House of Lies

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
House of Lies TV Poster Image
Adults-only dramedy revels in sex, lies, and manipulation.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 17+
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

Manipulation is a common theme -- and a regular business practice -- while money is the major motivator. There's also a sense that most characters would pursue success at any cost.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters lie, manipulate, and use sex to get what they want, typically with few negative consequences. The main character does show a softer side as a father who seems to care about his son, but it's a little-seen aspect of his personality.


Physical violence includes punching, fist fights, etc. Minimal blood.


Visible nudity, including bare breasts and buttocks. Characters also have simulated sex on camera with multiple partners (including lesbian sex and violent sex that involves choking) and use sexually charged terms like "angry-bang," "getting head," etc.


Frequent unbleeped swearing includes "f--k" in all its forms (including "motherf--ker"), "s--t," "c--t," "t-t," "c--k," "cl-t," and "c-m." Characters also use labels like "slut," "nancy boy," and "homo."


A few logos are visible in the background, including MasterCard.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters binge drink and use hallucinogenic drugs to blow off steam -- and sometimes entertain clients.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this adult-oriented dramedy runs on a steady stream of sex and unbleeped language. That means you'll see bare breasts and buttocks, as well as characters -- particularly the main character -- having sex with multiple partners; you'll also hear words like "motherf--ker," "s--t," "c--k," and "c--t." Characters binge drink and use drugs recreationally, too, and occasionally resort to physical violence.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymartineque January 3, 2021

Sexist crap

If you like watching blokes treat women like sex objects with lots of nudity and strippers, foul language, binge drinking and manipulation, then you’ll like thi...
Teen, 15 years old Written byleeches July 12, 2020

the internet is free

while this show is definitely defined as raunchy, filled with sex, i think it’s important for people to remember most people watch things far worse than this in... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byjm97 March 26, 2013


This is a really great dramedy series for ADULTS ONLY. Intense swearing, full-frontal nudity, and sex all occur in 32 minutes. It's a really great show, bu... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on Martin Kihn's no-holds-barred memoir chronicling his time at a top-tier consulting firm, HOUSE OF LIES centers on a skilled team of management consultants -- led by hotshot closer Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle) -- who spend their days crisscrossing the country in pursuit of corporate clients and billable hours. Members of the team include ambitious player Jeannie Van Der Hooven (Kristen Bell), womanizing prankster Clyde Oberholt (Ben Schwartz), and Harvard grad Doug Guggenheim (Josh Lawson). Meanwhile, Marty's battling his ex-wife Monica (Dawn Oliveri) for important clients -- and custody of their cross-dressing son, Roscoe (Donis Leonard Jr.)

Is it any good?

On first viewing, the pilot episode of House of Lies feels a bit like a briefcase to the head, propelled by so much sex and unbleeped language that you naturally wonder whether that's the only thing the series is about. But as the rest of the story begins to take shape, a far more interesting character study emerges that gives lead actor Cheadle some great material to work with.

It's jarring at first to see him tackle the role, since he's typically cast in kindler, gentler parts (see: Boogie Nights, Hotel Rwanda). But, in the end, Cheadle's take on the shark-skinned Marty is effective enough to make us hate him -- which is actually the point.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the show's presence on pay cable allows it to push the envelope when it comes to language and sexual content. What would the show look like if it were to air on network television? How would it have to change?

  • Does hearing so much unbleeped swearing and seeing so much onscreen sex dilute the impact of what you're seeing and hearing? Are the show's writers deliberately pushing the envelope when it comes to language and sex, or are the characters merely written as a reflection of the way real people behave?

  • How accurately do you think the show portrays the world of management consulting? What are the real-life consequences of these characters' actions?

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