Rich and Reckless

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Rich and Reckless TV Poster Image
Greed begets violence in graphic true-crime show.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Criminals are clearly the bad guys, and while their behavior is shown and described in great detail, they always receive punishment.


Frequent and often extreme. Expect to see lots of blood, torture, bodies being dragged, burned, broken, and detailed stories about even worse.


Some episodes include brief sexual images, such as scenes from a strip club in which a woman is wearing very little and dancing suggestively.


Some mature language -- like "t-ts," "pissed off," and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drug and alcohol use shown in reenactments, usually in conjunction with crimes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this true-crime reality series goes beyond what many other reenactment-oriented shows portray. Scenes of extreme violence -- including torture with fire, guns to the head, and bloody after-effects of violence -- pepper each episode. Expect detailed descriptions of violence, such as prying teeth from victims' mouths or cutting off heads with a chainsaw. Some episodes also include drinking/drug use and sexual imagery, such as scenes from a strip club with women wearing sexy underclothes and dancing provocatively.

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What's the story?

Through interviews and dramatic reenactments, RICH AND RECKLESS tells the real-life tales of wealthy businesspeople, Hollywood players, and heirs and heiresses who encounter danger in the hands of ruthless criminals. Their stories -- from crime to courtroom -- are told and shown in graphic detail, with plenty of violence, drugs, alcohol, and sexual content. The thread that ties the show together is money. The victims in the show have it, and the criminals want it. So, for example, the story of a rich Miami businessman kidnapped and tortured by a group of greedy muscle-heads focused on how much cash the criminals extracted from the victim and how they did it (the grim details include a gun to the head, forced drug consumption, setting fire to a car, and more).

Is it any good?

Following the standard true-crime reality show format -- which relies heavily on dramatizations -- Rich and Reckless does little to improve on the genre. The gruesome stories are outlined by interviews with people close to the crime or the victims. While the family, media, and legal commentators speak with appropriate gravity, host Mark Ebner -- in a cross between America's Most Wanted's John Walsh and Tom Arnold -- pokes fun at the criminals, makes exaggerated faces, and speaks in corny metaphors that seem out of sync with the show's violence.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about money driving people to violence. What's so powerful about money? What would you do for money? Have you ever done anything you shouldn't have for a little cash? How does the media typically portray wealthy people? Do you think that could influence anyone to go to extremes to get that lifestyle for themselves? What else, besides money, drives people to commit violent crimes?

TV details

  • Premiere date: June 6, 2008
  • Cast: Mark Ebner
  • Network: truTV
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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