TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Innocent TV Poster Image
British law students tackle ethics and cold cases.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series deals with violent crimes, as well as ethical issues like racism, unjust criminal systems, witness tampering, and police corruption. The characters struggle to stay within the parameters of the law as they right past wrongs of a flawed justice system. They also wrestle with personal issues like illegal activity and sexual attraction.


Crimes like rape and murder are described in some detail (what injuries the victim received and in what order, for example) but not explicitly. Physical altercations like fistfights are brief, but do leave traces of bruises and other injuries.


Sex is sometimes discussed in fairly graphic terms: In one scene, a man describes his first sexual experience, saying "it could have been in, or it could have just been up against her leg." Men and women exchange flirtatious looks, and one female character often wears very skimpy tops.


Rare use of "hell."


All foods and beverages are brandless.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The students often drink beer in social settings, as well as in the office while they're working.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although the characters in this British drama discuss violent crimes like rape and murder (as well as details about victims' injuries and deaths), the acts themselves aren't shown. Ethical issues like witness tampering, police corruption, and bribery are central to the show's flawed-justice-system theme, and characters struggle to stay within the boundaries of the law. Drinking and conversations about sexual experience are common in both social and work environments, but teens who can handle the fairly mature subject matter will likely enjoy this intriguing series.

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What's the story?

Reality-based British drama INNOCENT follows an inspiring professor who leads a small group of law students in tackling cold cases whose convicted perpetrators' guilt is (at least in their opinion) still in question. Within Professor Jon Ford (Lloyd Owen)'s hand-selected group, idealistic Adam (Luke Treadaway) and industrious Beth (Ruth Bradley) -- both totally devoted to helping the wrongfully accused -- are the driving force behind the group's work. Handsome Nick (Oliver James) often uses his charm to his advantage with subjects (and with the ladies), serious Andrew (Stephen Graham) uses the tactics he learned as a cop (he's on sabbatical) to unsettle troublesome interviewees, and eye candy Sarah (Christine Bottomley) rarely contributes anything of substance to the work conversations, but is always ready to chime in on the social ones. The young lawyers comb through police files, witness statements, and boxes of evidence, looking for items or stories that call original guilty verdicts into question. They re-interview witnesses, order new forensic tests, and start from square one to piece together the clues, hoping to find enough to justify re-opening the cases with new evidence and eventually freeing their clients.

Is it any good?

Innocent often touches on ethical questions that affect the reliability of the justice system, offering plenty of thoughtful discussion topics. Episodes often raise issues like the following: How does race affect a witness' ability to identify a suspect? What role does police corruption play in the legal process? What can be done with evidence that's obtained illegally? These meaty topics make this intriguing series a great choice for parents and teens to watch together, as long as they can handle the crime-related subject matter.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the media affects our view of the legal system. Does news coverage typically put a positive or negative spin on how justice is served? In what way? How is the system portrayed in fictional TV series like Law & Order? Based on watching this show, what's the difference between the British system and the American one? Families can also discuss how the American justice system works. Who are the various players (police, lawyers, judges)? How do their responsibilities overlap? Where is there room for error or corruption?

TV details

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