A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rush is a tense drama about a disgraced doctor who's become a medical fixer for criminals and ne'er-do-wells. The show's main character is an alcoholic and drug addict; we see him frequently drinking, acting drunk, and using drugs such as marijuana and cocaine on-screen, sometimes at inappropriate places such as a child's birthday party. This character also is a womanizer who engages in casual sex. There are vulgar references to sex, including oral sex, prostitution, and masturbation, sometimes in very graphic terms. Characters curse frequently, sometimes at each other, calling each other names such as "a--hole" or referring to drugs as "really good s--t." Drugs and alcohol often look glamorous on-screen. Violent images include stabbings, gunshot wounds, domestic violence, and graphic operations are seen in every episode as Dr. Rush is called upon to care for injured people.
What's the story?
In the intense drama RUSH, volatile physician Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis) secretly caters to the rich and the criminal in Los Angeles, who pay in cash for services rendered complete with a cone of silence. Things didn't used to be this way. Rush was a top surgeon at a ritzy LA hospital, working side by side with his father, Warren Rush (Harry Hamlin), and his best friend, Alex (Larenz Tate). But then Rush made a terrible mistake, and in one night it all came crashing down: his career, his relationship with his father, even the passionate affair he was carrying on with fellow doctor Sarah Peterson (Odette Annable). Now he's using his surgical and medical skill to patch up LA's bad and beautiful, pretending to Alex and everyone else in his life, including his savvy assistant Eve (Sarah Habel), that he's reformed. But Rush has more in common with his criminal clientele than he'd like to admit, and slowly but surely his barely-held-in-check problems start to break him.
Is it any good?
The problem with Rush isn't that it's poorly written or badly acted. It's that all the plot elements seem cribbed from other movies and television shows. There's a scene in which a drug addict snorts, dies, and has to be revived in a flash that recalls Pulp Fiction. There are drug-scoring scenes you'll recognize from Goodfellas. There are bespoke suits such as on Suits and case-of-the-week contretemps such as on Royal Pains.
And so, though Rush is stylish, clever, and occasionally amusing (Rush keeps mood CDs in his car, such as one labeled "Ironic happiness" that begins with Debbie Gibson), it also feels warmed over. It sure is nice to see Hamlin in action, though, and Larenz Tate, too. He broke through with Menace II Society in 1993, playing an unrepentant but magnetic thug. Here he plays an earnest doctor who's mostly on-screen to give Rush someone to lie to. These fine actors deserve more original material.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how realistic the show is. Explain to young viewers that hospitals must, by law, alert law enforcement when victims show up with gunshot wounds. With this in mind, does it make sense that criminals would want doctors to treat them secretly, outside of a hospital?
Is William Rush wealthy? How can you tell? How does the show telegraph his net worth? Are other characters on the show more or less rich than he is? Again, how can you tell?
Does Rush make crime and drugs look glamorous to you? Why, or why not? Are consequences realistic? Would you want to be any of the characters you see on-screen?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love drama
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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