16. dexter: are you ...?
(originally aired: september 30, 2012)
It's a development that's been hanging over the series since its start: what happens when Deb finds out her brother is a serial killer? Six years later we finally got the answer. No cop out, no switcheroo, she really knows. The result: a full-on reinvention of the show, one that gave rise to questions about the status quo we've accepted for Dexter the character (and the show) all along.
15. luck: episode 9
(originally aired: march 25, 2012)
The de facto ending to David Milch's horse racing opus proved to be a surprisingly upbeat capper, from Mike and Ace's détente over the race track to the windfall for our sad sack group of gamblers. The latter in particular was disarmingly sweet as what were initially a group of degenerates at best ultimately morphed into a quartet of true friends, all hopeful of the future.
14. the good wife: another ham sandwich
(originally aired: january 29, 2012)
The defeat - for now at least - of Wendy Scott-Carr (Anika Noni Rose) was "The Good Wife" at the top of its game. Whether it's the cleverly passive-aggressive way the characters manage to manipulate each other or the endless shades of grey they continue to become mired in, this show is a delightful meal any week. Here though we them pushed to the precipice, from Kalinda going all double-agent to Alicia being tasked with admitting to her personal foibles on the witness stand.
13. mad men: lady lazarus
(originally aired: may 6, 2012)