TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Graceland TV Poster Image
Twisty drama with guns, drugs rises above hokey premise.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

In a dangerous profession, working together is critical for survival. But there's also an overarching theme of duplicity and dishonesty that's part of the job and, in turn, makes for a complicated code of ethics.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There's a prevailing sense of camaraderie among the team, and members have to work together to protect themselves. (That said, although men and women work as equals, the female characters feel like more of an afterthought.) The agents have to lie as part of their undercover work; but for some, the lies go beyond the job.


The main characters carry weapons as part of their jobs. Violent scenes involve gun battles, shootouts, hand-to-hand combat, and death.


Some sexual tension between male and female characters who work together.


Occasional words like "damn," "ass," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many cases involve illegal drugs, including cocaine, heroine, and marijuana. Some scenes show drug paraphernalia in use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Graceland deals with the world of violent crime, although its focus is firmly on the "good guys" who try to stop it. Most characters carry weapons as part of their jobs, so you'll see some violent shootouts and blood, with a few dead bodies. Several cases also deal with the illegal drug trade, so you'll see cocaine, heroine, marijuana, and some characters using drug paraphernalia. Language is limited to gateway terms like "damn" and "ass," and there's some light sexual tension between male and female characters who work together.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byArnold Palmer July 27, 2019

The show turns into trash

Captivating season 1. Seasons 2 and 3 are full of heavy violence, tons and tons of swearing, sex scenes, drug use and addiction, and not really anything worth w... Continue reading
Adult Written byknienaber July 9, 2016

updated info

Other reviews did not consider the final season. I would say season 1 and maybe 2 are ok for 14-15 year olds but season 3 kicks up the violence, sex and languag... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byandyetsofar July 12, 2016

Very Dark, But Addictive!

This show is very good, well acted and very engaging. It is fascinating to see how light and fun many of the scenes are that take place inside the house, compa... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJennasMagic July 10, 2014

What's the story?

When rookie FBI agent Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) leaves Quantico for his first real assignment at GRACELAND -- a decked-out beach house that doubles as HQ for undercover FBI, DEA, and U.S. Customs agents -- he finds a tight-knit group of new roommates who love to surf and a mysteriously Zen mentor in senior agent Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata). But as Mike gradually adapts to living life undercover, he learns that secrets and lies are all relative.

Is it any good?

It might sound like a description for the next season of The Real World, but Graceland's premise is, in fact, supposed to be taken seriously. Or at least that's what we gather from the gritty overtones of this borderline ridiculous crime drama that at least gets points for creativity. The fact that the beach house got its name thanks to its former owner, a drug lord who was obsessed with Elvis, is mere icing on the cake of crazy.

On the plus side, the largely unknown cast (including Brandon Jay McLaren, whom kids might recognize as the Red SPD Power Ranger) has good chemistry -- although the female characters feel comparatively flat. But the real draw is the plot twist that sets the stage for a gripping game of cat and mouse. That takes place, of course, at the beach.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's premise and how realistic -- or unrealistic -- it is. Is it possible Graceland was inspired by actual events, or is the concept of undercover agents living together in a swanky beachfront villa entirely too fictional to believe?

  • How does violence play into the action? To what degree does the criminal activity on Graceland reflect the nature and frequency of real-world crime?

  • How do these characters stack up as role models? What about a character like Briggs, whose mysterious past and loose definition of "the truth" cast doubt on his motivations? Do the female characters seem as strong as their male counterparts do onscreen?

TV details

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