Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Common Sense Media says

Inside the mind of killers; not for kids.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's about catching criminals, but the stories are told from the point of view of the criminal mind of the alleged perpetrator as well as the detectives trying to solve the crime.

Positive role models

The detectives are generally intelligent, upstanding, and driven to protect the community from criminals. Sometimes detectives express a quiet but emotional desire to pursue justice for crime victims.


Post-mortems are often quite grisly, and there are lots of dead bodies. Guns go off frequently.


Some crimes are sexually based.


Of the three Law & Orders, this show has the mildest language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasionally a cigarette is smoked or a drink or drug consumed.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this crime drama digs deeply into the motives behind violent acts. Younger kids will find the pacing slow but the content very disturbing. From a role model point of view, this isn't an age-appropriate show for kids, since each episode dwells on aberrant behaviors.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT is the second spin-off of the popular Law & Order. It features detectives from the NYPD's Major Case Squad. This show is more of a police procedural drama than a courtroom drama: It takes viewers into the minds of the criminals who perform a range of dastardly and often gruesome crimes. Playing the lead detectives are Vincent D'Onofrio (who plays the eerily intelligent Detective Robert Goren) and Kathryn Erbe (who is Goren's partner, Detective Alexandra Eames).

Is it any good?


Criminal Intent is the most cerebral of the Law & Order shows. It purports to take viewers into the minds of the criminals who perform a range of dastardly and often gruesome crimes and, while intriguing for adults, is a pretty iffy choice for younger viewers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the detectives follow the clues. Ask your teens how realistic they think the show is. Parents can also reassure their kids that these crimes aren't likely to occur to them.

TV details

Cast:Courtney B. Vance, Jamey Sheridan, Vincent D'Onofrio
Networks:NBC, USA
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Law & Order: Criminal Intent was written by

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, okay 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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Educator and Parent Written byJared Galczynski May 8, 2014

Law & Order: AY MAYRA.

AY, MAYRA. This is one of the best crime dramas I will ever see in my ENTIRE LIFE. I love this and Mixology right around the same. It kind of digs deep into the minds of killers, but that's okay, at least for 14 year olds. (Oh, the "AY, MAYRA" business is from my nun friend, Sr. Alejandra.)
Kid, 12 years old December 12, 2012

Why so overprotective?

Yes, there's drugs, sex, drinking and most importantly murder, but hey, I started watching this when I was 11 and it was nothing too harsh and I loved Goren & Eames. Goren shows you that you can be strong and pursue your dreams even when you've been torn down before. Eames shows you that it's fine being single and it isn't so terrible. It just gives you a better sense as to what is in this world. Not everyone is a nice person and people you trust might, well, kill you. I think that the way the actors portray these detectives is amazing and I give everyone except Goldblum a high five at doing an awesome job at working on this show and giving me something to do when I got home from school.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byMr. Mario August 17, 2012

Criminal Intent is only for mature 11 and 12 year olds. Otherwise 13 and up.

Criminal Intent is the second most mature Law and Order show in the franchise. If you have truly mature 11 and 12 year olds then this one isn't that bad.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex


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