A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The central character wrestles with moral dilemmas constantly as he's caught between his job and justice and his family and crime.
Positive Role Models
Plenty of folks in the Gang Related universe are working on the side of law and order, but most are complex, and some are all-out dirty. The cast does boast extensive racial and ethnic diversity; people of color are at the center of the action and their ethnicity is treated with dignity and respect.
Violence & Scariness
Very strong for network TV: car chases, shootings, bludgeonings, fistfights, blood, gore, dead bodies, characters suddenly die onscreen. Children may also be the target of violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Many characters are single; expect dating and references to sex. There are brief glimpses of a dummied up porn site (no nudity), and references to masturbation.
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Some cursing, as when characters call each other a "son of a bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many scenes take place in bars, with coworkers toasting each other. Drugs are frequently mentioned, sometimes in the context of a criminal investigation, sometimes otherwise.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gang Related is a tense, violent drama about a gang member who infiltrates an LAPD task force. Characters are in almost nonstop danger, and guns are brandished and fired, characters are shot and killed (with veritable fountains of blood), or suddenly hit by cars. Young children may also be in danger, and we see dead bodies with gore and the grieving relatives left behind. There is also some cursing: "damn," "hell," "son of a bitch." Expect some references to sex, masturbation, body parts, and pornography. Some scenes take place in bars, but no one acts drunk. Drugs frequently play a part in criminal investigations.
Is It Any Good?
At first blush, Gang Related appears to be just another cop drama in a television schedule stuffed with them, and even giving the action the (slight) twist of having a main character with a double life doesn't make it original. But Gang Related transcends its humdrum genre with some very sharp choices that elevate it above the pack. First and foremost, the excellent cast. RZA is positively adorable as Lopez' partner, while Terry O'Quinn brings with him the odd jolliness that made him such a cool character on Lost. Cliff Curtis is genuinely menacing as a mob boss who's by turns brutal and fatherly.
Gang Related also boasts a racially diverse cast in the very best way imaginable. People of color, many different colors, in fact, are at the center of the action. Race doesn't go unmentioned, but neither does it dominate every interaction. A key moment occurs early in the pilot, when Lopez snarkily criticizes Green's vocal abilities as he croons along with Marvin Gaye: "I thought all black people could sing." RZA-as-Green just rolls his eyes, accepting it as the good-natured (and realistic) ribbing that it is, and responds with a list of the rules of his car, which include no passing gas and no harsh words on his singing. The Gang Related creator scripted The Fast and the Furious movies from Tokyo Drift onwards; that series is known for its excellent and easygoing diversity, so perhaps this continuation of the pattern shouldn't come as a surprise.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.