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Bad Blood

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Bad Blood TV Poster Image
Entertaining Canadian gangster series has brutal violence.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Crime inevitably leads to divided loyalties, more crime, violence, prison, and death. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many are loyal to Vince Rizzuto, but not to his son. 

Violence

Brutal violence, ranging from people being beaten to death with bats and shot at point blank range, to individuals being tortured, set on fire, tied up and hit by trucks, etc. Blood is visible, but the scenes are usually not gory. 

Sex

Some strong innuendo; partial bare breasts are visible. Vince Rizzuto has several mistresses. 

Language

“bastard,” “ass,” “bitch,” “sh-t.” "Bastard," "ass," "bitch," "s--t."

Consumerism

Cadillac limousines are visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The drug trade is a major theme; cocaine and heroin discussed. Beer, wine, and hard liquor consumed. Cigarette and cigar smoking is frequent. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bad Blood is an adult-oriented Canadian crime drama, the first season of which is based on a real-life crime family. It features brutal violence, cursing, and occasionally, partial nudity. The drug trade is a key theme, and drinking and smoking is commonplace. 

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What's the story?

Based on the book, Business of Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War, BAD BLOOD is a Canadian drama about the rise and fall of Montreal mafia boss Vito Rizzuto. In the 1990s, Rizzuto (played by Anthony LaPaglia) created and managed a cooperative among the different criminal syndicates in the city, which led to a massive Canadian drug smuggling empire. When Rizzuto is sent to federal prison a decade later, his right-hand man, Declan Gardiner (Kim Coates), is expected to keep the business going. But Rizzuto’s son Nico Jr. (Brett Donahue) wants to be in charge, and and soon makes things worse. Meanwhile, Rizzuto’s long-time and loyal mistress Michelle (Maxim Roy) and his younger girlfriend Sophie (Michelle Mylett), cope with the circumstances in their own way. 

Is it any good?

This entertaining series offers a semi-fictionalized version of the story of one of Canada’s most notorious and violent gangsters. It uses a series of flashbacks to tell the tale, highlighting key moments in Rizzuto’s life that have major consequences down the line. Bad Blood also departs from the book by featuring Declan Gardiner (Kim Coates), a character created for the book, narrating the story. 

Fans of mob-based shows and films will appreciate the solid plot and a well-rounded cast, including distinguished actors like Paul Sorvino and Enrico Colantoni​​​ playing key roles. But Bad Blood also offers non-Canadian fans of the genre a chance to learn more about the story of the Rizzuto family, and the role they played in criminal history, and what they did on both sides of the Canadian border. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why it is often difficult to arrest and convict members of organized crime syndicates. What are some of the differences between the way Canada and the United States handles this kind of criminal element?

  • Why are gangster-themed shows and films so popular around the world? Do you think shows like Bad Blood glorify criminal behavior? Why or why not? 

TV details

For kids who love drama

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