Tears, fears and cheers: Top 30 TV drama episodes this Emmy season

Now that the 2013-14 TV season has hit the fan, Gold Derby’s users have been busy casting their votes for the top 30 drama episodes. It’s all for the purpose of narrowing down the field for the Best Drama Episode category at the 11th Annual Gold Derby TV Awards. After weeks of calculations, the votes have been unburied and the results are in.

In all, 17 different shows are represented in our list of 30 episodes, with a quartet of dramas — “The Americans,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Good Wife” and “True Detective” — all tying for the lead with three episodes apiece. Scroll down to see if your favorite drama episodes made our list.

(Click here for our corresponding list of the Top 30 comedy episodes of 2013-14.)

YOU decide: Vote for the 11th Annual Gold Derby TV Awards!

The Americans3 episodes

Behind the Red Door
Synopsis: A dangerous Naval officer becomes the key to Philip and Elizabeth’s mission as well as a potential threat to their family’s safety.
Director: Charlotte Sieling
Writer: Melissa James Gibson

Martial Eagle
Synopsis: Philip and Elizabeth’s long-planned mission turns ugly, impacting each of them in different ways. Stan digs in deeper at work as his personal life continues to unravel.
Director: Alik Sakharov
Writers: Oliver North and Tracey Scott Wilson

Synopsis: Nina finds that her future is Stan’s hands. Meanwhile, Paige and Henry are moved to safety as their parents attempt to complete their assignment.
Director: Daniel Sackheim
Writers: Joel Fields and Joseph Weisberg

Breaking Bad3 episodes

Synopsis: Hank is determined to bring down Walt. Walt scrambles to hide evidence before Hank gets to it, and Skyler tries to stop Hank and Marie from taking away the kids.
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Writer: Thomas Schnauz

Synopsis: Walt goes on the run. Jesse is taken hostage. Skyler believes it’s time to tell Flynn the truth.
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Moira Walley-Beckett

Synopsis: Walt ties up whatever loose ends are left as the end draws near.
Director: Vince Gilligan
Writer: Vince Gilligan

The Good Wife3 episodes

Hitting the Fan
Synopsis: When Will find out that Alicia and Cary are leaving the firm, he fires them and sets out to destroy them before they can get their new firm off the ground.
Director: James Whitmore, Jr.
Writers: Robert King and Michelle King

Decision Tree
Synopsis: While her firm debates whether to invite Peter to their Christmas party, Alicia comes into a potential unexpected windfall from a former client.
Director: Rosemary Rodriguez
Writers: Robert King and Michelle King

Dramatics Your Honor
Synopsis: Alicia agrees to a deposition with Nelson Dubeck, Will struggles to find a winning theory as he defends an accused killer, and Kalinda has new doubts about her future with Lockhart Gardner.
Director: Brooke Kennedy
Writers: Robert King and Michelle King

True Detective3 episodes

The Long Bright Dark (Pilot)
Synopsis: In 2012, former detective partners, Rust Cohle and Martin Hart recap one of their very first cases together involving a serial killer, back in 1995.
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto

Who Goes There
Synopsis: Martin is faced with marital problems. The search for Reggie Ledoux leads the detectives to a motorcycle gang called The Iron Crusaders, which Rust worked undercover in the past.
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto

Secret Fate of All Life
Synopsis: Hart and Cohle share the spoils of a solved case; Papania and Gilbough confront the detectives with troubling new intelligence.
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Writer: Nic Pizzolatto

Related: Links to exclusive sneak peeks at Emmy campaigns for
FX, HBO, Lifetime, NBC/Universal, Showtime, 20th Century Fox

Game of Thrones2 episodes

The Lion and the Rose
Synopsis: Joffery and Margaery’s wedding has come. Tyrion breaks up with Shae. Ramsay tries to prove his worth to his father. Bran and company find a Weirwood tree.
Director: Alex Graves
Writer: George R.R. Martin

The Watchers on the Wall
Synopsis: The battle between the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings has come.
Director: Neil Marshall
Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

House of Cards2 episodes

Chapter 14
Synopsis: Frank prepares for his promotion to Vice President. Doug tries to erase all leads leading back to him and Frank. Claire fights back against Gillian. Zoe considers working with Frank again.
Director: Carl Franklin
Writer: Beau Willimon

Chapter 17
Synopsis: A Terror threat traps Francis in the Congress building with a bitter Donald Blythe. Claire gives a live interview that shakes the media.
Director: James Foley
Writer: Laura Eason

Mad Men2 episodes

The Strategy
Synopsis: Peggy has second thoughts about her Burger Chef campaign when Don is asked to pitch her commercial, Pete visits his wife and daughter on his trip back to New York, and Bob Benson gets some surprising news from G.M. about the account.
Director: Phil Abraham
Writer: Semi Chellas

Synopsis: Don and Peggy prepare to pitch to Burger Chef, one day after the Apollo Moon Landing. Meanwhile, a power struggle in the firm between Sterling and Cutler leaves Don’s future hanging in the balance.
Director: Matthew Weiner
Writer: Matthew Weiner and Carly Wray

Masters of Sex2 episodes

Pilot (Masters of Sex)
Synopsis: Dr. William Masters, a successful doctor of obstetrics and gynecology, begins his controversial study of human sexuality. Dr. Masters recruits Virginia Johnson to be his secretary, but she quickly advances to be a valuable associate.
Director: John Madden
Writer: Michelle Ashford

Synopsis: William and Libby experience personal tragedy. Masters decides to pair Austin with a stranger. Virginia struggles with her parenting due to her long hours. Ethan’s relationship with Vivian takes the next step, whether he likes it or not.
Director: Michael Apted
Writers: Michelle Ashford and Sam Shaw

Scandal2 episodes

It’s Handled
Synopsis: Olivia learns what her father is capable of.
Director: Tom Verica
Writer: Shonda Rhimes

Price of Free and Fair Elections
Synopsis: After Cyrus learns of Maya Pope’s latest plan to kill President Grant, his hesitance turns the tide of the election.
Director: Tom Verica
Writers: Shonda Rhimes and Mark Wilding

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Bates Motel
The Immutable Truth
Synopsis: With Nick Ford dead, Dylan and Sheriff Romero rescue Norman. Together, they set a trap for Zane Morgan. Now safe at home, Norman tells his mother he’s recalled killing Miss Watson.
Director: Tucker Gates
Writers: Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin

Boardwalk Empire
Farewell Daddy Blues
Synopsis: Eli braces for the worst as Agent Knox launches his plan to bring Nucky down. Capone and Torrio reach an agreement in Cicero. Chalky looks to settle scores. Richard steps forward to save Tommy, at Gillian’s expense.
Director: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Howard Korder and Terence Winter

Downton Abbey
Episode 4.1
Synopsis: Six months later and Mary is still mourning Matthew, leaving the care of baby George to Nanny West. Tom tries to interest her in estate management, to little avail, but Violet eventually persuades her to look to the future.
Director: David Evans
Writer: Julian Fellowes

Synopsis: Hannibal is getting ready to face Agent Jack. Will Graham is preparing for justice to be served by catching Hannibal in act. But Hannibal has some surprises up his sleeves.
Director: David Slade
Writers: Bryan Fuller and Steve Lightfoot

The Star
Synopsis: With Akbari dead, Carrie and Brody try to get to a safe house and wait for extraction.
Director: Lesli Linka Glatter
Writers: Alex Gansa and Meredith Stiehm

The Killing
Six Minutes
Synopsis: It’s now 12 hours to Ray Seward’s execution and Linden is still trying to get a stay of execution for him.
Director: Nicole Kassell
Writer: Veena Sud

The Newsroom
Red Team III
Synopsis: In the aftermath of ACN’s Operation Genoa report, the staff who put it together face some serious blowback, not just when the government responds but also when the sources’ credibility comes into question.
Director: Anthony Hemingway
Writer: Aaron Sorkin

The Walking Dead
The Grove
Synopsis: Carol has to cope with old secrets and Lizzie’s psychotic behavior when she, Tyreese and the girls take refuge in a vacant house on the way to Terminus.
Director: Michael E. Satrazemis
Writer: Scott M. Gimple

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