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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Like many detective shows, Mr. Mercedes is about resilience and persistence in the face of evil.
Positive Role Models
Bill Hodges and his team are observant, clever, honest, and determined in their pursuit of a killer.
Violence & Scariness
Mr. Mercedes is about the hunt for a serial killer and contains graphic violent crimes and shocking violence. A man intentionally drives a car into a crowd of people. A mother and her young daughter are brutally killed. Some animated violence is shown, including a baby's head exploding.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mr. Mercedes contains a variety of graphic and disturbing sexual content, a lot of it intended to shock the viewer. We see the silhouette of a man masturbating. A man has an incestuous relationship with his mother. An animated penis is shown ejaculating. A woman gives a man naked pictures of herself. Sex is discussed openly.
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Profanity is used frequently and includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Characters work in an electronics store, and technology is used in a variety of ways. No actual product names are shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke and drink. At least one character is an alcoholic. No drug use is shown.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mr. Mercedes is a TV adaptation of Stephen King's Bill Hodges trilogy. The show is about a serial killer who wears a clown mask, and it contains other horror elements, though it's more hard-boiled detective fiction rather than King's typical brand of supernatural horror. There are some Easter Eggs referring to King's popular works hidden throughout the show. Violence and sexual content are both used frequently to shock and upset the viewer. A man drives a car into a crowd of people, intending to murder as many as possible. A woman has an incestuous relationship with her son. A man is seen masturbating in silhouette. Animations of violence and sexual content are also shown, including a baby's head exploding and a drawn penis being masturbated. Profanity is used throughout the show and includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," etc. Characters also drink and smoke, and one character is an alcoholic. Mr. Mercedes clearly tries to appeal to fans of King's horror films and books, but the violence and other graphic content mostly comes off as excessive and unnecessary.
Is It Any Good?
Stephen King fans undoubtedly have a certain set of expectations whenever his work comes to the screen. They want to be spooked. Mr. Mercedes is an adaptation of King's detour into hard-boiled crime fiction, but it tries to satisfy King fans' supposed blood lust with gory violence, disturbing sexual content, and some obvious referrences to King's library. The problem is that none of these horror elements actually add to the story, which is really focused on Hodges' co-dependant relationship with a serial killer. Think Silence of the Lambs, Dexter, or the BBC's Luther, all of which know how to be unsettling without alienating folks who have less interest in violence and gore. Instead, Mr. Mercedes settles for cheap thrills in a show that doesn't call for them.
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.