A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main characters in this military legal drama investigate people accused of crimes that range from manslaughter to sexual harassment. Each episode features flashbacks illustrating what the JAG officers are discovering; although they're much less graphic than those on other crime dramas, the scenes may scare younger or more sensitive viewers.
What's the story?
JAG is a legal action-drama about a team of military lawyers (JAG stands for Judge Advocate General) who both prosecute and defend their colleagues when they're accused of everything from murder to treason. David James Elliott and Catherine Bell star as Navy Commander Harmon "Harm" Rabb and Marine Lieutenant Colonel Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie, respectively. Both are straight-shooters and workaholics who travel the globe searching for clues to the cases they're assigned. Joining them are two lawyers: skilled, determined Navy Lieutenant Commander Bud Roberts (Patrick Labyorteux) and Commander Sturgis Turner (Scott Lawrence), Roberts' Naval Academy classmate and friendly rival. Also on board is Officer Jennifer Coates (Zoe McLellan), an affable but outspoken assistant who helps keep the department running smoothly.
Is it any good?
JAG is a fast-paced series that explores many complex legal situations, some of which have that "ripped from the headlines" feel. Just a few: an American submarine's rescue of 10 North Korean sailors found stranded in South Korean waters, an MIA female petty officer who's charged with desertion during Desert Storm after she's found in Iraq married to a Bedouin sheik, and an officer's suicide.
The show also delves into the main characters' personal relationships, including a romance between two JAG officers and a thinly veiled flirtation between Harm and Mac. Overall, JAG is a satisfying (if not always cutting-edge) meat-and-potatoes drama that offers a solid mix of action, intrigue, and (mostly tame) romance. Amid a lineup full of iffy reality shows, this is a series that parents of teens can feel fine about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the military tries its personnel. What is a court martial? How is it similar to and different from a civilian court? What crimes can members of the military be tried for? How can military lawyers remain impartial when trying their fellow officers?