Night Court TV Poster Image

Night Court

Silly courtroom antics from the 1980s.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters are working for justice. One character is lecherous, but he's meant to be a buffoon. Racial diversity, though the judge and lawyers are all white.


Some comic violence, like gun threats with exaggerated reactions of fear.


Tons of sexual innuendo, including veiled references to S&M. Dan, in particular, can never resist the chance to hit on someone or make a suggestive comment. Prostitutes sometimes make an appearance.


Occasional "hell." Also sexual language, like "semen," "bimbo," and "sex."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

References to wine and beer. One character is accidently drugged and behaves stupidly as a consequence. One character smokes a pipe.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this 1980s sitcom features a lecherous character whose primary motive is to have sex with attractive women. He hits on women constantly and frequently engages in sexual banter. Some episodes include people holding guns in a threatening manner, but it's always presented in slapstick fashion. Women dressed like prostitutes often play background roles. Some of the material addressed in the courtroom includes violence or societal ills, though such issues are always treated lightly.

What's the story?

The legal staff of a New York City courtroom are the main characters in the popular 1980s sitcom NIGHT COURT. The show follows the antics of young Judge Harold Stone (Harry Anderson), lecherous Assistant District Attorney Dan Fielding (John Larroquette), seemingly dumb Bailiff "Bull" Shannon (Richard Moll), and naïve public defender Christie Sullivan (Markie Post). Judge, lawyers, and bailiffs eat together in the cafeteria, meet in the judge's office, and work in the courtroom while trading silly stories and one-liners. The comedy often centers on ridiculous scenarios -- such as when a defendant who believes that he's a native of Saturn takes the staff hostage with demands for materials to make an intergalactic transmitter.

Is it any good?


Amidst the gags come some serious moments, like when Harry and the Saturn man discuss the quest for utopia, or when Harry listens resignedly to the radio news announcing murders and sewage leaks. But the real star of the show, at least in the series' later seasons, is Larroquette. His slimy, narcissistic Dan is continually hitting on attractive women and reminiscing about sexual exploits. Dan is clearly meant to be a buffoon, and his lechery is part of his absurdity. He often finds himself at the mercy of the women he hits on, which lightens the otherwise sexist dynamic.

Teens might enjoy Night Court for its silliness and appealing characters, though it's peppered with pop culture references (Punky Brewster, anyone?) that will make no sense to them. The constant sexual innuendo may be more than parents feel is appropriate, but they should know that it's approached with extreme levity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about John Larroquette's character. What makes Dan appealing despite his icky personality? How would his behavior be handled in the real world? Do teens know any people like him? How do they interact with this type of person? Why are personality traits like Dan's exaggerated on television? Does it make them funnier?

TV details

Premiere date:January 4, 1984
Cast:Harry Anderson, John Laroquette, Markie Post
Networks:Syndicated, TV Land
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byAntonKreitzer December 2, 2011

Great for adults

but not recommended for kids. This and Married... with Children are the most racy shows I watch nowadays, as the humour and characters in both overcome the promiscuous, adult content. The biggest concern is one Reinhold Daniel Fielding - one of the most promiscuous characters to ever hit television. He is ALWAYS looking for a one night stand, but he often gets his just desserts - if he didn't, I would have to rate this show as not for kids. This being said, some of the other characters, notably Selma, often undertake adult situations or use adult language. Most of the cases are of an adult nature, although Judge Harry is often amusing with his magic tricks and obsession with Mel Torme. As for other characters, Lana, Billie and Christine are strong leading women, Selma, Bull and Flo are hilarious bailiffs, Roz not as much, and Mack rounds out the team as the straight guy. There was a reason this was originally on at 9.30pm at night - IT'S NOT FOR KIDS! The vast majority of minors wouldn't get it anyway.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old November 16, 2013

My mom used to watch it

I remember this a couple years ago on TV LAND I always thought Bull was weird though my mom used to watch it back then
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking