TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Runaway TV Poster Image
Family flees FBI in tense drama; OK for teens.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Family members lie and destroy property in attempts to evade the law, but they're innocent of any crimes and lead otherwise moral lives with some positive family messages.


Black-and-white flashbacks to a murder scene with some blood. Threats of violence. FBI agents carry guns.


Some teenage dating, mildly provocative clothing, adult flirting.


Some profanity, like "ass" and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series details the life of a family running from the law. Though innocent of any crime, the Raders must lie and destroy property to evade capture. The show can be tense and a little scary when the Raders narrowly escape the police and hide from the unknown person who has threatened the children's lives. Younger viewers may find this theme too much to bear, and some yelling and flashbacks to a bloody body might also be upsetting.

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What's the story?

In the action-drama RUNAWAY, the Rader family is on the run from the FBI. They've assumed new identities and new looks and have left their wealthy suburban lifestyle behind for a small town in Iowa. Donnie Wahlberg stars as Paul Rader, a lawyer unjustly accused of murdering his secretary who is now frantically trying to clear his name while also evading the real criminal who's threatened his family's lives. Meanwhile, resentment brews between family members: Teenage Henry (Dustin Milligan) misses his girlfriend, younger sister Hannah (Sarah Ramos) reinvents herself, and 8-year-old Tommy (Nathan Gamble) has difficulty remembering his new identity. And as the Raders struggle to be inconspicuous, the FBI hunts them down, piecing together evidence that brings the family closer to capture.

Is it any good?

Though the glimpses of the FBI's work add to the tension on the show, the agents' roles seem too thin to be compelling. Wahlberg's acting, meanwhile, is a bit one-dimensional and flashbacks showing him as a suited lawyer are hard to believe. But overall, the show works and pursues several interesting directions. As a lawyer, Paul was a workaholic and his family saw little of him, but in his new blue-collar role, Paul's increased presence adds a new dynamic to the family. Also, the teens get the chance to shed their previous labels of jock and nerd and try out new roles.

Teens may find the high school dynamics compelling, and Milligan's Harry is a potential heart-throb. O?ting for suspense over violence and bloodshed, Runaway is a mostly unobjectionable, decently entertaining hour that teens and their parents may both enjoy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about identity. What would it be like to have to transform completely? What would you miss about your current life? What would you be happy to leave behind? How would you change your looks? What are the positive things that happen to the Raders because of their new lifestyle? What's hardest for them to get used to?

TV details

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