4 Blocks

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
4 Blocks TV Poster Image
German crime series features extreme violence, sex, drugs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

It's a show about an organized crime family, with all the violence and amorality that implies. Like many similar shows, there are low key positive messages about entrepreneurship, loyalty, the value of family, and making moral or ethical choices.

Positive Role Models

It centers around the Hamady crime family, which on the one hand, shows some insight into Muslim and Arab culture in Germany, but on the other portrays Muslims almost exclusively as violent criminals.

Violence

Violence is shown throughout, including gunplay, murder, assasinations, intimidation, police violence, and sexual assault.

Sex

Scenes frequently take place in a strip club, female nudity is shown, and some episodes feature simulated sex and sexual assault.

Language

Heavy profanity is used: the "f" word, "motherf--ker," "bastard, "s--t," "bitch," "d--k." Homophobic language is sometimes used as well.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

It's about a drug cartel and shows drug use and sales. Characters also drink alcohol and smoke cigarrettes throughout the series.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 4 Blocks is a German crime show about the leaders of a Lebanese drug cartel in Berlin. This series is unique in that it focuses on Muslim family and culture, but otherwise, it's a by-the-numbers crime drama that has heavy violence, drug use, profanity, and sexual content. Violence is shown throughout the series and includes gunplay, murder, assasinations, intimidation, police violence, and sexual assault. Scenes frequently take place in a strip club and female nudity is frequently shown. Some episodes feature simulated sex and simulated rape. Drug sales and trafficking feature in every episode, and drug use is seen throughout the series. Characters also drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. Heavy profanity is used: the "f" word, "motherf--ker," "bastard, "s--t," "bitch," "d--k."

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What's the story?

The title 4 Blocks refers to the Hamady crime family's territory in Berlin. Cartel head Ali "Toni" Hamady is looking to move into legitimate business when his brother-in-law is caught with nine kilos of cocaine in his car. Forced to stick around, Toni is torn between his desire to get out of the business and the pressure to succeed and take care of the rest of the cartel, including his brother, Abbas, a loose cannon who wants to take over. 

Is it any good?

Featuring a Muslim family in the main roles is unique, but 4 Blocks is otherwise a completely by-the-book organized crime story. Good organized crime films and television tend to be as much about family and culture, especially immigrant culture, as they are about crime. That's clearly what 4 Blocks is aiming for in its focus on the Lebanese Hamady family's struggles in Berlin. However, the extreme violence, drug trafficking montages, and strip club scenes all feel mundane and routine, as if meant to appeal to fans of The Sopranos who just want something to put on while they fall asleep. Missing an opportunity to portray an underrepresented culture, this series instead feels like it's just running through a checklist of what's expected from an organized crime story. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Hamady family. How do they relate to one another? Do they draw any distinctions between their lives as criminals and their personal lives? If so, what are they? What are the Hamady family's values?

  • How do the Hamadys feel about Berlin and Germany? How do they see their status within the Berlin community? How does this affect their actions? How do they feel about other members of the community? 

  • Are there differences between this German organized crime show and similar American ones? What are they? How does focusing on a Muslim family change the scope of the series?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love crime drama

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