Gang Related

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Gang Related TV Poster Image
Complicated cop drama has guns, gore, and a great cast.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

Some cursing, as when characters call each other a "son of a bitch."

Consumerism
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.

What 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.

User Reviews

Parent of a 2 and 10 year old Written byJessica Valdez July 17, 2014

Better than Son's of Anarchy

For adults only! I love it great show. I love it that it's based in California..

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What's the story?

Detective Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez) is the center of the action in GANG RELATED, which focuses on a hardworking LAPD gang task force. Lopez is a fast-rising LAPD star. But he has a big secret: He still has intimate connections to a Latino street gang headed by his father-figure Javier Acosta (Cliff Curtis) and his two sons: rebellious, dangerous Carlos (Reynaldo Gallegos) and the somewhat reformed Daniel (Jay Hernandez), the longtime best friend of Lopez. Lopez has one heck of a conflict. He admires and respects his coworkers, particularly task force leader Sam Chapel (Terry O'Quinn) and his new partner Cassius Green (RZA). But his ties with the Los Angelinos in general, and the Acostas in particular, run deep. When his livelihood is pitted against his loved ones, which one will win out?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Gang Related is a realistic show. Do the officers look like real LAPD officers? Would a real gang member really be able to serve in the LAPD?

  • Gang Related was created by Chris Morgan, who wrote the Fast and the Furious films from Tokyo Drift on. Do you see similarities between these films and this TV show?

  • How important is it to you to see characters from diverse backgrounds represented on TV? Do you notice any trends toward more ethnic diversity in the movies or on TV?

TV details

For kids who love drama

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