A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
It's a docuseries about a notorious serial killer, but also offers a detailed history of Times Square since the 1960s. It also addresses how the Women's Movement contributed to the resolution of the investigation, and to the transformation of the area from a seedy sex industry location to a popular tourist area. It also addresses the double standards that historically surround the sex-work industry and law enforcement.
Positive Role Models
Investigators discuss their desire to solve the case. The discussion of sex workers is mostly non-judgmental.
Most people featured throughout the series except some actors and at least one victim are White. Sex workers in Times Square in the 1970s-80s are described as women, men, gay, and trans.
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Violence & Scariness
Serial murders, torture, and sexual violence is discussed in some detail. A serial killer is interviewed. Reenactments of crime scene investigations are featured, and images of crime scene and autopsy photos showing wounds are visible.The role of the mafia is discussed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Pornography and sex work are major themes. There are explicit videos of peep shows, and occasionally people engaged in sexual acts at sex clubs are shown. Genitals are slightly blurred, but bare bottoms and breasts are frequently shown. Crude sexual language like "p---y" is audible.
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Crude language and some curse words are audible.
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Products & Purchases
Local NYC venues from past and present are featured, ranging from sex shops and clubs to Broadway theaters.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking, cigarette smoking, and illegal drug use (cocaine) is visible. The drug trade is associated with the sex trade.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer, an installment of the Crime Scene franchise, is about the investigation of grisly murders committed by a New Jersey-based serial killer. It features disturbing descriptions of sexual violence and brutal, grisly murders, as well as archive crime scene photos and reenactments of various murder scene details. It also discusses the sex work industry, and features explicit footage containing nudity, lewd behavior, and other sex acts, some of which are partially blurred. Images of past and current Times Square venues are also featured. There's some crude language and curse words, too. All of this is offered within context, but it's intended for adults.
Is It Any Good?
The disturbing three-part series combines an interesting history of New York City's iconic Times Square with sensational details about some of the horrific murders committed by Richard Cottingham. Much of this is offered within the context of Times Square's seedy past, and provides an interesting review of what it was like as a major sex industry hub, and how it was transformed into the tourist attraction it is today. In doing so, it highlights how many of Cottingham's victims were made invisible thanks to the patriarchal culture surrounding sex work, and how this contributed to his ability to continue hurting women.
Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer is full of upsetting stories and images, including an interview with the serial killer, who continues to confess to violent murders he allegedly committed in New York and New Jersey. But it's also substantive, and offers details about how cultural shifts resulting from the Women's Movement and AIDS led to major changes in the area. More importantly, it succeeds at humanizing some of Cottingham's victims by sharing their backstories, introducing people affected by their deaths, and underscoring how the survivors who came forward made it possible to convict him. If you like true crime entertainment, this series won't disappoint.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.