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Reprisal

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Reprisal TV Poster Image
Trippy revenge drama favors style over substance.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

People fight to survive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters slot into archetypical if not stereotypical roles (ie the femme fatale, the gang boss, the recruit, etc.)

Violence

The show features murder, torture, intimidation, armed robbery, gang warfare, and more.

Sex
Language

"S--t," bitch," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters frequently drink and smoke. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Reprisal is a crime drama that takes place in and around a gang of violent criminals. The central character, Katherine (Abigail Spencer), is presumably seeking revenge against a group of men who attempted to murder her. The viewer also follows members of the gang as they run a mafia-style criminal organization. Violence is an intrinsic part of the series, including murder, torture, intimidation, armed robbery, gang warfare, and more. There's drinking and smoking, and characters use profanity, including "s--t" and "bitch."

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What's the story?

Katherine appears to witness a mass murder that her boyfriend and his gang seem to have committed. The gang tries to torture and murder her, but years later she resurfaces with a husband, who is ailing from an unspecified illness, and extended family, who do not seem fond of her. Meanwhile, Ethan (Mena Massaud) joins a faction of the gang called the 3 River Phoenixes, who are in charge of collecting money and enforcing agreements for the gang. It seems that Katherine may be playing the long game to enact revenge on the gang; while Ethan may also have an ulterior motive for joining. 

Is it any good?

One of the side effects of the streaming era is that platforms will mess around with subgenres that wouldn't typically get air time on TV. In this case, Reprisal is modelled after the revenge thriller, a problematic story type that usually begins with a woman being abused and left for dead. The plot then follows the woman through rehabilitation and revenge. Typically considered an exploitative genre uses abuse as a stylistic choice, there have been some quality revenge thrillers (Kill Bill is probably the best known) but they require a sense of self-awareness and purpose that counters some of the latent misogyny present. Reprisal has the potential to overcome those issues, but it needs to flesh out its two-dimensional characters and find more actual substance within its many stylish choices.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the layers of action going on in Reprisal. What is the central mystery of the show? What does Doris seem to want from her husband and family? 

  • Why do you think so many TV shows and movies are centered on crimes, crime families, and people who make bad choices? 

  • Why do you think revenge stories appeal to audiences? Is there value in them?

TV details

For kids who love mysteries

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