Cold Squad

TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
Cold Squad TV Poster Image
Canadian police drama isn't anything special.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Police staffers work together as a team. But the show also tackles weighty, complex topics, like drunk driving and abortion.


Some scenes feature gun-toting cops tracking down perps. Many episodes deal with potentially upsetting crimes, including kidnapping and murder.


"Son of a bitch" is about a bad as it gets.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that cops-and-robbers scenes make up much of each episode of this crime drama, which deals with everything from kidnapping to murder. Other mature themes -- including drunk driving, marital difficulties, and abortion -- also frequently come into play.

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What's the story?

The syndicated crime drama COLD SQUAD (which originally aired in Canada starting in the late '90s) takes viewers inside the files of some of a Vancouver police department's toughest cold cases, which have been collecting dust for 5, 10, or even 50 years. Julie Stewart stars as Sgt. Ali McCormick, who serves as the de facto head of her unit. As on Law & Order, the rest of the cast rotated in and out over the years, including Matthew Bennett as Sgt. Len Harper, Tamara Craig Thomas as Det. Mickey Collander, and Michael Hogan as Det. Tony Logozzo. Cases can be lurid: In one episode, for example, after a 12-year old is reported missing from her bedroom, Ali enters the world of pedophiles to try to find her. In another, after a taxi driver reports picking up a sketchy, misogynistic passenger, Ali looks into it and encounters a dentist who kept company with a couple of recently murdered strippers.

Is it any good?

Like its American counterparts Cold Case (which is so similar in premise that it earned a lawsuit from Cold Squad's creators...) and CSI, Cold Squad looks at topical -- and often sensational -- cases, some of which might be too much for sensitive viewers. Subplots involving the officers' private lives deal with decidedly adult issues, including ongoing marital woes between Harper and his wife and, in one episode, McCormick having to divulge that she'd had an abortion in order to provide an alibi. But overall, Cold Squad lacks the suspense, edge, and pulse that viewers have come to expect from similar crime dramas.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the crime investigation process. How do detectives and police officers deal with constantly being confronted with death? How can they desensitize themselves? Would you want to be a cop or detective? Why or why not? Families can also talk about the nature of closure -- do the characters on the show find comfort when the crime is solved? Should people who committed crimes long ago and have since reformed still be held accountable for their actions?

TV details

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