Rebel

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Rebel TV Poster Image
Lackluster, violent crime series addresses racial issues.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Crime, racism, police shootings, coping with death, murder all themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rebel is strong, brave, flawed. 

Violence

Shoving, beatings, shootings; rape, stalking, and murder all occur at some point on the show. Blood, guns visible. 

Sex

Strong innuendo, people partially dressed, bed scenes; some crude sexual references. 

Language

"Ass," "damn," "bitch"; racial epithets; rude gestures.  

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking (hard liquor, wine, etc.), alcoholism, cigarette, pot smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rebel is a convoluted crime drama about a woman starting over in life. It contains lots of violent scenes (shootings, beatings, some blood, etc.), as well as discussions about rape, murder, and other crimes. There are some sexual scenes, strong language ("ass," "bitch"), cigarette and pot smoking, as well as lots of drinking. Mature themes like addiction, the death of a parent, race-related shootings, and complicated relationships are addressed. 

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What's the story?

Produced by John Singleton, REBEL is a dramatic series starring Danielle Moné Truitt as Rebecca "Rebel" Cole, a tough, no-nonsense Oakland, California detective and decorated military veteran who is forging a new path in her life while trying to cope with her brother's (Mikelen Walker) violent death.  After the death of her mother, she looks out for younger brother Malik and tries to emotionally support her father (played by Mykelti Williamson) who has turned to alcohol to cope with the loss. Luckily, she's got best friend Cheena Lin (Angela Ko) former boyfriend TJ (Cliff "Method Man" Smith) to help her hold up. But the shooting death of Malik by her partner Michael McIntyre (Brandon Quinn), prompts her to turn away from the force against the wishes of her mentor, Lt. Charles Gold (Giancarlo Esposito), and start her own private investigation firm. 

Is it any good?

This lackluster detective series features crime stories that take place against the backdrop of a police shooting of an unarmed black man. While it reflects one of the most controversial and emotionally-charged political and social issues of our time, the weak writing and clumsy story development fails to deliver any real sense of the powerful struggle that Rebel, as both a strong black woman and as a talented detective, is faced with.  

There are some odd gaps in the overall narrative, and the shifts between Rebel's personal problems and her attempts to solve cases feel awkward. The dialogue also can feel forced and unbelievable. People may appreciate the series' attempt to address the difficult issues surrounding the contentious role race plays in law enforcement, but, ultimately, Rebel fails to come together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role of race in law enforcement. What makes this topic so controversial? Should race have anything to do with law enforcement? How does the news cover this issue? What about shows like Rebel? What kind of impact does this coverage had on the way people think about police? The black community? 

  • Families can talk about crime. Why is it so often a subject of TV shows? Why do you think people find it an interesting subject?

TV details

For kids who love drama

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