Could Win - David Fincher "House of Cards - Chapter 1" and Tim Van Patten "Boardwalk Empire - Margate Sands.
Commentary - I have had David Fincher in first place for as long as I can remember, and if name recognition is important to this particular panel this year than he is a shoo-in, a bet most people are taking at the moment. But this category over the last several years has thrown some curveballs including the House and Dexter episodes that won in those particular years over favorites, ER winning after years of Emmy inactivity, and last year's win (finally!) for Tim Van Patten for a Boardwalk Empire episode that was ranked in last place by most pundits. Yes, Martin Scorsese won, but that was for the first season of Boardwalk, which was a much bigger Emmy favorite than House of Card this year. Speaking of Boardwalk, now that he has gotten into the winner's circle, I think that Tim Van Patten is one to watch out for in repeat territory, plus the show has won the last two years. It is a craft heavy show that clearly plays well with the members of the Directing Branch. I think that the best directed episode, the most visceral, and one of the most visual episodes is Gliding Over. I think that Michelle MacLaren's episode was one of the series best, and I think that the directors will really respond to it. But beware, this is a category that could easily change by final predictions.