TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Legends TV Poster Image
Deaths, guns, violence, deception in disappointing drama.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

With characters often electing to shoot instead of asking questions, positive messages are few and far between. However, Odum and his squad are on the side of law and order.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Odum and his cohorts all are dedicated law enforcement agents. However, the story is more driven by plot than character.


Frequent guns and shooting. Characters we've grown to know are dispatched suddenly and without warning; there is torture, guns held threateningly to people's heads, and near-constant menace.


Characters are single and looking to hook up. Scenes take place in strip clubs with female characters wearing lingerie and performing lap dances. There are references to consequence-free casual sex between coworkers.


Some cursing: "blow some s--t up," "life's a bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink on-screen; drugs may be featured as an element in criminal-justice cases.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Legends is about an FBI agent who's a master of disguise. His work involves lying and deception, plus near-constant violence. Characters are shot suddenly at point-blank range, some by the main character, who seemingly experiences no consequences for his actions. Characters are stabbed and die; guns are held to heads; torture that leads to death is depicted on-screen. Menace and the threat of death is nearly constant. There are references to consequence-free casual sex and a cringe-worthy scene in which a (female) colleague of the (male) main character pretends to be a stripper and gives her coworker a lap dance in lingerie.

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What's the story?

Martin Odum (Sean Bean) is a man with a secret. Many secrets, actually, in the form of LEGENDS, the identities he takes on to investigate FBI cases. His supervisors think he's the most naturally gifted agent they've ever seen; his colleagues, particularly operations specialist Crystal (Ali Larter), think he's reckless, too intense, and maybe even dangerous. His ex-wife, Sonya (Amber Valetta), doesn't appreciate Martin's habit of dropping in and out of his son's life whenever he's between cases. But, scariest of all, Martin's come to suspect that his life may be a puzzle within a puzzle -- the one identity he thinks of as rock-solid just another legend.

Is it any good?

Viewers who come to Legends prepped with the knowledge that its executive producer Howard Gordon was involved with the creation of Homeland and 24 no doubt will be expecting something similar to those shows: twisty, dark tales of the criminal element. Well, yeah, except Legends isn't nearly as good as it should be. First of all, though the high-concept setting is fine (if a little seen-it-before, as in the better Alias) but lazily executed with a case-of-the-week structure that's borrowed from the Law & Order franchise. Second, the writing and plot points are eye-rollingly trope-ish. A fuzzy image culled from a train station security camera can be zoomed in on so tightly that a facial-recognition system identifies the subject. Odum shoots a whole bunch of suspects without having to do any paperwork. He rids himself of an identity's truck by simply driving it under a bridge and setting it on fire. Really? There's no FBI lot he was supposed to bring it to?

Even worse, considering how strong female lead Carrie is on Homeland, the women on-screen are mostly window dressing for Odum to flirt or fight with. In the show's pilot, Ali Larter has to pass crucial information to Odum. How does she manage it? She impersonates a stripper, meets Odum in a go-go club, and offers him a lap dance. Sigh, really? Wasn't setting police work scenes in strip clubs the thing to do right about the time Beverly Hills Cop came out? Three-plus decades ago? Poor Ali Larter. She deserves better. So does Sean Bean, Morris Chestnut, and every other fine actor in this mess.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why police/intelligence work is such a staple of dramatic television. What shows can you name that are like Legends? Why is police work such a popular setup?

  • How old is Sean Bean, the actor who plays Martin Odum? How old is the actress, Amber Valetta, playing his wife? How about the actress, Ali Larter, who plays Odum's colleague with whom he hooks up? Does Bean seem the right age to be romantically involved with these women?

  • The creator of this show, Howard Gordon, also was involved with the production of 24 and Homeland. How is Legends like these shows? How is it different?

TV details

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