A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ransom is a drama about a successful hostage negotiator. A hostage situation occurs on each episode, and innocent people, sometimes children, are kidnapped, sometimes at gunpoint, and held in dangerous situations. Guns are brandished and fired by law enforcement and criminals; dead bodies with blood may be shown briefly. A kidnapped boy screams and beats on the windows of a van as he's kidnapped; there are references to child abuse, murder, and other crimes. Crime isn't glamorized, though criminals may be presented sympathetically and their motives explained. A dedicated, brave crime-fighting team generally foils criminals; negotiator Eric Beaumont tries to save lives above all else. Very occasional cursing includes the likes of "I'll be damned."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Inspired by the professional experiences of noted crisis negotiators Laurent Combalbert and Marwan Mery, RANSOM centers on a conflict-resolution team that works on tense situations for multinational corporations, government agencies, and private individuals. The man in charge is Eric Beaumont (Luke Roberts), who boasts many years of experience of getting hostages out alive. Beaumont's right-hand woman is Zara Hallam (Nazneen Contractor), who sets up all the background work for Beaumont's negotiations. Also on the team: psychological evaluator Oliver Yates (Brandon Jay McLaren) and Maxine Carlson (Sarah Greene), the newest and most volatile member. These four professionals have to keep their cool even when kidnappers and terrorists are turning up the heat, no matter what each day brings.
Is it any good?
Basing a series on the exploits of a real-life hostage negotiator sounds like a great concept, yet this effort comes off as just another procedural. Alert viewers will feel their heart sinking in the first few minutes of the show's pilot, as Beaumont is introduced in the middle of a negotiation and takes the time to swing around to face the camera, which lingers on his blue-blue eyes as he stares moodily out a window. Sigh. You've got the show's number right there: Beaumont's a faultless, almost omniscient hero who always does the right thing and looks good doing it. He's idolized by his team and law enforcement alike, and when regular cops don't know what to do, they call in Big Man Eric to save the day with an idea that's crazy -- but just might work.
You've seen heroes just like him in House, Bull, Lie to Me, and dozens of other crime-focused shows built around one amazing guy who succeeds where others fail and who, when not on-screen, other characters are busy praising to the skies. The worst thing about this type of character? Viewers get no pleasure when he succeeds, because of course he will, and he'll always come out on top when the credits roll, just because he's the guy. If that's the type of show you enjoy, you may enjoy this one too. But if you're a viewer who prefers not to know what will happen next, this will bore the pants off you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Is it necessary to show violent behavior to highlight a dangerous and/or violent situation? Can a TV show, film, or documentary have the same kind of impact without showing brutal acts and/or blood and gore?
What is the impact of violence on kids? Does it have the same impact on adults?
All the leads in Ransom are good-looking enough to be models. Do the real-life negotiators this series is based on look like their TV counterparts? Why do networks and movie companies usually cast better-looking versions of real people for "based on a true story" stories?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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