Law & Order

TV review by
Liz Perle, Common Sense Media
Law & Order TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Dead bodies + courtroom drama = mature teens only.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 17 reviews

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We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasionally someone will smoke or do drugs.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMynameis... January 16, 2019

Law and order

There is no sex, horrible language, or horrible violence in this show. All kids of 8 and up should be able to watch. If your child gets creeped out by detective... Continue reading
Adult Written byJordan G. January 10, 2018

Enjoyed the series, but still not meant for younger viewers

Watching each episode, usually the first few minutes focus on the crime being committed (mostly murders, assaults, brutal beatings, etc.) then the detectives be... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJ-Train August 9, 2017

Great Courtroom Show

Law and Order is a classic courtroom show that can be enjoyed by mature teens. It is often emotional and it tells a great story. I watched Law and Order when I... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written March 18, 2021

Depends on what you can handle

I'd say the basic age range is 13+, however it depends on how much you think you can handle. They show dead bodies, blood, really bad wounds, and they also... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love courtroom dramas

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

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