TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Rubicon TV Poster Image
Moody mystery's weighty themes won't interest kids.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show paints a shadowy picture of a dangerous world run by people who can't be trusted. There's an overarching sense of uncertainty, and several characters prove to be duplicitous.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Will is a good person at heart whose intelligence allows him to do difficult -- and morally questionable -- work. He recognizes the power he wields but is audibly uncomfortable with it.


The main character is grappling with his wife and child's death (they died in the Sept. 11 attacks at the World Trade Center). Other subplots involve suicides and murders, but with minimal blood.


Some mild sexual innuendo between characters.


Some rare, unbleeped swearing, including "s--t." Other audible words include "damn," "hell," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this drama delves into some heavy subjects, including death, corruption, and government conspiracy. And while older teens could handle the content, the show's languid pacing just might not interest them. For the most part, language isn't an issue, although when characters do use the "s" word, it's not bleeped.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byhryhry September 24, 2010

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What's the story?

Think tank intelligence analyst Will Travers' (James Badge Dale) world was already shattered when his wife and daughter died in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. But his universe shifts again when he uncovers a potentially ominous message hidden in a crossword puzzle and reports his findings to his father in law (Peter Gerety) -- who's also his superior at work. Thanks to Will's discovery, both have now crossed a RUBICON ... a perilous point of no return.

Is it any good?

Much like AMC's well-executed series Mad Men and Breaking Bad, Rubicon is moody and stylish, with nuanced performances that play more like the stuff of cinema than television. (Particularly in the case of leading man James Badge Dale, who looks eerily like a cross between Glee's Matthew Morrison and singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett.) The series also highlights the talents of lesser-known actors (with the exception of the more recognizable Miranda Richardson), lending a sense of realism -- rather than star power -- to the proceedings.

That said, it probably won't resonate well with those who prefer their drama with some fast-paced action -- they could perceive Rubicon as dull and dreary. After all, it doesn't stimulate the senses with snappy dialogue, quick edits, and explosions; it takes its time, draws out the story, and actually asks you to think. And that's something you might not be used to doing when you watch TV.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's message when it comes to the world we live in. Is it saying that the world is a dangerous place? Could the show's plotlines play out in real life? How realistic are the characters and the situations they find themselves in?

  • What are some of the methods that Will and his colleagues use to crack codes? Teens: Were you aware that there were jobs like Will's before watching this show? Does a career like his interest you?

  • How does this series compare with other dramas on television? What does it do differently -- and does it work?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama and thrills

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