A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This is a series that wallows in cruelty and self-loathing.
Positive Role Models
Nearly everyone in this series is the opposite of a role model.
Violence & Scariness
Young Patrick is physically, sexually and psychologically abused by his father; adult Patrick engages in a variety of self-destructive behavior.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Oral sex between two adults is implied; as a child, Patrick is sexually abused by his father
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Many instances of "f--k;" "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Patrick is a drug addict and uses heroin, cocaine, and Quaaludes, in addition to cigarette smoking and lots of drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Patrick Melrose, based on the popular novels by Edward St. Aubyn, is a miniseries that tells the story of a rich drug addict working through some serious issues. The main character's childhood was a study in abuse and neglect at the hand of his wealthy but psychologically unstable parents, and the show includes many scenes of both drug and child abuse, including the rape of a child by a parent. Teen fans of Sherlock or Marvel's Doctor Strange may be interested in seeing the latest from Benedict Cumberbatch but this show is an intense descent into the ugliest parts of humanity without much reward.
Is It Any Good?
Benedict Cumberbatch gives it his all portraying this upper-crust Englishman, all brittle wit and cool aloofness who's so damaged he requires a daily buffet of narcotics to get by. When we see Patrick as an adult he comes across like a cross between Alistair Cooke and Hunter S. Thompson -- a pretty mess. It's in the passages when we see him as a boy that we start to understand the cruelty that was inflicted on him by his controlling, physically abusive father and neglectful mother. These scenes, which include rape of a child and its aftermath, are painful to endure and the it's a mystery as to what entertainment value there's to be had watching horrible people torment a young boy. That said, Patrick Melrose is beautifully filmed and Cumberbatch inhabits the role fully.
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.