TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Marseille TV Poster Image
Steamy sex, drugs, and corruption -- with subtitles.

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Kids say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Crime, drugs, gangs, and political corruption are major themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though there are plenty of obvious villains, the main character isn't wholly good or bad; that said, he can't be counted on to do the right thing and makes his fair share of bad choices.


Criminal activity is a major theme; some characters carry weapons; visuals include death and bloody injuries.


Simulated sex with nudity (mostly breasts and buttocks).


Characters use words such as "f--k" and "s--t," spoken in French with English subtitles.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A main character snorts cocaine; other characters smoke pot and cigarettes; social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Marseille is a French-language series that streams on Netflix with English subtitles. That means you'll see words such as "f--k" and "s--t" in print (and hear their equivalents en français), along with brief nudity and simulated sex that leaves little to the imagination. A main character uses cocaine, and other characters smoke pot and cigarettes, with some heavy social drinking. Violent scenes include blood and guns.

User Reviews

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Kid, 9 years old May 11, 2016

Brilliant and outstanding but extremely graphic and sexy drama is for adults only.

My rating:R for strong and sexual content throughout, graphic nudity, and language throughout.

What's the story?

After 20 years at the helm of his sprawling seaside city, longtime mayor of MARSEILLE Robert Taro (Gerard Depardieu) watches his successor (Benoît Magimel) -- once a protégé -- become a ruthless political adversary. Meanwhile, his journalist daughter Julia (Stéphane Caillard) could be stumbling upon a much larger story.

Is it any good?

On the surface, Marseille is stunning. But this edgy Netflix series seems only superficially concerned with the city's beauty, focusing instead on its shockingly ugly underside. That not only includes sex, drugs, and organized crime but also gangs, greed, and government corruption, resulting in an adults-only destination that's iffy at best for older teens. Not that they'd be terribly interested anyway, as Marseille is clearly targeting a mature audience.

Marseille marks another first for a Netflix series in that it was filmed in France with French-speaking actors as part of a push to create original content for local audiences in other countries. That translates into English subtitles for U.S. subscribers and subtly shifts the emphasis from the acting to the (often laughable) dialogue that's printed on-screen -- like at one point, when Depardieu's character describes the city's flashy new casino complex in grossly sexist terms: "It's like a beautiful woman. The dress isn't enough; you need make-up, jewelry, and a lot of other things besides." Mon dieu, Marseille. Can't we do better?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Marseille's strong (but subtitled) language. Does the fact that non-French-speaking kids will read it -- rather than hear it -- help soften the blow? Can older teens handle the content, or is it best left for adults?

  • What makes something "binge-worthy," and does Marseille make the cut? How does a show that's created specifically for streaming audiences compare to a show that airs on traditional network television?

  • Will a show such as Marseille have wide-ranging appeal for audiences outside of France and other French-speaking countries? Who's the target audience, and how can you tell?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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