A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Law enforcement is intrepid and energetic, sending a reassuring message to viewers who trust the law and those who uphold it. Young people are assumed to be sneaky and amoral; a young girl's death is processed primarily by how it inconveniences and stresses out the living.
Positive Role Models
Main characters have dark secrets: a preference for sadomasochistic sex, a secret pregnancy, infidelity. Grace Atwood is an unreliable heroine, but her sister Natalie emerges as trustworthy and dependable. Plot points are twisty and characters duplicitous, which may prevent viewers from connecting to them emotionally.
Violence & Scariness
A pivotal murder is repeatedly referred to with screams, blood spatters, images of light reflecting off gleaming knives; body of dead girl is shown at length with a slashed throat and pooled blood; extensive and graphic discussion of murder; a woman is menaced by a shadowy figure on a dark street; a club hires young women to act out sadomasochistic scenes for rich men.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A no-strings sexual encounter after a night clubbing plays a part in a woman's alibi and is repeatedly referred to; a man and woman have sex with grunting, thrusting, and groping (no nudity); we hear a woman moaning during sex and learn she is cheating on her husband; women kiss in bed, seemingly after sex; a powerful man pays for an encounter with a young woman who is tied to a bed (no nudity, but the camera lingers on the bonds on her wrists and ankles); an older man has affairs with much-younger women; characters frequent an S&M club where rich men pay young women for bondage and sex.
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Infrequent cursing: "hell," "damn," "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes take place at bars where characters drink and smoke; a woman refers to taking "X" and being "out of it"; a lawyer gives a client a Xanax to calm her down; references to being "coked up"; characters make and drink cocktails.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Guilt is a dark drama about a murder that takes place among a group of roommates in London. The murdered girl's body is shown repeatedly, with blood spatters, screams, a slashed throat, gory stab marks, and scary music. Women are menaced on dark streets, followed by shadowy figures as the camera advances on the woman and unsettling music plays. Young women work at an S&M club playing out sexual scenes with men who pay for this; couples have sex on-screen with moaning and thrusts (no nudity). Cursing includes "ass," "hell," and "damn." We see characters drinking beer and liquor and smoking cigarettes and from glass pipes; one character uses a drug binge as an alibi for murder.
Is It Any Good?
With a twisty cliffhanger-before-every-other-commercial pacing and solid acting from a mostly British cast, this drama is an apt complement to Freeform's similarly themed Pretty Little Liars. And, though they're cagey on the exact inspiration for Guilt, the setup -- a young student murdered in a foreign land with roommates with both motive and opportunity to have done the deed -- is similar enough to the notorious Amanda Knox case of 2007 that the proceedings are lent a tawdry sort of true-crime appeal. The glamorous and gorgeous actors, tantalizing settings -- especially the London club scene -- and dirty laundry are appealing, particularly to teens, who may think it looks kind of fun to be caught up in a big murder investigation overseas.
But the clichéd way the show handles the murder at the center of the action may exasperate parents and viewers of a feminist bent. Does our young murdered girl really have to have a past full of dark sexual secrets? And be shown over and over again in a pool of blood with her tiny flesh-colored dress pushed up? And is realistic that her death seemingly causes no one pain except her brother, who uses the occasion to brow-furrowedly vow revenge on his sister's killer? It's all trashy good fun but iffy, too, to make murder look like just another soapy complication. All that said, the show is well done even if it's been done before.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.