Code 404

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Code 404 TV Poster Image
Cop comedy has violence, profanity, police misconduct.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Like most buddy comedies, Code 404 is about the communication and teamwork needed in a successful partnership. Unfortunately, one of the other throughlines is the show trivializing police misconduct, from the main character being experimented on without consent to many episodes of police brutality played for laughs.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters act recklessly without any real consequence. Police consistently engage in illegal and violent behavior without consequences.

Violence

Code 404 features gunplay and physical violence typical of police shoot-em-ups, often exaggerated for comedic effect. The show also frequently makes light of police violence, and includes police brutality, police shootings, and police breaking into people's homes without a warrant.

Sex

Sexual content includes frequent jokes about sex and masturbation.

Language

Profanity is used frequently and includes "f--k," "s--t," and "c--t." 

Consumerism

Some technology, like VR, is used in flashy ways, but Code 404 contains no product placement.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug sales and distribution are a major part of the plot. Drug use is seen and played for laughs. A police officer does cocaine. Characters drink alcohol, sometimes to excess.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Code 404 is a British comedy series about a policeman who dies in the line of duty and is brought back to life through experimental technology. It's a comedy riff on Robocop that features violence, drugs, profanity, and some sexual humor. Violence includes gunplay and physical violence typical of police shoot-em-ups, often exaggerated for comedic effect. The show also frequently makes light of police violence, and includes police brutality, police shootings, and police breaking into people's homes without a warrant. Profanity is frequent and includes "f--k," "s--t," and "c--t," and jokes about sex and masturbation come up frequently. The main plot involves the police infiltrating a drug ring, and one of the officers is seen using cocaine, also played for comedy. Though Code 404 is often funny, most of the humor is centered around police misconduct, which some viewrs may feel is in bad taste.

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What's the story?

CODE 404 follows detectives Major (Stephen Graham) and Carver (Daniel Mays) as they infiltrate a drug ring. On a bust gone wrong, DI Major  is shot and killed. One year later, the police department brings him back to life using cutting-edge technology and artificial intelligence. Re-partnered with Carver, who is now dating his wife Kelly (Anna Maxwell Martin), Major has to learn how to be a cop all over again.

Is it any good?

This series lifts its comedic premise from Robocop, but somehow loses the brutal satire of authoritarianism. Instead, Code 404 trivializes and dismisses police misconduct. Releasing it in 2020, a time when America is waking up to the severity of police brutality and misconduct throughout the country, feels woefully inappropriate.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the robot cop. Why would the police want to use artificial intelligence? What are the pros and cons of using new technology in the field? What are the successes and failures seen on Code 404?

  • Why is there pressure on the experiment to succeed? How does this affect the police department's behavior? 

  • How do the police characters on Code 404 conduct themselves? Which behaviors are appropriate to the job? Which are inappropriate? How does DI Major's transformation affect his behavior?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love buddy comedies

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