Written by Nigel Williams
Directed by Philip Martin
Series premiere. Following a palace coup that overthrew her unpopular husband, the Empress of Russia Catherine the Great faces challenges on all sides. Her unfaithful lover Grigory Orlov is trying to force her into an ill-advised marriage, her resentful son Prince Paul is looking for greater political power as he comes of age and enemies are calling for the restoration of former infant emperor Ivan VI, who has been imprisoned for nearly two decades. Seeking to freshen things up, Catherine invites the charismatic Lieutenant Grigory Potemkin to Court and the two instantly connect, with Catherine drawn to Potemkin's candor, integrity and vision. Later, Catherine must make a difficult decision regarding a disillusioned soldier who looks to oust her as war with the Turks looms.