Bad Judge

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Bad Judge TV Poster Image
Sex, drinking, and loose ethics in just-OK sitcom.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Lots of bad behavior that's treated comically, especially from the lead character whose job it is to make very serious decisions for other people but who doesn't take the job seriously.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is designed to be ethically and morally corrupt, for the sake of comedy, and treats her very important job lightly. She drinks too much, has casual sex -- even in the middle of work -- and generally makes poor decisions. Her new relationship with a kid may turn her around somewhat.


There are frequent coarse references to and indications of sex, including a woman taking a pregnancy test, a couple grappling on the desk in a judge's chambers, characters in lingerie or with clothes askew, and one character discussing throwing undergarments onstage at a rock show. A child draws a picture of his teacher with a penis head; this is laughed off. 


Some cursing: "How the hell did you get my number?" Other rough language includes a woman telling a child he's being a "smartass" and jokes about "dongs" and "boobs." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent references to drinking. Characters suffer hangovers after drinking and casually mention drinking before work.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bad Judge is a comedy about a single, fortysomething criminal judge who takes her job lightly and her nightlife seriously. There are frequent references to drinking, including discussions of hangovers and blackouts. Sexual references also figure largely, with the main character cheerfully carrying on multiple affairs with few consequences besides the occasional pregnancy worries. The judge does a number of morally/ethically questionable things, including parking in a handicapped space and using a fake placard for her windshield, as well as calling a boyfriend to get frisky with her in chambers while a case is in session. Crimes such as bigamy are played for laughs, and young characters disrespect authority figures. Still, there is genuine affection among characters, and they generally treat each other with kindness, if mockingly. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bygeorge512 October 13, 2014

A Bad Judge is not even a good one. A TV-14 DSL it must go under.

A TV-14 Program at 9:00 PM that still don't have none of the Messages or Role Models. ...and this still has Sex, Swearing, and Drinking all over the place... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old October 12, 2014
This show is iffy because of its sexual content and dialogue. It earned it's TV-14.

What's the story?

With a personal life that ranges from bohemianism to blackouts, even when she's on the job and doing her not-so-level best to hold it together, Rebecca Wright (Kate Walsh) is a BAD JUDGE. She is unrepentant about her multiple affairs, her penchant for drinking until she drops, playing drums in a two-woman punk band called Lady Cock, and her single, childless state. Her loyal and long-suffering bailiff Tedward (Tone Bell) helps keep her from losing her seat on the bench entirely, but coworkers such as defense attorney Tom Barlow (John Ducey) think she's a giant mess. And with 8-year-old Robby Shoemaker (Theodore Barnes) entering her life after Wright put both his parents in jail, things are about to get messier. 

Is it any good?

As with the main character, Bad Judge is a mess. It's more or less a rip-off of Bad Teacher and other well-trodden Workplace Irony: She's a judge, but she has bad judgment! You get it? Sigh, we get it. And we wish charming, louche Kate Walsh had better material to work with. Would a judge who hands her just-peed-on pregnancy test to her bailiff have a job for long? What about one who explains that she had wine and cake for breakfast before coming to work? Ummmmm, grounds for a mistrial much? 

Pity, because Walsh is great, and the interplay between her and Bell is effervescent. But asking the viewer to buy Walsh's antics and then adding on a layer of schmaltz by putting a young almost-orphan in her life is just too much. Frantic, unbelievable humor followed by saccharine plot twists? Even Walsh can't put that over. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Rebecca Wright of Bad Judge is good at her job or, as the title states, bad. What makes her an effective or ineffective judge? What is shown on-screen that influences your opinion? 

  • Shows that feature a fallible main character are common on TV these days; this is the tradition of "antiheroes." Name some antiheroes in movies or on television. How is Rebecca Wright like or unlike these characters? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love funny stuff

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