Persons Unknown

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Persons Unknown TV Poster Image
Compelling mystery with some violence might appeal to teens.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

On its face, the show's message is that bad things can happen to good people, without warning or explanation. It also suggests that people can be pushed to act in unexpected ways if put through enough emotional stress.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although most of the kidnapped characters appear innocent at first glance, some seem to have secrets. Being held in captivity could eventually push some "good" characters to make "bad" choices.


Some sudden physical violence including pushing, punching, kidnapping, etc. Some use of guns, knives, with minimal bloodletting.


Sexual tension occasionally arises between characters.


Infrequent use of words like "hell," "damn," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters make references to drinking alcohol; the prisoners' captors appear to be drugging them remotely with capsules that have been implanted in their legs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a largely psychological drama that gets pretty intense, with some sudden violent acts (including kidnappings and druggings) and characters who use guns and knives for protection, albeit with minimal bloodletting. Language is surprisingly clean, with only a few, rare utterances of words like "hell" or "damn." But other iffy content may hard to predict, due to the show's structure of revealing more about characters' secrets over time.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15-year-old Written byMom28monkeys October 3, 2013


I started watching “Persons Unknown” recently with my 15 and almost-14 year old sons. For the first few episodes it was fairly clean and extremely interesting.... Continue reading
Adult Written byluvbunni86 February 5, 2012


I have watched the first few episodes and for the most part it is very interesting. There is alot of violence between the cast. And there is a young lady you ba... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBritneyBritney July 20, 2012

Don't miss it--LOVE it!!

AMAZING show!!! I LOVED it when it was on the air! Every week had me guessing like "what's gonna happen next?" and whenever I watched it I was al... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymatthewr July 20, 2010

What's the story?

PERSONS UNKNOWN are holding seven strangers (Daisy Betts, Jason Wiles, Chadwick Boseman, Tina Holmes, Kate Lang Johnson, Sean O'Bryan, and Alan Ruck) hostage in an eerily quiet ghost town -- but none of the captives can remember how they got there. All they know is that one moment, they were living their lives, and the next, they were waking up in a locked hotel room with a surveillance camera tracking their every move and emotion. Once the strangers band together into a makeshift tribe for mutual protection, they try to deduce who's pulling the strings, and whom they can trust.

Is it any good?

On its face, Persons Unknown has a pretty absurd premise: Seven strangers wake up in a deserted town that could easily double as a movie-set backlot, only to find that they can't leave thanks to some sort of invisible fence line that's being controlled remotely by an unseen source. (Luckily, they can order Chinese food from the restaurant across the street. Yes, really.) But once you buy into the strangers' predicament, it somehow becomes plausible, if not oddly compelling -- particularly when you realize they're not living there alone.

Much like the wildly successful Lost, Persons Unknown plans to reveal its characters' secrets over time through flashbacks that shed light on their puzzling pasts. And while its no longer wholly original, that type of forumla promises game-changing plot twists that will likely keep fans interested. What's more, it's got real appeal as a gritty series both teens and parents can enjoy...a rare thing in today's prime time programming.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's plot structure and format, and the popularity of other TV dramas with central mysteries that reveal themselves over time. What devices do the writers use to keep you interested from week to week?

  • What do you make of the central characters? Would you say they're a diverse bunch? Do any of them represent popular stereotypes, or do they tend to defy things we've seen on TV before?

  • What role does violence play in the show's appeal? Do you think there's too much violence? Too little?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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