A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Conviction is a crime drama that follows the newly formed Conviction Integrity Unit that's tasked with examining old convictions and helping to overturn them. Cases are varied and can involve murder, drug use, and other serious charges, so you might see blood, dead bodies, or drug paraphernalia. You'll also hear words such as "damn" and "hell," along with flirty banter and sexually charged talk. There's some sexual tension, too, though the show largely eschews racy visuals in favor of innuendo.
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What's the story?
When she's busted for cocaine possession, former First Daughter Hayes Morrison (Hayley Atwell), a Harvard-educated lawyer, reluctantly accepts an offer from the Manhattan D.A. (Eddie Cahill) to head his newly formed CONVICTION Integrity Unit, or CIU, a team tasked with reviewing old convictions -- and hopefully overturning them. She doesn't really want the job, but saying "yes" is the only thing that will keep Hayes' latest scandal from spoiling her mother's (Bess Armstrong) run for the U.S. Senate.
Is it any good?
After watching her wow audiences as über-intelligent undercover operative Agent Carter, it feels downright criminal to see Atwell wasted in this predictable procedural that lacks any real conviction. Most of the characters, including Atwell's own, feel disappointingly two-dimensional (in particular, the team of archetypal justice-seekers that comprise the CIU), and the cases they investigate aren't terribly compelling. The writing won't be winning any awards either, but at least Conviction's dialogue isn't as cringe-worthy as ABC's Notorious.
ABC explored the same topic before -- and did it far better -- with the short-lived but superior drama In Justice, which shadowed a group of dedicated attorneys and investigators (led by Kyle MacLachlan) who worked pro bono to exonerate the wrongfully convicted and make the guilty parties pay. We say it's too bad Atwell's not working with that team -- or better yet, that Agent Carter's not still on the case. This half-baked series can hardly compare.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Conviction's premise and what it suggests about the justice system. How common are wrongful convictions, why do they happen, and how can we prevent them? How realistic (or unrealistic) is Conviction's portrayal of how easy it is to overturn them?
How does Conviction compare with other TV procedurals? Is the show attempting anything different in terms of plot and character, or is it putting forth more of the same? More importantly, does it work?
How does Hayes measure up as a role model? Do her more admirable traits make up for her murky past?
For kids who love courtroom drama
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