A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Featured cases often deal with disturbing criminal social behavior. Criminals, victims, and others affected by the case are of diverse ages, sexual orientations, races, and ethnic backgrounds. The show also highlights the intricacies of the legal system, including laws that can be considered discriminatory.
Violence & Scariness
Violent acts -- including sexual assaults, shootings, stabbings, and murder -- are described, often in great detail. Gang violence is also discussed. These events are never seen happening, but sometimes bloody crime scene photos are shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Criminal sexual behavior (including prostitution, pedophilia, and assault) is often explicitly discussed within the context of a criminal case, but the events are never seen or re-enacted.
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Some accounts of past events and recordings of conversations held by alleged criminals include swearing, from "damn" and "hell" to "s--t" and "f--k" (the stronger words are bleeped).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol and drug abuse is sometimes detailed. Some cases deal with illegal drug transactions or drug-related gangs. Cigarette smoking is sometimes visible in file footage.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this somewhat dry documentary series focuses on criminal cases, most of which feature violent acts and/or sex crimes -- including mass murder, rape, and pedophilia. While the acts themselves are never shown, the discussions of the events are often graphic and explicit (and occasionally include bloody crime-scene photos). Expect some bleeped cursing and talk of drug and alcohol abuse as well.
Is It Any Good?
Unlike many crime-related documentaries, American Justice focuses on how criminal cases are handled by the various parts of the criminal justice system (including local, state, and federal branches). The series looks at each case from a legal perspective, offering explanations of some of the more challenging -- and often frustrating -- rulings based on the existing laws at the time. It also examines some of social implications of America's current laws, including the problems with trying youth offenders as adults and the racial and gender biases associated with the death penalty.
Also unlike other crime documentary series, American Justice doesn't use re-enactments to tell its stories. While crime scene photos are sometimes shown, interviews and trial footage are the primary information sources. As a result, the show is sometimes a bit dry, oversimplifying sophisticated legal processes. But it does successfully touch on moments in legal history that have changed the way lawmakers think about criminal justice and led to some fundamental changes in the legal system. The teens mostly likely to enjoy the show are those interested in pursuing careers in law or criminal justice.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Our Editors Recommend
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