A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Viewers will come away with a positive impression of FBI investigators, who put in long, difficult hours trying to keep civilians safe.
Positive Role Models
James Fitzgerald emerges as an impassioned yet tortured investigator: working hard into the night, and being affected by the Unabomber's messages. But despite saying he wants to be there for his family, Fitzgerald basically winds up abandoning them.
Violence & Scariness
Scenes with explosions and brief but very graphic shots of victims: a man burnt black, writhing in agony and impaled with many sharp pieces of metal; a close-up shot of a man's hand so mangled it looks like hamburger. A shot of a dead, limp rabbit held by a hunter.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few references to sex: The FBI says the Unabomber stopped bombing when he finally "got laid." The FBI wants Fitzgerald to work erectile dysfunction into his Unabomber profile. "What is it with men and their dongs?" asks Tabby.
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Occasional cursing and language: "damn," "BS," "sucks," "fart," "dong."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Colleagues drink at a bar; no one acts drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Manhunt is an anthology series about criminal cases from the past. Its first season is about the Unabomber, while the second examines the case of Richard Jewell (portrayed by Mindhunter's Cameron Britton). The series is from the point of view of law enforcement, so there's not as much graphic content as if we were watching from the point of view of the serial killer, but there are still several shots of terribly mangled bombing victims: a close-up of a hand so mangled it looks like a pile of meat, another man writhing in agony on a floor, burnt black and impaled with sharp pieces of metal. We also see reenactments of bombings, with fireballs and flying debris (but no blood or bodies). A dead rabbit is toted by a hunter in an early scene. There are a couple of references to sex: jokes about erectile dysfunction that involve the word "dongs," a joke about "getting laid." Cursing and language is mild and infrequent: "damn," "BS," "sucks," "fart," "dong."
Is It Any Good?
Moving back in forth in time and bringing a complicated investigation to life, this drama paints a gripping picture of men obsessed. Kaczynski's obsessions, of course, were detailed in long media accounts of the criminal and his crimes, as well as his letters and manifesto. Fitzgerald soon emerges as a complicated and tortured man. The same insight and leaps of reasoning that allow him to understand the Unabomber are what connects him too closely to the case. We see at the beginning of the series that he has become a Unabomber-like figure himself: a recluse in the woods. What changed the loving family man and cop (who we soon meet in one of the drama's time jumps) into this grizzled mountain man?
The answers are teased out intriguingly slowly, as we meet the cops on Kacynski's case and see how the FBI closed in on him. One thing this long-form treatment offers that a one-hour procedural can't: We see the grinding effort that building a case requires -- mountains of evidence, dozens of people picking through it, thousands of leads investigated and discarded. And then, ironically, the case's biggest break turns out to be Kacynski's brother, David (Mark Duplass), turning him in (in a roundabout fashion). The strength of Manhunt is that you don't just see the effort and the irony -- you feel it. This is one crime yarn that deserves its running time.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.