A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
Stands out for positive role models.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Clarice is a spin-off of the film and novel The Silence of the Lambs and follows a team of FBI agents who solve crimes each week. The series focuses on the aftermath of the events of The Silence of the Lambs, in which young FBI agent Clarice Starling tracked down serial killer Buffalo Bill and formed a strange friendship with serial killer Hannibal Lecter. In the show, Clarice supposedly suffers from PTSD and other psychological disorders, but she continues to investigate serial killers as part of her job. Clarice features a case-of-the-week type structure, and like many similar shows, often begins with a dead body that has been mutilated in some way. Corpses are shown, and sometimes characters are naked, though only the outline of nudity is shown. Violence occurs throughout the series, as the cases almost inevitably lead to shoot-outs, assaults, and other violent confrontations. The series will reportedly confront one of The Silence of the Lamb's more unfortunate legacies, which is that the film suggests a relationship between Buffalo Bill's crimes and the fact that he is a transsexual character. However, the series seems to be taking a pop psychology approach to Clarice's trauma, using it for mostly for entertainment purposes, so it's possible that other complex issues will be addressed in a similar, surface-level, fashion.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After helping to catch the notorious serial killer Buffalo Bill, CLARICE Starling has spent the last year working behind a desk instead of out in the field. Her FBI-mandated therapist thinks she may have PTSD and worries about her mental stability. Nevertheless, Clarice is hand-selected to join an elite team of FBI agents in Washington D.C. to help solve potential serial killings and other brutal crimes. As Clarice builds trust with her new team, she must also confront the horrors of her past.
Is it any good?
The Silence of the Lambs is rightly considered one of the best movies of all time, and its main character getting lifted to head up a TV procedural was probably inevitable. Clarice leans very hard on its connection to the 1991 film, but at the end of the day it's just a showcase for the same 45-minute whodunits that have been recycled well into the ground over the last 20 years of network television.
Unsurprisingly, the series is as vaguely satisfying and imminently replaceable as any other decently-produced mystery show. The one thing that makes it unique is its beloved lead character coping with the trauma and fallout of her well-known backstory. But its portrayal of Clarice as a "survivor" is mostly just pop psychology and window dressing, rather than a sincere effort to reinvent the body-of-the-week medium or even question, as its source material does, why viewers find brutal murders so entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Clarice Starling. What do you know about the character? What is her job? What motivates her? What obstacles does she face?
What makes Clarice different from the rest of her FBI team? How does she approach her work? Where does she succeed? What are her shortcomings?
Are you familiar with The Silence of the Lambs or any of the Hannibal Lecter stories? How does the series Clarice fit into the wider narrative? What kind of thematic similarities do the stories all share?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love crime thrillers
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch