History Detectives TV Poster Image

History Detectives



Lively series reveals history's everyday secrets.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series shows how history can be both fun and interesting, and highlights the different ways questions about historical events can be scientifically answered.

Positive role models

Investigators are dedicated and passionate about history. All are knowledgeable in their field.


Weapons, war, and crimes are discussed in historical terms.

Not applicable
Not applicable

Commercial items are discussed in historical terms (ex. Mickey Mouse; Coca-Cola).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs may be discussed in historical context.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this educational series follows experts who try to uncover long-hidden mysteries submitted by viewers. The topics are wide-ranging (from the Civil War to Mickey Mouse to Charles Lindbergh), and most of the investigations center on a particular object. Weapons are presented in a historical context -- for example, one investigation centers on a gun that may have been owned by an infamous Nazi. Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are also occasionally presented in historical context (examples: a Whiskey Rebellion flask and a Chinese opium scale). The show's investigators demonstrate that history is fascinating, fun, and occasionally frustrating (when they run into dead ends), and they keep viewers in the loop as they combine forensics, appraisals, ballistics, and other techniques to solve their cases. The show moves at a lively pace (three mysteries are investigated in each hour-long episode), but most cases present a good bit of historical detail, so younger kids who aren't into history may lose interest.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

From a crystal cross uncovered at an archaeological site to what may be the first tape player designed for a car, on HISTORY DETECTIVES, experts Wes Cowan, Elyse Luray, Gwen Wright, and Tukufu Zuberi investigate fascinating historical mysteries. Investigations cover a wide range of topics -- from World War II and Cesar Chavez to Coca-Cola and Lou Gehrig -- but the focus is on American history. Each episode covers three mysteries, 75 percent of which are submitted by viewers.

Is it any good?


Obviously, this educational show aims to get everyday folk interested in -- and excited about -- the history that surrounds them. As each new investigation is assigned, the team peels away the layers behind the subject at hand, and viewers are kept in the loop on all investigative decisions.

Yes, the mysteries are investigated in-depth, so younger kids may lose interest, but the scholarly hosts are upbeat and passionate about their work, and the show moves at a lively pace compared to other history programs. Ultimately, History Detectives puts to rest the idea that history is boring, dry, and static. Not convinced? Tune in and watch as the four intrepid investigators travel the country, interview interesting people, and dig around in some of the strangest places to reveal the truth. If you and your kids like history and solving mysteries, you can't go wrong with this show.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the investigators solved the mystery and can use the program as a jumping-off point for further research. How did the investigators use a combination of tools and techniques to get to the bottom of things? How would you go about answering a historical question? Families can also research their own history to learn more about their ancestors. Are there any mysterious items in your family that you could submit to the program for possible investigation?

TV details

Premiere date:July 14, 2003
Cast:C. Wesley Cowan, Elyse Luray-Marx, Gwen Wright
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:Streaming

This review of History Detectives was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?