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Michelle Maxwell MacLaren is a Canadian television director and producer. She has directed episodes of The X-Files, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Westworld.

Michelle MacLaren
Born Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Occupation Television director, television producer, film producer, film director
Years active 1989–present
Notable work Game of Thrones
The Walking Dead
Breaking Bad
Harsh Realm
The X-Files

MacLaren won two back-to-back Primetime Emmy Awards for producing Breaking Bad in 2013 and 2014.



MacLaren grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia.[1] She graduated from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.[2]


MacLaren made her directorial debut on the season nine episode of The X-Files, "John Doe", which was written by her future Breaking Bad collaborator Vince Gilligan. She was nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards all for Breaking Bad: one for directing the episode "One Minute" (season 3, episode 7) in 2010,[3] one for directing the episode "Gliding Over All" (season 5, episode 8) in 2013, and the other four in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 for Outstanding Drama Series, on which she served as an executive producer,[4] winning in 2013 and 2014. She was also nominated for three Producers Guild of America Award for Best Episodic Drama for Breaking Bad, winning in 2014 and 2015. In June 2014, it was announced MacLaren had signed a two-year first-look deal with HBO.[5]

In November 2014, it was announced that MacLaren would develop the script and direct Wonder Woman, the iconic character's first solo cinematic appearance and the fourth installment of the DC Extended Universe.[6] However, in April 2015 MacLaren left the project due to "creative differences".[7][8] She is currently set to executive produce and direct the pilot for David Simon's HBO drama The Deuce.[9] In August 2016, it was announced that MacLaren would be directing the film adaptation of Kristin Hannah's novel The Nightingale.[10] The same year she also directed the ninth episode of the HBO series Westworld. When the directors of the final season of Game of Thrones were announced, several prominent news sites, including Polygon and Nerdist expressed disappointment that MacLaren, the only female to direct on the series, was not included.[11][12]


Year Title Credit Notes
2017 The Deuce Director
Executive Producer
2 episodes
Modern Family Director Season 8, Episode 20
2016 Westworld Season 1, Episode 9
2015 Better Call Saul Season 1, Episode 2
2014 The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 8
2013–2014 Game of Thrones 4 episodes
2013 Chicks 'n' Guns Director
Executive Producer
Breaking Bad bonus scene
2012 The River Director Season 1, Episode 6
NCIS Season 9, Episode 17
2011 Hell on Wheels Season 1, Episode 7
Camelot Season 1, Episode 8; TV miniseries
2010–2014 The Walking Dead 3 episodes
2010 The Event Season 1, Episode 9
Lie to Me Season 3, Episode 3
Memphis Beat Season 1, Episode 7
2009–2013 Breaking Bad Director
Executive Producer
11 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series (2013–2014)
Producers Guild of America Award for Best Episodic Drama (2013–2014)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (2010, 2013)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series (2010, 2012)
Nominated—Producers Guild of America Award for Best Episodic Drama (2011)
2006 Kyle XY Director Season 1, Episode 6
Population 436 Feature film debut
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 7, Episode 12
2005 Night Stalker Executive Producer Season 1, Episode 1
2003 John Doe Director Season 1, Episode 11
2002 Without a Trace Season 1, Episode 10
2000–2002 The X-Files Director
Co-Executive Producer
47 episodes
1999–2000 Harsh Realm Co-Executive Producer 8 episodes
1999 A Song from the Heart Writer
Executive Producer
TV Movie
1998 Beauty Producer
1997 A Child's Wish
1995 The Other Mother: A Moment of Truth Movie
1994 Moment of Truth: A Mother's Deception
Heart of a Child
Moment of Truth: Broken Pledges
Moment of Truth: To Walk Again
1993 Moment of Truth: A Child Too Many
For the Love of My Child: The Anissa Ayala Story
1992 Shame
The House on Sycamore Street Production Manager
Diagnosis Murder
1991 Omen IV: The Awakening
K2 Second Unit Manager
1989–1990 Booker Production Manager 22 episodes
1989 The Ranch


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