By Martin Brown,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Generic crime show combines crime and summery surf vibes.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Cat often acts out of self-interest, rather than a sense of justice.
Positive Role Models
The show features a diverse cast and avoids stereotypes, but all the characters are pretty bland.
Violence & Scariness
There are many shootouts, robberies, kidnappings, etc., but no one seems to get hurt and the actual results of violence aren't shown on screen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's some heavy making out, sometimes in bed, and often implies that sex is either about to happen or has just happened, but doesn't show it on screen. There's also frequent innuendo and sexual implications in the dialogue.
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"Ass" and "bitch" are used, as well as placeholder cuss words like "shirt" or "shoot," said in a way to imply profanity.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drug dealers feature in many plotlines, but there's no drug use shown on screen. Characters drink routinely, and there are strong implications that alcohol and alcoholism are a part of day-to-day life on the island.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Reef Break is a crime drama about a former thief and drug mule who lives on an island where she surfs and helps the local authorities solve crimes. The show features a lot of adult situations that don't always show up on screen: plots about drug dealers that don't show drugs or drug use; steamy makeout scenes that start after or cut away before sex; shootouts that don't involve anyone actually getting shot; even characters using innocuous words in place of profanity, like "shirt."
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What's the Story?
In REEF BRAK, Cat Chambers (Poppy Montgomery) is a reformed thief and former drug mule who returns to her former home on Reef Island and reconnects with various people from her past life, including her ex-husband, a former undercover fed who turned her into an informant. Chambers quickly gets hired by the local government to aid the police in solving crimes (hey like her outsider perspective), which sometimes puts her in conflict with the hotshot cop with whom she happens to be having a fling.
Is It Any Good?
Though it gestures at being a modern procedural, this is actually a throwback to a time when summer programming was cheap and disposable and didn't have to make sense. Many aspects of Reef Break are arbitrary and contrived, beginning with the main character, Cat Chambers, who seems to have a superhuman sense of perception that is somehow unrelated to her career as a criminal. Around ninety percent of the dialogue is exposition, and about sixty percent of that is Chambers or other characters stating or restating who they are. Chambers literally says "I'm a surfer" about once every ten minutes, but then she hardly ever gets on the water. If you like island scenery, you may be able to enjoy this pretty bland show.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about surfing. What does it take to be a surfer? What do people like about it? What's the culture around surfing like? Is it different from other sports?
For a seemingly remote island, there seems to be a lot of crime. How are there so many different criminal enterprises and types of law enforcement on the island? Do you think this is realistic?
What are the ways in which Cat Chambers plays both sides -- law and crime? How does she use the rules or breaking the rules to her advantage in Reef Break? What are her ethics? What values are important to her?
- Premiere date: June 20, 2019
- Cast: Poppy Montgomery, Desmond Chiam, Ray Stevenson
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Action
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 27, 2022
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.
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