Against the Wall



Strong female lead uses sex, alcohol to relieve stress.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show plays up the importance of family but presents the world as a morally ambiguous place where cops aren't always the good guys -- even if they're your own flesh and blood.

Positive role models

The main character is a strong female role model who is smart and independent, and she's close with her family even though she doesn't always agree with their opinions. That said, she has some vices, using both alcohol and casual sex to relieve stress. Her partner, who is pregnant, doesn't allow her physical condition to get in the way of her job.


Some cases involve violence, with visible cuts and bruises and minimal blood. Violence is usually more descriptive than graphic.


Sex is simulated, sometimes in a rather graphic way, but no sensitive body parts are shown. The main character regularly uses sex with a non-romantic partner as a stress reliever.


Audible terms include "a--hole," "jackass," "damn," etc.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking and occasional alcohol-related violence. Characters also drink to relieve stress.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this crime series revolves around a strong female lead and her visibly pregnant partner who work in an overwhelmingly male profession. The main character uses both alcohol and casual sex as a stress reliever, and the simulated sexual activity you see can get pretty intense, although no sensitive body parts are shown. There's also some audible language (including "jackass" and "a--hole") and descriptive violence, with visible cuts and bruises and a little blood.

What's the story?

Chicago police officer Abby Kowalski (Rachael Carpani) is AGAINST THE WALL when she takes a promotion working as a detective in the Chicago Police Department's Internal Affairs division, which investigates crimes and misdemeanors inside the department. Because now, she's getting paid to question the actions of "her own" -- including her retired cop father (Treat Williams) and three police officer brothers (Brandon Quinn, Steve Byers, and James Thomas).

Is it any good?


Against the Wall is all about putting women in charge -- even those who are visibly pregnant -- and that certainly makes it stand out in a flooded sea of crime shows that tend to pair strong secondary female characters up with stronger male leads. Abby Kowalski and her expectant partner are both flawed and highly watchable in their efforts to understand each other as women and get along in a male-dominated workplace.

But at times, Against the Wall goes a bit too far with the girl power. In the show's first episode, for example, a seemingly tough and blatantly burly cop suspected of battery confesses (spoiler alert!) that it's actually his wife who's the serial abuser at home. And while that's a perfectly plausible plotline for, say, a Lifetime Original plays like a slightly laughable "gotcha" in an otherwise serious script.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about stereotypes and nontraditional careers for women. How do the characters cope with being the minority in a male-dominated environment? Is it even an issue? Do these characters' actions undermine or reinforce traditional ideas about women in this line of work?

  • Is the main character's habit of having casual sex to relieve stress any more surprising, simply because she's a woman? If she were a man, would it be more of a non-issue?

  • Is it smart to use casual sex or alcohol as a stress reliever? What are some healthier ways to reduce day-to-day anxieties?

TV details

Cast:Kathy Baker, Rachael Carpani, Treat Williams
Network:Lifetime Television
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Against the Wall was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byMysterious_ballerina August 15, 2011

Good so far but a little iffy

I have seen all the episodes that have aired so far and I must say I love the story! It's so much different then other cop shows. I totally give it two thumbs up. The main girl is a great role model and even though her family does not like her decsion to be in I.A she stays strong. Like common sense media says that said there is a bit of s** I fast forwarded through those parts but nothing to bad is shown it just goes on for like two minutes. I reccommend it :)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex


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