TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Greenleaf TV Poster Image
Oprah's church-themed drama is soapy but dark.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The complexities of megachurch culture, race-related issues, and corruption are addressed; in the meantime, family bonds are powerful.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Family members are religious, flawed; some are criminals.


Suicide, race-related violence discussed; arguments. 


Mostly discussion of sexual topics; molestation, sexuality questioning, extramarital relationships. 


"Ass," "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine, cocktails; abuse of prescription drugs. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Greenleaf is a serial drama that centers on the culture of a family deeply rooted in a local megachurch. It features strong themes, including sexual molestation, suicide, and infidelity. Teen drug use is sometimes visible, and wine is frequently consumed. There are arguments, and words such as "ass" and "damn" are audible. Race-related issues, ranging from stereotypes to the recognition of violence against African-American youth, are also addressed. It's not intended for younger viewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byPrizzy G. September 19, 2017

Adult Show that is disrespectful to the Church - Not a Family Show!

The show is extremely disrespectful to the Church. During the first episode, there was a sex scene inside the church during praise and worship. The show highlig... Continue reading
Adult Written bycommanderwrinkletoes August 29, 2019

Christians need to wise up regarding Oprah

You can't get through even one episode before realizing the obvious--this show is anti-church and anti-Christianity. It's focused overwhelmingly on th... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJulie. April 5, 2020

Good show

I liked this show a lot. There are some sex scenes but it’s not bad. Some adults may say it’s for older kids but I think I is good for teens.
Kid, 11 years old July 15, 2016
Well ok it is kind of inappriate but is inspirational I do not pay attention to the bad stuff

What's the story?

Executive-produced by Oprah Winfrey, GREENLEAF stars Merle Dandridge as Grace Greenleaf, the estranged daughter of Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David) and former child preacher of Calvary, a megachurch in Memphis, Tennessee. When she returns home with her daughter Sophie (Desiree Ross) after a 20-year absence to deal with the aftermath of her sister Faith's (Terri Abney) suicide, she realizes that she must confront the demons that originally made her leave, including exposing the crimes of her Uncle Mac (Gregory Alan Williams). Meanwhile, her sister Charity (Deborah Joy Winans) and her sister-in-law Kerissa (Kim Hawthorne) make it clear that she's not wanted, while her brother and junior pastor Jacob (Lamman Rucker) attempts to cope with the pressures of living under his father's shadow by seeking the company of other women. As her mother, Lady Mae (Lynn Whitfield) works hard to sweep the family's secrets under the rug, Grace turns to her Aunt Mavis (played by Winfrey), a local club owner and family pariah, for help and support.

Is it any good?

This entertainingly emotional drama contains all the guilty pleasures one looks for in a nighttime soap opera, ranging from illicit romance to fights for power within a complex family. It also highlights aspects of the megachurch culture, including the opulent lifestyles of their leaders, the church's beneficial tax-exemption status, race-related issues, and show-like sermons.  

Some of show's darker themes, including sexual molestation, teen drug use, and suicide -- all of which have long been considered taboo subjects in many church communities -- add to the show's intensity. Nonetheless, many of the plots are predictable, and some of the characters lack dimension. But there's enough turmoil here to interest serial-drama fans looking for a new story to sink their teeth into. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about family, community, and how they intersect. How is your family supported by groups you belong to?

  • Families can also talk about megachurch culture. How does it bring people together? Are there any problems with the messages some of these churches send?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate