For the People

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
For the People TV Poster Image
Slightly soapy legal series set in NY federal court.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Federal cases are sometimes about making a point or protecting friends, rather than justice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

New federal lawyers are talented, arrogant; they take risks and have a lot to prove. They sometimes mix the personal with the professional. 


Cases deal with terrorism, fraud, other issues. Yelling, arguments sometimes break out. 


Occasional innuendo. Romantic tensions sometimes a theme. 


"Hell," "damn." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to getting drunk. Occasional social drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that For the People is a legal drama. As is common with shows created by Shonda Rhimes, it features a young professional cast navigating their careers, and sometimes blurring the lines between personal life and workplace. Legal cases deal with terrorism, fraud, etc., and attorneys aren't always ethical when trying to win. There's some occasional strong language ("damn," "hell"), and social drinking is visible. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHelen M. May 23, 2018

Legal Drama has ethical intrigue with occasional steaminess

Parents should know this Shondaland legal drama isn't like law programs in the past; unlike the Law and Order series' which emphasize violence and cri... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMaximeMovies August 14, 2018

Appropriate But Mature

The reason the age rating was so high for me, was because even though there is no sex, or on screen violence and language apart from hell or damn. This show is... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLuckystarr July 17, 2018

Typical law drama

The show has a somewhat predictable plot. It has many cliches, but if your looking for something to binge and your really bored you’ll like this show. The setti... Continue reading

What's the story?

Co-executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes, FOR THE PEOPLE is a dramatic series about a group of talented attorneys working federal cases in one of the oldest, most prestigious high-profile trial courts in America. Defense attorneys Allison Adams (Jasmin Savoy Brown), Jay Simmons (West Keesh), and Sandra Bell (Britt Robertson), along with prosecutors Leonard Knox (Regé-Jean Page), Seth Oliver (Ben Rappaport), and Kate Littlejohn (Susannah Flood) are sworn in to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, known among lawyers as "The Mother Court." They immediately find themselves working criminal cases, some of which force them to face each other in court. In some instances, it also requires them to negotiate their personal lives. As they navigate the tough, often no-win world of federal criminal law, they're mentored by federal public defender Jill Carlan (Hope Davis) and Roger Gunn (Ben Shenkman), the chief of the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office. 

Is it any good?

This dramatic law procedural blurs the line between professional and personal worlds as characters fight to win cases and prove themselves, often by any means possible. Adding to this are characters like the no-nonsense clerk of the court Tina Krissman (played by Anna Deavere Smith), and federal judge Nicholas Byrne (Vondie Curtis-Hall), both of whom personify the tradition and culture of the Mother Court. But much of the show focuses on the lawyers' inner conflicts, as well as the relationships developing between them as they learn the difference between enemies and adversaries.

The series highlights some aspects of the federal court system, in which prosecutors, who represent the U.S. government, are expected to keep the upper hand, while public defenders spend much of their time trying to find compromises that will serve their clients to some extent. Some of the fictitious cases discussed are interesting and complicated, while others are predictable and reflect current political and cultural discussions. Overall, For the People offers sanitized, melodramatic narratives that should entertain viewers who love a legal drama. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between federal and state courts. Federal courts are established by the U.S. Constitution to hear disputes involving the Constitution and congressional laws. Are there other differences between the two systems?

  • What are some of the stereotypes about lawyers? Do series like For the People reinforce or challenge these generalizations? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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