E! Investigates

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
E! Investigates TV Poster Image
Informative docuseries looks at timely and weighty topics.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series takes an informative look at topics that are impacting the lives of people today.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ling and experts offer details and explanations about some of the phenomena and behaviors discussed.


Violent acts (kidnapping, suicide attempts, cutting, sexual molestation) are frequently discussed. Much of Ling’s fame comes from being held captive in North Korea for 140 days.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Contains discussions about drinking as a way to cope with problems, and the use of prescription drugs to commit suicide.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this docuseries explores sensitive topics that are relevant in today’s society. Subjects like kidnapping, sexual molestation, teen suicide, homosexuality, and other weighty topics are discussed within an informative context. It’s too intense for young viewers, but parents may want to sit and watch some of these episodes with their teens as a way to initiate conversations about the issues that are relevant to them.

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What's the story?

E! INVESTIGATES explores some of the issues that are being discussed in today’s media. The documentary-type show, which is hosted by journalist Laura Ling -- who is known for her time spent in captivity in North Korea -- uses interviews and reenactments to look at topics like teen suicide, kidnapping, and the struggles that military spouses go through before and after their partners come home from combat. Throughout it all, Ling and experts offer commentary about the topics.

Is it any good?

The series takes a serious look at important issues that are impacting today’s society. It offers interesting details about the subject matter, and explanations for some of the phenomena being discussed.

The discussions are thoughtful, but there are times that Ling’s questions and some of the reenactments and music border on sensationalism. This aside, the overall program offers an intelligent and appealing approach to news that may attract young viewers in a way traditional TV news might not.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between informing and education the public and sensationalizing issues. What kinds of things make a story seem more dramatic? Does this drama take away from the importance of the message? Why or why not?

  • Do you think Ling is the right person to host this show? How much do you know about her background and her ordeal in North Korea? Does her experience make her more capable of discussing these kinds of topics? How does adversity sometimes translate into fame?

TV details

  • Premiere date: September 9, 2009
  • Cast: Laura Ling
  • Network: E!
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: September 19, 2019

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