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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

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 goes to light the fireplace, he turns the gas valve clockwise. Gas valves, as with all valves, open counter clockwise. See more »


Tate Langdon: I prepare for the noble war. I'm calm, I know the secret. I know whats coming and I know no one can stop me not even myself. I kill people I like. Some of them beg for their life. I don't feel sad. I don't feel anything. It's a filthy world we live, in its a filthy goddamn world and honestly I feel like I'm helping to take them away from the shit and the piss and the vomit that run through the streets. I'm helping to take them to somewhere clean. There's something about all that blood man i ...
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 »


Twisted Nerve
Performed by Bernard Herrmann
See more »

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User Reviews

Promising Pilot
6 October 2011 | by EdYerkeRobinsSee all my reviews

I'm a long-time horror fan. My wife & her mom aren't. We all enjoyed "American Horror Story".

The setup is fairly standard: a feuding family moves cross country, only to find that they can't run from their problems, and may in fact run into even worse ones. Of the supernatural kind.

It's wonderful to see well-produced horror on TV. As much as I want to like shows like "American Gothic" & "Masters of Horror", these shows just feel cheap. While "American Horror Story" is a touch over-indulgent on camera tricks, it's got a wonderful atmosphere that truly unsettles. That being said, the show so far resembles more of a Lynchian melodrama than a straight-up spooktacular.

Much of this has to do with the personalities. Connie Britton & Dylan McDermott feel like a real couple going through real hard, awkward times, although I hope they lose their habit of YELLING EXPOSITION AT EACH OTHER. Their conflict is deep, yet their devotion feels real; while I can't say I agree with their courses of action, it isn't a "white hat, black hat" scenario. As for the rest of the leads, Jessica Lange was already on my nerves by episode's end, and I could take or leave Taissa Farmiga as the couple's daughter (that being said, I'm interested in where their threads take them). Luckily, there are top-shelf supporting cameos from Frances Conroy ("Six Feet Under") & Denis O'Hare ("True Blood"). Then, of course, there's the menagerie of ghouls & ghosts, from the bondage-suited "Rubber Man" adorning all the ads to bloody twin boys & the Down's syndrome girl next door.

"American Horror Story" isn't the greatest thing I've ever seen. But it shows great promise. A common criticism of the horror film (unfortunately for good reason) is underdeveloped characters. The TV season format allows for deeper connection & taking time to draw out characters, motivations & stories. For now, count me in for the ride.

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