Runtime: 72:28 min. In the series premiere, to protect a dark family secret, Secretary of State Elaine Barrish Hammond (series star SIGOURNEY WEAVER) agrees to have hungry D.C. journalist Susan Berg (series star CARLA GUGINO) follow her during the week of her son Douglas’ (series star JAMES WOLK) engagement party. Elaine grapples with seeing her ex-husband, former president Donald “Bud” Hammond (series star CIARÁN HINDS), for the first time in two years, and suspects her other son, Thomas “T.J.” Hammond (series star SEBASTIAN STAN), might be in trouble. Meanwhile, a hostage crisis in Iran drives her to make a momentous decision for the future of her family and her career. Political Animals also stars ELLEN BURSTYN as Elaine’s mother, Margaret Barrish, and BRITTANY ISHIBASHI as Douglas’ fiancée, Anne Ogami. Recurring guest stars include ADRIAN PASDAR (Heroes, The Lying Game)
Runtime: 44:01 min. With the clock ticking, Elaine sends Bud to diffuse the Iranian hostage situation, throwing him back in the spotlight, but also putting Douglas and Anne’s engagement party in peril. Douglas discovers Elaine’s intention to run again, propelling him on a mission of his own. Meanwhile, with his secret exposed, T.J. resorts to old habits and, scrambling to find money for the nightclub, stoops to a new low.
Runtime: 43:58 min. Elaine announces a new plan to her family. Tensions mount as Bud, Douglas and T.J. take an impromptu fishing trip to visit a pollster in order to gauge election standings. Threatened by Elaine’s skyrocketing popularity, Garcetti (recurring guest star ADRIAN PASDAR) hatches a plan that finds Elaine at odds with her longtime mentor — a Supreme Court justice. Susan lets Alex (recurring guest star DAN FUTTERMAN – Judging Amy, Related) in on her top-secret story, and finds it difficult to separate the personal and the professional.
Runtime: 43:57 min. After a grueling overseas tour, Elaine returns to D.C. to find the country in a diplomatic crisis, which leaves her sparring with the Garcetti administration and drives her to make an important decision. On the night of his club opening, T.J. struggles to find support from his family and recalls events that led to his suicide attempt the previous December. Meanwhile, Anne accidentally reveals Elaine's political intentions, and Douglas, strong-armed by Susan, continues to grapple with his betrayal.
Original air date: 08/12/2012 Runtime: 42:46 min. In the aftermath of T.J.’s overdose, Elaine finds herself torn between staying by her son’s side and handling the rescue of a Chinese submarine. Bud discovers the truth behind T.J.’s suicide attempt the previous December, and takes matters into his own hands. In exchange for keeping Susan quiet on T.J.’s overdose, Elaine grants her unlimited access to the submarine rescue mission, placing her at the front of the action, and leaving Douglas to cross a boundary that could jeopardize his future.
Runtime: 47:39 min. President Garcetti (recurring guest star ADRIAN PASDAR) throws a wrench in Elaine’s plan to resign from his cabinet. Tensions fly at the Washington Globe when Elaine’s resignation letter is leaked. Douglas decides to come clean to Elaine about his betrayal, and makes an impulsive decision. Meanwhile, an unforeseen event leaves the Hammonds — and the country — at a crossroads.