Saving Grace

Tough female cop has problems only God can fix.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main character has good heart and good intentions, is loving toward her nieces and nephews, and does good work. She also leads a self-destructive lifestyle, though the theme of the show is her struggle to reform.


Crimes investigated include a child abduction, possible sexual abuse, murder, and more. In one episode, a disturbed teen commits suicide; viewers see him throw himself off a high platform and later see photos of him dead, with blood pooled around his head. Grace punches man in face after he sexually harasses her. References to the Oklahoma city bombings.


Quite graphic sex scenes for basic cable -- though key body parts are always hidden. Off-screen oral sex. Frank discussion of sexual promiscuity. Some scenes of females in bras and underwear.


Pretty much anything goes, except "f--k."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Grace drinks and smokes frequently. In the first episode, she kills someone while driving drunk. The theme of the show is her reform, which includes cutting back on her vices.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this crime-and-faith drama is packed full of adult material that's particularly edgy for basic cable. The very first episode opens with a vigorous sex scene, which -- while key body parts are always hidden -- leaves nothing to the imagination. The main character is sexually promiscuous, drinks heavily, and smokes constantly, but she has a good heart, and the series is about her quest to reform herself (with an angel's help) after she kills someone while driving drunk. She investigates some very violent crimes in her work as a detective, including a child abduction with the possibility of sexual abuse and murder.

What's the story?

Holly Hunter stars as Grace Hanadarko, an Oklahoma City police detective who lives fast and loose, drinking too much and sleeping with the wrong men. After driving drunk and killing a man (or so she thinks), Grace asks for help. An unconventional angel named Earl (Leon Rippy from Deadwood) responds, telling Grace that she is headed for hell, but he will help lead her back to the right path.

Is it any good?


At first glance, SAVING GRACE is a typical (if particularly racy) cop drama about a hard-living, self-destructive female detective who lives for her work and is at the top of her game. But then a winged angel spitting tobacco into an empty soda bottle appears, and preconceptions about the cable series come to a screeching halt. Bringing God, angels, heaven, and hell into the world of a gritty police drama -- where Grace investigates crimes like child abductions and other violent matters -- is tricky business. What keeps the program from getting too cheesy is the stellar cast.

Hunter plays her role full-force; sometimes it seems like the acting is taking over the character, but then she pulls it back in and delivers powerful moment after moment. Her unconventional angel, Earl, is the perfect foil to penetrate Grace's bitter cynicism. The rest of the cast comes from good stock as well, keeping the show -- which sometimes tends toward formulaic plots -- exciting to watch. But with its vigorous sexual scenes, heavy drinking and smoking, and frank discussion of grizzly crimes, Saving Grace is absolutely adult material.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the issues that Grace struggles with. What's behind her drinking, smoking, and sexual escapades? What are the consequences of her actions? Why does she decide to change her ways? What messages is the show sending about forgiveness and redemption? Are those messages more meaningful because Grace is such a flawed character? Do you think everyone deserves a second chance? Families can also discuss faith. How do you define faith or grace? If you have spiritual beliefs, how do you practice them?

TV details

Cast:Holly Hunter, Laura San Giacomo, Leon Rippy
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Saving Grace was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bynicole623az April 9, 2008
age 0+

Too much sex.

I am still trying to figure out if I like this show. I don't even know if I like Grace. It has strong sexual scenes and I wouldn't want my kids seeing it unless they were at least 18. It has it's good moments where it is interesting. But this week's episode lost me! I dislike her more and more every time I watch it.
Teen, 16 years old Written bylelexy2000 July 13, 2010
age 16+

Holly Hunter Rocks

I love this show because Holly Hunter is one of my favorite actresses and she is the best in that show. She makes you laugh, she makes you cry she is just fantasic in that show. I thought that show should have been rated TV-14 because half the stuff you see that that show is the same things that u see in those kinds of tv shows. I was proud of how the series ended.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old August 20, 2009
age 13+

A bit iffy

Intense sex scenes, smoking, drinking, and drug use, violence, ect. There are some positive messages, like the fact that Grace has an angel. I personally like this show, but it may be intense for most normal children :p.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass