K9 Cops

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
K9 Cops TV Poster Image
Police dogs in action are fine for older kids.

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

Positive Messages

Viewers witness the high-stakes work of officers and their K9 partners, seeing how the dogs' special skills make the work safer for the cops and, to some degree, the suspects they pursue. Dogs are tools used in encounters with potentially dangerous criminals, but the show also illustrates the strong bonds between the animals and their handlers. Some suspects' faces are shown; others are blurred.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Police officers and their dog partners are the stars of the show, and this behind-the-scenes look at their work puts them in high esteem for their efforts on the part of public safety. Theirs is a dangerous job, but the show illustrates how extensive training and efficient teamwork among officers efficiently neutralizes life-threatening scenarios. Some cops seem to like the attention of the cameras, but most are content to do their jobs and explain their procedures for the viewers.


Police pursuits can be tense, and dogs are used to intimidate the suspects into compliance. In some cases, they give chase and subdue them before the officers can intervene. Guns are drawn on both sides of the law, and the police discuss details of crimes like stabbings, shootings, and assaults. Some altercations are physical, but the presence of the dogs keeps this to a minimum. Suspects are handcuffed and subjected to pat-downs.


Rarely men's underwear is visible under low-riding or unzipped pants.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some bystanders smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol onscreen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that K9 Cops follows police dogs and their handlers on patrol in a major city where they encounter suspected criminals who are potentially violent. Officers draw guns on suspects, and the dogs purposely intimidate by barking and lunging at them, and they do give chase if the suspects resist. You'll hear details of violent crimes like shootings and stabbings, but none of this is shown onscreen. Kids might be frightened by the suggestion of these and other crimes, though, so this show requires older, more discerning viewers who can fully appreciate the heroic jobs these officers and their dogs perform.

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What's the story?

K9 COPS is a reality-based docuseries that follows members of the K9 unit of the police force in St. Paul, Minnesota. Camera crews ride along as officers respond to calls and perform routine patrols in the city, capturing the drama when the cops and their dogs secure crime scenes and arrest suspects. The show illustrates how police dogs are also used to locate explosives, sniff out drugs, and track alleged criminals on the run.

Is it any good?

The original Cops series has inspired its fair share of look-alikes, and K9 Cops is cut from the same basic cloth: Close-up imagery of tense encounters between the city's finest and those who threaten public safety, and follow-up confessionals with the officers once the danger is neutralized. But here the cops share the limelight with their dog partners, who prove equally heroic as are their human handlers.

It's always a stirring sight to see a public servant in action, and K9 Cops does a great job of inspiring awe in the courageous jobs these officers perform. But while the violence quotient is significantly less than in, say, Cops -– likely due to the involvement of the dogs, whose mere presence often intimidates the suspects into compliance -– this still isn't a show for most young kids. What you see on the screen is real life, and the altercations are the result of actual crimes, and often brutal ones at that. Ultimately this show is better reserved for viewers who can differentiate between real-life TV and the reality of their own lives.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impression this series gives about police work. Do you think these clips represent typical days on the job? Does the work look exciting? Dangerous? Fulfilling?

  • Why are reality-based shows like this one so popular with viewers? Is real-life drama more interesting than fictionalized stories? In what ways does it let us glimpse others' lives in unique ways? How, if at all, does this influence how we view our own lives?

  • Tweens: Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? How are your goals shaped by your desire to help people? What else do you hope to achieve in your job?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reality shows

Themes & Topics

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