Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force

Common Sense Media says

Ride-along with the U.S. Marshals is exciting but tense.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series follows the exploits of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force as they track down wanted criminals and provides an interesting look at the inner workings of an elite law enforcement agency.


Some intense moments as the marshals apprehend their quarry. The tension and anxiety are especially palpable in the brief moments before the marshals burst through a door in search of a wanted criminal, as they stand ready with guns drawn, waiting for the command to go. Though there's little actual violence, the scenes show real people facing real danger. Guns are ubiquitous.

Not applicable

Some words are bleeped.


Some businesses are mentioned by name, such as hotels and rental car companies. Plenty of commercial signage is visible in the background as the marshals hit the streets to track down criminals.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some mentions of the drug trade, and the marshals sometimes say they want a drink after their shifts.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series follows the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force as its members track down wanted criminals. It includes many interesting details about their basic investigative techniques and shows the marshals in action as they apprehend their quarry. Some of these scenes can be quite intense, as the marshals strap on their weapons and body armor and then go after their targets. There's little actual violence, but it's clear that they're facing real danger. Guns are prominent throughout the series, and the marshals also swear (it's mostly bleeped) and discuss the gun trade.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

MANHUNTERS: FUGITIVE TASK FORCE follows the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, an elite law enforcement team dedicated to tracking down wanted fugitives. Cameras roll as they plan their investigations in their New York headquarters, hit the streets to pursue leads, and evaluate various clues as they try to locate dangerous criminals. And after the team finds their prey, viewers watch as they strap on their weapons and body armor and head out to capture them.

Is it any good?


Like many actual police investigations, Manhunters features plenty of mundane incidents punctuated by brief moments of real danger. The series shows commander Lenny DePaul, deputies Tommy Kilbride and Michelle Mendez, and other members of the team at work, pounding the streets, asking questions, scanning computer databases, and doing other important (if sometimes unexciting) tasks. As they proceed, the marshals offer plenty of explanation about their basic investigative techniques, which provides interesting insights into this rarely seen world and makes the segments more interesting to watch. The team often interacts with other law enforcement agencies, showing the extensive resources that can be brought to bear on finding a single person. Despite the many fictional films and TV shows that feature people evading capture on the run, the reality show version makes it clear that the odds are heavily against the fugitive.

But that doesn't make it any easier to bring them in. Oncethe marshals locate their quarry, they have to actually capture them. When the team is suited up in body armor, guns drawn, waiting in a hallway and ready to burst through some anonymous doorway, it's obvious that these are real people performing a really dangerous job. It may be too intense for younger viewers, but teens and adults with a taste for this topic will find it interesting.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this series compares to fictional media portrayals of criminals on the run. Do you think TV shows and the movies sometimes make being a fugitive look exciting or glamorous? Why do you think filmmakers and producers choose to do that? Do you think it's ever really like that? Do you think you would be able to escape from the marshals if you had to flee? Where would you go, and what would you do? Do you think you would avoid any of the mistakes made by these real-life fugitives?

TV details

Cast:Chuck Saale, Lenny DePaul, Michelle Mendez
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 9 year old Written byMarcomMom January 22, 2010
I personally love this show because of the incredibly brave, well-trained and dedicated U.S. Marshals. I have let my almost-ten-year-old daughter watch it with me once or twice, since the bad language tends to be bleeped and I think the female law-enforcement officials are fantastic role models. However, I am very wary of letting her watch too often and I screen all of the episodes first to avoid showing any that deal with the issue of rape as a crime. They never show any crime-scene photos. The saddest part is the occasional meeting with the crime-victims' families, but those are very rare.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Adult Written byJustice101 June 20, 2012

Great show but a little on the unprofessional side.

I think its good that these Marshels are catching dangerous people and getting them off the streets and they do a good job at it. What I don't agree with is some of the comments that are made about the fugitives they are going after. For example, "They can't be changed". U.S. Marshels are not doctors, they only apprehend wanted people that are presumed innocent untill proven guilty. Saying that someone can't be changed presumes that they are guilty before they are proven guilty. When viewers watch this show and hear these types of comments it creates a false sense of security that fuels media hype and vigilantism.


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