TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Cuff'd TV Poster Image
Youth offender series teaches only lightweight lessons.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series highlights some of the consequences that youthful offenders face when engaging in irresponsible and/or illegal activity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The police officers try to offer brief guidance to the detained youth. The people arrested are often silly and/or violent.


People are arrested for drunken brawls. Some of those arrested push, kick, and/or punch the camera/camera person. Some are subdued by mace sprayed in the face; others are pulled to the ground and tied by police officers.


Some young female offenders wear cleavage-revealing and/or tight-fitting clothing.


Frequent curses, like "f--k," are bleeped.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Most of the offenders are drunk and underage. Several are arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this docuseries shows young people getting arrested for mostly alcohol-induced crimes, it portrays what happens to them in a light/humorous way, which doesn't drive home any type of "scared straight" message. There's lots of bleeped profanity, as well as scenes of drunken arguing and physical assaults. Police officers are shown subduing angry perpetrators using mace and other physical tactics, but they're also shown trying to be sensitive to the young offenders and offering them guidance.

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What's the story?

CUFF'D follows young offenders who've been caught committing a criminal offense. Cameras accompany police officers as they arrest and transport young adults -- who've been picked up for offenses like drunken and/or disorderly conduct, assault, and driving under the influence -- to their parents' homes or to precincts for processing. During the rides, officers attempt to offer the perpetrators some guidance and listen to them share their thoughts about sitting in the back of a police car and/or reacting emotionally to their predicament. After each ride is over, viewers get brief information about how the case was resolved.

Is it any good?

Cuff'd gives viewers a chance to see a little bit of what happens when someone is arrested for breaking the law. But while it attempts to serve as a cautionary tale to young people, if often misses the mark. Most of what's shown is the drunken (and sometimes violent) behavior of the people being arrested, much of which seems intended to draw laughs.

Officers do talk to the young people sitting in their back seats, sometimes trying to create teachable moments. But these scenes are brief and are usually overshadowed by the dramatic reactions and/or ridiculous behavior of those being arrested. Some viewers might be steered away from following in the perps' footsteps after watching, but ultimately this show is more entertaining than informative.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to avoid situations like the ones featured here. How will getting arrested impact these people in the future?

  • Do you think showing people engaged in drunken behavior on television is appropriate? Will viewers learn from this behavior or simply find it funny? Is it funny?

  • Shows like this one remind viewers that people who are arrested are innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law. Is this something that's easy to remember while watching? Why or why not?

TV details

  • Premiere date: August 29, 2011
  • Network: MTV
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: NR
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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