Detroit 1-8-7

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Detroit 1-8-7 TV Poster Image
Gritty detective show is entertaining but violent.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Although the main characters are concerned with catching criminals and solving crimes, the series is about murder investigations and doesn't exactly showcase the best that humanity has to offer.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The detectives and alleged criminals are from all walks of life, and all are complex characters with often difficult lives. Overall, the cast is diverse.


The series revolves around the Detroit murder scene. Guns are consistently drawn and shot, and bloody gunshot wounds are frequently visible. Hostage situations and murders sometimes involve children. Some discussion of sexual crimes.


Sexual tension between some of the detectives.


Strong curse words (“f--k,” “s--t”) are used frequently but are muted or fully bleeped, with speakers' mouths blurred.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Murders are sometimes linked to alleged dealers and drug deals gone bad. People under the influence are shown being interrogated. References are sometimes made to specific drugs, like Oxycodone.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this gritty, edgy detective series -- which focuses on murder investigations -- has lots of gun violence, including scenes of people being shot at close range, images of bloody bullet wounds, and other potentially upsetting scenes. Drugs are often linked to criminal behavior, and some violent incidents involve children. There's lots of swearing, but the strongest choices (“f--k,” “s--t”) are muted and/or fully bleeped.

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What's the story?

DETROIT 1-8-7 centers on a group of tough homicide detectives investigating cases in Michigan's crime capital. Michael Imperioli stars as Louis Fitch, a 10-year veteran with a unique personality who lacks the patience to deal with his inexperienced partner, Det. Damon Washington (Jon Michael Hill). Under the supervision of their tough boss, Lieut. Maureen Mason (Aisha Hinds), they work murder cases along with Det. John Stone (D.J. Cotrona), Det. Ariana Sanchez (Natalie Martinez), and Det. Vikram Mahajan (Shaun Majumber). As the younger officers make their way through the ranks and deal with their personal lives, 30-year veteran detective Sgt. Jesse Longford (James McDaniel) sets his sights on retirement. Together, and with the help of experts like Chief Medical Examiner Abbey Ward (Erin Cummings), the group pieces together crimes and makes arrests in an effort to make the streets of the Motor City a little safer.

Is it any good?

The series -- which is filmed entirely in Detroit -- revolves around that city’s notoriously high homicide rate. As a result, it features an endless number of violent storylines, shootings, and bloody images. It also paints a dark picture that doesn’t necessarily represent the whole Midwestern city. Fans of police dramas will appreciate the show’s various plot twists, which lead to some interesting conclusions. Its well-timed humor and interesting characters also make it an appealing viewing choice. But while it's entertaining, it’s not for the faint of heart -- or for young kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about TV violence. Why are shows that focus on or highlight violence and/or violent acts so popular? Could these shows be just as entertaining without it? 

  • What kind of impact does discussing and/or showing so much violence on TV have on viewers? Parents: Check out some of our tips on how to talk to kids about these issues.

  • How do you think the residents of Detroit feel about their city being depicted as a center of violence?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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