Kidnap & Rescue



Gritty docuseries highlights violence, cruelty.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series highlights kidnapping and could make it seem more commonplace than it is in reality.

Positive role models

Some rescuers risk their lives to save victims voluntarily; others are paid to do so. Kidnappers are violent and cruel.


Contains reenacted images of people being grabbed and forced into cars, cells, etc. Victims are brutally assaulted and mutilated. Blood and bloody wounds are visible. Fingers are severed. Rifles, shotguns, and automatic weapons visible. Some kidnapping victims are targeted for the sex trade.


Women are shown soliciting men.


Cursing and crude references to genitalia (both in Spanish and English) are bleeped, but some of the language is still audible. 


The series is a promotional vehicle for private security teams like the Halo Corporation, The Guidry Group, and SECFOR International, and volunteer organizations like Project Child Save.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Reenactments include scenes of people drinking (beer; hard liquor) and smoking. Victims are sometimes under the influence when abducted. Kidnappers often use drugs to subdue and control their hostages; some victims become drug addicts as a result.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality show centers on the true kidnap and recovery of stories of people, including children, both in the United States and abroad. Re-enactments are extremely violent, and include scenes of victims being assaulted, mutilated, drugged, and prostituted. Drinking, smoking, and forced drug use is visible. Curse words are partially bleeped. It isn’t for kids, and parents may want to exercise caution when allowing teens to watch.

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What's the story?

KIDNAP & RESCUE is a reality docuseries that looks at the secretive world of extreme kidnapping. It features first-hand accounts and reenactments of the abduction of men, women, and children, who are taken across international borders to be sold into slavery and/or held for high ransoms. It offers details about what hostages go through when they are in captivity. We see some of the strategies employed by the various volunteer, government, and private security teams to recover them safely, which range from facilitating ransom negotiations to organizing and carrying out dangerous rescue missions.

Is it any good?


The series offers a gritty look at the practice of kidnapping, a crime that is becoming more commonplace in the United States thanks to the rise of organized crime syndicates and other dangerous groups both in the U.S. and abroad. But most of the show’s focus is on the actual kidnapping and the cruelty and torture that victims endure while being held hostage, rather than the sophisticated work that goes into recovering them safely.

There are things to be learned here, including the fact that this crime can happen to anyone. But the violent reenactments that are used to underscore each victim’s plight make the show more lurid than informative. Meanwhile, the recreated conversations between rescuers are a little theatrical. Those interested in real crime stories may find it interesting, but overall the show offers more sensation than substance.  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about violence in the media. Is it necessary to show violent behavior in order to highlight a dangerous and/or violent situation? Can a TV show, film, or documentary have the same kind of impact without showing brutal acts and/or blood and gore?

  • What is the impact of violence on kids? Does it have the same impact on adults?

TV details

Cast:Brad Barker, David Little, Ty Ritter
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Kidnap & Rescue was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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