CSI: Cyber

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
CSI: Cyber TV Poster Image
Tech-based but traditional crime procedural talky, violent.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Cybercrimes can happen to anyone and at any time; technology is designed to make life easier, not safer. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Agents want to catch the bad guys. Criminals range from murderers to greedy thieves. 

Violence

Murder is a major theme; people are shown being attacked. The violent death of parents, children, and others discussed. Guns, tasers, and other weapons used. Corpses, often with wounds, visible. 

Sex

References to illicit relationships, online sexual behavior, and so on.

Language

"Pissed," "hell." 

Consumerism

Apple computers visible. References to Batman. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer, wine, cocktails, shots sometimes consumed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that CSI: Cyber is a branch of the CSI franchise that hinges upon technological crimes such as online stalking and credit card theft and the team of experts who solve them. Yet another primetime crime procedural, it's formulaic but entertaining and has the typical drama and violence that one comes to expect from CSI shows. Murder is a major theme, weapons such as guns and tasers are often used, and dead bodies get examined. There's some mild language ("piss," "hell") and occasional drinking (wine, beer, shots). Logos for Apple and other Internet-related technology can be seen. If you and your teens enjoy the other CSI iterations, you'll probably like this one, too.  

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What's the story?

CSI: CYBER, an installment of the CSI franchise, follows a group of FBI investigators committed to solving online criminal activity. FBI Special Agent Avery Ryan (Patricia Arquette) heads up the cybercrime division, which investigates crimes that begin on the Internet but have serious real-time consequences. She has the help of agents such as Elijah Mundo (James Van Der Beek) and a team of experts such as tech wonder Daniel Krumitz (Charley Koontz), social media and online trend specialist Raven Ramirez (Haley Kiyoko), and Brody Nelson (Shad Moss), a gifted hacker who chooses to use his talent for good. Supervising their operation is Assistant Director Simon Sifter (Peter MacNicol). From locating elusive phishers to hunting down killers who use cell phone apps to find his/her victims, Avery combines her psychological expertise and her investigation training to understand the minds of anonymous and seemingly untraceable criminals while navigating the real world to catch them.   

Is it any good?

There are a lot of CSI flavors to choose from (original, Miami, and New York), and although CSI: Cyber adds a fresh twist, it's pretty much more of the same. The series, inspired by real-life "cyberpsychologist" Mary Aiken, focuses on technology-based crimes that have no faces or physical locations and that require a lot of computer savvy, but it also follows the classic crime procedural format. If you like CSI but want to see some fresh faces, this may be for you.  

However, the whole "cyber" theme seems a little over-the-top at times; as with Law & Order SVU's ripped-from-the-headlines plots, there's something that doesn't ring true (do people even use the word "cyber" these days?). There are some learning opportunities, though, for folks who aren't so Internet-savvy: In between scenes, the show defines some of the tech-specific terms used throughout the show. Some actors are a great fit, such as Van Der Beek, whereas others (Arquette and MacNicol) could do a bit better than this by-the-book addition to the CSI family.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way technology has changed our lives over the years. What are some of the benefits and disadvantages of being online? What are some of the ways we can be safer online

  • What do you think would cause someone to commit an online crime? Is stealing a credit card online as bad as robbing a bank? Why, or why not? 

TV details

For kids who love crime solvers

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