The Romanoffs

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The Romanoffs
Created byMatthew Weiner
Directed byMatthew Weiner
Opening theme"Refugee"
by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Semi Chellas
  • Matthew Weiner
ProducerNick Pitt
CinematographyChristopher Manley
  • Chris Figler
  • Christopher Gay
  • Tamara Meem
  • Jonny Converse
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time63–88 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkAmazon Prime Video
ReleaseOctober 12 (2018-10-12) –
November 23, 2018 (2018-11-23)

The Romanoffs is an American anthology drama streaming television series created, written, produced, and directed by Matthew Weiner. It premiered on Amazon Prime Video October 12, 2018 and features an ensemble cast that differs from episode to episode, with John Slattery, JJ Feild, Louise Bourgoin, Aaron Eckhart, and Diane Lane appearing across multiple episodes. In July 2019, Amazon announced they have no plans for a second season.[1]


The Romanoffs is a contemporary series "set around the globe, centering on separate stories about people who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family."[2]

Cast and characters[edit]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"The Violet Hour"Matthew WeinerMatthew WeinerOctober 12, 2018 (2018-10-12)
In Paris, American Greg Moffat and his girlfriend Sophie visit Greg's elderly aunt Anushka La Charnay after she suffers a heart attack. Greg, secretly hoping that Anushka – who believes that she is a descendant of the Romanov family – will die soon so that he and Sophie can inherit her apartment, hires her a caregiver. The caregiver, a Muslim named Hajar, irritates the xenophobic Anushka, who believes that Hajar is planning to poison her. Despite this, the two grow close over time, realizing that they both see themselves as outsiders and have both suffered great hardships in their lives. Anushka decides to leave Hajar the apartment in her will. In an attempt to convince Hajar to give up the apartment, Greg takes her to dinner and they end up spending the night together at the hotel. Hajar leaves her job with Anushka, and Greg hires a new Russian caregiver. Two months later, Hajar reveals to Greg that she is pregnant, and that she loves him. Greg reacts happily to the news, and a furious Sophie leaves. Anushka is delighted, claiming that all she ever wanted was for the Romanov line to continue.
2"The Royal We"Matthew WeinerMichael Goldbach and Matthew WeinerOctober 12, 2018 (2018-10-12)
Michael Romanoff and his wife Shelley attend therapy to attempt to salvage their failing marriage. Shelley, trying to find something to do together that Michael will enjoy, books them on a cruise for people who believe themselves to be Romanov descendants. Meanwhile, Michael reports for jury duty where he meets British expat Michelle, to whom he is instantly attracted. Michael deliberately brings the jury deliberation to a gridlock, forcing Shelley to go on the cruise alone and giving him an entire long weekend to pursue Michelle. Michael and Michelle have sex in a lake house belonging to Shelley's family, which he previously told Shelley he hated going to, while Shelley goes on the cruise. Pretending to be a Romanov, she meets a man named Ivan who is also married but attending without his wife. An attraction between them grows, but Shelley ultimately decides not to sleep with him and remain faithful to Michael. Ivan tells her how lucky her husband is to have her as he leaves. Michael grows obsessed with Michelle and begins stalking her, leading her to break things off with him. When Shelley returns, Michael hatches a plan to murder her. His attempt fails, and Shelley maces him. She leaves Michael lying dejected on the ground and drives away, a smile eventually coming to her face.
3"House of Special Purpose"Matthew WeinerMary Sweeney and Matthew WeinerOctober 19, 2018 (2018-10-19)
Actress Olivia Rogers arrives in Austria to star as Alexandra Feodorovna in a miniseries based on the history of the Romanov family. Olivia clashes with the director Jacqueline Gerard, who claims to be a Romanov, finding her abusive. The crew begin acting in unhinged ways, such as one actor sexually assaulting Olivia on set after she slept with him the previous night. The only person that Olivia trusts is her smooth-talking agent Bob, who convinces her to ignore the others' behavior and remain committed to the project. After refusing to be a part of the film any longer, she gets lost in the forest after wandering off set, and is surprised to find Bob, who tells her to pack, as the project is being shut down due to Jacqueline's mental instability. While waiting for Bob to pick her up, Olivia is kidnapped by the crew (dressed as Bolshevik soldiers) and taken to a basement with the other actors playing the Romanov family, where they are seemingly slaughtered by gunfire. It is revealed that the entire production of the miniseries was an elaborate ruse, attempting to unhinge Olivia to ensure she gave a realistic performance; however, Olivia dies of fright before she is shot.
4"Expectation"Matthew WeinerSemi ChellasOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)
Taking place over the course of a single day in New York City, the episode follows Julia Wells, who has a wealthy husband named Eric and a daughter named Ella who is heavily pregnant. Julia meets Ella for breakfast, where she expresses anger that Ella's husband is out of the country even though she is past her due date. It is revealed through flashbacks that Ella is not actually Eric's daughter, but the product of an affair that Julia had with Eric's best friend Daniel, a Romanov historian (who appeared in "The Royal We" as the speaker on the Romanov cruise, and who wrote the book that was the basis for the miniseries being filmed in "House of Special Purpose"). As Julia remembers her affair with Daniel, she starts to question her decision to choose Eric over him. After a tense meeting with Daniel, Julia gets drunk and nearly forgets that she was supposed to pick up Ella's in-laws from the airport. Before they go out to dinner, Julia decides to tell Eric everything about the affair and Ella's parentage, and he tells her he always knew and is happy just to be with her; however, this is revealed to be a fantasy of Julia's, and in the end she does not tell Eric. During dinner, Julia suffers extreme pain and is hospitalized for gallstones. Ella comes to her bedside and calls Daniel for Julia, revealing that she knows all about the affair. Julia and Daniel talk on the phone and comfort each other.
5"Bright and High Circle"Matthew WeinerKriss Turner Towner and Matthew WeinerNovember 2, 2018 (2018-11-02)
Katherine Ford, a professor of Russian literature and a professed Romanov descendant, is close friends with David Patton, a piano teacher who taught all three of Katherine’s children and who is gay. One day, Katherine learns to her shock that David has been accused of inappropriate behavior (the nature of which is not immediately revealed) by one of his students. Finding herself unable to believe the accusations, Katherine resolves to seek the truth by speaking to her children to gain an insight into who David really is. Her son Henry believes that the accusation is false, and that David is being targeted due to classism and homophobia. David was previously highly regarded and well-liked by parents of his students. Katherine uncovers information about David that diminishes her opinion of him, notably that he often enters his clients' houses when they are not home, lies about his past, and tells his students off-color jokes. Katherine begins to see David as duplicitous and possibly a sexual predator. It is revealed that David was being accused of purchasing alcohol for one of his students, which Katherine's husband Alex suspects the student made up after being caught drinking. In the end, Katherine allows David to stay on as her sons' piano teacher.
6"Panorama"Matthew WeinerDan LeFranc and Matthew WeinerNovember 9, 2018 (2018-11-09)
In Mexico City, gossip columnist Abel is investigating an affluent medical clinic, which he believes is selling snake oil to its wealthy and morally corrupt patients. One day, during the course of his investigation, he meets an American woman named Victoria whose twelve-year-old son Nicky is being treated at the clinic for haemophilia (which he inherited from Victoria, who claims to a Romanov descendant). Abel begins to fall in love with Victoria, but she rebuffs his advances. At the same time, his investigation into the clinic deepens and he begins to suspect it of medical malpractice, giving him a moral responsibility to tell Victoria that Nicky is being treated by an incompetent doctor. Abel continues to court Victoria, taking her and Nicky on a tour of the city, showing them the Diego Rivera mural outside the Palacio Nacional, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the ruins of Teotihuacan amongst other places. Upon presenting his findings about the medical clinic to his editor Frank, Abel quits when Frank dismisses his research as a non-story, to which they toast.
7"End of the Line"Matthew WeinerAndre Jacquemetton & Maria JacquemettonNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)
Anka and Joe Garner, a couple struggling with infertility, travel to Vladivostok to adopt a baby. Upon arriving, they are shocked by the extreme cold and poor standard of living. They both believe they will be allowing a child to live a much better life in America. Elena, a social worker, introduces them to their baby. To their horror, the baby is listless and unresponsive and is covered in a rash (symptoms of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder). Anka feels cheated by the adoption agency and wants to refuse the baby, while Joe feels it is their moral responsibility to adopt it, leading to an argument. Joe accuses Anka of refusing to adopt an American baby due to her supposed Romanov heritage, while Anka accuses Joe of not understanding how painful the struggle to conceive has been for her, and what a toll raising an already sick child would take on her. Joe tells Anka he no longer wants to be with her if she refuses to adopt the baby and storms out of the hotel. However, at the orphanage, he sides with Anka in telling Elena that they will not adopt the sick baby. Desperate to preserve the deal, Elena offers a different, healthy baby for them to adopt. They agree, and Joe makes a moving speech during the court hearing to legalize the adoption. However, on the plane home, Joe turns away from the smiling Anya and the baby with a conflicted look on his face.
8"The One That Holds Everything"Matthew WeinerDonald Joh and Matthew WeinerNovember 23, 2018 (2018-11-23)
On a train to London, screenwriter Jack Edgar sits next to a woman who tells him the story of Simon, a present-day Romanov. As a child, Simon almost dies in a house fire which kills his beloved mother. He suspects that the fire was started by his babysitter, Ondine, with whom his father, George, is having an affair. Simon is sent to boarding school, and George and Ondine marry and later have a son. Years later, Simon tries to reconcile with his dying father, but fails, and then attempts suicide. He is admitted to a mental hospital, where he accepts that he is transgender, and over time begins living as a woman and changes his name to Candace, after a pet name his mother gave him. Determined to have her mother's heirloom Romanov earrings, Candace goes to see Ondine and demands them from her, only to be told that they have been given to George and Ondine's son, Jack. In the present, Jack realizes his traveling companion is his half-brother Simon, now Candace. She tells him that she has secretly poisoned him as revenge against Ondine, and Jack dies as the train pulls into the station. Candace takes her mother's earrings from his luggage and wears them as she walks past Ondine and Jack's fiancée.



On October 26, 2016, multiple news outlets reported that Amazon had won a bidding war among six entities and committed to a straight-to-series order with a $70 million budget for an eight episode first season. The series was to be written, directed, and produced by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner in cooperation with The Weinstein Company.[3][4][5]

On August 29, 2017, the series' creative team was announced. The series’ collaborators include executive producer/writer Semi Chellas, co-executive producers Kriss Turner Towner, Blake McCormick, and Kathy Ciric, along with consulting producers/writers Andre Jacquemetton and Maria Jacquemetton. The series behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Christopher Manley, costume designers Janie Bryant and Wendy Chuck, production designers Henry Dunn and Christopher Brown, and hair and makeup designers Theraesa Rivers and Lana Horochowski. The casting team includes Carrie Audino, Laura Schiff, and Kendra Clark.[6] On October 11, 2017, following reports of sexual abuse allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein, Amazon announced that they were "reviewing their options" in regard to their relationship with The Weinstein Company.[7] They subsequently severed ties with the production company.[8] On July 28, 2018, it was announced during the Television Critics Association's annual summer press tour that the series would premiere on October 12, 2018.[9]


From August to October 2017, a series of announcements revealed that Isabelle Huppert, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Jack Huston, Amanda Peet, Marthe Keller, Aaron Eckhart, Corey Stoll, Andrew Rannells, Mike Doyle, JJ Feild, Janet Montgomery, Paul Reiser, and Diane Lane had been cast in the series.[10][11][12][13]

From March to August 2018, numerous guest cast members were announced. These actors included Noah Wyle, Hera Hilmar, Kathryn Hahn, Kerry Bishé, Jay R. Ferguson, Ben Miles, Mary Kay Place, Griffin Dunne, Cara Buono, Ron Livingston, Jon Tenney, Clea DuVall, Radha Mitchell, Hugh Skinner, Juan Pablo Castañeda, Emily Rudd, Adele Anderson, Annet Mahendru, Louise Bourgoin, Inès Melab, Michael O'Neill, and David Sutcliffe.[14][15][9][16]


Filming took place in Constanța, Romania from March 14 to March 18, 2018.[17][18]


Promotional poster.


On July 28, 2018, the first teaser trailer for the series was released.[9] On August 14, 2018, a second teaser trailer was released.[16] On August 29, 2018, a series of "first look" promotional photographs from the series was released alongside a full episode lineup of the series featuring episode titles, synopsis, airdates, and a list of actors that would appear in each episode.[19] On September 12, 2018, the trailer for the series was released.[20]


On November 15, 2018, the series held its official premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California featuring a screening of the series. A red carpet arrival was originally scheduled to take place before the screening but was canceled out of respect for the victims of the Woolsey Fire, which was still burning in the Los Angeles and Ventura counties.[21]


Critical response[edit]

The series was met with a mixed response from critics upon its premiere. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds a 48% approval rating, with an average rating of 5.8 out of 10 based on 64 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Matthew Weiner's return to television is as handsomely made as it is ambitious and sprawling—unfortunately, it's also fatally indulgent, asking for the utmost patience from audiences without a compelling incentive."[22] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the season a score of 56 out of 100 based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[23]

Despite the polarizing reception to the series overall, it went on to be nominated for awards for its work in the production, audio engineering and costume design for the series.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2019 Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television Kriss Turner Towner, Blake McCormick, Kathy Ciric, Matthew Weiner, and Semi Chellas Nominated [24]
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Movie or Limited Series Mark Weber, Larry Benjamin, Kevin Valentine,
Chris Navarro, Michael Miller, & David Jobe
(for "House of Special Purpose")
Nominated [25]
Costume Designers Guild Awards Excellence in Contemporary Television Janie Bryant & Wendy Chuck Nominated [26]


  1. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 27, 2019). "No Season 2 For Matt Weiner's 'The Romanoffs' & Nic Winding Refn's 'Too Old To Die Young' On Amazon – TCA". Deadline. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  2. ^ Stanhope, Kate (August 29, 2017). "Matthew Weiner Sets 'Mad Men' Reunion for Amazon Anthology 'The Romanoffs'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Fleming Jr, Mike (October 26, 2016). "'Mad Men's Matthew Weiner Returning To TV With Amazon Series From Weinstein Company". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne (October 26, 2016). "'Mad Men' creator Matthew Weiner will make his return to TV on Amazon - Los Angeles Times". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  5. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (October 26, 2018). "'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Sets TV Return With Amazon Anthology". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  6. ^ Petski, Denise (August 29, 2017). "'The Romanoffs': Matthew Weiner's Amazon Series Sets Creative Team; Includes 14 'Mad Men' Alum". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 11, 2017). "Amazon 'Reviewing Options' On TWC TV Series Amid Harvey Weinstein Scandal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 14, 2017). "Amazon Severs Ties With TWC: Drops David O. Russell Series, Takes Over 'The Romanoffs'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Haring, Bruce (July 28, 2018). "'The Romanoffs': Amazon Sets Premiere Date, Unveils Teaser For Matt Weiner Series – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 4, 2017). "Matthew Weiner Recruits Isabelle Huppert & 'Mad Men' Alums For Amazon Anthology Series 'The Romanoffs'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  11. ^ Petski, Denise (August 9, 2017). "'The Romanoffs': Aaron Eckhart Joins Matthew Weiner's Amazon Anthology Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (September 15, 2017). "Matthew Weiner Adds Corey Stoll, Janet Montgomery, Paul Reiser, More To Amazon's 'The Romanoffs'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  13. ^ Petski, Denise (October 31, 2017). "'The Romanoffs': Diane Lane Cast In Matthew Weiner's Amazon Anthology Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  14. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (March 6, 2018). "Noah Wyle to Star in CBS Racial Drama From Ava DuVernay, Greg Berlanti". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  15. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (June 26, 2018). "'Mortal Engines' Hera Hilmar Cast In Matt Weiner's 'The Romanoffs' At Amazon". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Ramos, Dino-Ray (August 14, 2018). "'The Romanoffs' Trailer: Everyone Is A Descendant From The Russian Royal Family In Amazon Anthology Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  17. ^ Predescu, Feri (March 14, 2018). "Serialul "The Romanoffs" se filmează la Constanța. Restricții de circulație în oraș". Evenimentul Zilei (in Romanian). Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  18. ^ Gavrilas, Calin (March 14, 2018). "Restricţii de circulaţie în Constanţa pentru filmarea serialului "The Romanoffs"". Adevărul (in Romanian). Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  19. ^ Nemetz, Dave (August 29, 2018). "The Romanoffs: Amazon Reveals Episode Lineup for Matthew Weiner's Anthology — Plus, See First Photos". TVLine. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  20. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (September 12, 2018). "'The Romanoffs' Trailer: A Royal Bloodline Flows Through A Massive Cast Of Characters In Amazon Anthology". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  21. ^ Petski, Denise (November 15, 2018). "Amazon Studios Cancels 'The Romanoffs' Red Carpet Due To California Wildfires". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  22. ^ "The Romanoffs: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  23. ^ "The Romanoffs: Season 1". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  24. ^ McNary, Dave (January 20, 2019). "PGA Awards: 'Green Book' Wins Top Feature Film Award". Variety. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  25. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 8, 2019). "CAS Awards: 'Black Panther', 'A Star Is Born' & 'Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Nominees". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  26. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 10, 2019). "CDGA Nominations: 'Crazy Rich Asians', 'Black Panther' Among Pics Fitted For Costume Designers' List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 10, 2019.

External links[edit]