A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
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- Kids say
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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?
For kids who love drama
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.