Diagnosis Murder TV Poster Image

Diagnosis Murder

(i)

 

90s crime drama is tame by today's standards.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters often lie, cheat, steal, and kill to achieve their own selfish agendas -- but most of them get their comeuppance in the end. Assumptions of guilt can change quickly, and mild suspense exists throughout the show.

Violence

Since each episode centers on solving a murder, much of the dialogue relates to killing. The act of murder is shown (with some blood when applicable), but the show's overall mood is light, and the violence is fairly hokey.

Sex

Flirting, some kissing, and allusions to sexual activity, extramarital affairs, and illegitimate children. Occasionally women are shown in skimpy undergarments or a bath towel.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults sometimes drink and/or smoke in social settings or at home.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although murder is central to this drama series and the act of killing is often shown, the violence is pretty cheesy and not likely to upset older tweens. Other mature content (sexual references, drinking, smoking, etc.) is sparse, and the show's use of humor greatly lightens the overall mood. Still, kids may be affected by the show's violent and criminal themes or confused by the frequently changing assumptions of guilt and the discussions of murder motives.

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What's the story?

DIAGNOSIS: MURDER is a combination medical/crime drama from the 1990s that stars TV icon Dick Van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan, chief of internal medicine at L.A.'s fictitious Community General Hospital.

In addition to his duties as a doctor and part-time medical consultant for the police department, Dr. Sloan assists his son, Det. Steve Sloan (played by Dick's real-life son, Barry), in solving the constant stream of murder cases that inexplicably occur in his immediate vicinity. Over the show's eight-year run, the father-son team was assisted by several of the doc's colleagues, including Dr. Amanda Bentley (Victoria Rowell) and Dr. Jack Stewart (Scott Baio), who was later replaced by Dr. Jesse Travis (Charlie Schlatter).

Is it any good?

QUALITY

As both medical and crime dramas go, this one ranks fairly low on upsetting content -- especially compared to today's primetime standards. While murder scenes often show blood, fatal wounds, and corpses, the violence is mitigated by the show's hokey feel and lighthearted dialogue, making it unlikely to upset tween viewers. And even though sex plays a role in some episodes, there's no nudity and little more than allusions to physical relationships between characters. Drinking and smoking are fairly minimal and reserved for adults in social settings.

That said, Diagnosis Murder may be a hard sell for tweens and teens, who will probably be turned off by its dated feel and somewhat simplistic plots. If they do tune in, remind them that in the real world, clues are rarely so easily uncovered, crime so neatly solved, or criminals (especially murderers) so easily apprehended.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this show compares to current crime dramas. Are today's shows more violent? What do you think led to that shift? Do you think using more realistic violence increases the show's credibility with viewers? Why or why not? How could increased violence in the media have a negative effect on viewers? For more about media violence, click here.

TV details

Premiere date:October 29, 1993
Cast:Barry Van Dyke, Dick Van Dyke, Victoria Rowell
Network:ION
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byHunter.O March 25, 2016

Disappointed with what this show becomes

My Mom and I would watch this show after school everyday, but we soon decided to stop. The first few seasons are great, we very much enjoyed them. But, we soon started to see the show go down hill. Inappropriate things began to be mentioned, and then it began to be shown. Curse words began to pop up, and even episodes that seemed very good ended up having something bad in it by the end. The only thing I am happy about is none of the bad things feature Dick Van Dyke, he is still the classic clean actor and character.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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