The Last of Us Season 1 – TV Series

About The Last of Us Season 1 – TV Series

The Last of Us Season 1

The Last of Us is an American post-apocalyptic drama television series created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for HBO. Based on the 2013 video game developed by Naughty Dog, the series is set twenty years into a pandemic caused by a mass fungal infection, which causes its hosts to transform into zombie-like creatures and collapses society. The series follows Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler tasked with escorting the immune teenager Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic United States.

Guest stars include Nico Parker as Joel’s daughter Sarah, Merle Dandridge as resistance leader Marlene, Anna Torv as Joel’s partner Tess, Gabriel Luna as Joel’s brother Tommy, Lamar Johnson and Keivonn Montreal Woodard as brothers Henry and Sam, and Melanie Lynskey and Jeffrey Pierce as resistance leader Kathleen and her second-in-command Perry.

The first season of The Last of Us was filmed in Alberta from July 2021 to June 2022, while the second season is set to begin filming in British Columbia in January 2024. It is the first HBO series based on a video game, and is a joint production by Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Naughty Dog, the Mighty Mint, and Word Games. Druckmann, who wrote and co-directed the original game, assisted Mazin with scriptwriting for the nine episodes of the first season. The score was composed by Gustavo Santaolalla, who composed for the game, and David Fleming.

The Last of Us premiered on January 15, 2023. It received acclaim from critics, who praised the performances, writing, production design, and score; several called it the best adaptation of a video game. It was nominated for several awards, including 24 Primetime Emmy Awards. Across linear channels and HBO Max, the series premiere was watched by 4.7 million viewers on the first day—the second-biggest for HBO since 2010—and almost 40 million within two months; by May, the series averaged almost 32 million viewers per episode. In January 2023, it was renewed for a second season.

the last of us season 1 1

The Last of Us


Episodes 01

“When You’re Lost in the Darkness”

In 2003, a mass fungal infection of mutated Cordyceps sparks a global pandemic and the collapse of society. Joel flees with his daughter, Sarah, and brother, Tommy, from their Texas home; Sarah is killed by a soldier. Twenty years later, Joel lives in a quarantine zone (QZ) in Boston managed by the Federal Disaster Response Agency (FEDRA), working as a smuggler with his partner, Tess. When Tommy fails to contact them from Wyoming, they pay a local dealer, Robert, for a car battery but he scams them and sells it to the Fireflies, a rebel group opposing FEDRA. Attempting to retrieve it, Joel and Tess encounter Marlene, the Fireflies’ leader, who begs them to take a teenager named Ellie to the Massachusetts State House in exchange for a working truck. While sneaking out of the QZ, the three run into a soldier on the outside. He tests them for the infection and reveals Ellie is positive. Joel kills the soldier and Ellie claims to be immune.

Episodes 02


Two days before the worldwide outbreak, in Jakarta, Indonesia, government officials show an infected corpse to a mycologist, who tells them there is no cure or vaccine and advises bombing the entire city to prevent further outbreak. In the present, Ellie explains to Joel and Tess that she is being transported west in hopes of being used to find a cure. Discovering that the path to the State House is swarmed with the infected, they cut through a history museum, where they are attacked by blind infected known as “clickers” and Ellie is bitten. They arrive at the State House but find the Fireflies dead. Tess reveals she was bitten, while Ellie’s bite begins to heal, proving her immunity. Joel shoots an infected, which alerts the swarm to their location. Tess convinces him to escape and take Ellie to their allies in Lincoln, Massachusetts, while she stays behind, blowing up the building and killing herself along with the horde.

Episodes 03

“Long, Long Time”

Joel and Ellie begin the hike to meet with Bill and Frank. Ellie sees evidence of the government’s execution of innocents during the early days of the pandemic. Back in 2007, Frank leaves Baltimore and stumbles upon the compound of Bill, a paranoid survivalist who reluctantly takes him in. The men begin a romance, sharing a love of music and food. Years later, Frank contacts Tess by radio and the two groups enter a tenuous friendship. In the present, Frank is terminally ill and asks Bill to assist his suicide after they marry. Bill, not wanting to live without Frank, kills himself as well. When Joel and Ellie arrive, they discover a letter Bill left for Joel. Bill wrote that protecting Frank gave his life meaning and that he has bequeathed all his supplies to Joel and Tess. Unbeknownst to Joel, Ellie takes Frank’s pistol. They take Bill’s truck and set out to find Tommy.

Episodes 04

“Please Hold to My Hand”

Traveling through Missouri, Joel and Ellie are forced to take a detour through Kansas City, where they are ambushed. Joel kills two of the bandits, but a third overpowers him and nearly chokes him to death before Ellie saves him by shooting the man with Frank’s pistol. More bandits find the bodies; their leader, Kathleen, believes Joel and Ellie might be in contact with a man named Henry and orders a manhunt. Joel counsels Ellie about the firefight and gives her the pistol back. Kathleen’s second-in-command Perry thinks he has found Henry’s hideout, but something is growing under the building. Kathleen orders it kept secret until they find Henry. Joel and Ellie sleep in a high-rise apartment for the night, hoping they can scout a way out of the city in daylight. They awaken to find Henry and his younger brother Sam holding them at gunpoint.

Episodes 05

“Endure and Survive”

Henry and Sam make a tentative truce with Joel and Ellie. Joel wants to part ways, but Henry proposes they escape the city together using underground tunnel routes that only Henry knows; Joel hesitantly agrees. Henry confesses to Joel he was responsible for the death of Kathleen’s brother, turning him over to FEDRA in exchange for medication for Sam’s leukemia. Ellie and Sam quickly become friends. After escaping through the tunnels, the group is attacked by a sniper from an upper-story window. Joel sneaks up and kills him, but finds out he was radioing Kathleen, who arrives with her militia. Before Kathleen can kill Henry, a horde of infected emerge from underground, including a large “bloater” that beheads Perry and a child clicker that mauls Kathleen. After the group escape to a motel, Sam shows Ellie he was bitten on the leg. The next morning, Sam is infected and attacks Ellie; Henry kills him before killing himself. Joel and Ellie bury them and set off on foot heading west.

Episodes 06


Three months after Henry and Sam’s deaths, Joel and Ellie reach a small, thriving community in Jackson, Wyoming, where Joel is reunited with Tommy, whose wife Maria is pregnant. Ellie learns about Sarah’s fate from Maria. Joel confides in Tommy about Ellie’s immunity and his own declining mental state. Joel asks Tommy to take Ellie to the Fireflies, as he is afraid he cannot keep her safe. Ellie overhears them and confronts Joel, who insists they will part ways. Joel changes his mind after remembering Sarah, and he and Ellie travel to Colorado on horseback. They find the Fireflies have vacated their base, possibly relocating to a hospital in Utah. Joel and Ellie attempt to escape a group of raiders. When one of them attacks Joel, Joel kills him but is stabbed during the struggle. Joel and Ellie escape the others, but Joel soon collapses and falls off their horse, leaving Ellie unsure how to proceed.

Episodes 07

“Left Behind”

Ellie and an injured Joel shelter in an abandoned house. As Joel approaches death, he urges Ellie to leave him. Ellie remembers her time in FEDRA military school, which she attended with her best friend Riley. While Ellie causes trouble and fights with her peers, Riley ran away and has been missing for three weeks. Riley sneaks back into their dorm room and reveals to Ellie she has joined the Fireflies. She brings Ellie to an abandoned mall, where they explore a photo booth, an arcade, and a carousel. Riley tells Ellie the Fireflies have assigned her to a post in Atlanta, and it is her last night in Boston. Ellie is upset, but convinces Riley to stay, and they kiss. An infected attacks the two and Ellie kills it, but both are bitten during the struggle. Tearfully, they decide to stay together and wait for the infection to take hold. In the present, Ellie finds a sewing needle and stitches Joel’s wound.

Episodes 08

“When We Are in Need”

Ellie leaves Joel, who is still recovering, to hunt for food. After shooting a deer, she tracks the wounded animal and encounters a preacher, David, and his fellow hunter James. She trades her deer for penicillin. David reveals the man who stabbed Joel was a member of his group; Ellie leaves to treat Joel. The next day, she discovers David and his men have followed her to seek vengeance on Joel. She flees to draw them away but is captured. At David’s camp, he reveals he has been feeding his group human flesh. Meanwhile, Joel awakens and tortures some of David’s men into telling him Ellie’s whereabouts. David and James attempt to kill Ellie but she kills James and escapes; David hunts her down and tries to rape her, but she kills him with a meat cleaver. Joel finds a traumatized Ellie outside the cult’s burning community center and comforts her.

Episodes 09

“Look for the Light”

In a flashback, Ellie’s mother Anna is bitten by an infected as she gives birth to Ellie. She is found by Marlene, who hesitantly takes Ellie and kills Anna, at the latter’s request. In the present day, Joel tells Ellie of his suicide attempt after Sarah’s death. Firefly soldiers capture Ellie and knock Joel unconscious. After Joel awakens in a hospital, Marlene explains that doctors are preparing Ellie for surgery in hope of developing a cure, and Joel protests when he realizes the procedure will kill her. Marlene orders Joel to be taken away. He escapes and kills several Firefly soldiers, including those who surrender, and kills Ellie’s surgeon for resisting. Joel carries an unconscious Ellie from the hospital. Marlene intercepts them, stating there is still time to find a cure, but Joel shoots and kills her. When Ellie awakens, Joel lies and tells her the Fireflies had already failed to develop a cure from other immune people. As they hike to Jackson, Ellie insists that Joel swear his story about the Fireflies is true. When he does so, she replies “Okay”.


  • Pedro Pascal as Joel, a hardened middle-aged survivor who is tormented by the trauma of his past. Joel is tasked with smuggling a young girl, Ellie, out of a quarantine zone and across the United States. Joel is more vulnerable in the series—he is hard of hearing in one ear due to a gunshot and his knees ache when he stands.
  • Bella Ramsey as Ellie, a 14-year-old girl who displays much defiance and anger but has a private need for kinship and belonging. She has not lost her playfulness, bonding easily with children, and has a fondness for puns. She is immune to the Cordyceps infection and may be the key to creating a vaccine.
  • Nico Parker as Sarah, Joel’s 14-year-old daughter. She cares for her father, playfully teasing him over his behavior and attitude.
  • John Hannah as Dr. Newman, an epidemiologist who issues a warning about the threat of fungi during a talk show in 1968.
  • Merle Dandridge as Marlene, the head of the Fireflies, a resistance movement hoping to gain freedom from the military. Dandridge reprises her role from the video games.
  • Christopher Heyerdahl as Dr. Schoenheist, an epidemiologist on the 1968 talk show who is skeptical of Newman’s warning.
  • Brendan Fletcher as Robert, a thug and black market arms dealer in the Boston Quarantine Zone. Robert fears Joel’s retribution against his actions.
  • Anna Torv as Tess, a hardened survivor and Joel’s smuggler partner. Tess is respected in the Boston Quarantine Zone, largely out of fear. She is protective of Ellie during their escort mission.
  • Gabriel Luna as Tommy, Joel’s younger brother and a former soldier who maintains idealism in his hope for a better world. Tommy was recruited to the Fireflies but gave up on their cause.
  • Christine Hakim as Ratna Pertiwi, a mycology professor at the University of Indonesia who advises the government to bomb Jakarta to slow the spread of the infection, for which she feels hopeless.
  • Nick Offerman as Bill, a misanthropic survivalist who lives with Frank. Bill’s paranoia and distrust of the government left him prepared for the pandemic, protected in an underground bunker.
  • Murray Bartlett as Frank, a survivalist living in an isolated town with Bill. Frank is friendlier and more trusting than Bill, wanting to beautify their town and create friendships with Tess and Joel.
  • Lamar Johnson as Henry Burrell, who is hiding from a revolutionary movement in Kansas City. Henry is hurt by his own actions but ultimately does them to protect his younger brother Sam.
  • Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen Coghlan, the leader of a revolutionary movement in Kansas City. Kathleen is soft-spoken and outwardly sweet but an intelligent and fierce leader.
  • Keivonn Montreal Woodard as Sam, a deaf, artistic eight-year-old child who is hiding with his brother Henry. Sam was diagnosed with leukemia at a young age.
  • Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, a revolutionary rebel in a quarantine zone who is Kathleen’s right-hand man. Pierce portrayed Tommy in the video games. Perry is a former military member.
  • John Getz as Eldelstein, a Kansas City doctor who protects Henry and Sam from Kathleen and the revolutionary rebels.
  • Rutina Wesley as Maria, a leading member of a settlement in Jackson and Tommy’s pregnant wife. Formerly an assistant district attorney, Maria is a calm and merciful leader.
  • Graham Greene as Marlon, a Native American hunter who has lived with his wife Florence in the wilderness of Wyoming since before the pandemic. Marlon is resourceful and untrusting of strangers.
  • Elaine Miles as Florence, who lives with her husband Marlon. Florence is calm and humorous. Unlike Marlon, she did not want to isolate in the wilderness.
  • Storm Reid as Riley Abel, an orphaned girl who is Ellie’s best friend at military school in post-apocalyptic Boston. Riley ran away from military school to join the Fireflies, considering the former fascists.
  • Scott Shepherd as David, a preacher who is the leader of a religious group. David is calm and acts as a caring leader, but is manipulative and abusive to remind members of his leadership status. He claims to have found God after the outbreak.
  • Troy Baker as James, David’s right-hand man. Baker previously portrayed Joel in the video games. James lacks faith in David but wants to be considered his equal, feeling threatened when Ellie’s capabilities threaten to usurp his position.
  • Ashley Johnson as Anna, Ellie’s mother. Johnson previously portrayed Ellie in the video games. Anna is resourceful, killing an infected while giving birth. She is close with Marlene; upon giving birth to Ellie, she tasks Marlene with caring for Ellie.



A film adaptation of Naughty Dog’s 2013 video game The Last of Us was announced in March 2014, to be written by the game’s writer and creative director Neil Druckmann; it had entered development hell by 2016, and the partnership ended and rights relinquished by 2019. Due to the extensive development of a film based on Uncharted, another game series by Naughty Dog, Druckmann ensured specific plot points were included when negotiating a deal with film and television studios; he felt more closely connected to The Last of Uss creation and development than Uncharteds and always wanted to be involved in its adaptation in some manner.

In 2018, writer and director Craig Mazin was approached by PlayStation Productions with a list of video games for potential television adaptation; he was disappointed to discover The Last of Us was being adapted into a film at the time as he felt television was a better fit. A fan of the video game, having played it about twelve times, Mazin was introduced to Druckmann through Shannon Woodward, a mutual friend, in 2019. Druckmann, a fan of Mazin’s series Chernobyl, agreed that The Last of Us required the length and pacing of a television series. They pitched the series to HBO about a week after meeting. HBO chairman and chief content officer Casey Bloys and head of drama programming Francesca Orsi were unfamiliar with the game but trusted Mazin due to his work on Chernobyl and his investment in the story and world.

In March 2020, a television adaptation was announced in the planning stages at HBO, expected to cover events of the first game. Mazin and Druckmann were named to write and executive produce the series, while television producer Carolyn Strauss and Naughty Dog president Evan Wells were named executive producers, and Gustavo Santaolalla, who worked on the games, the show’s composer. The show was announced as a joint production of Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, and Naughty Dog; it is the first show produced by PlayStation Productions. It is produced under the company name Bear and Pear Productions. Johan Renck, Mazin’s collaborator on Chernobyl, was announced as executive producer and director of the series premiere in June 2020; he dropped out by November due to scheduling conflicts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. HBO greenlit the series on November 20. PlayStation Productions’s Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan were named executive producers, and Word Games a production company.

In January 2021, the Mighty Mint joined production, and Kantemir Balagov was announced as the pilot episode’s director. He had been interested in adapting the game for years and was set to direct several opening episodes; in October 2022, Balagov said he left the project a year prior due to creative differences. Rose Lam was added as executive producer in February 2021. Pre-production in Calgary, Alberta, began on March 15; Mazin arrived in May. Ali Abbasi and Jasmila Žbanić were announced as directors in April. In July 2021, the Directors Guild of Canada revealed Peter Hoar was assigned to direct, followed in August by Mazin, in September by Druckmann, and in January 2022 by Liza Johnson and Jeremy Webb. In February, Druckmann confirmed he directed an episode and felt his experience reinforced and reflected his experience in directing games. After several months traveling between Calgary and Los Angeles, Druckmann struggled to fulfil obligations at Naughty Dog and returned home to advise remotely, feeling confident in Mazin. The season’s original ten-episode count was reduced to nine during production; the first two were combined after Bloys felt the first would not compel viewers to return.

The Last of Us is believed to be the largest television production in Canadian history, expected to generate over CA$200 million in revenue for Alberta. Sources suggested the budget was between US$10 million and US$15 million per episode for the first season; The New Yorker claimed the series budget exceeded each of the first five seasons of Game of Thrones. The budget is set to increase for the second season. Canadian artists union IATSE 212 claimed the production led to a 30 percent increase in union membership and employment. The first season covers the events of the first game and its downloadable expansion The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014); Druckmann and Mazin suggested a second season would immediately cover the sequel, The Last of Us Part II (2020), to avoid filler; Part II is expected to span multiple seasons, and Mazin does not want the series to overtake the games. The writers ensured characters remained true to their developments in Part II in case the show received more seasons. On January 27, 2023, less than two weeks after the premiere, HBO renewed the series for a second season. Mazin confirmed plans for a third season if the second is successful, and said the series could run for four or five in total, expecting each to have different episode counts. He is not opposed to spin-off material “in principle” but suggested he would not work on any himself.


January 15, 2023


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