Tony Sirico, Steven Van Zandt, James Gandolfini, Michael Imperioli & Vincent Pastore in 'The Sopranos'.
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100 best episodes from TV dramas

August 9, 2023
Anthony Neste // Getty Images

100 best episodes from TV dramas

Drama comes from the Greek word for "action." In television, drama is a broad category or genre in narrative fiction that can be further broken down into subcategories like crime, dramedies, legal, and domestic. Even before the advent of television, dramas entertained audiences on stage and radio throughout history. Television dramas often explore serious topics such as death, love, and illness.

Stacker compiled data on all episodes of dramatic TV on IMDb with more than 2,500 votes and ranked them according to IMDb user ratings, with ties broken by votes. In the interest of maintaining a diverse list and reducing the dominance of more popular shows, such as "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad," have over the list, shows on the list have been capped at five episodes.

While these episodes all fall under the umbrella of television drama, they each delve into the lives of their characters and bring audiences plotlines filled with tension, action, and serious content. They are filled with twists, turns, revelations, epiphanies, and secrets. One episode is about a man discovering the one thing that keeps him grounded is his long-lost love; another episode features a "he said, she said" debate between two FBI agents; and a different episode centers around a series of misunderstandings when characters only connect digitally.

Read on to discover the 100 best episodes from television dramas.

#100. Chernobyl - Open Wide, O Earth

- IMDb user rating: 9.5
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 65 minutes
- Director: Johan Renck

The third episode of "Chernobyl" takes its title from an Eastern Orthodox funeral prayer. The halfway point of the award-winning miniseries adds layers and complexity as Valery Legasov formulates a decontamination plan and Lyudmilla turns a blind eye to warnings surrounding her husband's contamination.

#99. Justified - The Promise

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2015
- Runtime: 48 minutes
- Director: Adam Arkin

"The Promise" marks the series finale of the FX neo-Western show "Justified," which largely tracks the conflict between U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and his childhood friend, a criminal named Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). This final episode has the two face off one last time. Indiewire and The Ringer named "The Promise" one of the best TV series finales in the 21st century and overall.

#98. Billions - Golden Frog Time

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2017
- Runtime: 58 minutes
- Director: Karyn Kusama

The billionaire hedge fund drama of "Billions" reached new heights in "Golden Frog Time," in which Chuck and Axe risk losing it all after pursuing new business avenues. Entertainment Weekly praised the episode, calling it "one of the season's most thrilling hours, thanks largely to a unique structure and magnificent, boisterous performances from Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis."

#97. The Shield - Family Meeting

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2008
- Runtime: 72 minutes
- Director: Clark Johnson

Airing from 2002 to 2008, HBO's "The Shield" garnered acclaim for its use of noir conventions to explore corruption within policing. In this series finale, morally ambiguous cop Vic gets a darkly funny ending as he's resigned to an office cubicle rather than allowed out into the field to make more questionable calls.

#96. Black Sails - XVIII.

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2015
- Runtime: 53 minutes
- Director: Steve Boyum

"Black Sails" acts as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel "Treasure Island," following pirates Captain Flint and John Silver and their gaggle of friends and enemies throughout the golden age of piracy. Season 2's finale features one of the show's most memorable set pieces to date, as rival pirate Vane is forced to dodge cannons after rescuing Flint, and both end up shackled.

#95. Scrubs - My Lunch

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2006
- Runtime: 24 minutes
- Director: John Michel

Although the medical dramedy "Scrubs" had its fair share of humor, it also delivered a bevy of tear-jerker episodes, such as "My Lunch." In this episode, J.D. wrestles with guilt after the struggling woman he encountered while at the supermarket with Dr. Cox during lunchtime dies soon afterward, apparently by suicide from a drug overdose. What the characters find out later is even more heartbreaking. Although the Fray's "How to Save a Life" is popularly associated with another medical series ("Grey's Anatomy"), it also memorably plays at the end of "My Lunch."

#94. House - Both Sides Now

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2009
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Greg Yaitanes

Eponymous protagonist Dr. House is forced to reckon with his rational mind being distinctively separate from his intuitive subconscious in "Both Sides Now," in which his hallucinations of Amber come to a head. The title also refers to House and his team's patient, a man whose left and right brains have begun operating independently, giving him two separate personalities.

#93. The Wire - 30

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2008
- Runtime: 93 minutes
- Director: Clark Johnson

Crime drama "The Wire" is widely regarded as one of the greatest TV shows ever, with a similarly praised series finale. As the show draws to a close, the central cops' pursuit of a serial killer finally reaches its conclusion, attracting ire for going around the law to get their work done.

#92. The Wire - Middle Ground

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2004
- Runtime: 59 minutes
- Director: Joe Chappelle

A fan-favorite character meets his untimely end in "Middle Ground," the penultimate episode of "The Wire" Season 3. To complicate matters, higher-ups at the show's central Baltimore police force have discovered several officers' "Hamsterdam" initiative, in which a quasi-legal drug zone experiment was established within the city. The episode received one of the show's only two Emmy nominations, as writers David Simon and George Pelecanos were nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

#91. Spartacus - Kill Them All

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2010
- Runtime: 54 minutes
- Director: Jesse Warn

Spartacus leads the other gladiators in battle in the epic Season 1 finale. The episode revealed the history behind the story of the rebellious warrior while appealing to history buffs and satisfying those who simply want to be entertained.

#90. The Morning Show - The Interview

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 66 minutes
- Director: Mimi Leder

In the Season 1 finale, morning show anchors Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) make a confession on the air and shed the secrets they've been keeping. Eventually, the feed is cut, and the viewer is left in silence to digest the enormity of the season and ponder what will come in Season 2. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Kerry Ehrin said of the episode, "It's like a huge building fell on everybody and it's about escaping from the wreckage."

#89. Arrow - Lian Yu

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2017
- Runtime: 42 minutes
- Director: Jesse Warn

Oliver Queen finds himself aligned with some unexpected allies in the season finale, "Lian Yu," which translates to "purgatory." The scenes depicting the location of Lian Yu were filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia—not the North China Sea, where the fictional island is supposed to be.

#88. House - Three Stories

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2005
- Runtime: 44 minutes
- Director: Paris Barclay

"Three Stories" marked the first "House" episode that unfolded in a nonlinear order, with the story leaping back and forth along a timeline. The episode also contained major revelations about Dr. House's backstory, refuting the idea that he doesn't need human connection with the introduction of his ex-girlfriend Stacy and explaining the full story behind his leg disability.

#87. Supernatural - ScoobyNatural

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2018
- Runtime: 42 minutes
- Director: Robert Singer

This "Supernatural" episode takes an unexpected turn when main characters Sam, Dean, and Castiel are thrust into the animated world of "Scooby-Doo." Once there, they join the Scooby Gang to solve a paranormal mystery. This live-action animation crossover features fully animated versions of the "Supernatural" protagonists.

#86. The Sopranos - The Blue Comet

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2007
- Runtime: 53 minutes
- Director: Alan Taylor

All hell breaks loose in "The Blue Comet," the penultimate episode of "The Sopranos." After a case of mistaken identity leads to the wrong character being taken out by a hitman, the stage is set for a war between the show's rival Mafia families. The episode is named after the train of the same name, and a fan-favorite character is buying a toy model of the Blue Comet before he's murdered in the episode.

#85. BoJack Horseman - That's Too Much, Man!

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2016
- Runtime: 25 minutes
- Director: JC Gonzalez

Sarah Lynn, who played BoJack's adopted youngest daughter on his sitcom "Horsin' Around," ends her nine-month sobriety in this episode, and the two embark on a journey down memory lane with devastating consequences. Kristen Schaal, who voices Sarah Lynn, received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance for her work in the episode.

#84. The Leftovers - International Assassin

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2015
- Runtime: 63 minutes
- Director: Craig Zobel

Patti and Kevin go head-to-head in this Season 2 episode of the show based on the book of the same name by author Tom Perrotta. The episode was written by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse—the son of Carlton Cuse, Lindelof's collaborator on "Lost"—so the many similarities between this episode and the television series "Lost" come as no surprise.

#83. Supernatural - Changing Channels

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2009
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Director: Charles Beeson

Winchester brothers Dean and Sam get exiled to TV Land—a place filled with TV show parodies—by the Trickster. Fans of 1980s nostalgia got a real treat with this episode that included the talking car KITT, a nod to the series "Knight Rider."

#82. Lucifer - Who's da New King of Hell?

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 55 minutes
- Director: Eagle Egilsson

In the Season 4 finale, demons attempt to lure Lucifer back to the fiery depths of Hell after they escape and show up in Los Angeles. Kenny Loggins' "I'm Alright," the theme song for the 1980 movie "Caddyshack," opens the episode and accompanies a devilish dance sequence.

#81. Supernatural - The French Mistake

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2011
- Runtime: 42 minutes
- Director: Charles Beeson

Sam and Dean wind up in an alternate universe and appear on a television show, "Supernatural." The episode also features a clip of Dean actor Jensen Ackles' prior stint on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives."

#80. BoJack Horseman - Fish Out of Water

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2016
- Runtime: 25 minutes
- Director: Mike Hollingsworth

Contrary to the title, "Fish Out of Water" follows BoJack as he attends an underwater film festival to promote his new movie. Since he wears an oxygen-filled bubble to breathe, less than three minutes of audible dialogue can be heard throughout the episode.

#79. Invincible - Where I Really Come From

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2021
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Directors: William Ruzicka, Jeff Allen

From the comic book of the same name, co-created by Robert Kirkman of "The Walking Dead" fame, the violent and memeable Season 1 finale of the animated series features Mark trying to put an end to an unstoppable force and being given a chance to become the hero he always hoped he could. Steven Yeun, who played Glenn in "The Walking Dead," voices Mark Grayson/Invincible.

#78. Doctor Who - Heaven Sent

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2015
- Runtime: 55 minutes
- Director: Rachel Talalay

In "Heaven Sent," Peter Capaldi's Doctor is held prisoner by his own people as a shrouded figure probes into his past in an empty rustic castle. Capaldi was praised for carrying the episode himself, with Radio Times' Patrick Mulkern writing, "Peter Capaldi's one-man show is an instant classic."

#77. Succession - With Open Eyes

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2023
- Runtime: 88 minutes
- Director: Mark Mylod

In the series finale of "Succession," the Roy siblings and other key players bid to run Waystar ahead of the company's impending sale to the Swedish tech company GoJo. The series' resolution ultimately cements it as a tragicomedy about the wide-reaching effects of unchecked wealth, power, generational trauma, and abuse. Lead actor Jeremy Strong, who plays Kendall Roy, may have taken things too far while filming the final scene, startling the crew and show creator Jesse Armstrong.

#76. Dark - Das Paradies

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2020
- Runtime: 73 minutes
- Director: Baran bo Odar

The twisty, time-bending drama of "Dark" concluded at the end of its third season, as Adam attempts to destroy the knot, a massive time loop connecting two worlds. The German Netflix show introduces a third world to its interworld mysteries, the Origin World, which is split in half.

#75. The Walking Dead - Too Far Gone

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2013
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

The Governor, one of the series' most popular villains, tries to take the prison from Rick and his crew. This midseason finale saw its fair share of death and destruction and left viewers eager to see what would come when the series returned for the second half of Season 4.

#74. The Walking Dead - No Sanctuary

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2014
- Runtime: 42 minutes
- Director: Greg Nicotero

Rick and the crew have not escaped the crate audiences saw them in at the end of Season 4's finale. In the Season 5 opener, which broke records, they are still being held by the maniacal inhabitants of Terminus. They have nothing to fear, though—Carol swoops in and saves the day, proving once and for all that she is a survivor.

#73. True Detective - Who Goes There

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2014
- Runtime: 56 minutes
- Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Detective Cohle's (Matthew McConaughey) search for Reggie Ledoux leads him to the Iron Crusaders motorcycle gang in this Emmy-winning episode. Perhaps the dramatic and critically lauded six-minute tracking shot at the end of the episode had something to do with director Cary Joji Fukunaga's win.

#72. The Walking Dead - No Way Out

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2016
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Greg Nicotero

Daryl battles the Saviors, Glenn does his best to rescue Maggie, and Rick walks through a pack of walkers with the rest of the crew in this adventure-packed midseason premiere. The Alexandrians finally learn how to fight back after tragedy strikes.

#71. The Boys - Herogasm

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2022
- Runtime: 61 minutes
- Director: Nelson Cragg

Named after the comic book limited series of the same name, "Herogasm" fittingly centers on a weeklong superhero orgy. Besides getting Amazon to approve the graphic plot, "The Boys" faced another hurdle when production needed to film with 40 naked extras amid strict COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols.

#70. Stranger Things - Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2022
- Runtime: 98 minutes
- Directors: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer

Acting as the Season 4, Volume 1 finale, this episode reveals season baddie Vecna's true identity and backstory. Meanwhile, the Hawkins kids open a gate to the Upside Down, Eleven remembers a brutal event from her childhood, and Joyce and Murray infiltrate a Russian prison to rescue Hopper.

#69. Sherlock - The Reichenbach Fall

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2012
- Runtime: 88 minutes
- Director: Toby Haynes

Watson makes a startling declaration at the start of the Season 2 finale. At the same time, Sherlock's archenemy, Moriarty, tries to make trouble for the wise investigator during an already difficult time. As its title implies, the episode has elements of "The Final Problem," in which Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty have a final battle by the Reichenbach Falls.

#68. Chernobyl - Please Remain Calm

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 65 minutes
- Director: Johan Renck

In her first appearance in the series, actor Emily Watson plays scientist Ulana Khomyuk, who was an amalgamation of several Soviet scientists involved with the Chernobyl disaster. In the episode, Ulana begins her investigation after the explosion.

#67. Six Feet Under - All Alone

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2005
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Director: Adam Davidson

The acclaimed HBO drama "Six Feet Under" centered on the lives of the dysfunctional Fisher family, who run a funeral home together in Los Angeles. In "All Alone," the family's business takes on a more personal meaning as they prepare to bury one of their own.

#66. This Is Us - The Train

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2022
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Director: Ken Olin

"This Is Us" earned a reputation as a tearjerker throughout its six-season run, and "The Train" is a prime example of why. In the episode, the Pearson siblings gather to say goodbye to family matriarch Rebecca (Mandy Moore).

#65. Castlevania - The Endings

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2021
- Runtime: 31 minutes
- Director: Sam Deats

Despite what the title implies, "The Endings" is actually the penultimate episode of Netflix's "Castlevania," an animated series inspired by the video game franchise of the same name. As monster hunter Trevor and his misfit allies mount a final effort to stop the vengeful Dracula from destroying Eastern Europe, the vampire Varney reveals his surprising true identity.

#64. Grey's Anatomy - Sanctuary

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2010
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Director: Stephen Cragg

"Sanctuary" challenges the common rationale that a hospital is one of the safest places in the world when an active shooter enters the central Seattle hospital in which "Grey's Anatomy" is set. Amid the chaos, a major character discovers she's pregnant, and a love triangle is put on the line with literal life-or-death consequences.

#63. The West Wing - Two Cathedrals

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2001
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Thomas Schlamme

The show's legacy of high political stakes and unforgettable monologues is particularly present in the Season 2 finale, "Two Cathedrals," in which the White House staff deal with a political crisis in Haiti. Meanwhile, President Bartlet grapples with whether to run for a second term after revealing his multiple sclerosis diagnosis to the American public.

The episode has ended up on several best-of lists, including Entertainment Weekly's 2009 list of the 100 greatest movies, TV shows, and more and TV Guide's 2009 ranking of the 100 best TV episodes ever.

#62. Grey's Anatomy - Death and All His Friends

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2010
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Director: Rob Corn

After their partners are shot, Meredith and Cristina are forced to put their surgery skills to the test in a bid to save their lives. The episode's title originates from the Coldplay song of the same name.

#61. The Americans - START

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2018
- Runtime: 69 minutes
- Director: Chris Long

Matthew Rhys won an Emmy for Oustanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in "START," the series finale of "The Americans." Throughout the episode, undercover Soviet spies Elizabeth and Philip face unexpected consequences as they attempt to flee to the USSR with their daughter, Paige. The New York Times' Mike Hale praised the episode for delivering a heartbreaking and unexpected yet satisfying end to the show.

#60. Mad Men - Shut the Door. Have a Seat

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2009
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Director: Matthew Weiner

"Shut the Door. Have a Seat" has both literal and figurative meaning as the title of the Season 3 finale of "Mad Men"—the phrase is literally uttered in the episode, and multiple characters are forced to confront life-changing decisions. Reviewers favorably compared the episode to old heist and action films, drawing parallels between protagonist Don Draper's efforts to start a new advertising firm and movies like "Ocean's Eleven" and "Seven Samurai."

#59. Scrubs - My Finale: Part 2

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2009
- Runtime: 22 minutes
- Director: Bill Lawrence

In what could've been the series finale of "Scrubs," J.D. grapples with an existential crisis during his last day at Sacred Heart Hospital. In an impressive feat of scheduling, more than 50 actors who had appeared throughout the show's run reprised their roles as patients, medical personnel, and more. While "Scrubs" ultimately returned for a ninth season, this is the last episode featuring many of its core cast members.

#58. Scrubs - My Screwup

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2004
- Runtime: 24 minutes
- Director: Chris Koch

In "My Screw Up," Dr. Cox's plans to celebrate his son's first birthday with his best friend and former brother-in-law Ben (Brendan Fraser) take a heart-wrenching turn. In a 2021 retrospective ranking of the series' best episodes, BuzzFeed argued this was the show's saddest episode.

#57. Mad Men - The Suitcase

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2010
- Runtime: 48 minutes
- Director: Jennifer Getzinger

Widely considered the peak of the current golden age of television, "The Suitcase" largely unfolds like a bottle episode, as Don and Peggy work on a Samsonite ad pitch while simultaneously grappling with their fraught bond. The Ringer ranked the episode #2 on the site's list of the 100 best TV episodes of the 21st century, with Amanda Dobbins writing that the episode is "a one-act play about how no amount of financial success or personal happiness will fulfill two people who can only find themselves in their work."

#56. This Is Us - Super Bowl Sunday

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2018
- Runtime: 46 minutes
- Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Super Bowl Sunday was always a special day for Rebecca and Jack, and now the Pearsons must decide how to spend the day in both celebration and remembrance. Editors only had a few hours to add footage to the 2018 Super Bowl LII episode in which the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots.

#55. Person of Interest - The Crossing

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2013
- Runtime: 44 minutes
- Director: Frederick E.O. Toye

The technological thriller "Person of Interest" centered on "the Machine," a computer government developed by reclusive billionaire Harold Finch with the ability to predict terrorist attacks and identify the people planning them. The episode marks series regular Taraji P. Henson's final episode as the team is ambushed while attempting to expose "HR," an organization of corrupt officials and cops.

#54. Sons of Anarchy - NS

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2010
- Runtime: 57 minutes
- Director: Kurt Sutter

"Sons of Anarchy" treats California's Central Valley motorcycle gang rivalries with Shakespearean gravitas. This is captured well in the Season 3 finale, "NS," wherein double-crossing between gangs results in the shocking death of an innocent major character.

#53. Person of Interest - The Day the World Went Away

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2016
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Frederick E.O. Toye

Rock music fans will likely recognize "The Day the World Went Away," the Nine Inch Nails song for which this memorable "Person of Interest" episode is named. The team's future is uncertain in this installment as Finch's cover is blown and Root unexpectedly becomes part of the Machine's future.

#52. Person of Interest - YHWH

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2015
- Runtime: 44 minutes
- Director: Chris Fisher

Finch and Root do their best to save the Machine in the Season 4 finale of "Person of Interest." "YHWH" refers to God's name as it was revealed to Moses, as four Hebrew consonants.

#51. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Body

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2001
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Director: Joss Whedon

Buffy faces one of the greatest personal tragedies of her young life when she loses one of her nearest and dearest family members but gets through it with support from her friends. "Buffy" creator Joss Whedon felt strongly about the episode, believing it may be the best thing he would ever do.

#50. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Hush

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 1999
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Joss Whedon

This fan-favorite episode finds Buffy and the Scooby crew struggling against a gaggle of floating ghouls known as The Gentlemen. These bobbleheads, dressed in suits, steal voices and the hearts of Sunnydale residents without making a peep. The entirety of the episode is almost soundless.

#49. Spartacus - Victory

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2013
- Runtime: 58 minutes
- Director: Rick Jacobson

In this epic series finale, Spartacus and his group of rebels fight for their freedom against the Romans. The show was known for its unique credits, and this episode was no different, with the final credits listing almost every actor and character to ever appear on the series.

#48. Atlanta - Teddy Perkins

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2018
- Runtime: 35 minutes
- Director: Hiro Murai

The penchant "Atlanta" has for telling surrealist, genre-defying stories is arguably best demonstrated in "Teddy Perkins," a two-hander that begins fairly normally as Darius picks up an antique piano from the episode's titular pianist (series creator Donald Glover) in impressive prosthetics. Throughout the episode, what starts as a simple errand becomes a frightening yet potent meditation on generational trauma and Darius' own aspirations within Black art.

#47. House - Broken

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2009
- Runtime: 89 minutes
- Director: Katie Jacobs

In this Season 6 opener, House becomes the patient. The good doctor finds himself in a psychiatric hospital where he's roommates with a character played by the creator of the Broadway musical "Hamilton," Lin-Manuel Miranda.

#46. The Sopranos - Long Term Parking

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2004
- Runtime: 57 minutes
- Director: Timothy Van Patten

"Long Term Parking" is the penultimate Season 5 episode of "The Sopranos." It largely revolves around the devastating fate of Adrianna, who attempts to escape mob life after being forced to be an informant for the FBI.

#45. Suits - Faith

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2015
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Director: Anton Cropper

Harvey and Mike seek guidance from others when they are faced with important decisions in this flashback-heavy summer finale. Meanwhile, Jessica and Louis get into a power struggle with Jack Soloff and Daniel Hardman.

#44. House - Wilson's Heart

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2008
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Director: Katie Jacobs

House finally figures out what happened to Amber in the bus crash and why she is not responding to treatment in the second half of this two-part season finale. Entertainment Weekly praised the finale for "boasting both some of the show's best writing and the cast's best performances."

#43. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Once More, with Feeling

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2001
- Runtime: 50 minutes
- Director: Joss Whedon

Sure, modern shows like "Riverdale" have musical television episodes, but "Buffy" did it first. "Once More, with Feeling" has the longest runtime of any episode in the series. The episode finds Sunnydale residents bursting into song, dance, and flames, on occasion, because they are under the spell of a diabolical singing and dancing demon who makes them share all their dark secrets in a song.

#42. Supernatural - Swan Song

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2010
- Runtime: 42 minutes
- Director: Steve Boyum

Is there a better way to end a series about the supernatural than with a looming apocalypse and Sam and Dean contemplating difficult decisions? The Season 5 finale was originally conceived as the series finale—the show's creator had only imagined the show being five seasons. Thankfully, "Supernatural" would continue under a new showrunner, Sera Gamble.

#41. Mr. Robot - eps3.4_runtime-err0r.r00

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2017
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Director: Sam Esmail

Rami Malek stars on "Mr. Robot" as Elliot, a programmer with dissociative identity disorder who works at a cybersecurity company by day and helps hackers take down his workplace's biggest client—the giant corporation E Corp—by night. In this episode, E Corp is thrown into chaos thanks to the hackers' efforts, with Elliot caught in the middle. This episode was filmed in what appeared to be a continuous, commercial-free take.

#40. Lost - Through the Looking Glass: Part 1

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2007
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Jack Bender

This jam-packed "Lost" episode is the first to feature flash-forwards in the series' history, revealing that major characters Kate and Jack made it off the island—though this isn't revealed to be a flash-forward until the end of the second part. Meanwhile, in the present, Charlie is captured while trying to turn off the Others' signal-jamming device, leading to an iconic shot of Charlie raising his hand with the words "Not Penny's Boat" written on it as rising water surrounds him.

#39. The Sopranos - Pine Barrens

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2001
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Director: Steve Buscemi

Silvio is sick, and Paulie and Chris try to step up and handle collections in his place, but things do not go as planned in this Steve Buscemi-directed episode. When they attempt to dump a body in the woods, they get lost and nearly freeze. Tony confides in Dr. Melfi, telling the doctor that he's been seeing a patient of hers, which may not have been the best decision.

#38. Mr. Robot - 409 Conflict

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 47 minutes
- Director: Sam Esmail

Elliot finally faces off against the Chinese-based hacker group known as Whiterose in "409 Conflict." Meanwhile, the Deus Group members attempt to assemble in one place for the first time.

#37. Lost - The Constant

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2008
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Jack Bender

Time magazine called it the best episode of 2008, while The Ringer took it further, dubbing it the best episode of the century. "The Constant" follows Desmond as his mind volleys between 1996 and 2004, with only a phone call to break the loop between the past and present—and bring with it the realization that Penny is Desmond's constant. She is the only thing that can ground him to one time period, culminating in a fan-favorite emotional scene.

#36. Mr. Robot - 405 Method Not Allowed

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 49 minutes
- Director: Sam Esmail

Set over the holidays, "405 Method Not Allowed" centers on Elliot and Darlene as they complete a high-stakes heist just before Christmas. Only two lines of dialogue are spoken throughout the entire episode.

#35. Lucifer - A Devil of My Word

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2018
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Eagle Egilsson

A shocking death finds Lucifer and his friends doing everything possible to find a killer. Fox would cancel the series after this Season 3 finale, though Netflix thrilled fans with its decision to pick up the series for a fourth season.

#34. Hannibal - The Wrath of the Lamb

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2015
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Michael Rymer

In this epic series finale, Hannibal and Will join forces to bring down a common enemy. Siouxsie Sioux of the alternative rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees came out of retirement to write and perform "Love Crime," the ethereal song featured in the final episode.

#33. Better Call Saul - Chicanery

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2017
- Runtime: 49 minutes
- Director: Daniel Sackheim

The episode finds Jimmy going after his brother Chuck in court with Kim's help as he defends his license to practice law. What results is a highly acclaimed monologue from Chuck, which soon became a popular copypasta online. As a bonus, Saul's bodyguard from "Breaking Bad," Huell Babineaux, appears for the first time in "Chicanery."

#32. Better Call Saul - Rock and Hard Place

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2022
- Runtime: 47 minutes
- Director: Gordon Smith

While most episodes of "Better Call Saul" include storylines set within both the Albuquerque criminal underworld and the Albuquerque law world, "Rock and Hard Place" is primarily focused on the former. In particular, it's a strong showcase for actor Michael Mando, who plays Nacho, whose work in his final episode drew acclaim from critics.

#31. Westworld - The Bicameral Mind

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2016
- Runtime: 90 minutes
- Director: Jonathan Nolan

The stage is set for Season 2 when several major characters experience significant shifts, including Dolores, Maeve, and Foster. The movie on which the series was based was two minutes shorter than the episode, which received positive reviews from fans and critics.

#30. Better Call Saul - Point and Shoot

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2022
- Runtime: 50 minutes
- Director: Vince Gilligan

The midseries premiere of the final season of "Better Call Saul" finds Jimmy and Kim unexpectedly faced with a life-threatening ultimatum as narcotics distributor Gus Fring faces off with drug lord Lalo Salamanca. By the episode's conclusion, "Breaking Bad" viewers are sure to view Walt and Jesse's main meth lab in a brand-new context. While filming "Point and Shoot," star Bob Odenkirk suffered a serious heart attack and took a five-week break to recover.

#29. Breaking Bad - Granite State

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2013
- Runtime: 55 minutes
- Director: Peter Gould

The penultimate episode of "Breaking Bad" finds Walt seeking a new, undercover identity in New Hampshire after he's exposed as Heisenberg. Back in New Mexico, Jesse is held captive by a gang of neo-Nazis led by the sociopathic Jack. The events leading up to and immediately following "Granite State" are explored in the 2019 sequel movie, "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie," as well as multiple episodes of the spinoff series "Better Call Saul."

#28. Game of Thrones - The Door

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2016
- Runtime: 57 minutes
- Director: Jack Bender

"The Door" reveals key information about the zombielike White Walkers' origin as they approach the people of Westeros. Meanwhile, two key characters meet their demise as young Bran receives revelations of the White Walkers and his companion Hordor.

#27. Game of Thrones - The Spoils of War

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- Released: 2017
- Runtime: 50 minutes
- Director: Matt Shakman

The title "The Spoils of War" refers to the Tyrell family's gold and overall riches, which the Lannisters take after they conquered Highgarden in the prior episode. The episode also features an explosive and consequential showdown between Jaime Lannister and his army and Daenerys Targaryen and one of her dragons.

#26. House - House's Head

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2008
- Runtime: 44 minutes
- Director: Greg Yaitanes

Only House can solve the mystery inside his head. After being involved in a bus accident, he believes one of the victims is dying, but not from the crash. Fred Durst of the band Limp Bizkit plays a bartender in a cameo appearance.

#25. Person of Interest - Return 0

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2016
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Chris Fisher

The series' final episode features a touching moment between Finch and the Machine and finds one character making the ultimate sacrifice. Though the series was dark, it did end on a fairly optimistic note.

#24. BoJack Horseman - Time's Arrow

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2017
- Runtime: 25 minutes
- Director: Aaron Long

The history of BoJack's parents—Beatrice Sugarman, a socialite, and Butterscotch Horseman, a writer—is revealed in flashbacks, a technique employed in many of the series' episodes. Matthew Broderick also appears as BoJack's maternal grandfather, Joseph Sugarman.

#23. Person of Interest - If-Then-Else

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2015
- Runtime: 43 minutes
- Director: Chris Fisher

The "If-Then-Else" of the episode's title refers to a conditional statement featured in computer programming languages. The midseason episode features the team being forced to stop what could become a global economic disaster and Samaritan carrying out an aggressive cyberattack against the stock exchange.

#22. Succession - This Is Not for Tears

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 74 minutes
- Director: Mark Mylod

The Season 3 finale of "Succession" finds the siblings in an unexpected alliance when Logan makes a shocking business move that could jeopardize their chance to run Waystar. However, a surprising betrayal positions someone outside the immediate Roy family as Logan's new protege.

#21. Barry - ronny/lily

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 38 minutes
- Director: Bill Hader

Not only did this Season 2 episode win two Emmy Awards, but it was also nominated for an additional four. "Ronny/lily" finds Barry having a surprising and hilarious encounter with the episode's eponymous characters—a father and young daughter with experience in Taekwondo—in this acclaimed and violent episode directed by star Bill Hader himself.

#20. Succession - All the Bells Say

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2021
- Runtime: 66 minutes
- Director: Mark Mylod

Tensions rise between the Roy siblings as they gather in Italy for their mother Caroline's wedding. In the meantime, Roman and Logan attempt to convince erratic tech mogul Lukas Matsson to join forces with Waystar before an inopportune text makes Logan doubt Roman's ability to run the company.

#19. Dexter - The Getaway

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2009
- Runtime: 51 minutes
- Director: Steve Shill

John Lithgow's Arthur Mitchell earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. This brutal season finale featured an uneasy end for one character and a shocking revelation for another.

#18. BoJack Horseman - Free Churro

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2018
- Runtime: 26 minutes
- Director: Amy Winfrey

In "Free Churro," BoJack struggles to deliver a eulogy for his estranged mother, causing him to use dark humor to cope with his traumatic childhood. Actor Will Arnett (voicing BoJack) received an Annie Award for his voice-acting performance in the episode.

#17. Mr. Robot - Hello, Elliot

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 51 minutes
- Director: Sam Esmail

The "Mr. Robot" series finale delivers a stunning final twist regarding Elliot's true identity. The protagonist discovers that he originated as a persona crafted by the real Elliot to process his rage at the world, known as "The Mastermind."

#16. Hannibal - Mizumono

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2014
- Runtime: 44 minutes
- Director: David Slade

Jack attempts to capture Hannibal while Will makes a decision that is not without consequences in this Season 2 finale. The episode titles in the series are based on cuisine-related terms, and mizumono specifically is a seasonal dessert in Japanese cuisine.

#15. Doctor Who - Blink

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2007
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Director: Hettie Macdonald

Although "Blink" is widely considered one of the best "Doctor Who" episodes ever, it's a rarity as it's one of the few episodes where the Doctor and his companion receive hardly any screen time. Instead, the story revolves around a young woman, Sally (Carey Mulligan), who finds herself up against Weeping Angels, a race of ultra-fast creatures appearing as human-sized stone angel statues that drain its victims' energy. The creatures later appeared in several other episodes written by Steven Moffat, cementing their status as one of the show's most memorable baddies.

#14. Breaking Bad - To'hajiilee

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2013
- Runtime: 47 minutes
- Director: Michelle MacLaren

"To'hajilee" is named for the Native American reservation where this episode's pivotal gunfight occurs—it also happens to be where Walt and Jesse first cooked meth in the pilot episode. Before that, a panicked Walt turns against his longtime meth-making partner Jesse as his secret double life is on the precipice of being exposed. The episode ended with an abrupt cut to black, leaving viewers in the dark until the following episode, "Ozymandias."

#13. Better Call Saul - Saul Gone

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2022
- Runtime: 69 minutes
- Director: Peter Gould

Ranked one of the best TV series finales of all time by TVLine, "Saul Gone" finds a cornered Jimmy forced to reckon with his past and future actions in the face of personal and legal jeopardy. The episode uses a time machine motif to call back to a handful of key moments in his life, underlining the show's central question of whether a person can truly change and earn a second chance.

#12. Chernobyl - Vichnaya Pamyat

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 72 minutes
- Director: Johan Renck

In addition to winning the most BAFTAs for any series ever, the show won an Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series and two Golden Globes. The final episode of the critically acclaimed miniseries reveals the truth about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster.

#11. Six Feet Under - Everyone's Waiting

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2005
- Runtime: 73 minutes
- Director: Alan Ball

Often referenced as one of the best television series finales by publications including USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, and Variety, "Everyone's Waiting" ties the story of the Fisher clan up in both the present and the future. The seven-minute flash-forward montage allows the audience to see how each character met their own end, which seemed a fitting way to close out a show that opened with people's deaths.

#10. BoJack Horseman - The View from Halfway Down

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2020
- Runtime: 26 minutes
- Director: Amy Winfrey

Actor Zach Braff returns to "BoJack Horseman" for the series' penultimate episode in a turn as a butler. In one of the darkest and saddest episodes of the series, BoJack's psyche is laid bare in a recurring dream at a dinner party and the surreal moments existing outside of it.

#9. Succession - Connor's Wedding

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2023
- Runtime: 62 minutes
- Director: Mark Mylod

As "Connor's Wedding" opens, most characters gather for the eponymous eldest Roy sibling's wedding day, while family patriarch Logan flies to Sweden to close a business deal. However, an unexpected tragedy reshapes the course of the series in an episode The A.V. Club's William Hughes described as "the payoff to four entire seasons of 'Succession.'"

#8. Mr. Robot - 407 Proxy Authentication Required

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2019
- Runtime: 56 minutes
- Director: Sam Esmail

"407 Proxy Authentication Required" unfolds in a five-act structure akin to a play. Amid being held hostage by the drug dealer Fernando Vera, Elliot's therapist, Krista, helps him make a shocking breakthrough about the abuse at the root of his disassociative identity disorder.

#7. Better Call Saul - Plan and Execution

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2022
- Runtime: 50 minutes
- Director: Thomas Schnauz

In the midseason finale of the show's final season, Jimmy and Kim enact the scam they've been planning to ruin their former boss Howard Hamlin's reputation. However, their plan has terrifying, unforeseen consequences that finally merge the show's criminal underworld and law world sides. Writer Thomas Schnauz's work on the episode received an Oustanding Writing for a Drama nomination at the 2022 Emmy Awards.

#6. Breaking Bad - Face Off

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2011
- Runtime: 51 minutes
- Director: Vince Gilligan

Voted by TV Guide as one of the best shows of 2011, the Season 4 finale features a final faceoff between Walter White and Gus Fring. Questions also arise for Jesse Pinkman regarding how he knew about Brock's poisoning. This episode offers a final twist that proves Walter has hit the point of no return, ensuring that fans will never look at a simple backyard lily of the valley plant without thinking of the disintegrating humanity of a high school chemistry teacher.

#5. Game of Thrones - The Rains of Castamere

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2013
- Runtime: 51 minutes
- Director: David Nutter

One of the most shocking episodes of the series takes place at a wedding—a "red" one, to be precise. Based on a pivotal development in George R.R. Martin's book "A Sword of Storms," the ending of this episode left viewers traumatized. Coldplay drummer Will Champion makes a cameo as one of the wedding musicians in the episode, which received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

#4. Breaking Bad - Felina

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2013
- Runtime: 55 minutes
- Director: Vince Gilligan

The most-watched episode of the entire series, the series finale saw record-breaking viewership with 10.3 million viewers and featured Walter White's return to Albuquerque to tie things up with his family and some old enemies. The episode's title is an anagram for "finale."

#3. Game of Thrones - The Winds of Winter

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2016
- Runtime: 68 minutes
- Director: Miguel Sapochnik

Featuring an extended vengeance sequence for Cersei Lannister and a major revelation about Jon Snow, this Season 6 finale also shocked fans, and their online reactions proved it. Cersei and Loras Tyrell face a trial, and there is a confrontation between Davos and Melisandre.

#2. Game of Thrones - Battle of the Bastards

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- Released: 2016
- Runtime: 60 minutes
- Director: Miguel Sapochnik

Daenerys goes after her enemies in one of two major action sequences in Season 6's penultimate episode. The titular "Battle of the Bastards," in the meanwhile, pits Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton in a brutal and elaborately shot war sequence. Called not only the best episode of the "Game of Thrones" series but also the best television episodes of all time, its near-perfect rating on IMDb comes as no surprise.

#1. Breaking Bad - Ozymandias

- IMDb user rating: 10
- Released: 2013
- Runtime: 48 minutes
- Director: Rian Johnson

In this critically acclaimed episode, considered one of the best to grace the small screen, Hank Schrader finds himself in a corner while Walter White's life crashes down spectacularly. The episode is directed by Rian Johnson, who would go on to direct blockbusters like "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and "Knives Out." Show creator Vince Gilligan said of the episode, "'Ozymandias' is the best episode we ever have had or ever will have."

Story editing by Chris Compendio. Copy editing by Paris Close.

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