Law & Order: UK TV Poster Image

Law & Order: UK

Classic L&O stories -- with a British twist.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series is set within the criminal justice system, and it shows how the work of police and prosecution comes together to convict criminals within the British legal system. Overall, the cops are good, the criminals are bad, and the court and juries can go either way (though sometimes loopholes result in criminals escaping justice). Some of the crimes depicted are perpetrated against women and children.

Positive role models

The detectives and the prosecutors aren’t perfect, but they do their best to get criminals off the streets and into jail.


Incidents and cases deal with bomb threats, murders, and other violent acts. Images of bruises and bloody wounds on corpses are visible. Dead babies/children are visible.


Some flirting, sexual innuendo, and references to affairs. Cases sometimes deal with prostitution and other sex-related crimes.


Like many British TV shows, it contains some language (like “tit”)  that's considered strong according to American standards. 


Steel occasionally plays with a Rubik’s Cube while thinking about cases.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

People are shown drinking at bars/restaurants. References to suspects being drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this British adaptation of the long-running Law & Order series features the same gritty, homicide-related material as the original. It also has plenty of violence, including bomb threats and pushing, shoving, and chasing criminals. Bruises, bloody wounds, and images of corpses (including dead babies/children) are also visible. Scenes in bars and restaurants show characters drinking, cases sometimes deal with sex crimes, and prostitution is sometimes discussed.

What's the story?

LAW & ORDER: UK is a British adaptation of the popular, same-named American series. Jamie Bamber and Bradley Walsh star as Matt Devlin and Ronnie Brooks, detective superintendents who investigate homicides throughout London and its suburbs under the direction of Detective Inspector Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter). Once they catch a suspect, the case is turned over to Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel (Ben Daniels) and Junior C.P. Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman). Crown Prosecution Service Director George Castle (Bill Patterson) acts as their legal conscience as they work to build and win their cases.

Is it any good?


This plot-driven series takes the same two-part approach as its stateside counterpart, which allows viewers to follow the complicated relationship between the investigation and prosecution of a homicide case. Each episode is a remake of an American L&O script that has been modified to fit the British legal system and to reflect the UK's diverse cultural dynamics. Despite these changes, the show manages to maintain the same gritty storytelling style the  franchise is known for.

The show’s focus on the Crown -- as well as the differences between American and British courtrooms -- marks some of the differences that U.S. viewers will see when they tune in. But these variations don't make the show hard to follow. In fact, it actually makes the series more interesting. Fans of good crime dramas definitely won't disappointed, and L&O fans will enjoy seeing how their favorite episodes have been given a British twist.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the British legal system. What are some of the differences between it and the American legal system? Similarities?

  • Did you know that the majority of police in the United Kingdom don't carry guns? Why is this the case? How does that impact the way the stories are told on this show?

  • Is the show's violence necessary to its storylines? What kind of impact does it have on viewers?

TV details

Premiere date:February 23, 2009
Cast:Ben Daniels, Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber
Network:BBC America
TV rating:TV-14

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Parent Written byMr. Mario August 17, 2012

Law and Order UK is not heinous.

Law and Order UK is actually the best series of Law and Order in terms of maturity in that kids 10 and up can see it instead of other Law and Order series.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written byWolfey May 14, 2014
Teen, 13 years old Written byThreeDaysGracesGirl October 30, 2010