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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 Dead Again is a voyeuristic docuseries featuring a trio of detectives reinvestigating controversial murder cases without prior knowledge of their outcome. There's lots of strong language ("ass," "bitch"; bleeped curses), gruesome crime scene images (both real and reenacted); and references to sex and drug crimes. Older teens may be able to handle it, but it's not intended for younger or sensitive viewers.
What's the story?
Produced by Law & Order creator Dick Wolf, DEAD AGAIN is a reality series featuring reinvestigations of controversial murder cases. Veteran detectives Kevin "Spider" Gannon, Joe Schillaci, and Michele Wood investigate recreations of actual crime scenes without being told any of the real-life details and outcomes. The goal? To compare their findings to the verdict to raise questions about whether the person convicted of the crime is the actual killer. Cameras follow the detectives as they work over crime scenes, review information from their mobile command unit, discuss individual (and often contradictory) field notes, and talk to friends, family, and potential suspects. Throughout the process, actual crime scene photos, news clippings, and other documentation from the original event are shown. As they near the end of their investigation, the outcome of each case is revealed so they can compare their findings and, if possible, continue their investigation by talking to the person behind bars.
Is it any good?
Dead Again uses the reinvestigation process to show the various ways detectives look for clues, analyze information, and scrutinize seemingly insignificant details that can make a major difference when they're trying to (re)solve a murder case. It also shows how they must often rely on instinct and experience to guide them, especially when key information, such as DNA evidence, is missing.
Thanks to the use of dramatic music, highly stylized reenactments of key moments and details, and gruesome crime scene footage, the entire experience seems sensationalist and tabloid-like. As a result, one might find it difficult to think that the folks who actually handle these cases will take what's being offered here seriously. Viewers who like crime-solving TV will probably find it entertaining, but sensitive viewers may find it disturbing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what goes into investigating crimes. What kind of training does a detective need to solve cases? When do detectives know when to rely on their instincts instead of the evidence they have? How do they handle the constant violence associated with their work?
For kids who love reality TV
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.