Briarpatch

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Briarpatch TV Poster Image
Fun, pulpy detective series has sex, violence, and swearing.

Parents say

age 16+
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

It's a murder investigation, with corruption, power, other heavy issues among the major themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Allegra Dill is strong, unsentimental, unapologetic. She's also good at her job. Characters range from odd to untrustworthy -- no one can be trusted. 

Violence

Murder is a major theme. Cars are blown up with people inside, fiery explosions visible. Physical assaults happen sometimes, resulting in scrapes, bruises, other injuries. Guns are shown, gun-related crimes are discussed.  

Sex

Strong sexual themes and language, including BDSM-type foreplay (face slapping, punching); obvious references to infidelity. Bare bottoms are visible. 

Language

Strong words like "goddamn," curses like "s--t" and "f--k" are frequent. Some racist comments. 

Consumerism

Brands like Fanta are partially visible, but only occasionally. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer, hard liquor, cocktails are consumed. Some characters smoke cigarettes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Briarpatch is an edgy TV adaptation of a crime novel by Ross Thomas and is intended for mature viewers. Starring Rosario Dawson as investigator Allegra "Pick" Dill, it features the murder of Dill's sister is a leading storyline, and the show also has fatal car explosions, gun activity, and other violent events. It also contains strong sexual innuendo, including BDSM and infidelity references, and nudity (bare buttocks). Cursing, drinking, and cigarette smoking are constant. Strong language includes "goddamn," "s--t," and "f--k." A racist comment is uttered on occasion, too. 

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What's the story?

Based on the 1984 Ross Thomas novel of the same name, BRIARPATCH is a crime anthology series about an edgy investigator who returns to her hometown to find her sister's murderer. When Detective Felicity Dill is killed in a car bombing, her sister, U.S. Senate subcommittee investigator Allegra Dill (Rosario Dawson), travels to their childhood home of San Bonifacio, Texas, to try to find the killer. Upon her arrival, she learns that the animals of the local zoo have escaped and are wandering around the border town. Even stranger are Felicity's dubious friends and colleagues, like attorney A.D. Singe (Edi Gathegi) and Sheriff Captain Gene Colder (Brian Geraghty). Meanwhile, her boss, Senator Joseph Ramirez (Gerardo Celasco), wants her to use the time in San Bonifacio to interview her former childhood friend, Jacob Spivey (Jay R. Ferguson), who just happens to be a target of a Senate investigation. As Allegra navigates her way through wild animals and shady characters, she uncovers a nest of corrupt and powerful people intent on keeping her from the truth. 

Is it any good?

This series combines the unsentimental elements of classic hard-boiled detective stories with pulp fiction-like bits to create a dark and surreal contemporary crime drama. What drives the narrative is an unsolved homicide, but the investigation feels secondary as the odd story world begins to reveal itself, allowing for eerie and at times bizarre events to take place. Adding to this vibe is the show's roster of offbeat, seedy, and perplexing characters, brought to life by excellent actor performances, including those of veteran actors like Ed Asner and Alan Cumming. Some may find the murder plot conventional, but it's the absurdity surrounding Briarpatch that makes this book adaptation a fun and interesting piece of TV fiction. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the amount of drinking, smoking, and cursing featured in Briarpatch. Could this series be just as entertaining without this content? Since it's geared toward adults, does that make it more acceptable to include it?

  • Pulp fiction deals with seedy characters and sensational, exaggerated subjects. Hard-boiled crime stories are tough and unsentimental. How well do these two storytelling styles come together in this TV series? 

  • What are some of the challenges that come with adapting a novel for television or film? What are some of the benefits of doing it? What are some of your favorite screen adaptations?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love detective stories

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