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Parents' Guide to


By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Real-life emergency crew deals with crime, violence, death.

TV A&E Reality TV 2015
Nightwatch Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 13+

Perspective of a dad, paramedic, nurse, and teacher

I've worked in public safety & the medical field for going on a decade now. There can be some intense language, there can be graphic trauma, but it's a rather realistic look at public safety. Parental guidance strongly suggested imho for any children under 13, but the medics are generally positive & encourage the right things even when they are a little rough around the edges.
age 14+

Realistic, if rough around the edges

While others here complain about the language used, as someone with nearly 3 decades in public safety I can tell you that this show effectively captures what happens behind the scenes. Wish all you want, but real life isn't Johnny and Roy. Medics and cops are people under the uniform, with all the related flaws and imperfections. Nobody has ever sent me an engraved invitation a week before their shooting or dressed up in formal attire before having a heart attack. That said, as the advisory states, the language and presentations can be difficult, as they're minimally edited and reflect reality. Just like the jobs shown. As such, the age of the viewer should be based on their experience and understanding of reality as determined by a parent rather than an arbitrary number.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Watching an injured person being rushed to the hospital with sirens blaring and a team of medical professionals working him over can be dramatic and fascinating. That's why emergency room drama is a TV staple, from vintage shows such as ER to more modern iterations such as The Night Shift. It's easy to identify with a person who's helpless and in pain and easy to admire the people who've made a career out of protecting the public. Creator Dick Wolf knows what grips true-crime fans -- and gives it to them.

But for the sensitive or the young, Nightwatch is nightmarish. The music pounds and pulses; the camera returns again and again to blood or injuries; victims squeal in agony. The red light cast by emergency vehicles, the sirens -- it's sensory overload even for adults watching comfortably from the couch, much less for little kids. If you must watch with family, save it for tough teens who might at least learn that crime doesn't pay. There are moral lessons to be learned here, but the show is just too intense for young kids.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: January 22, 2015
  • Network: A&E
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: July 2, 2022

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.

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