TV review by
Beth Pratt, Common Sense Media
Cops TV Poster Image
Suspects caught on tape. Too violent for kids.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 28 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series shows what happens if you break the law from police officers' points of view.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The officers usually act admirably, but sometimes they seem to be showing off for the cameras. Suspects are seen engaging in allegedly criminal or socially inappropriate acts. The majority of suspects are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.


Lots of domestic violence. Fights, stabbings, robberies, car chases, etc. Sometimes the officers use lots of force, and suspects occasionally fight back.


Suspects are sometimes naked (their bodies are blurred). Officers often arrest prostitutes.


Lots of profanity, with the worst bleeped.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol and drugs play a role in many of the crimes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this show isn't suitable for kids. While it's interesting to see the types of calls that officers respond to, most of the footage is graphic and violent. Many of the calls involve prostitution, domestic violence, fights, robberies, and drug deals. Suspects sometimes fight back, which can be scary. Sometimes the cops use a lot of force, which can be upsetting. Suspects often use profanity, with the strongest words bleeped.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous June 28, 2020

15+ or even 13+ is ridiculous

If COPS was a movie it would definitely be rated PG-13. However, the only thing even remotely concerning is the violence. This show, unfortunately, is one of th... Continue reading
Adult Written byNinja883 August 13, 2019

Great show, would definitely recommend it!

Not that inappropriate swearing and nudity is blocked out, great show to watch!
Teen, 17 years old Written byPlanner2003SD May 5, 2021

come on silly :)

its not bad kids can watch it
Teen, 17 years old Written byTacoshrimp00 February 18, 2018

Pretty Satisfying to watch

Not really for kids but some of the arrests and chases are interesting to watch.

What's the story?

COPS, one of the longest-running shows on TV and considered one of the first reality shows, follows police officers from across the country as they perform their jobs. A camera crew accompanies the officers as they respond to calls, and the action results from the often violent and bizarre encounters that the officers have once they arrive at the crime scene.

Is it any good?

Much of the show's appeal comes from getting a peek into the daily life of a police officer. However, the glimpse we're given isn't appropriate for kids. The calls that are chosen for each episode are selected for their shock value, and it's hard not to be shocked by much of the footage: drunken brawls, domestic arguments, and armed criminals that fight back. Also, at times it seems that both the suspects and the officers are performing for the cameras, so it's hard to tell how "real" these scenes are.

Crime scenes can be bloody, and suspects and officers often get seriously injured. A recent episode, for example, featured an armed suspect on the run, a bloody trailer-park brawl, and a domestic violence call. Unless your teen is considering a career in law enforcement, there doesn't seem to be much reason to expose your kids to this show.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether or not they think this is a fair representation of a police officer's job. Could every day on the job be this dangerous or exciting or outrageous? Do you think the officers and suspects would act differently if they weren't being followed by the cameras? Why has this show remained so popular for so long?

TV details

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