Dead to Me

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Dead to Me TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Quirky dark comedy about death grabs hold and won't let go.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 18 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Odd mishmash of genres carries variety of messages -- the best found in Judy and Jen's grief group, where the leader is presented as a bit of a ridiculous figure but also espouses powerful messages like "everyone deserves forgiveness." Warm friendship between the show's leads is relatively rare example of supportive female friendship on-screen, even if friendship is fraught with suspense and mystery. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jen is a bit angry and wound up; we see her rage in her expletive-sprinkled language and her verbal attacks on people around her. Yet with time, she learns to be kinder to the people in her life. Judy is a bit of a mess emotionally, but she's also extremely supportive of Jen, despite keeping a devastating secret from her.  


Flashbacks to a fatal car accident feature squealing brakes, blood on a windshield, terrified screams. The accident is frequently referred to and described. 


Characters are interested in romance; expect flirting, dating, kissing, and then camera cuts away and returns to show men and women in bed after sex. Infidelity plays a role in the plot. 


Language and cursing includes "f--ked," "f--k," "f---ing," "s--t," "a--hole," "f--ker," "bitch," and some more esoteric slang: "twat-waffle." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters frequently drink wine and cocktails at gatherings and dinners; they sometimes overdo it and act sloppy and silly. In an extended scene, characters smoke a joint together; one reminds the other "It's legal!" (they live in California) and says "Smoking is the greatest thing that slowly kills you" and that pot "isn't a drug, it's a plant." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dead to Me is a dark comedy about a widowed woman who makes a mysterious new friend in a support group. This unusual show combines both a suspenseful mystery and a narrative about a woman becoming a stronger and more complete person after a terrible blow through a supportive (if fraught) friendship and therapy. Content is also moderately mature, with characters drinking to excess and smoking pot together, flirting and kissing with references to sex, and language including many varieties of "f--k," along with "a--hole," "bitch," "s--t," and iffy language like "t-ts" and "d--k." Much of the show's plot revolves around a violent death; we frequently see flashbacks to the accident that caused the death, with a car with squealing brakes, a thud, blood on a windshield. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymamajustin May 26, 2019

Decent show for women

Show seems geared mainly towards women.
Has a LOT of unnecessary F-bombs, and inappropriate bedroom content for minors. Nudity is absent, but it’s VERY clear w... Continue reading
Adult Written bySue M July 17, 2019

Profanity and Adult Themes

I don’t want to give away the plot but this film contains teenage drug dealing, murder, lying, embezzlement, gay stereotyping and ridicule of religion and couns... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byScottyFrank December 27, 2019
Teen, 16 years old Written byMn4 May 20, 2019

Have a parent watch first

It has some suggestive scenes and uses the F word more than I can count. Overall it is an OK show.

What's the story?

DEAD TO ME stars Christina Applegate as Jen, a recently widowed woman whose overwhelming grief leads her to a support group where she meets Judy (Linda Cardellini), who's going through her own grief process. When the two spark a friendship, Jen quickly learns that there's more to Judy than meets the eye -- but just how much more will take longer to unravel. 

Is it any good?

Singular and utterly captivating, this series will have viewers addicted both to the chemistry between leads Applegate and Cardellini and to the tingly suspense under the surface. Because Judy has a secret, and it's one that Jen comes ever closer to discovering even as the two bond over their shared misery. Applegate and Cardellini are so good together that it's almost heartbreaking to watch them become better friends, knowing what the audience learns at the beginning of the first episode. Both insomniacs, they get to know each other at first over late-night phone calls, then marathon, wine-powered viewing parties of The Facts of Life (Judy thinks Jen's a Blair, even though Jen thinks of herself as a Jo). And then Jen impulsively extends Judy an invitation to come live with her and her kids. By the time Jen starts putting together the puzzle pieces of Judy's fractured life, she's already in so deep that it's hard to just walk away. 

But there's more to Dead to Me than just a twisty mystery -- it's also a look at a woman flattened by a very particular kind of grief, slowly learning to navigate her life without her husband. Her grief at first takes the form of withering rants directed against those around her and rage sessions in her car listening to German black metal. But with steely conviction and compulsive honesty, she puts herself back together, despite the ticking timebomb of her relationship with Judy. It's an odd mix of genres and plotlines to be sure. And it's so well-done and surprising that you'd better clear your schedule for it. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way women are portrayed on television and why main female characters tend to be such a rarity. Are women on TV more often shown working together or working against each other? What about on Dead to Me? How do TV stereotypes match up to the behavior of the women you know in real life? 

  • Families can also talk about what type of show this is. Is it a crime drama? A fantasy? A family drama? Can you think of other TV shows and movies that mix genres to create a unique style? How does the show's humor impact the effect of the violence and suspense? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate