Golden Boy



Intriguing premise enlivens violent cop procedural.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As with many cop shows, the values of loyalty, particularly to one's partner but also to the police force, is stressed often and explicitly. Officers also frequently discuss their duty to the victims of crime and grieving loved ones of those murdered. The idea that the ends justify the means runs throughout.

Positive role models

The officers on the show are hard-working and dogged. However, many of them, particularly lead character Walter William Clark, sometimes do unethical things, reasoning that the ends justify the means.


Guns are frequently brandished and fired; we see dead bodies draped with sheets, gunshots that connect with a spray of blood, and officers slamming suspects around. Clark's sister is involved with a man who physically abuses her and we see her bruised face. Some sexual crimes.


Sex is frequently referred to in relation to crime, as when a reporter says a suspect "can't get a girl's legs open without roofies or coke."


Some cursing: "I don't give a damn." Some racial language: "it's as cold as an Eskimo's nuts" and "blasting two boat people doesn't impress me."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent references to drugs in connection to crime, with characters referred to as junkies or smack peddlers. Characters drink onscreen.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Golden Boy is a tense serial police drama centering around a character who makes questionable moral decisions such as gathering evidence without a warrant because he believes the ends justify the means. He is also ruthlessly ambitious and willing to go quite far in order to advance in the police force. Cops and bad guys frequently brandish and fire guns; characters are killed by gunshots and we see blood and gore. Police officers treat suspects roughly and slam them up against cars. There is some cursing ("damn," "hell"), and racial insults (references to Eskimo body parts being cold, and "boat people"), as well as references to drugs and sex in relation to crime.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Walter William Clark Jr. (Theo James) is the GOLDEN BOY of this show's title, the youngest police commissioner in history. "It's been a quick ride," says a reporter interviewing Clark. "But it cost you." What did it cost him exactly? We flash back seven years to find out, meeting up with Clark just after an act of heroism landed him a spot in Homicide about a decade before he could have gotten there otherwise. He's tasked with handling cold cases but soon elbows himself onto more high-profile work. His partner, veteran Detective Don Owen (Chi McBride), counsels him to have patience and maturity and despairs of Clark's ruthless ambition, while colleagues like mercurial Detective Christian Arroyo (Kevin Alejandro) wait around to see if Clark will implode under pressure. Meanwhile, Clark's sister Agnes has taken up with an abusive "smack peddling drummer junkie" and doesn't look like she's going to be done with him anytime soon.

Is it any good?


Another cop show, really? Yet Golden Boy boasts a terrific cast, including the gravitas-laden Chi McBride in a lead role, and compelling Theo James (you may recognize him as Lady Mary's fateful Turkish suitor from Downton Abbey) at the center of the action.

The show's flashback premise is also not unique; viewers will recall the gimmick from shows like The Nine and Lost. The formula is oft-used, because it works: Viewers will be particularly intrigued by the hints dropped about mayhem to come, and want to know how Clark got from where he was to the "big chair at the 1PP." And thus despite being nothing new, the show works.

Families can talk about...

  • Is the character of William Walter Clark supposed to be a hero or an anti-hero? What is the difference? Can a character be aspects of both?

  • Compare Golden Boy to some other police dramas you may have seen, like Law & Order or Cold Case. How is Golden Boy like these dramas? How is it different?

  • What type of audience do you think Golden Boy is trying to attract? Is their viewer male, female? Young, old? Rich, poor? College-educated or not? What brings you to these conclusions?

TV details

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bykodystar April 25, 2013

just for the grown ups

i don't see anything wrong with this show its different and thats what i love about it, i like when the story goes back to how it all started keep up the good work love the cast, and if you don't agree with it change the channel don't try and take away from us who love the show different strokes for different folks, somes shows come on at a certain time because thats grownfolkes time when kids should be in the bed
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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