About the Show

Get ready to join the Clone Club! This addictive science-fiction/action series opens with Sarah Manning witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks identical to her. Sarah, a former foster child turned grifter, takes the purse of the woman (police detective Beth Childs) and quickly assumes her life. She soon uncovers a thick, decades-old scientific experiment. The woman she saw die was not a relative, but a clone—and just one of many. With a little help from the “sisters” she meets, Sarah attempts to unmask the conspiracy behind the DNA strands binding the clones together. It’s a story about identity and sisterhood with a fierce side of corruption and danger, and it showcases remarkable performances by Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany, who masterfully morphs from clone to clone.

Season 1

Sarah Manning, a street-smart con artist, returns home after a 10-month absence from foster brother Felix and daughter Kira, whom she’s left in the hands of her own foster mother, Mrs. S. When she witnesses the suicide of a woman identical to herself, Sarah steals her purse and attempts the perfect con: extracting $75,000 for a plan to run away with Felix and Kira. Before they can bolt, Sarah discovers a chilling connection to the woman, police detective Beth Childs, right down to their DNA. Sarah then meets Alison, a tightly wound suburban soccer mom, and Cosima, a supersmart student who is (conveniently) studying experimental evolutionary developmental biology. They are all clones—and they are being targeted by an unknown organization. In an effort to help her new “family” and discover who’s trying to kill them off, Sarah continues to assume Beth's identity—amid growing suspicions from Beth’s partner, Art, and boyfriend, Paul. The situation only grows more complicated when the women learn that the organization that created them is still active—and keeping very close tabs on them.

Season 2

Sarah gets ready for an all-out war against clone Rachel Duncan and the Dyad Institute, who have abducted her daughter, Kira. Many new players are added this season—including the Proletheans, a creepy religious extremist clan, and Rachel’s adoptive father, Ethan (Andrew Gillies), one of the scientists behind Project Leda, which spawned the clones. Alison’s sanity is tested in the wake of neighbor Aynsley’s (Natalie Lisinska) death and her continuing paranoia over the identity of her Dyad-appointed “monitor.” A mysterious illness leaves Cosima no choice but to work with Dyad for a cure, while Helena’s outrageous journey grows increasingly twisted and violent.

Best Episodes

Season 1, Episode 1“Natural Selection”
Sarah Manning watches as a woman who looks identical to her jumps in front of a train. Thinking she can pull the perfect con, Sarah impersonates the deceased, but she runs into more trouble than she can handle.

Season 1, Episode 6: “Variation Under Domestication”
Sarah and Felix take a trip to the suburbs to help “Auntie” Alison, who has accused (and tortured) husband Donnie for being her monitor. But is he?

Season 2, Episode 3: “Mingling Its Own Nature With It”
Alison’s downward spiral continues, just as she plays the lead role in the local murder-musical Blood Ties. Sarah reaches out to someone from her past while on the run.

Season 2, Episode 6: “To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings”
While Sarah and Helena go on a road trip seeking answers, Helena finds love. Guest star alert: Suits’ Patrick J. Adams!

Season 2, Episode 10: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”
This fast-paced episode gives a lot of answers, especially about Projects Leda and Castor, while simultaneously raising more questions. And the season ends with the clone dance party you never knew you needed.

Bits and Pieces

  • Tatiana Maslany plays music to help her get in the mood for each of the clones she portrays. Sarah gets the Clash (hence the T-shirt she wears in the first episode). For Alison, she listens to show tunes and ballet music. Cosima gets dance artists, such as Diplo and Grimes, and Helena gets eccentric troubadours Tom Waits and Antony and the Johnsons.
  • Maslany arrived for her first Orphan Black audition on Rollerblades.
  • Cosima is named after the show’s science consultant, Cosima Herter.
  • The episode titles for all of Season 2 are excerpts of lines taken from the works of Francis Bacon, Renaissance-era philosopher and champion of the scientific method.
  • In the Season 2 finale, Cosima reads to Kira from the children’s book A Dog Came, Too, which was written by Ainslie Manson, mother of series cocreator Graeme Manson.