TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Carter TV Poster Image
Police procedural comedy as bland as they come.

Parents say

age 3+
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

Carter seems to have a redemptive character arc as he gets in touch with his roots and distances himself from Hollywood.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sam Shaw is an excellent policeman and former military officer. Dave Leigh is a recovering addict and owns his own business. Both characters are positive influences on Carter as well.


There's little on-screen violence. However, each episode revolves around a murder investigation, so dead bodies are shown frequently and there's often the threat of violence.


Sex is sometimes alluded to but not shown or talked about explicitly.


Minor swears rare.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drugs come up in relation to cases, and Dave Leigh (Kristian Bruun) is a recovering opiate addict, but there is no drug use shown on-screen. Drinking and smoking happen infrequently.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Carter is a police procedural starring Jerry O'Connell that incorporates comedic elements. It's a mostly by-the-numbers show like you would see on other independent networks like USA (Psych, Monk) or TNT (Major Crimes). It's geared toward a wide range of viewers, so there's little profanity and no sexual content outside of a couple vague references to sex. Each episode centers around solving a murder, so dead bodies are shown and there's occasionally the threat of violence, but the show rarely shows violence on-screen and is also pretty good about showing and discussing the consequences of violence. There's occasional alcohol use and talk about drugs, usually in connection with the murders or the character of Dave Leigh (Kristian Bruun), who's a recovering opiate addict. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byYaYaMom48 September 23, 2018

Great Show Must Watch

It has a great story to tell hope it has at least 10 seasons, the cast is amazing and just saying Canada is beautiful!!!

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Harley Carter (Jerry O'Connell), the star of popular TV cop show Call Carter, has a public meltdown and runs away to his hometown in Canada, where he reunites with his old friends Sam (Sydney Poitier Heartsong) and Dave (Kristian Bruun). He begins to tag along with Sam, a police detective and former military officer, on murder investigations, thinking that his experience as a TV detective will help him solve crimes.

Is it any good?

The last decade-plus has been overrun with detective shows where a complete outsider joins up with the police to solve crimes, and Carter doesn't add much to the genre. The twist here is that Harley Carter (Jerry O'Connell) is an actor who is constantly discovering the hard way that there's a huge difference between exciting Hollywood police work and mundane "real life" detection, so there's at least a little bit of meta-commentary on the clichéd setup the show falls into. But the crimes are recycled, the clues are obvious, the characters have no distinguishing characteristics, and the jokes are paper thin.

There's at least some precedent of a show this bland eventually finding its own voice: Psych started out similarly but eventually developed its own unique -- and genuinely funny -- method of storytelling. But the odds of Carter ever becoming anything more than replacement-level television are low.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between police work on TV and in real life. Carter is often surprised to discover that solving crime in "real life" is much less glamorous and exciting than in scripted television. What are the differences between the two? What do you imagine the life of a detective is like on a day-to-day basis?

  • Do you like watching mysteries get solved on TV? Why do you think this is such a popular genre? 

  • How do you feel about Harley Carter? Is he a good person? What are his likable qualities? What are his faults?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries

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