Parents' Guide to

Runaway Squad

By Kari Croop, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Raw-but-real series gets to the heart of why teens run away.

TV A&E Reality TV 2010
Runaway Squad Poster Image

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With his arm-baring muscle shirts and tough-guy talk, Joe Mazzilli is quite a character. But Runaway Squad never forgets that he's got a job to do -- and neither does Joe. After all, as a former member of a police-led pimp squad that rescued teen girls -- many of them runaways -- from forced prostitution, he's seen a lot. And he knows that every second counts.

At times, Runaway Squad is so real that it borders on bleak (much like another unscripted A&E series, Intervention), and it would be tempting to cut it down to a half-hour series. No one wants to accept, for example, that a 15-year-old girl who once collected awards for singing in her school's choir could become a sex slave in a matter of months, although statistics reveal her situation is much more common than you'd think. What's refreshing here is the show's emphasis on meaningful reconciliation between runaway teens and their parents, and long-term resolution of the issues that made running away seem like a teen's only option in the first place.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: April 5, 2010
  • Cast: Joe Mazzilli
  • Network: A&E
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: March 2, 2022

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