Parents' Guide to

For the People

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Slightly soapy legal series set in NY federal court.

TV ABC Drama 2018
For the People Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

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 criminal activity, and unlike Shonda's other legal works which stressed political intrigue, this series focuses on the ethical, moral, and social issues that often arise in 'post-racial' America. As such, issues like immigration, police brutality, legal profiling, and the broken justice system are frequently addressed topics and sometimes are the only driving plot behind an entire episode. As is typical of Shondaland shows, FTP also boasts diversity of race, gender and sexuality, while leaving such topics relatively unaddressed by the characters. That being said, sex may be an issue for some parents; it doesn't often arise, but when it does it can get fairly steamy. This includes loud breathing, panting, moaning....certain facial expressions, and some discussions of the acts just completed. Parents should note that such scenes include both straight and gay couples [s1 actually has more homoerotic scenes than hetero]. Violence is of little to no concern here as most sensitive images from more graphic cases are often 'reserved' only for the eyes of the lawyers, however content is addressed [one such case involved a woman who was raped and strangled; the lawyers go into detail of the event via dialogue]. The characters, especially the defense attorneys, are more or less shown to be in touch with their humanity and often try to do the right thing and help the little guy. The prosecutors, are often shown to be antagonistic [especially for the first half of s1], but are gradually shown to simply be doing their job; and the sometimes uncomfortable situations such a position can put them in. Essentially, the message is: though flawed and in positions of presumed villainy, anyone can be a 'good person' if they try.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

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.

TV Details

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