Mob City

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Mob City TV Poster Image
No character is clean in this violent gangster drama.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The world depicted is dark and gritty and full of crime, ulterior motives, and betrayal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pretty much everyone on-screen is flawed in some way. Each character either is a brutal murderer, a thief, a corrupt cop, or a regular citizen trying to get his or her piece of the pie by any means necessary. Women are usually strippers or prostitutes, and characters of color usually are service people or entertainers.


Guns are almost omnipresent. Characters we've grown to like are dispatched suddenly and brutally. We see gore and blood, dead bodies, premeditated murder, and mass murders.


Many scenes take place in vintage strip bars; we see women in lingerie, bumping and grinding. Many characters are single and may date and get physical. Prostitutes seek customers on-screen.


Infrequent cursing: "son of a bitch," "s--t." There also are racial epithets, and there's some sexual language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke constantly on-screen and do so theatrically: puffing and sending out smoke in a stream. Many scenes take place in bars; characters drink and act drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mob City is a dark crime series about gangsters in Los Angeles in the 1940s. The goings-on are extremely rough: Characters scheme and double-cross each other, shoot each other in the back, commit murder for hire, and kill people who are supposed to be on their side. The audience sees blood, gore, and dead bodies. Guns, including powerful machine guns, are very frequently on-screen. There are no heroes, only antiheroes, but characters are complex and interesting. They frequently drink in bars and smuggle alcohol; they also smoke constantly on-screen. There are few female characters; those who are in the series are often prostitutes or strippers. Characters of color are in short supply, and those shown are usually service people or entertainers. There are swear words and racial epithets.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydarthsitkur December 13, 2013

this city, so damn beautiful, but only from a distance, up close, it's all gutter

mob city is a great mini series full of near nonstop action and suspense and great performances, I'm really surprised that this didn't get a second se... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Based on true stories on the lengthy battles between the Los Angeles Police Department and the ruthless gangsters who sought to control the town, MOB CITY centers on the exploits of Joe Teague (Jon Bernthal), a former war hero turned cop serving under Police Chief William Parker (Neal McDonough). Parker considers public enemy No. 1 to be Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke), but his cohorts are equally dangerous: Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (Edward Burns) and lawyer/fixer/all-around dirty dealer Ned Stax (Milo Ventimiglia). These men inhabit a world of guns and schemes, power grabs, and sudden reversals, always trying to stay one step ahead of a corrupt yet canny police force. And it all takes place in a town where the movie business is its own force of nature, with godlike studio heads, glamorous movie stars, and its own grubby side.

Is it any good?

"This city," sighs one of the characters in Mob City's pilot, admiring a view of Los Angeles that prominently includes the vintage Hollywood sign. "It's so damned beautiful, like a sky full of stars, but only from a distance. Up close, it's all gutter." Thus he voices the overarching theme of the series: the city itself, and the people within it, look glamorous and successful -- but, under the surface, they're all grasping and scheming and climbing and, inevitably, falling.

The same style-hounds who revere the period clothing and settings of Mad Men will similarly appreciate Mob City: There are beaded curtains and hats with veils, complicated hairstyles, and hand-painted silk ties. Everyone and everything looks great, and both characters and story lines are suitably twisty and gritty. Series creator Frank Darabont (The Walking Dead) traffics a bit too heavily in mobster cliches, but Mob City distinguishes itself from other mob dramas with its LA setting. Swimming pools! Movie stars! And lots and lots of guns.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the history of gangsters in America. How did they come to power? What was the public reaction to their actions? What happened to most of the mobsters during the 1940s?

  • Does it look fun to be a mobster in the 1940s? Why, or why not? Do their lives look glamorous? What about the way in which they are presented in Mob City makes their lives look appealing?

  • Compare Mob City to other dramas about gangsters, such as The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire. How are these shows and their characters and plots alike? How are they different?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

Themes & Topics

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