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 Deputy is a police drama with a Western twist, and as such features lots of violent chases, shootings, injuries, and killings, in addition to car crashes, stabbings, and kidnappings. There’s some strong sexual innuendo, including references to pregnancy, pornography, sex trafficking, and artificial insemination. There’s some strong language (including “pissed,“ “ass,” and “hell”) and drugs and drug gangs are major themes (drug paraphernalia is visible). The Chevrolet logo is prominently visible, too.
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What's the story?
DEPUTY is a dramatic series starring Stephen Dorff as Bill Hollister, a complicated, modern-day cowboy who is fifth generation law enforcement, and one of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s biggest headaches. When he unexpectedly becomes the Los Angeles County Sheriff, he has to temper his rough riding ways while he's being driven around by Deputy Brianna Bishop (Bex Taylor-Klaus). Worse is the fact that he has to constantly deal with Undersheriff Jerry London (Mark Moses), who represents the worst of the department’s bureaucratic politics. But his colleagues out on the field, like Detective Cade Ward (Brian Van Holt), Deputy Rachel Delgado (Siena Goines), and rookie Deputy Joseph Harris (Shane Paul McGhie), understand Hollister’s drive to get criminals off the streets and protect people, even if it means violating policy and challenging the government when necessary. Leading the department on his terms isn’t easy, but his wife, Chief trauma surgeon Paula Reyes (Yara Martinez), helps him put it all into perspective while exercising some tough love.
Is it any good?
The improbable police procedural attempts to create a unique storytelling experience by introducing a traditional Western hero into a modern day crime drama. The white cowboy hat-wearing Sheriff Hollister justifies his antics by rejecting bureaucratic policies that he perceives to be out of touch with what deputies face out on the uncivilized streets of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Hollister also serves as a voice of conscience, self-righteously arguing for the need to do what is “right," as opposed to what government agencies and politicians expect him to do. Not surprisingly, this leads to some moral questioning and obvious political statements (including a very explicit stance against ICE-led raids), all of which are intended to remind us of how the “civilized” world can lose sight of its purpose. It’s an interesting concept, but one that requires the viewing audience to suspend its belief so much that at times it’s hard to take seriously. Nonetheless, Deputy offers lots of action, which is mostly entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Deputy pulls in elements of the Western genre to create a police procedural. Does it make the series very different from other police procedurals on TV?
Does combining two styles of television shows into one always work? Can you think of any TV shows that attempted to do so successfully and failed?
What are some of the moral questions Sheriff Hollister confronts throughout the series? Are they simply presented to tell a good story? Or is the audience being asked to question them, too?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love western cop dramas
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