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Law & Order

Dead bodies + courtroom drama = mature teens only.
Popular with kids
  • Network: NBC
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1990

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series offers a clear distinction between good and bad, according to the police/legal system. It highlights America's sophisticated legal system, and the sometimes tenuous relationship that exists between each of its agencies.

Positive role models

The cops are usually good guys, the perps are generally bad guys, and the court and juries can go either way. The officers, lawyers, judges, and the alleged criminals are from all walks of life. Characters demonstrate communication and teamwork.



Plenty of shooting, guns, blood, and bodies, though not as graphic as on forensic shows like CSI.


No sex is shown, but sometimes the crimes involve sexual acts.


A few spicy words, but otherwise tamish.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasionally someone will smoke or do drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the Law & Order franchise isn't designed for kids. The first half of each hour-long episode focuses on a violent crime, and the second half centers on the ensuing courtroom drama -- which may bore more action-oriented viewers.

What's the story?

Part police procedural, part courtroom drama, the long-running series LAW & ORDER gets its story inspiration from real crimes. Detectives Joe Fontana (Dennis Farina) and Edward Green (Jesse L. Martin) lead the criminal investigations. Their supervisor is precinct lieutenant Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson). In the second half of the show, the focus shifts to the criminal courts, as Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Borgia (Annie Parisse) work within a complicated justice system to prosecute the accused under the guidance of District Attorney Arthur Branch (Fred Thompson).

Is it any good?


The show's "ripped from the headlines" mantra makes engaging -- but fictional -- drama. Key to Law & Order's success is its first rate cast. Because of both the subject matter and the details of the courtroom procedures, this is not a show for kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Law & Order's "ripped from the headlines" theme. How does a true crime change when it's scripted for television?

  • How does Law & Order demonstrate communication and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Premiere date:September 13, 1990
Cast:Dennis Farina, Jesse L. Martin, Sam Waterston
Character strengths:Communication, Teamwork
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Law & Order was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byBub Bidderskins October 3, 2009

Good Show, Kids Won't Get It

Law and Order has a special place in my heart as being the "other" show on NBC. If it's prime time and you don't know what's coming on, guess Law and Order (or one of its affiliates). You'll be right 2/3 times. That asside, it's actually a pretty good show. The plot is always crazy, and you have to pay attention or you'll lose it. Becase of this, I wouldn't reccommend it to anyone under 12, just because they wouldn't be able to understand it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written bycharlie1234 April 9, 2008
Teen, 14 years old Written bylawandorder_chick07 April 9, 2008