Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to


By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

British detective show is violent, complex.

TV Netflix Drama 2016
Marcella Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 18+

Very dark, not realistic, definitely not for families - 18+

I really liked the first season. The second season was a bit too dark and disappointing - two much stuff with kids - very dark - people don’t want to watch children being hurt over and over. The third season would have been good except the main character was supposed to be sexy, but, she has lost so much weight that it makes her look frail and old - not sexy. They really need to get her help - she is clearly anorexic -she looked better before - the weight loss actually distracted from the season as she is supposed to be a sexy blond bombshell that all of these men are attracted to.. someone needs to tell her she looked so much more beautiful and younger with more weight on and it would have seemed more realistic. Story relies too much on her looks and her - first season had a better story line.
age 15+

Consistently Bad Plotting Undermines a Potentially Interesting Show

This show is a time-killer. Violence and narrative twists sustain interest. But the plotting is so careless that it eventually becomes irritating. For example, a murderer the viewer never suspects because there’s no indication, until the last episode of the season, that this person has any conceivable connection with the crimes. All of the other potential suspects just drop out of view, plot devices that are no longer necessary. Also, though this may not bother others, but Marcella is a truly unpleasant person. The same can be said of virtually every other character introduced during three seasons.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Dark and knotty, this film noir-type series intertwines thickly detailed narratives that require a viewer's full attention to navigate them. Marcella, who has no problem breaking the rules to investigate a case, is a complicated -- but sympathetic -- heroine. But the constant introduction of new plot lines and suspicious characters happens almost too frequently, and Marcella's inability to control her divorce-fueled rage sometimes makes you wonder why any police force would trust her.

Nonetheless, the show still manages to tell an overall tale that is both compelling and intelligent. Those who are interested in complex detective stories will appreciate the painstaking efforts to coherently piece together the often-overlapping details of each case. Not every question they raise will be answered as you watch, but this, in part, is what makes it an addictive viewing experience.

TV Details

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.

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.

See how we rate