King & Maxwell

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
King & Maxwell TV Poster Image
Good chemistry injects fun into formulaic crime drama.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Teamwork is essential for success, and men and women are shown working as equals in a high-stakes profession. Although there's a definite sense of danger, most episodes end on a positive note.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters don't always do things by the book and occasionally skirt the truth in pursuit of justice. But they function well as equally skilled members of a team. The show also flips the script on traditional gender stereotypes, making the male P.I. the more sensitive of the two and the female P.I. the far less sentimental, among other personality traits.


Violent scenes include murders, shootouts, and physical combat. Some blood, but it isn't gratuitous.


There's under-the-surface sexual tension between the two main characters, but their relationship is platonic and professional. For example, she showers with the door slightly ajar, and he catches a brief glimpse of her bra.


Occasional terms like "smart-ass," "hell," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that King & Maxwell centers on two former Secret Service agents turned private investigators -- one male, one female -- and their ongoing casework that occasionally veers into dangerous territory. As such, you'll see some violent shootouts with hand-to-hand combat, along with a little blood and some death. Language is mostly limited to gateway terms like "hell," "damn," and "ass," and although there's a little sexual tension between the main characters, their relationship remains platonic and professional.

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What's the story?

When it comes to private investigation, former Secret Service agents Sean King (Jon Tenney) and Michelle Maxwell (Rebecca Romijn) are equal partners. But when it comes to personal taste, KING & MAXWELL couldn't be more different. While the sentimental King's got a law degree and a soft spot for romance novels, Maxwell's background as an elite athlete adds a competitive edge to everything she does. Yet, somehow, their strengths and weaknesses just work.

Is it any good?

When it comes to small-screen buddy dramas, there's nothing revolutionary about writing the leads as polar opposites who manage to make a great team in spite of their differences -- which, in this case, is a concept taken directly from the bestselling David Baldacci books the show is based on. There's also nothing novel about putting an ampersand in the title (from the classic Cagney & Lacey to the more modern combo of Rizzoli & Isles).

But what saves King & Maxwell from being a forgettable take on an all-too-familiar formula is the casting: Tenney and Romijn have a surprisingly easy chemistry, and their characters' quirks are a refreshing challenge to tired gender stereotypes we've seen again and again. Kids aren't likely to care much about this pair, but if they do, another plus is that King & Maxwell is an option older teens and parents can actually watch together without too many content red flags.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about gender stereotypes and how King & Maxwell's personalities defy traditional gender roles. How do they compare to other male-female couples who work together on TV?

  • Do you get the sense that the show's writers want audiences to see the main characters as potential romantic partners? What are the real-life issues associated with getting involved with someone you work with?

  • How do King & Maxwell measure up as role models? Is it OK to skirt the law if you're doing it in pursuit of justice?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

Themes & Topics

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