Air Date: 12/18/11
So what if "Marine One" isn't even a year old yet? The tense conclusion to Homeland's superb first season was an instant classic. Clocking in at nearly 90 minutes, the finale is both a master-class in suspense and execution. With high stakes, and the fresh, unconventional telling of a familiar plot, all eyes were on the Homeland writers.
Despite a near-perfect season, an effort to honor the conclusion they were building up to—while also keeping the show viable for years to com—left a 50-50 chance that they'd stick the landing, but probably drop the ball. Thanks to an ingenious two-pronged assassination plot, some faulty vest wiring, and a well-timed, affecting phone call, "sticking the landing" doesn't even begin to describe "Marine One's" accomplishments.