Active Shooter: America Under Fire

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Active Shooter: America Under Fire TV Poster Image
Dark documentary details disturbing mass shootings.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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

Positive Messages

Active shootings are on the rise. Issues like fame seeking, gun control, and other issues discussed. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Valiant efforts of law enforcement, victims, etc. discussed. Victims are from all walks of life; shooters are often white males. 


Detailed discussions about shooter preparation, shooting, and wounds. Video footage, courtroom animation of some events and their aftermath.  


Occasional curse words, like "f--k." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol and drugs are referenced within the context of events. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Active Shooter: America Under Fire is a docuseries that examines the response to, and aftermath of, mass shootings in the United States. Firsthand accounts of the attacks themselves, the wounds sustained by victims, and attempts to help people are offered in detail. Audio and video recordings of events, including 911 calls and other harrowing moments, are also featured. Issues like the rise in gun massacres, gun control, fame seeking, racism, and bigotry are also discussed. Overall, it's not an easy watch, and it's too intense for younger or sensitive viewers. 

User Reviews

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  • Kids say
Adult Written byWholesome Reviews October 27, 2017

Thematically packed but overall average documentary does not bring anything new to the table

Active Shooter: America Under Fire is an adequate attempt to recreate some of the most iconic and memorable American mass shootings of the era. Although it appe... Continue reading

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What's the story?

ACTIVE SHOOTER: AMERICA UNDER FIRE is a documentary series that examines some of the most notorious massacres at the hands of a mass shooter. From the attack on Columbine High School to the killings in the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, members of law enforcement, medical personnel, witnesses, survivors, and victims' families describe how the shootings unfolded, the emergency response, and the subsequent results. Audio recordings, video footage, and courtroom proceedings are also featured. Each installment also offers some limited discussion about who the shooters are, and why they did it.  

Is it any good?

This interesting, sensational, and disturbing docuseries offers detailed accounts of what transpired during each active shooting, and what happened after the fact. Survivors describe how events unfolded, how they managed to get out alive, and the acts of heroism they witnessed. It also describes the challenges law enforcement and medical staff faced during these extraordinary situations, which sometimes required them to violate their own policies in order to save lives. 

While some experts and law enforcement officials briefly talk about the murderers, Active Shooter: America Under Fire presents these stories in a way that significantly refocuses the attention off of them. Instead, it underscores the damage that they caused, as well as the celebration of survival and humanity that has resulted from it. Most important, it highlights how mass shootings have risen in number in the United States and points to some of the reasons why. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way the media covers mass shootings when they happen. What details are focused on? Are there things the media shouldn't report? Parents: How can you talk to your family about these events when they are reported in the news?

  • Do you think Active Shooter: America Under Fire is sensational? What is the purpose of offering so many details about these events? Are there any lessons people can pull from them? 

TV details

  • Premiere date: September 29, 2017
  • Network: Showtime
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • Topics: Activism
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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