A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Themes of justice and acceptance are there but hard to see among heavier themes of betrayal, disappointment, cruelty.
Positive Role Models
Main character is committed to detective work and bringing justice to evildoers, though often at the expense of her own well-being (and that of her family). Another character, a female detective with First Nations heritage, brings an important new perspective to the force. Bellevue is one of the few shows to cast a transgender actress in a transgender role, and does a decent job of fleshing out her character beyond just "victim."
Violence & Scariness
A lot of death, including by murder and suicide. More than one fistfight shown, some characters use guns. Arson and strangling touched on. "Conversion therapy," the method of trying to change one's sexual desires or orientation through often violent methods, is discussed and depicted. A character is shown engaging in self-harm. Someone is hit by a car; impact is bloody. Disturbing details at crime scenes, such as missing fingernails and a tooth.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few sex scenes; a female is briefly shown topless. A main plotline centers on the sexual identity of a transgender teenage girl, whose self-expression is met with violence and bullying.
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"Hell," "bitch," "t-ts," "damn," "bastard."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Multiple scenes take place in a dive bar; frequent depictions of drinking and smoking. A character is overly dependent on pain medication. Two characters snort cocaine. The story involves a drug dealer and his distribution ring; some of his supply is shown.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bellevue is a dark, gritty crime drama starring Anna Paquin (True Blood), centered on the mystery of a missing transgender teen and the disturbing events that led up to her disappearance. The show features plenty of violence, ranging from bullying and fistfights to outright murder. There are some disturbing crime scenes mixing blood with religious iconography and pornography. Suicide and self-harm are recurring themes, and drinking and drug abuse are shown. There are a few sex scenes with mild nudity; a woman's breasts are briefly shown. There's a lot of discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity, which may inspire questions and discussion.
Is It Any Good?
This moody, absorbing drama has a lot going for it, including a female lead who is allowed to be at once sympathetic and unlikable, flawed but fierce. The atmosphere is suitably eerie, a tangible gloom making it readily apparent that Bellevue is a town full of broken dreams. The dynamic between Annie and her boss (and erstwhile father figure) Peter is terrific. Paquin and Doyle really show their range here. Newcomer Sadie O'Neil -- who is a transgender woman in real life -- does her character Jesse justice, with a sensitive portrayal that elevates her beyond mere "victim" status.
With that being said, the show is packed with so many storylines and twists that it begins to teeter right on the edge of overambitious. The dialogue can also be wince-inducing at times; Annie speaks her thoughts aloud a lot, which is simply unnecessary and starts to get annoying. It's almost always better to show not tell, and missteps like this are what make the show good but not great.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.