Outlaw

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Outlaw TV Poster Image
Renegade judge mixes justice-seeking with drinking, women.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series doesn't shy away from addressing controversial issues, from capital punishment to affirmative action. It doesn't push through one particular agenda, but it underscores the tensions between politically conservative and liberal policymakers.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Garza is known for being conservative, but he's also interested in pursuing justice. He likes to drink, gamble, and womanize, and he often makes sexist comments to the women he works with.

Violence

Cases deal with issues like murder and the death penalty. Images of decomposing bodies, fatal wounds, and other injuries are clearly visible.

Sex

Strong sexual innuendo. Women’s underwear is occasionally visible. Lucinda Pearl often uses her sexuality to get information.

Language

Words like “ass, ” "hell," and “damn” are audible.

Consumerism

Dell computers are sometimes visible. Law schools like Harvard and Yale are frequently referred to.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Visible alcohol (beer, hard liquor) consumption.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this legal drama addresses some controversial topics -- capital punishment, affirmative action, etc. -- as well as the continuing tensions between conservative and liberal politics. The main character, a former Supreme Court justice, is a political conservative who believes in pursuing justice but also likes women, drinking, and gambling -- which makes him a complex role model at best. Expect some iffy language (“ass, ” "hell," “damn," etc.), as well as strong sexual innuendo and sexist comments. There are also some graphic images of decomposing bodies and fatal wounds in episodes that revolve around murder and/or death.

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What's the story?

OUTLAW centers on Cyrus Garza (Jimmy Smits), a notoriously conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice who, despite his political views, likes to live on the wild side. After the death of his father, a well-known liberal advocate, Garza resigns the bench in order to help those whom he believes have been disenfranchised by the legal system. Helping him pursue justice for his clients are his best friend/liberal-minded defense attorney Al Druzinsky (David Ramsey) and law clerks Mereta Stockman (Ellen Woglom) and Eddie Franks (Jesse Bradford). Also joining them is edgy private investigator Lucinda Pearl (Carly Pope). While the team works through seemingly impossible cases, Garza must also deal with the enemies he’s made in Washington, D.C., as well as the various personal problems that result from his playboy-like ways.

Is it any good?

Outlaw combines sophisticated dramatic storylines with some lighthearted moments in order to tell an intelligent story. It touches on a wide range of controversial issues that are relevant today, using them to examine the conflicting philosophies of conservative and liberal political thinkers.

The show definitely has some flair, but there are times when the constitutional law discussions are so technical that it's hard to follow. Meanwhile, some of the funny moments seem a little out of step with the series' overall mood. Still, folks who like thoughtful legal dramas will probably enjoy what’s being offered here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the law. How does political point of view impact the way law is practiced in America? Should it have an impact?

  • Did you know that Supreme Court justices are appointed for life? How realistic do you think it is for a justice to step down and go back to practicing law?

  • How does the media typically portray lawyers, judges, and politics? Is this show different in any way?

TV details

For kids who love politics

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