Drama series mixes bloody crimes and mental illness.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series offers a dramatized view into the crime-solving world of a schizophrenic scientist. The main character often rants against consumerism and corporate greed.

Positive role models

Pierce is schizophrenic, but not everyone he works with is aware of this and they sometimes make fun of his eccentricities.


People are shown striking out at people; the bloody injuries and images of murder victims are visible after the fact. People are shown going into convulsions and other medical emergencies.


Some strong sexual references, including discussion of inappropriate sexual relationships. Women are sometimes visible in skimpy underwear.


Words like "hell," "bitch," "damn," "crap," and "s--t" are audible.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Prescription drugs are often discussed and/or are occasionally visible.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Perception is a crime drama that revolves around the problem-solving skills of a schizophrenic neuroscientist, and contains some graphic images of murder victims and blood wounds. The show contains some cursing ("bitch, "piss"; "s--t"), as well as some scenes with young women taking their shirts off and in sexy underwear.

Kids say

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What's the story?

PERCEPTION is a dramatic series starring Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce, a forensic neuroscientist who assists the FBI with solving crimes in between teaching at a Chicago university. When former student and colleague, Special Agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook) hires him as a consultant, the eccentric Pierce uses his expertise in human behavior to help crack some of Chicago's most complex cases. But throughout the process he finds himself relying more and more on his schizophrenia-induced hallucinations for guidance. Sometimes his best friend Natalie Vincent (Kelly Rowan) helps him think his cases through, while others, like his teaching assistant Max Lewicki (Arjay Smith) and Dean Paul Haley (played by LeVar Burton) help him see the difference between reality, and what only he perceives as real.

Is it any good?


The dramatic series offers an interesting interpretation of what goes on in the mind of someone who relies on schizophrenic hallucinations to make sense of things that the conscious mind cannot decipher. It also offers some limited insight into how the mind works, and how we understand human behavior.

It's not as edgy as some crime solving shows, and its focus on the challenges that come with living with a mental illness creates some sensitive moments. But the series also features plenty of sympathetic and lighthearted moments, too, thanks to Pierce's eccentric, but approachable, character. The interactions with his hallucinatory guides also make for some interesting moments. All in all, if you're looking for an entertaining crime drama, this one certainly fits the bill.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the way mental illness is depicted on television. Do you think this series offers an accurate portrayal of someone who is schizophrenic and not on medication?

  • What kinds of stereotypes exist about mental illness and the mentally ill? How does the media perpetuate these generalizations?

TV details

Cast:Eric McCormack, Kelly Rowan, Rachael Leigh Cook
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Perception was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 11 year old Written byhershey1234 March 5, 2014


Me and my 11 year old daughter have been watching this and we love it. It's really, I suppose you could say smart. It's not as gory as some of the other detective shows. Not saying you should let your 5 year old watch it, mature tweens.
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byPhil91 April 11, 2014
I absolutely LOVE this show! While it is not particularly violent, i do think that older viewers will understand more of the show. For me the one of the best parts of the show is all the amazing information you get about the brain and the psychiatric disorders which i think many young children will not understand. So while it is not inappropriate for younger viewers, I would wait to show children this show until they are a bit older so that they may fully understand and learn from this show.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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