A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Humor is used in dark and often inappropriate ways, including making light of a man's disabilities after the main character throws him in front of a truck and he's brain-damaged as a result. While the main character's mental health is in question, his father still asks him to go back into dangerous international intelligence work.
Positive Role Models
The main character, John Tavner, has a brother who is a generally loyal person, even though he hides the fact that he has a son out of wedlock. The brothers put themselves in harm's way to promote democracy and protect their nation at the request of their father, while also trying to keep stable home lives for their loved ones.
Violence & Scariness
Use of guns and knives to depict violence against guilty and innocent people, including a coworker whom the main character called a friend before stabbing him in the leg. Close-up views of gunshots to an innocent man's forehead. Main character shoves a man interviewing for the same job in front of a moving vehicle. Plot implies that the behavior is justified; consequences are trivialized. Graphic choking. An image of a child jumping off the top of a building (he does not die).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passionate kissing in bed by husband and wife, partially dressed; man's dad walks in on scene. Passing discussion on the street by a man hiring escorts.
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Multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," some in the presence of kids.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main character says he smokes pot to try to forget the traumatic things he's done and seen in the line of duty. He asks another man to give him a urine sample so he can pass a drug test during a job-intake process. Other characters are shown smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Patriot is a violent, profanity-heavy spy drama about an undercover agent working for the U.S. government on a risky international mission. There are many visually shocking scenes, such as the main character shoving another man in front of a truck and a child walking off a tall building, setting the dark tone. Intelligence officer John Tavner almost always looks depressed and distant as he tries to maintain his personal life and his sanity in the most dangerous of circumstances. Tavner uses violence, humor, and folk music to make it through missions to prevent rogue nations from getting a nuclear weapon. Tavner works for his Washington, D.C.-based intelligence chief dad and is often assisted by his congressman brother. His wife stays home, hopefully waiting for his next return.
Is It Any Good?
This series tries -- and fails -- to make dark comedy out of serious ethical, emotional, and physical dangers. Patriot's three main characters are part of a father-and-sons national intelligence team. At times, it seems like the family business is causing the sons' lives to unravel. Edward (Michael Chernus), a Congressman, must lie about a son he's fathered out of wedlock. Dad Tom (Terry O'Quinn) sends son John (Michael Dorman) on a perilous mission to deliver money to Iranian contacts, even though he knows his son's mental and emotional health are unstable.
In between scary situations that lead to violent episodes, John -- a real tragicomic figure -- sings about his mental battles and heartache in folk songs; the music is one of the few reliably enjoyable elements of this show. Patriot adds even more confusion to the already complicated world of international intrigue and more often than not fails at its attempts to bring humor to a heavy subject.
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.