Law & Order

Common Sense Media says

Dead bodies + courtroom drama = mature teens only.





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.



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 a perp 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.

Parents say

Kids say

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 the series' 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 the show's "ripped from the headlines" theme. How does a true crime change when it's scripted for television?

TV details

Cast:Dennis Farina, Jesse L. Martin, Sam Waterston
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Law & Order was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written bycharlie1234 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
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, 14 years old Written bylawandorder_chick07 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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