A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that violence is a prominent theme, as the main characters are tasked with hunting down violent criminals. As a result, you'll see some shocking violent acts and splattered blood, along with law-enforcement officials and criminals who carry guns and fire weapons. Language is typically tame, although there are rare instances in which stronger words ("f--k") are bleeped. Sexy stuff is kept to a minimum, but a few plots involve sex crimes or seduction.
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What's the story?
When tried-and-true methods for tracking down fugitives don't cut it, U.S. Marshals Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso) and Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi) team up to form a task force of BREAKOUT KINGS, a criminal recovery squad composed of three of the smartest lawbreakers they know. Their colleagues of choice include a dangerously attractive bounty hunter (Serinda Swan), a street-smart gangster (Malcolm Goodwin), and a cerebral expert in human behavior (Jimmi Simpson).
Is it any good?
The concept of Breakout Kings isn't unlike that of White Collar, which flips the crime-drama script by putting convicted criminals back on the streets to catch other criminals under the watchful eye of trained law enforcement professionals. But while Collar relies on the charisma of just one repurposed criminal (the highly watchable Matthew Bomer), Kings tries to triple the charm with three…only they’re poorly scripted and frustratingly two-dimensional.
Getting the central characters right was clearly a concern from the start, considering the pilot episode features an entirely different female lead -- a former pageant queen turned con artist (played by Nicole Steinwedell) who's replaced without comment in the very next episode with the tougher-talking Swan, an odd cross between Lara Croft and Elizabeth Hurley. But the only actor who mines any gold from the ho-hum material he's given is Simpson, whose stand-out performance feels like a waste.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence and the way it's portrayed on TV. Does the series reflect reality in terms of the number and nature of crimes committed in the United States? Does any aspect of it seem exaggerated for the sake of a good story?
How believable are the main characters, particularly the criminals who are tasked with tracking down other "bad guys"? Do think this type of arrangement would work in real life? Do you think it's been tried before?
Can the Breakout Kings be good role models, even though they're convicted criminals?