Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television TV Poster Image
Language, some violence in charming, ironic procedural.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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Positive Messages

Pretensions and being a Hollywood insider is mocked consistently. "You've got the Ry guy," says Ryan Hansen, answering his phone during a tense stakeout and defending his actions: "It's a callback!" There is some trash-talking, mostly directed at Hansen: "They let you in here now?" sneers a more successful rival. 


Positive Role Models & Representations

Hansen is charmingly self-effacing and not afraid to make fun of himself. "I'm from San Diego, so I speak bro," he tells partner Jessica Mathers, who is more of a staight-ahead dedicated-detective type, and who frequently insults Hansen. The cast boasts diversity, with women and people of color in strong central roles. 


The violent content is typically on a police-procedural level: dead bodies, some gore (a suspect's ear is shot off when Hansen tries to twirl a gun, a man is shot and blood and gore covers Hansen's face as he screams he can "taste his DNA"), a man is thrown off a bridge. Officers use guns and shoot with deadly force.


Some sexual references, as in one show when Hansen mentions that YouTube Red sounds like the name of two "huge online pornography sites" (he mentions them by name), or when another actor says that he didn't know Hansen had "the pipe" for porn. A villain mock-celebrates getting a callback for a role by air-humping the heads of two women in bikinis lying face-down on pool chairs (the women are unaware of the air-humping). 


Cursing and vulgar language includes "bulls--t," "f--k," "a--hole," "dips--t," "badass," "goddammit," "bitch," "dildo." 


Hansen frequently refers (satirically) to Hollywood in-crowd maneuvering: after-after parties, a fancy hotel where you can't get in "without a rezzie." Logos and signs of various Los Angeles locations are shown briefly. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink at clubs and parties; passing references to getting drunk. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television mocks police procedurals yet functions as a procedural itself. Expect violence levels the likes of which you've seen on TV crime shows: dead bodies, some blood and gore, guns and gunfights. Violence occasionally rises to intense levels, like in a scene where a suspect is shot by Mathers and gore and blood covers Hansen's face as he screams he can "taste his DNA." The overall lighthearted tone of the show may make these moments less disturbing. There are some sexual moments, too, like when an actor says he didn't know a rival had "the pipe" for porn or a man mock-humps two unaware women lying on pool chairs. Cursing and language includes "bulls--t," "f--k," "assh--e," "dips--t," "badass," "goddammit," "bitch" (a man saying it to a woman, than another man to that man), "dildo." Adults are shown drinking at parties, and being drunk is mentioned as a precursor to violent behavior. Hollywood insider maneuvering is frequently mocked, as is Hansen, who is called a "moron" and other unflattering things, yet is clearly in on the joke and making fun of himself and his star status. Women and people of color have strong main roles. 

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What's the story?

He's between roles at the moment, so when the mayor ("a huge V. Mars fan") makes a call to recruit for Los Angeles' Celebrity Vice Squad, the upshot is RYAN HANSEN SOLVES CRIMES ON TELEVISION (or on YouTube Red, at least). Actor Ryan Hansen is himself, or at least a version of himself, partnered with actual police detective Jessica Mathers (Samira Wiley), a recent transplant from Cleveland who cannot believe she's being saddled with this dope. But somehow, despite unfriendly bouncers and snotty agents and rival actors who get all the roles that Hansen deserves, the two of them may actually be making some headway against the colorful criminals they meet in each episode. 

Is it any good?

What might have been slight and formulaic soars, thanks to the charm and chemistry of co-leads Hansen and Wiley, plus fresh gags that poke fun at Hollywood life, police procedurals, and Hansen himself. He's obviously having a great time as he plays himself being just thrilled with his new crime-fighting job, and showing his partner the local ropes. When the two hear that a dead man was associated with a local hotel, Hansen explains that the spot is "real old-school Hollywood glamour -- Kylie Jenner puked there once!" Later, sitting poolside trading information with an informant, Hansen wonders "Should I take my shirt off right now? It kind of feels like McConaughey would." 

The police-procedural plot is really, it turns out, just a framework on which to hang jokes. And they're good ones, so that makes Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television lots of fun to watch, particularly for those who know something about show business, or want to. Having solved a crime, Hansen turns self-importantly to the distressed damsel who's just been saved and tells her she's gonna be just fine, courtesy of the Celebrity Vice Squad. "Really? That's a dumb name for a show," she says. "Well, you're a day player on it, so you can thank me for 12 months of SAG health insurance," he sniffs back. Ha ha, funny! And, educational. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television's setup. Is it supposed to be realistic? Why does Hansen go by his real name and seem to be playing himself, and Samira Wiley plays a character? Is the absurdity of the setup part of the joke, or is the audience supposed to buy the idea that real-life actor Hansen is solving real-life crimes? 

  • How do Hansen and Mathers demonstrate communication and teamwork when working together to solve crimes? Why are these important character strengths?

  • Families can talk about the gore associated with the many murders on the series. Does the show's lighter tone make it easier to take the scenes of dead bodies?

TV details

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