Best of 2013: The 10 Greatest TV Episodes, Including The Good Wife, Breaking Bad and Girls

2013 featured a number of stellar episodes, it was hard to pick just 10, but we managed to do it

By Chris Harnick Dec 26, 2013 5:00 PMTags
30 Rock, The Good Wife, Sleepy Hollow, Breaking BadNBC; CBS; FOX; FX

From witches to detectives and everything in between, there was some great TV in 2013.

We saw The Good Wife, a show in its fifth season—which usually means it's in a storytelling slump—reinvent itself in marvelous ways. We saw the end of several beloved characters like Liz Lemon and Walter White and Game of Thrones gave us the Red Wedding.

On NBC's Law & Order: SVU, Detective Olivia Benson was put through the ringer—and then some—but series star Mariska Hargitay turned in a stellar performance that shook the show to its core. Some of the best episodes of TV this year featured game-changing twists and harrowing experiences. But others were whimsical and sweet, featuring weddings and songs about "The Rural Juror." In no particular order...

Ali Goldstein/NBC

"Hogcock/Last Lunch," 30 Rock: Filled to the brim with references to seasons past—"my baloney," "The Rural Juror"—the 30 Rock series finale wrapped up the misadventures of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and Co. so incredibly well. We'll miss those nerds.

"Ozymandias," Breaking Bad: In which we saw how evil—and cunning—Walter White (Bryan Cranston) could really be. It was the beginning of the end for TV's favorite antihero and what a spectacular way to start.


"The Rains of Castamere," Game of Thrones: Red Wedding. 'Nuff said.


"Hitting the Fan," The Good Wife: What to say about this game-changing episode that hasn't been said already? It was expertly paced, the musical score was top notch and the acting was nothing short of phenomenal. Five seasons in and The Good Wife turned itself on its head and hasn't looked back since.


"Leslie and Ben," Parks and Recreation: America's favorite couple, Ben Wyatt and Leslie Knope, tied the knot in this heartwarming episode. Parks and Recreation consistently blends comedy with sweetness, this was the perfect episode for the perfect couple.


"Surrender Benson," Law & Order: SVU: A departure from SVU's typical episode structure was very welcomed as the detectives raced to find Olivia Benson and Benson fought to live. Mariska Hargitay turned in one of her best performances ever during this harrowing episode that set up an engrossing journey for both the character and viewers.


"Bad Friend," Girls: Lena Dunham. Andrew Rannells. A whole lot of coke. We don't care, we love it. Seriously, this episode had it all: drugs, see-through tops, secrets being exposed, the introduction of Laird (Hannah's former drug addict of a neighbor turned one night stand), and one of our favorite things about Girls: a Hannah-Marnie showdown, which led to this gem: "We could keep being friends just as long as you know you're a bad one!"


"Burn, Witch. Burn!," American Horror Story: Coven: Let's be real, American Horror Story: Coven is the campiest season of AHS yet—and that's a great thing. Every single actor on this show is turning in stellar performances, but in "Burn, Witch. Burn!" we got to see Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy tear into each other, Taissa Farmiga take down a whole mess of zombies and Kathy Bates being great. Then all the witches assembled to see Myrtle Snow (Conroy) burn at the stake, but not before sticking it to Fiona one last time. "You're all a bunch of little toads in a pot that Fiona is slowly bringing to a boil. You won't even feel it until it's too late. I'd rather burn than boil."


"The Sin Eater," Sleepy Hollow: Oh, so you didn't bother checking out Sleepy Hollow because you thought it was cheesy and hokey? Well, the joke's so on you. It's quickly become must-watch-live TV and this episode is the freshman drama's standout, thanks to the deepened bond between Ichabod and Abbie (And the shippers go wild!) and an assist from a stellar guest star in Fringe's John Noble. Dare we say this is an episode to lose your head over?


"White Hat's Back On," Scandal: From the reveal that Rowan was Olivia's father—he gave her sex tape away!—to Olivia being outed as Fitz's lover to the press, our jaws had a permanent home on the floor during the whole episode. It had all the trademarks (so many twists and monologues!) that we love about Scandal.