Parents' Guide to

21 Jump Street

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Slick, somewhat dated police procedural for teens.

TV Fox Action 1987
21 Jump Street Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

21 jump streetj

age 11+

Great messages for kids with an exciting "cool" air

Being a slightly dated show, kids today may not really be interested in watching it, HOWEVER it does mark the start of Johnny Depp's acting career. Any fan of Depp and his work will NOT want to pass up this show, as he is in practically every episode in seasons 1-3 (and periodically in season 4) and does a fantastic job. Aside from the acting which is fantastic from the leads, the show has good moral, exciting story lines and not too much iffy content. As a parent of any child under the age of 11, I would screen and pick out the "cleaner" episodes as some of them deal with very heavy topics like rape and prostitution. There is SOME minor language. In season 1, Depp's character uses the word "ass" on a few occasions, but is dubbed over with the word "tail" though his mouth clearly says otherwise. From Season 2 up harsher language is introduced and not dubbed such as "b*tch" "sl*t" "ass" "fag" and "n*gger". The use of this language however is not frequent at all and usually used by criminals. As far as sex and nudity, season 1 is pretty clean with only some mild kissing. There are however references to rape. (being the main crime of the storyline at times) As the seasons progress there is more kissing, sexual tension between two of the main characters, and much more talk of rape and prostitution. The show is not gory, or extremely bloody, but there are a lot of fist fights, talk of crimes, violent arrests, chase scenes and even murder. Many are carried out with cheesy fight noises and usually result in very little (if any) blood. There are loads of drug references, with drugs being the center of many of the episodes plot lines. Teenagers are seen dealing and doing drugs, but are always arrested by the main characters, showing that crime and drugs don't pay. All of the main characters are great role model's for kids. * *Hanson (Johnny Depp) -for the first few seasons is usually the main character in the show. He shows a lot of responsibility, cares a lot about his job and is sometimes forced to make tough moral decisions. Although he can sometimes be a bit rough with the criminals, he ultimately shows to be a compassionate person with a good heart. * *Hoffs (Holly Robinson)- great character who is VERY passionate about her work. Sometimes too passionate. She lets a lot of the situations that come up in her work affect her emotionally and although that sometimes can compromise the missions, it gives her a very human element and shows its ok to be emotional about things that are close to you. Like Hanson, she really does the job as she enjoys helping people and stopping crime. * *Penhall (Peter DeLuise)- like the rest of the team he enjoys his job, but is more of the "joker" in the group. He doesn't always take things seriously, but adds a real sense of fun to the show. He's a great example of being able to act like a kid and have fun but also know when to be mature enough to handle a situation. * *Ioki (Dustin Nguyen)- The most rational of the team, he gives a great example of how being serious,professional and able to follow orders can gain you respect from your peers. He tends to go undercover as more 'stable' characters while Penhall and Hanson handle the more "badboy" style ones. Like everyone else, he really shows a passion for getting criminals off the street and keeping people safe. * In all the show is great fun while presenting good role models for kids and tackling heavy topics such as drugs, bullying, prostitution, sexual abuse, child abuse, suicide, racism, homophobia and even fear of diseases like AIDS.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (5):

It's a little dated (oh, those '80s hairstyles and fashions!), and will probably look pretty silly to teens who have already gobbled up teen-detective fare like Veronica Mars. After all, it was created to be ultra-hip in a different era; that's always a recipe for later goofiness.

But it's also kinder and gentler than many modern shows, created in a time before school shootings and well-publicized teen gang activity and crime. The violence is muted (although deaths do occur, mostly offscreen), there is no blood, and teens are presented as mostly respectful to adults and law-abiding. Some of the themes are mature (child abuse, rape, suicide) putting this off-limits to little siblings, but this would be a good, relatively safe choice for teens who are interested in police shows, mysteries, or just getting a look at the young, stunning Johnny Depp.

TV Details

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