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Therapist Ben Harmon, his wife, Vivien, and their daughter, Violet, move across the country to Los Angeles to escape their troubled past.


Ryan Murphy


Ryan Murphy (created by), Brad Falchuk (created by) | 2 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Connie Britton ... Vivien Harmon
Dylan McDermott ... Dr. Ben Harmon
Evan Peters ... Tate Langdon
Taissa Farmiga ... Violet Harmon
Denis O'Hare ... Larry Harvey
Jessica Lange ... Constance Langdon
Frances Conroy ... Moira O'Hara
Alexandra Breckenridge ... Young Moira O'Hara
Christine Estabrook ... Marcy
Jamie Brewer ... Adelaide 'Addy' Langdon
Shelby Young ... Leah
Andy Umberger ... Dr. Day
Bianca Lawson ... Abby
Christian Serratos ... Becca
Melanie Cruz ... Teacher


Vivien and Ben Harmon and their daughter Violet relocate to Los Angeles from Boston and buy a large old house. As required by law, the real estate agent discloses that the previous occupants were the victims of a murder-suicide. The Harmons think nothing of it and concentrate on repairing their marriage that has come under strain following Vivien's miscarriage and Ben's subsequent infidelity with one of his students. Ben is a psychiatrist and will meet his patients in the house. They meet the neighbors, the eccentric Constance and her daughter Adelaide. Vivien also hires a housekeeper, Moira, but Ben and Vivien don't quite see the same person when they look at her. Violet is bullied at school and befriends one of her dad's patients who has serious psychological problems. Strange events begin to occur. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Horror | Thriller


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

5 October 2011 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Evan Peters' (Tate) clothes on the first meeting with Ben (played by Dylan McDermott) is a resemblance to Kurt Cobain's clothes in the Smells Like Teen Spirit video clip by Nirvana. See more »


When Ben is pleasuring himself near the window after seeing Moira, the curtains are closed at first, but when the camera cuts to his head the curtains are open. See more »


Violet Harmon: This is where those dudes killed themselves, right? I thought maybe we'd find a body or something.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD released in Britain has been cut to remove a detailed description of a suicide technique. The original showing and all subsequent repeats shown on British television are of the uncut version. See more »


References The Addams Family (1964) See more »


American Horror Story Theme
Written by Cesar Davila-Irizarry and Charlie Clouser
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User Reviews

Disappointed by how conventional and not scary this is.
27 September 2017 | by FallonTimberlake2016See all my reviews

American Horror Story is a show that has been talked about by fans for years, so I went into this show with modest expectations. Unfortunately, this episode did not deliver for me. I don't know whether this show gets better as it goes along, but this is a very weak start for the most part.

For a show named American Horror Story, there is way too little scary moments. The opening scene was meant to be creepy, but I was just bored because it lasted too long. There is some good imagery in this film, but that isn't enough to actually make the show scary.

If all of the characters in the show suddenly died, I honestly would not care, which says a lot about how the show sets up the characters. The main couple (Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott) is so annoying that I honestly just wanted to punch both of them.

There is one scene in particular where Britton and McDermott are giving their all into these performances, but because the writing is so terrible it is laughably bad.

However, not every scene is that bad, and there are actually some really good performances. Jessica Lange is amazing as the weird neighbor and Evan Peters is very good as a mentally off teenager. Peters delivers the only even remotely scary sequence in the episode.

These performances are not enough to bring the show up, however. It just doesn't deliver on any level of horror, and can be so terribly written that I started to wonder if I was watching a 90's soap opera.

I give American Horror Story--Pilot a C-.

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