Fugitive Chronicles

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Fugitive Chronicles TV Poster Image
Runaway criminal re-enactments portray extreme violence.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series highlights the work of law enforcement officials to find and capture wanted criminals -- though the sensationalism of the show undermines the otherwise positive messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The law enforcement officials risk their lives to get violent criminals off the streets and back in jail. People are shown supporting and/or harboring dangerous fugitives. The fugitives profiled here are from various racial/ethnic backgrounds.

Violence

Most of the fugitives featured here are violent killers. Re-enactments show people getting robbed, carjacked, shot at, and murdered (sometimes in execution style); gruesome bloody wounds are visible. Guns, rifles, bullets, and other weapons are shown. Escapees are seen pushing, shoving, and kicking doors, etc. People argue with law enforcement officials and get arrested. Children are removed from people’s homes by Child Protective Services. 

Sex

Contains some sexual innuendo, including references to conjugal visits between fugitives and alleged girlfriends/boyfriends. Watch for references to rape and other violent sexual activity.

Language

Words like “hell” are sometimes audible.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many of the fugitives featured here were involved in drug-related criminal activity. References are made to smoking marijuana and using other kinds of drugs. Escapees are sometimes shown smoking cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this law enforcement reality drama features violent re-enactments of robberies, carjackings, shootings, and execution-style murders, as well as extremely bloody wounds. While this violence is in context, it is quite graphic and inappropriate for children. It also contains frequent drug references, some iffy language (“hell”), and some sexual innuendo. News footage about local escapees sometimes feature people criticizing police while referring to the fugitives as local heroes.

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What's the story?

FUGITIVE CHRONICLES is a reality drama series that offers detailed accounts about some of America’s most dangerous manhunts. Each story is told by the officer who was in charge of the case, and features re-enactments of the actual events surrounding the escape and eventual capture of a wanted criminal. Realistic actor portrayals incorporate the words and ideas from the criminals’ personal letters, journal entries, and media interviews, offering a glimpse into their lives on the run. Television footage of these events, including public statements made by law enforcement, and popular reactions to these manhunts, is also included.

Is it any good?

The series combines the grittiness of a documentary with the dramatic flair of a crime series in order to produce disturbing details about the real dangers associated with chasing and recapturing a dangerous criminal. Adding to this are some emotional conversations offered by the commanding officers, who share their feelings about the many frustrating moments they had during their searches, and the sense of loss and anger they continue to feel over the lives lost at the hands of the criminals they were trying to capture.

Actor portrayals and frequent violent scenes definitely sensationalize the stories being told here. But these scenes also underscore how dangerous these criminals really are, despite some people’s misguided attempts to treat them like local folk heroes. They also highlight how frighteningly unglamorous living life on the run can really be. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but viewers who like this sort of thing will probably find it worth watching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in the media. Is it ever appropriate to show people getting attacked, shot, and/or killed on TV or in films, even if these scenes are shown within a specific context? Why or why not? What kind of impact can watching violence have on kids?

  • How does this series compare to other media portrayals of criminals on the run? Does the show’s use of actors make fugitives seem smarter? Nicer? More or less dangerous than they really are? Do you think the life and actions of a fugitive seem more exciting and/or glamorous on TV and in film? Why?

TV details

  • Premiere date: April 1, 2010
  • Network: A&E
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG

For kids who love legal drama

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