Flashpoint TV Poster Image




Intense Canadian cop show explores effects of violence.
  • Network: CBS
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The team is regularly thrust into very challenging situations, often involving armed criminals and hostages, and the stakes are literally life-or-death. The show takes pains to show the aftermath of a shooting, when the characters are very obviously distraught after killing a suspect -- even when the act is justified.

Positive role models

The cops routinely put their lives on the line for citizens' safety, and they demonstrate excellence in their training and ability to keep a cool head in dangerous situations. When tensions rise, there's often dissent among the group about the wisest course of action, but they usually follow orders, for better or worse. Sometimes in the course of the job, they're forced to kill for the greater good, but the decision is never an easy one.


Guns, knives, tear gas, and other weapons are common players in the exchanges with criminals. Some characters die in the crossfire, and the scenes can be intense and bloody. Even when they're not shooting, the team spends a lot of time dressed in full military-style outfits, looking ready for any kind of action.


No sex or nudity, but there are some romantic advances between the lone female officer and one of her comrades.


Given the show's intense subject matter, the members of the team are surprisingly clean-mouthed, but words like "damn," "ass," and "hell" do pop up occasionally.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking, but it's not integral to the content.

Parents Need to Know


Parents need to know that this Canadian police drama is composed of high-stakes exchanges between a team of elite cops and would-be murderers, bombers, and suicide victims. Violence is the biggest concern, as most of the scenarios turn bloody or otherwise threatening (gunfire, stabbings, beatings, etc.), and some characters die in the crossfire. Viewers who are familiar with series like Law & Order may find this show's pace a lot slower than those of its American counterparts, but the upside is that the writing draws attention to the emotional toll the events take on those involved, including the officers and their families.

What's the story?


FLASHPOINT is a Canadian police drama that follows the lives of the highly trained officers who comprise the Special Response Unit, an elite squad that handles hostage situations, armed standoffs, attempted suicides, bomb threats, and other high-risk missions. These jobs often escalate into conflicts that require both expert marksmanship and a knack for human intuition, which calls on the skills of Sgt. Gregory Parker (Enrico Colantoni) and his team of negotiators and snipers, including Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon) and Jules Callahan (Amy Jo Johnson).

Is it any good?


Plenty of cop shows -- especially the American ones -- glamorize the action and skirt around the issue of emotional fallout; this one deserves credit for steering the focus toward the characters' feelings at play in these life-and-death situations. Rather than sticking to visual drama and suspense, the show attempts to tell the back stories that impact the actions of the cops as well as the offenders. The result is a more cerebral take on the standard police drama like Law & Order, with the obvious omission of any courtroom scenes allowing more time to explore the characters' state of mind and motivations for their actions. In some cases, this blurs the line between black and white, right and wrong, reflecting the complicated nature of the law when it's filtered through human emotions.

That said, the fact that Flashpoint almost goes out of its way to portray a shooting as a negative experience can bog the show down a bit. Some scenarios warrant using lethal force on an offender, but the decision to do so is a lengthy, agonizing one. On one hand, it gives viewers a better sense of the issues at play in a real-world version of the events; on the other, it works against the show's entertainment factor. Ultimately, though, this is a heady commentary on the work of elite public servants whose jobs put them in harm's way and force them to make life-and-death decisions every day.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the media typically portrays the police. Is this show consistent with that? If not, how is it different? What moral dilemmas do cops regularly have to face? What other jobs have this same kind of emotional fallout associated with them?

  • Where is the line drawn between right and wrong when it comes to police using lethal force? How would it feel to be the person who decides or carries out that order? Do the characters' reactions to the situations they face seem realistic? Can showing a character's emotional response to violent duties be an argument against violence or does the opposite message get through?

  • What, if any, differences do you notice between this Canadian show and its American counterparts like Law & Order or CSI? Do you find one style particularly better or worse than the other? How do you think people in other countries view our country's entertainment style? How does it reflect our society as a whole?

TV details

Premiere date:July 11, 2008
Cast:Amy Jo Johnson, Enrico Colantoni, Hugh Dillon
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bycaliforniaman714 April 23, 2011

Perfect for Teenagers and their Parents

I was really happy with this show because it is one of those good shows that does not have a lot of language in it. I find that is it a good cop drama for Teenagers and Parents to watch. This is one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. I love the way that this show always has me on the edge of my seat because I am not going to know what happens next, there is always something new every episode and fresh. This show is the perfect show for Teenagers and their parents to watch as some bonding time. I have started to watch this show with my parents and I love it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byTmendius June 3, 2012

One of the best cops shows I've seen

FLASHPOINT is a show about the Canadian equivalent of a S.W.A.T. team ( the Strategic Response Unit, or S.R.U). In each episode the men and women of the S.R.U. are involved in situations that are too dangerous for normal cops, such as hostage situations and bomb scares. The team includes tactical officers, negotiators, and snipers. Sgt. Greg Parker (Enrico Colantoni) leads the team, followed by team members like Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon), and Sam Braddock (David Paetkau). What parents should know about this show is that the team is frequently involved in shootings, suicide attempts, and other violent situations. People are frequently shot, and stabbed. Blood is no stranger on this show. In some episodes the S.R.U. is forced to make a "scorpio shot" which involves the shooting of a suspect that refuses to drop their weapon (and/or release their hostages, is threatening officers, etc.). After each call the team members are shown, sometimes dealing with the emotional hardships that come with their profession. This gives the show a more realistic feeling. This show is not any worse than shows like CSI, but it is a show that needs to be approved by parents before viewing.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old November 5, 2014

One of my favorite TV shows.

Parents need to know that there is some language in this show but nothing too bad. There is a lot of violence and some blood. The show is about an SRU team (the canadian equivalent to a SWAT team). The show is ot overly violent. The characters never want to shoot at someine but will if they have to. Overall this is a great show and I reccomend this for parents who want a good show to watch with their kids.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models