Mr. Robot is an American drama–thriller television series created by Sam Esmail. The early premiere of the pilot was shown on May 27, 2015 on multiple online and VOD services and was so well received that the series was renewed for a second season before the first season had premiered on USA Network on June 24, 2015.
The series follows Elliot Alderson, a young man living in New York City, who works at thecybersecurity company Allsafe as a security engineer. Constantly struggling with social anxiety disorder and clinical depression, Elliot's thought process seems heavily influenced by paranoia and delusion. He connects to people by hacking them, which often leads him to act as a cyber-vigilante. He is recruited by a mysterious insurrectionary anarchist known as "Mr. Robot", and joins his team of hacktivists known as "fsociety". One of their missions is to cancel all debtsby taking down one of the largest corporations in the world, E Corp (known as "Evil Corp" by Elliot), which also happens to be Allsafe's biggest client.
- Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, a security engineer at Allsafe Cybersecurity and a vigilante hacker. He has social anxiety disorder and deals with clinical depression and delusions, which cause him to struggle socially and live isolated from other people.
- Christian Slater as Mr. Robot/Edward Alderson, an insurrectionary anarchist who recruits Elliot into an underground hacker group called fsociety.
- Carly Chaikin as Darlene Alderson, one of the fsociety hackers.
- Portia Doubleday as Angela Moss, Elliot's childhood friend and a fellow employee at Allsafe.
- Martin Wallström as Tyrell Wellick, the ambitious Senior Vice President of Technology at E Corp.
- Michel Gill as Gideon Goddard, CEO of Allsafe Security.
- Gloria Reuben as Krista Gordon, Elliot's psychiatrist.
- Frankie Shaw as Shayla Nico, Elliot's drug dealer and girlfriend.
- Bruce Altman as Terry Colby, the former CTO of E Corp who is framed by fsociety for a hack attack.
- Ben Rappaport as Ollie Parker, Angela's boyfriend and an employee at Allsafe.
- Aaron Takahashi as Lloyd Chung, Elliot's co-worker at Allsafe.
- Ron Cephas Jones as Romero, a member of fsociety.
- Azhar Khan as Mobley, a member of fsociety.
- Sunita Mani as Trenton, a member of fsociety.
- Michael Drayer as Cisco, Darlene's ex-boyfriend who is the U.S. liaison to the Chinese hacker group, the Dark Army.
- Stephanie Corneliussen as Joanna Wellick, Tyrell's wife.
- Elliot Villar as Fernando Vera, Shayla's drug supplier and Elliot's only supply of suboxone who has a unique dangerous philosophy and is obsessed with Shayla.
- Brian Stokes Mitchell as Scott Knowles, the CTO candidate of E Corp following Colby's arrest.
- Michele Hicks as Sharon Knowles, the wife of Scott Knowles.
- Michael Cristofer as Phillip Price, the CEO of E Corp.
- BD Wong as White Rose, a transgender woman and head of the Dark Army.
a The first season finale was postponed one week from its originally scheduled air date of August 26, 2015, because the episode includes a scene with similarities to the Roanoke, Virginia murders, which happened earlier the same day.
According to Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot was originally intended to be a feature film, with the end of the first act being someone finding out that he had a mental disorder while enacting a greater scheme. However, midway through writing the first act, he found that script had expanded considerably, and that became a script more suited for a television show. He removed 20 pages of around 89 pages of the script then written, and used it as the pilot for the series, and what was to have been the end of the first act became the finale of the first season.Esmail took the script to Anonymous Content to see if it could be developed into a television series, which was then picked up by USA Network. USA Network gave a pilot order to Mr. Robot in July 2014, and picked it up to series with a 10-episode order in December 2014. Production began in New York on April 13, 2015. Prior to its series premiere on June 24, 2015, Mr. Robot was renewed for a second season, which will include a minimum of 10 episodes.
Sam Esmail has acknowledged several major influences on the show, such as American Psycho, Taxi Driver, A Clockwork Orange, andThe Matrix. In particular, David Fincher's 1999 film Fight Club inspired two major plot points: Elliot and Mr. Robot being the same person, and the erasing of consumer debt records. In an interview, Esmail explains how playing the song that Fincher used to underscore the climax of his film ("Where Is My Mind?") when Elliot initiates the hack in episode nine is intended as a message to the audience that he is aware of the inspiration they took from Fight Club. The narration by the protagonist was influenced by Taxi Driver, and other influences mentioned included Risky Business in its music score, Blade Runner for the character development, and the television series Breaking Badfor the story arc.
The series was filmed in New York, filming locations included Coney Island which served as the base of operations for the hacking group fsociety. As the production crew was unable to shut down Times Square for filming, the scenes at Times Square in the finale was shot late at night just before the 4th of July holiday weekend to catch the area at its emptiest.
Mr. Robot has received widespread acclaim from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a rating of 98% with an average score of 8.1 out of 10 based on 41 reviews. It set a record on Rotten Tomatoes as the only show to earn perfect episode scores since the site began tracking television episodes. The site's consensus reads: "Mr. Robot is a suspenseful cyber-thriller with timely stories and an intriguing, provocative premise." On Metacritic, the first season scored 79 out of 100 based on 23 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Merrill Barr of Forbes gave it a very positive review and wrote, "Mr. Robot has one of the best kick-offs to any series in a while" and that "Mr. Robot could be the series that finally, after years of ignorance, puts a deserving network among the likes of HBO, AMC and FX in terms of acclaim."
After premiering at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March 2015, the series won the Audience Award for episodic television.
The first episode of Mr. Robot was released across multiple digital platforms in advance of its first broadcast. It had a viewership of 2.7 million prior to the first broadcast of the episode.
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