Reno 911!

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Reno 911! TV Poster Image
Whip-smart cop comedy is too hot for kids.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series makes law enforcement look like a joke, which is great for the sake of comedy but isn't meant to be a serious message. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The cops drink, swear, and frequently break the law, although their slip-ups -- from tampering with evidence to goofing around at crimes scene -- aren't intentional; they're usually just the result of simple stupidity. Fortunately, the officers' moral blunders rarely yield positive results. It's clear that the crew generally cares for and supports one another but they don't always do a very good job of showing it. 


Since this is a show about law enforcement, guns are a regular part of the action. But all violent acts are committed in the name of comedy.


Officers regularly encounter sex workers as part of their daily beats. Nudity (of the breasts and buttocks variety) is sometimes implied but always blurred out.


Minor swearing ("pissed," "damn," "whore," "bitch," etc.) is frequent, but usually used for comic effect. More serious infractions ("s--t," "f--k," "motherf----r") are also frequent but are bleeped out.


In Reno, "the biggest little city in the world," gambling is a visible cash cow.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug busts involving cocaine, crack, and marijuana pop up on the police scanner from time to time. Cops are also occasionally called in to break up drunken brawls -- and sometimes take part in them, too.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that a majority of the dialogue in this guerrilla-style, tongue-and-cheek parody is improvised by the actors, so, for the most part, anything goes. The motley crew of "cops" who make up the Reno police force also frequently swear and violate the law, and they generally make terrible role models. But there's good news, in a way: Their slip-ups aren't intentional; they're usually just the result of simple stupidity. No role models to be found here, but plenty of comedy. The seventh season is available on short-form platform Quibi, but features the same actors and overall hijinks. 

User Reviews

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Teen, 16 years old Written byelnomo57 March 24, 2012

RENO 911! enjoyable fun!

Full of funny situations and events! A great show to watch on your own.
Teen, 17 years old Written byhamstergurl09 January 14, 2012


This show is completely hilarious! The criminals they run into, the cops themselves, the scenarios- everything is really funny. But it's not for young kids... Continue reading

What's the story?

Filmed using a single-camera technique that mimics the on-the-job immediacy of COPS, improv comedy series RENO 911! follows the antics of the fictional Washoe County Sheriff's Department and the motley crew of officers therein, led by Lt. Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon), who has a fondness for the shortest of khaki shorts. Rounding out the force are deputies James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), Clementine Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Cheresa Kimball (Mary Birdsong), S. Jones (Cedric Yarbrough), Travis Junior (Ben Garant), Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney-Silver) and Raineesha Williams (Niecy Nash), each of whom have their own idiosyncratic quirks. It's not uncommon for two officers to play a joke on another by slipping a little ether into his gas mask, for example, or for another member of the force to sample the drugs at a crime scene.

Is it any good?

Most parents would like their kids to grow up with a healthy respect for both police officers and the law, and that's the problem with this show when it comes to family viewing. It's bad enough that the officers aren't very good at their jobs; even worse, they frequently go out of their way to goof off -- and sometimes even break the law. It's hilarious stuff for grown-up viewers who prefer their satire droll and dark, but it's not meant for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ways in which police officers and other law enforcement officials are portrayed in the media. Do reality shows like COPS (which served as the model for this shrewd spoof) make you and your family feel safer or more vulnerable to violent crime? Why do those whose mission is to "serve and protect" us often become the butt of derogatory jokes? And has the popularity of shows like CSI enhanced the image of all cops, or just those who wear smart suits and investigate crime scenes?

TV details

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