Rubicon (2010– )

TV Series  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 8,442 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 6 critic

Will Travers is an analyst at a New York City-based federal intelligence agency who is thrown into a story where nothing is as it appears to be.


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Title: Rubicon (2010– )

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
 Will Travers (13 episodes, 2010)
 Maggie Young (13 episodes, 2010)
Lauren Hodges ...
 Tanya MacGaffin (13 episodes, 2010)
 Miles Fiedler (13 episodes, 2010)
 Grant Test (13 episodes, 2010)
 Kale Ingram (13 episodes, 2010)
 Katherine Rhumor (13 episodes, 2010)
 Truxton Spangler (11 episodes, 2010)
 James Wheeler (7 episodes, 2010)
 Julia Harwell (7 episodes, 2010)
 Andy (7 episodes, 2010)
Roger Robinson ...
 Ed Bancroft (6 episodes, 2010)
 Mr. Roy (6 episodes, 2010)


Will Travers is an analyst at a New York City-based federal intelligence agency who is thrown into a story where nothing is as it appears to be.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not every conspiracy is a theory



Official Sites:



Release Date:

1 August 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rubicón  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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User Reviews

Suspense is a balancing act – and this show's balance is tipping
13 August 2010 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

If asked after the pilot, I would have given this series a 9/10. An episode later: 8/10. Now, after their third episode, it's down to 7/10.

The good:

The concept: A return to the "paranoia" genre of the 70s, but with a twist. The world-dominating clandestine organization is divided into echelons, and no matter how high up the hierarchy we glimpse, all we see are more and more pencil-pushing bureaucrats. "Truxton Spangler", the head of the protagonist's sub-organization is introduced as someone not powerful enough to open a small crack in his office's window in order to steal a few whiffs of a cigarette. (This is perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to The Smoking Man from The X-Files. The show is riddled with such references, such as the pilot's opening, lifted directly from "Three Days of the Condor". I would have preferred originality.) The concept is both innovative and daring, at least in TV, and that alone commands some attention.

The characters: Despite some too-cluttered relationships and an over-populated character list (everybody in the show seems to have a rotten family life), the characters are all well rounded and believable. So far, I still care for them.

The excellent dialogs: (This, perhaps, above all.) It's hard to find these days, in film or TV, dialogs that are as terse as the ones on this show, and that force the viewer to think, to reach into the internal monologues and to mentally fill the gaping silences. You can't zap through this series, but watching it closely is a rewarding experience.

The art direction: In the spirit of the old "paranoia" movies, the colors are all bleached and gray. The only bright colors are the reds of two large "Stop" signs. The series also maintains a somewhat back-dated feel with its lack of cell-phones and Internet presence.

The music: mood-setting and effective.

Arliss Howard: Stellar performance as the shark-in-the-kiddies'-pool. Arliss plays a spook with a killer instinct trying to blend in with the pencil pushers.

The bad:

There seems to be no plot. The pilot sets out with two leading characters, each investigating a death that we know to involve foul play, but since that point, they've been mostly running around in circles, chasing a set of unconvincing and unhelpful clues left to them by the dead (who could have just said, outright, what they mean, but didn't).

The pilot and episode 2 included crossword puzzle questions to the audience that were completely disjointed from anything else on screen. That was annoying and broke the thread of events.

The bottom line: Suspense is what happens when you're glued to the edge of your seat not because something is happening on screen (It isn't) but because you anticipate something to happen shortly. It is a balancing act notoriously difficult to maintain successfully in a TV series. If too many things actually happen, there is no suspense. If not enough things happen, the suspense goes sour. "Lost" somehow managed to pull it off by convincing its persistent audience that answers will, eventually, come, and by continuously raising more and more questions. I think the collective anger at "Lost"'s failure to deliver any answers made viewers even less patient now than they were before. I think this is what axed "FlashForward" (which actually did deliver a constant stream of answers), and if "Rubicon" doesn't start moving the plot forward, and quickly, I fear it will suffer the same fate. Currently, the pace of the show is highly reminiscent of "The Conversation". This may have made it an instant classic in 1974, but in 2010 we just don't have that kind of patience anymore. I am going to give this show two more weeks, three on the outside, and if it doesn't start picking up the pace, it will have lost me. That would be a shame, as the show has so much talent and so much potential. In the words of the dialog between two of the clandestine operatives: "He's on the ledge again." "Do we care?"

40 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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