George Gently

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
George Gently TV Poster Image
British police procedural with mild violence, sexuality.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show's focus is on police work and the relentless pursuit of justice. Boundaries between right and wrong are well-defined.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although the show's police detectives are generally positive characters, they each exhibit some negative traits that make them more relatable to viewers --  for example, a young detective's penchant for flashy living.


The series is driven by acts of violence, such as the murder of the wife of the lead character by mob killers. However, there's very little violence seen on screen.


Sex and romance, including affairs, are occasional topics of mild conversation, but never depicted on screen.


Characters occasionally use mild derogatory terms to describe each other, but without the use of strong words.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Set in the 1960s, the series reflects attitudes toward drinking and smoking of the era -- both are part of the lives of characters and treated almost as a backdrop to the series' action.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British police procedural series deals with violence and crime as part of its storytelling, though very little is depicted on camera. Occasional conversations occur around sexuality and frequent drinking and smoking appear on screen. Despite it's fairly mild content, the show's plotting and themes are aimed at mature teens and adults.

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What's the story?

Based on a series of detective novels by Alan Hunter, GEORGE GENTLY finds the eponymous investigator pondering retirement after the murder of his wife by a gangster. Ultimately it's another murder with suspicious echoes of his wife's death that brings him back to the beat for the infamous \"one last case.\" He joins up with a flashy, headstrong young detective to track down the gangster and avenge the death of his wife.

Is it any good?

There's something almost comforting about the familiar rhythms of a police TV series. A viewer can become lulled into a pleasing trance by watching expected story beats play out time and again.

Then there are shows that take the detective series and play out those beats with such skill that it's a pleasure to watch. George Gently takes some very familiar detective tropes, sets them in a quiet corner of 1960's Britain, and elevates the effort with strong writing and terrific acting, especially from the man who brings Gently himself to life, Martin Shaw. Wearing a classic Columbo overcoat like a second skin, Shaw brings just the right mix of humor, attitude, and sadness to Gently.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's occasional violence. Does the series seem tame compared to today's television shows? Why are cop and crime shows so popular?

  • What kind of a "hero" is George Gently? Do you relate to his story?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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