TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Kojak TV Poster Image
Classic cop series is milder than modern shows.

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age 10+
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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main theme of the series is that crime doesn't pay and that sometimes you have to break the rules for the sake of justice. The focus on crime and criminals creates a fairly dark tone.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kojak is macho and tough, but is also sensitive to those who need help. He occasionally bends the rules, but does it to catch the bad guys.


Characters push, shove, punch, and use weapons like guns and knives. Gunfire is frequently exchanged, and people are shot, and killed (but little blood visible). Murder and gangster operations are frequent themes.


Prostitution is occasionally discussed. In early episodes Kojak is romantically involved with someone, but there's nothing really sexual.


Kojak's lollipop of choice is the Tootsie Pop; occasionally the logo is visible. Kojak carries a .38 Special Smith and Wesson revolver.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters, including Kojak, smoke cigarettes occasionally, especially in early episodes. Kojak tries to cut down on his habit by sucking lollipops. Occasionally people are featured drunk; alcohol is visible at bars and clubs. Drug sales are occasional themes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the classic police procedural Kojak is milder than more contemporary police dramas, but still contains content that isn't meant for younger viewers. There are lots of violent moments, including gunfire and people getting shot (but little blood is visible), as well as plenty of references to murder. Assault, prostitution, and other crimes are also themes. Kojak and other characters sometimes smoke and drink, especially in early episodes.

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Kid, 11 years old April 27, 2014

Everybody loves Kojak, baby!

Kojak is a classic,memorable TV series from the 70's. It was rated 15 in the 70's and over time it has dated so violence is mild with a few punches an... Continue reading

What's the story?

The classic series KOJAK (1973-1977) stars Telly Savalas as Theo Kojak, a bald, lollipop-sucking, hard-nosed detective solving New York City crimes. Along with his partner Bobby Crocker (Kevin Dobson), and with the help of detectives like Stavros (George Savalas), Saperstein (Mark Russell), and Rizzo (Vince Conti), they do what they can to catch the bad guys. Kojak doesn't always follow the rules, but their boss, Frank McNeill (played by Dan Frazer), keeps them in check.

Is it any good?

The police procedural churns through lots of detective stories, ranging from chasing robbers to solving mafia-related murders. But the show, which was an international hit in its day, stands out thanks to Detective Kojak, whose tough street smarts, honesty, sarcastic humor, and sensitivity, make him an interesting and likable character. His bald head, and his trademark catchphrases like "Who loves ya baby?", are now globally-recognizable parts of American popular culture. Meanwhile some of his on-duty habits are still referred to as the "Kojak Style" by American police today.

Granted, many of the show's references (and the cars) are dated, but thanks to the show's universal themes, it still feels relevant. Meanwhile, viewers might also get a kick out of the appearances made by young, now-famous actors like Harvey Keitel, Hector Elizondo, and Richard Gere, too. Overall, it's pretty entertaining, and folks looking for a compelling police procedural will definitely find something here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of American television and film's most notable characters. What makes these characters stand out? Is it what they look like? Their personalities? Their odd habits? Are these characters all "good guys" or likable?

  • Are there characters on TV today who you think we'll still be talking about 50 years from now?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love classics

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