The first season of Shameless' US remake consisted of 12 episodes that began airing on January 9, 2011. The season introduces the dysfunctional Gallagher family who live in Chicago's South Side Back of the Yards neighborhood.
The season depicts the dysfunctional family of Frank Gallagher, a single, alcoholic, and trashy father of six children in Chicago. With Frank's bipolar wife, Monica, running away from Frank prior to the first season, the family has been run by Frank's eldest daughter Fiona, who raises her five other siblings: the extraordinarily intelligent Lip, goofy and strong-hearted Ian, the mature and grounded Debbie, the troublemaking and unruly child Carl, and the baby Liam, who is mysteriously black (in the second half of the season, a paternity test reveals Frank as Liam's biological father). Often involved in the Gallagher's lives are their neighbors, Kevin and Veronica, who fake a marriage mid-season to obtain a substantial dowry.
The season's core story revolves around Steve Wilton, an affluent man whom Fiona and Veronica meet at a dance club. Fiona begins a relationship with Steve and discovers that he is a high end car thief. Fiona's childhood friend and police officer, Tony Markovich, expresses interest in dating Fiona, though Fiona ultimately turns him down. When Steve leaves town to visit his family in Lake Forest, it is revealed that his real name is Jimmy Lishman; Jimmy, under the alias of Steve, comes from a wealthy family who presumes he is away at medical school. When Debbie discovers Steve's secret, she agrees to keep it a secret from Fiona, but does notify Steve's real mother about his double life.
The subsidiary plot throughout the season involves Ian, who is a closeted homosexual, his sexual orientation only known to Lip and a friend, Mandy. Ian pursues a sexual relationship with his boss Kash, the adult owner of a local convenience store. Kash is unhappily married to his wife, Linda, who discovers the affair through the store's newly installed security cameras; Linda blackmails Kash into impregnating her. Mandy's thug brother, Mickey Milkovich, openly shoplifts from the store and regularly insults Kash. When Ian confronts Mickey, the two unexpectedly have sex, and they begin a casual sexual relationship. When Kash finds out, he angrily shoots Mickey in the leg when he attempts to shoplift. Mickey is arrested for attempted shoplifting and Kash is praised for his efforts. In the final episode, Ian comes out to Fiona, who is accepting of his sexuality.
Frank's eldest son, Lip, is in an open relationship with the promiscuous Karen Jackson, though Lip wants to pursue their relationship as more than a casual fling. Karen's mother, Sheila, is a nice but kooky housewife diagnosed with severe agoraphobia. Frank becomes romantic with Sheila and moves in with her, though he's mainly there to freeload and cash on Sheila's disability checks, much to Karen's dismay. Sheila's estranged ex-husband, Eddie, attempts to reconcile with Karen by inviting her to a purity ball, a father/daughter event where girls pledge their chastity. When Karen delves into a detailed list of her sexual history at the ball, as required by the ball's program, Eddie angrily calls her a whore. Sheila furiously kicks Eddie out of her house, overcoming her agoraphobia in the process. In a cruder turn of events, Karen wants to get revenge on her father and rapes an incapacitated Frank, showcasing the incident on a video blog that she sends to Eddie and his co-workers. Beaten over the video and past events, Eddie commits suicide by jumping in a frozen lake. Consequently, a guilt-stricken Karen breaks up with Lip. Both Frank and Karen separately apologize to Lip for the video.
In the final episodes, Lip and Ian are arrested after being caught driving one of Steve's stolen cars, straining Fiona and Steve's relationship; though Fiona, conflicted, admits that she may be falling in love with Steve. Meanwhile, Tony discovers the truth about Steve's occupation. He attacks Steve and gives him an ultimatum—to turn himself in and be arrested, or to leave Fiona and disappear without a trace. Though Steve tries to convince Fiona to accompany him in Costa Rica, Fiona declines his offer and takes up an office job from a new friend, Jasmine, to further care for her family. Under obligation, Steve is forced to run off without the girl he expected he'd be with.
|Pilot||Writer: Paul Abbott & John Wells||Director: Mark Mylod||January 9, 2011||#1.01|
|In the season one premiere, drunken father Frank Gallagher is of no use to his dysfunctional family; Fiona meets a handsome stranger when her purse is stolen; Lip is shocked to discover his brother Ian is gay and tries to hook him up with a willing neighbor.
|Frank the Plank||Writer: Paul Abbott & John Wells||Director: John Wells||January 16, 2011||#1.02|
|A manhunt ensues after Frank turns up missing, and Fiona suspects Steve may have something to do with it; Frank wakes up in Toronto, with no memory of how he arrived there.
|Aunt Ginger||Writer: Nancy M. Pimental||Director: Stephen Hopkins||January 23, 2011||#1.03|
|Ian is targeted by the brothers of a girl he spurned; Fiona turns her attention to Tony, but Steve isn't willing to give up without a fight; the whole family searches for their elderly Aunt Ginger, who owns the family house.
|Casey Casden||Writer: Cindy Caponera||Director: Todd Holland||January 30, 2011||#1.04|
|A sad and lonely Debbie steals a little boy from a birthday party, forcing the family to scheme a way to return him without drawing the attention of the Chicago PD; a web of lies ends in a marriage proposal from Kevin; Karen reacts when Eddie moves back in.
|Three Boys||Writer: Alex Borstein||Director: Mimi Leder||February 6, 2011||#1.05|
|The family fakes a wedding for Kevin when they learn Veronica comes with a substantial dowry; Frank is forced to schedule a biopsy after receiving startling news at the hospital; Steve looks for a new car, with Fiona along for the ride.
|Killer Carl||Writer: Mike O'Malley||Director: John Dahl||February 13, 2011||#1.06|
|After receiving a letter from Carl's teacher, Fiona tries to prove the Gallagher home is suitable for rehabilitating a delinquent; Lip gets busted taking the SAT for other students in exchange for cash; Frank's poor business acumen continues to have negative consequences.
|Frank Gallagher: Loving Husband, Devoted Father||Writer: Etan Frankel||Director: David Nutter||February 20, 2011||#1.07|
|Frank is desperate to come up with a plan to pay the two goons looking for the $6000 that he owes; Fiona spends the night with Steve, leaving Liam in agoraphobe Sheila’s care.
|It's Time to Kill the Turtle||Writer: Nathan Jackson & Nancy M. Pimental||Director: Scott Frank||February 27, 2011||#1.08|
|When Frank tries to stay sober for $3,000, Carl and Debbie are pleased to have their dad back, despite Lip’s warning that it won’t last; Kevin and Veronica take in a teenage foster kid, Ethel; Ian continues his sexual relationship with Mickey.
|But at Last Came a Knock||Writer: Alex Borstein||Director: Mark Mylod||March 6, 2011||#1.09|
|Frank has some settlement money coming his way, but there’s a catch — he needs his ex-wife’s signature on the documents; Debbie learns that Steve may not be who he says he is.
|Nana Gallagher Had an Affair||Writer: Cindy Caponera||Director: Adam Bernstein||March 13, 2011||#1.10|
|Monica’s return wreaks havoc on the Gallagher clan, leaving the children determined to find out if Frank is their real father; Karen agrees to attend a purity ball with Eddie; Frank hits a new low when he uses Carl to stop a disability worker from tampering with his benefits.
|Daddyz Girl||Writer: Nancy M. Pimental||Director: Sanaa Hamri||March 20, 2011||#1.11|
|Amy Smart guest stars as Jasmine Hollander, a PTA mother who befriends Fiona; Tony unravels the truth about Steve’s car-stealing business; Karen spirals out of control following the purity ball incident.
|Father Frank, Full of Grace||Writer: John Wells||Director: Mark Mylod||March 27, 2011||#1.12|
|Steve tries to convince Fiona to skip town with him, while she tries to bail Lip and Ian out of jail; Karen’s video blog creates problems with Frank, Lip, and Eddie.