A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Law & Order spin-off features the same kind of mature themes and strong content that makes the whole franchise an iffy viewing choice for younger teens. There's frequent violence (gun shots are audible, and assaults, bloody wounds, bruises, and corpses are visible) and some strong sexual content (including some strong imagery and crude references to sexual acts). The language can be salty, and alcohol (wine, champagne) is often visible.
What's the story?
LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES, the West Coast-set installment in the Law & Order franchise, follows the investigation and prosecution of robberies and homicides in Los Angeles County. L.A.P.D. detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and Tomas “T.J.” Jarusalski (Corey Stall) head up murder investigations under the direction of Lt. Arleen Gonzales (Rachel Ticotin). After they’ve collected enough evidence to make an arrest on a case, it’s up to Deputy D.A. Ricardo Morales (Alfred Molina) and his assisting Junior Deputy D.A. Evelyn Price (Regina Hall) to build a case strong enough to win in court. Also prosecuting cases are Deputy D.A. Joe Dekker (Terrence Howard) and his junior deputy D.A., Lauren Stanton (Megan Boone). As they work within the boundaries of the criminal justice system, both sides must contend with the unique problems posed by the City of Angels' diverse culture.
Is it any good?
Like the original series, L&O: L.A. pulls details from news headlines to create stories with interesting plot twists. But these stories are told with a distinct L.A. flair and often revolve around the unique Hollywood culture. There are also some differences in the way the courtroom drama unfolds in each episode thanks to having two teams of district attorneys.
The show is well written, but it lacks some of the grittiiness that fans have come to expect from the franchise. While that may result from a conscious effort on the part of the producers to match the over-styled culture that Los Angeles is sometimes known for, it takes away from the series' edigness. Courtroom drama fans may enjoy it, but diehard Law & Order fans may find be a little disappointed.
Talk to your kids 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?
What are some of the differences between East Coast culture and West Coast culture? Do you think that the media is accurate in the way it portrays each?
Is the show's violence necessary to its storylines? What kind of impact does it have on viewers?
For kids who love dramas
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.