
7"Masked"Charles BeesonMichelle LovrettaOctober 27, 2011 (2011-10-27)2J62572.33[10]
It's Halloween and Faye has decided that the Circle needs to have some fun, so she takes it on herself to convince Cassie to throw a party. Faye still has her eyes on wooing Jake back, while a fight with Diana has Adam turning to Cassie, who is trying to make things right with Luke. Meanwhile, the witch hunters have infiltrated the party and plan on doing away with the Circle, once and for all.
8"Beneath"John FawcettDon Whitehead & Holly HendersonNovember 3, 2011 (2011-11-03)2J62582.26[11]
After not hearing from Jane for a few days Cassie begins to worry. Diana decides to enlist the Circle, and Jake, to take up the search for Jane, which takes the group to the isolated home of Faye's grandfather, Henry. A storm turns the day trip into an overnight one, and the teens play Truth or Dare to pass the time. Not all is what it seems at the cabin, however, and Faye is forced to confront something dark from her past.
9"Balcoin"Brad TurnerAndrew Miller & Andrea NewmanNovember 10, 2011 (2011-11-10)2J62592.17[12]
Cassie enlists Jake's help in looking into her father's family, and just why she has powers separate from the Circle. Faye reveals that she suspects that there is more to Jake than he is sharing with the Circle. Adam is torn between his concern for Cassie and his concern for Diana, who has caught the eye of Melissa's cousin, Holden. Dawn and Charles' plans are threatened, as a power shift changes their dynamic.
10"Darkness"Chris GrismerDavid EhrmanJanuary 5, 2012 (2012-01-05)2J62602.05[13]
Cassie learns more about her ancestor, Francis Balcoin, and discovers a secret about herself. She turns to Adam to help her keep this from the rest of the Circle. Diana is thrilled when her grandmother, Kate, comes to town for a visit, who appears to show an unusual interest in Cassie. Still trying to get her powers back, Faye turns to the mysterious Lee LeBeque for help.
11"Fire/Ice"Joshua ButlerHolly Henderson & Don WhiteheadJanuary 12, 2012 (2012-01-12)2J62611.93[14]
Another school dance is upon the Circle, and Adam's father, Ethan, has offered to chaperone it. Cassie and Adam have been investigating her father's past, causing the flame between them to be rekindled. While Adam is ready to move on and embark upon a relationship with her, Cassie is torn between her feelings for him and her friendship with Diana. Faye asks Lee to perform a ritual that will enable her to steal Cassie's individual powers, but it has dangerous consequences that threatens to destroy the entire Circle.
12"Witness"Eagle EgilssonDana BarattaJanuary 19, 2012 (2012-01-19)2J62621.63[15]
Jake returns to Chance Harbor and warns Cassie that unless she determines just what happened to her father on the night of the fire she, and the Circle, will face the same fate. The two cast a spell to allow them to enter into Jake's memories and return to the night of the fire, however Adam and Diana suspect Jake's motives. Charles and Dawn attempt to outmanoeuvre each other, each trying to get Ethan on their side. Faye's relationship with Lee takes another dangerous turn, as she meets his friend, Callum.
13"Medallion"Liz FriedlanderAndrew Miller & Andrea NewmanFebruary 2, 2012 (2012-02-02)2J62631.75[16]
Cassie and Jake meet with a psychic, Lucy, who has information about the medallion found in the previous episode. Cassie calls on the Circle for help unlocking its powers, however Adam worries about the dark magic taking over Cassie. Meanwhile, Ethan has enlisted Diana's help in throwing Adam a birthday party, and Faye and Melissa try Devil's Spirit.
14"Valentine"Dave BarrettRoger GrantFebruary 9, 2012 (2012-02-09)2J62641.82[17]
In honor of the holiday Faye throws a girls-only, "anti-Valentine's Day" slumber party at her house, and the other (female) members of the Circle are invited to attend. The night takes unexpected turns as both Melissa and Diana use Devil's Spirit to get high, and Lee crashes the party to help Faye increase her power. Meanwhile, Cassie turns to Jake and Adam for help after the spirits of vengeful witches begin to haunt her.
15"Return"Brad TurnerDavid EhrmanFebruary 16, 2012 (2012-02-16)2J62651.76[18]
John Blackwell, Cassie's father, shows up on her doorstep; however surprise turns to suspicion when he wants the medallion. Eben and his band of witch hunters take Cassie captive, causing Jake to offer a trade and Adam to call the other Circle members for help. Meanwhile, Faye and Diana are both concerned that Melissa is spending too much time in the company of Callum.
16"Lucky"Joshua ButlerKatie WechMarch 15, 2012 (2012-03-15)2J62661.62[19]
Cassie catches Blackwell sneaking around the abandoned house, leading Adam to believe that he is looking for a device to drain witches' powers and is still consumed by his dark magic. Faye meets Eva, and is taken aback to discover that she is Lee's girlfriend. Meanwhile, Melissa encourages Diana to date a mortal guy, specifically a handsome Australian, named Grant, who is new to town. Also, Dawn has a reunion with Blackwell, but it isn't entirely what she expects.
17"Curse"John FawcettDon Whitehead & Holly HendersonMarch 22, 2012 (2012-03-22)2J62671.74[20]
Blackwell tells Cassie and Adam that while their love might be destined, it is also cursed; once awakened a member of the Circle will die. It is a race against the clock to find a way to break the curse before it takes Jake's life. Meanwhile, Faye becomes certain that Eva is hiding something once it becomes apparent that Lee is missing, and Charles plots against Blackwell.
18"Sacrifice"Nick CopusDavid EhrmanMarch 29, 2012 (2012-03-29)2J62681.33[21]
Witch hunter Samuel comes to town with a message for Blackwell about Eben's plans; he is trying to resurrect the demons that Blackwell summoned to Chance Harbor sixteen years ago, and plans on making a human sacrifice. Meanwhile, Diana continues her relationship with Grant, but it is revealed that her magic is not the only secret in their relationship. Faye and Melissa compete for the attention of a jock at the Boathouse, while Adam tries to deal with no longer remembering why he loved Cassie.
19"Crystal"Omar MadhaMicah SchraftApril 19, 2012 (2012-04-19)2J62691.14[22]
To protect themselves from the witch hunters, Jake, Cassie and Faye team up to seek out Jake's grandfather, Royce, to find his family's crystal and are confronted with disturbing theories about the events of sixteen years ago. Meanwhile, Diana tries to balance her pursuit of the Glaser crystal with Melissa and Adam with her new romantic life with Grant, who demands to know what she's hiding. At the same time, Callum attempts to re-insert himself into Melissa's life. Also, Charles and Jane plot their move against Blackwell and it is revealed that Diana is the other Blackwell child. Then Blackwell reveals his dark powers are still intact and he wants to use them to create a black magic Circle with his newly found kids.
20"Traitor"Eagle EgilssonRoger Grant & Katie WechApril 26, 2012 (2012-04-26)2J62701.15[23]
When a crystal is magically stolen from the abandoned house, the Circle decides it was the traitor witch working with Eben. Jake calls for a meeting with Isaac to see if they can get him to change sides, only to find out that Isaac has been killed by Eben. Cassie’s loose grasp on her dark magic threatens to destroy any possible alliance when their pursuit of the traitor leads them to the “Creepiest Place on Earth.” Meanwhile, Faye and Jake work together to steal Dawn’s crystal, Melissa and Adam pair up and uncover a new magic trick, and a frustrated Diana reaches out to Charles for help. Diana and Cassie chase the traitor in the “Creepiest Place on Earth” and Cassie uses dark magic to stop him only to find out it's Nick who is supposed to be dead.
21"Prom"Alex ZakrzewskiHolly Henderson & Don WhiteheadMay 3, 2012 (2012-05-03)2J62711.23[24]
It’s Prom night in Chance Harbor and after Adam uncloaks a crystal hidden in the school, Blackwell tells Cassie she can use her dark magic to find it. When Cassie follows this advice, it leads her to a dangerous discovery. Meanwhile, Faye invites Jake to Prom, despite the fact that he stood her up two years earlier. Adam, Diana, Cassie and Melissa finally make it to Prom but when they lose the crystal to Eben, they end up in a life and death situation. Meanwhile, Dawn attempts to stop Blackwell, who casts a deadly spell on Charles.
22"Family"Dave BarrettAndrew Miller & Andrea NewmanMay 10, 2012 (2012-05-10)2J62721.28[25]
When Faye is captured by the Witch Hunters, Jake, Melissa and Adam set out to save her. Blackwell wants to unleash the power of the crystal skull and tries to convince Cassie and Diana that their Balcoin blood is the only way to stop the Witch Hunters permanently. Meanwhile, Dawn and Charles discover a way to get their powers back ... but one which comes at a very big cost.


On October 28, 2010, L. J. Smith announced that the series had been optioned for a TV series by The CW. On February 8, 2011, The CW picked up The Secret Circle with Dawson's Creek creator and The Vampire Diaries co-creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson now attached. However, he told The CW that The Vampire Diaries companion series he was helming had been put on hold in order to focus on The Secret Circle.[26] Williamson worked on an original script penned by Andrew Miller, creator of the Emmy-nominated web series Imaginary Bitches, with writer credit shared by both men.[26] On February 16, 2011, The Secret Circle booked Liz Friedlander to direct the pilot. Friedlander also directed episodes for The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, 90210 and One Tree Hill.[27]

On October 12, 2011, The CW ordered a full season of twenty-two episodes.[28] On May 11, 2012 The CW cancelled the series.



The series is available to stream on The CW's free digital-only network, CW Seed.[29]


Critical reception

The pilot has been met with mixed reviews, with Metacritic giving a score of 55 out of a 100 based on 20 critics.[30] Lloyd Roberts of the Los Angeles Times thought the pilot was "splendidly rendered; effective in the expected ways in a way that makes you forget you expected them." He then wrote "Director Liz Friedlander aims not just for creepiness but for a tremulous sense of beauty that reflects the heightened sensibilities and hair-trigger sensitivities of adolescence" and appreciated the actors "who are good to look at, but also bring a little soul to their roles."[31]

In 2015, three years following the cancellation of the show, Gavin Hetherington of SpoilerTV looked back on the series finale, as well as the series as a whole. He reviewed the show favorably, commenting "the last several episodes really built up the potential of the show and made it pretty exciting, and it would have led into an awesome second season",[32] and saying that the show should have had a second season, "to further develop the characters and the storylines we were left hanging with".

Phoebe Tonkin's performance was well received by critics; she was featured on Variety's list of new faces to watch[33] and named one of 2011 Breakout TV Stars by E! Online.[34]

Cancellation and fan campaign

On May 11, 2012, the CW cancelled the series, despite being the network's third-highest rated performer. Following the show's cancellation, a formal fan-led campaign website titled 'Save The Circle' was launched.[35] A letter-writing campaign, targeted at the CW,[36] aimed to encourage the CW to reconsider bringing back the show for a mid-season slot. Campaigns were also launched at other TV networks whose target demographic matched those of The CWMTV,[37] ABC Family,[38] and Syfy. Fans donated between $1–10 to the Make a Wish Foundation in the name of MTV; this aimed to attach a good cause to the campaign while getting MTV's attention. The Secret Circle executive producer Andrew Miller auctioned a signed poster of the show's cast in support of the campaign. In the end, over $7,000 was raised.[39] The campaign targeted at ABC Family asked fans to donate money to fund a delivery of 325,000 golden plastic coins to the network's headquarters. The coins were symbolic of a 'cloaking coin' that belonged to one of the main characters, Adam Conant's grandfather in the episode "Traitor". The metaphor was that The CW 'cloaked' the show by cancelling it, and fans wanted ABC Family to 'uncloak' the show by picking it up.[40][41]

A letter-writing campaign to Syfy was also launched, but ultimately the 'Save The Circle' campaign leaders decided against pursuing the network further due to budgetary concerns. Following the announcement that Warner Bros. had unsuccessfully entered talks with ABC Family about picking up the show and that the series would not be shipped to another network, campaigning targeting potential networks for a pick-up ceased.[42] Nevertheless, a new campaign,[43] aimed at Warner Bros, was launched following the announcement that the series' first season would not be released on DVD or Blu-ray.[44] As of September 2012, The Secret Circle is available on Netflix for immediate streaming.[45] A music project was launched, with the aim of developing and distributing a full-length album of 10 fan songs online and making them available for free download. Fans were asked to either submit an audio recording of themselves singing their own songs, or send in lyrics for potential use.[46] Petitions were also set up, in the hope that they would bring back the series. The three main campaigns together, as of June 24, 2012, amassed over 85,500 signatures.[47] Since the show was canceled, fans have voted it "the show that will be missed most" or "Most Shocking Cancellation" in a number of polls, including E!,[48] Clique Clack,[49] Hypable,[50] Spoiler TV,[51] TV Fanatic,[52],[53] and Zap2it.[54]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2012 People's Choice Awards[55] Favorite New TV Drama The Secret Circle Nominated
Saturn Awards[56] Best Youth-Oriented Television Series The Secret Circle Nominated
PAAFTJ Television Awards[57] Best Main Title Theme Music The Secret Circle Nominated


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