A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show tells the stories of real-life murders. Perseverance is shown by detectives in their quest for justice. They also show empathy and compassion when sharing how hard it is to deliver devastating news to people.
Positive Role Models
Detectives are perceptive, committed to their work, and try hard to solve murders. Victims' families and friends talk about their murdered loved ones with dignity and bravery. Naturally, each episode also features criminals.
Real-life interviews with residents of Philadelphia from all backgrounds. Some diversity, both in terms of sex and race, among the actors involved with the recreations. A detective dismisses regular homicides in "low-income, high-crime areas" as not being noteworthy.
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Violence & Scariness
Each episode shows recreations of real-life crime scenes, often with bloody wounds. Descriptions of crime scenes and murders. Police officers carry pistols and assault rifles. Some murders have a sexual assault element.
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Infrequent use of "crap."
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Products & Purchases
Some murders are committed for financial gain.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention of drugs in relation to murders. Some reconstructions show people smoking cigars and cigarettes. Drug paraphernalia at some murder scenes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Homicide City is a true crime series that mixes recreations of murders in Philadelphia with interviews with real-life detectives and victims' loved ones. It highlights one notable murder case a week. The dramatizations and recreated murder scenes are often bloody and the descriptions of the grisly crimes often go into some detail. Some of the murders also have a sexual assault element too. The interviews with those involved are often interesting but there is still the feeling that these stories of real-life murders are being presented as entertainment. During the recreations, some of the detectives are shown smoking cigarettes and cigars, and drug paraphernalia is also displayed.
Is It Any Good?
Since the explosion of podcasts' popularity, one of the most devoured genres is true crime. Homicide City is a reminder of why these stories work well in audio format. The interviews with the detectives who solved the cases are fascinating. The interviews with the victims' friends and family are often heartbreaking. However, the dramatized recreations of their lives feel like a TV relic from the pre-podcast or Netflix special era of true crime entertainment. Each episode features a new case and new "characters." But the the acting verges on funny and the mismatched tones are exposed when the actor is replaced by a relative of a real-life murder victim.
The trashy voiceovers don't help, either. Lines such as, "Patty realizes that instead of planning a wedding, she'll be arranging her fiancée's funeral," feel icky and, to some extent, disrespectful to the victims and their families. Tonal mess aside, the show presents a series of murders that have interesting stories. These allow for a "whodunnit" guessing game, as each case unfolds and the detectives get closer to catching the criminal and revealing their motives.
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.