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 this legal drama details criminal cases involving murder, rape, violence, and sex. Scenes have involved a woman's bloody body and an Internet sex video that features sexual noises and some skin. The main character is portrayed as good-at-heart, but not above some immoral and unethical practices.
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What's the story?
Big-screen regular James Woods (Ghosts of Missippi, Virgin Suicides) moves to the tube in the legal drama SHARK. He stars as Sebastian Stark, a former high-profile defense attorney who switches over to the district attorney's office after one of his cases goes horribly wrong. Charismatic and cocky, Stark is put in charge of a small team of freshman prosecutors. He uses his box of defense attorney tricks to teach the young lawyers how to dazzle the jury and wrap up cases with a slam dunk. Jeri Ryan (Boston Public) co-stars as Jessica Devlin, Stark's former adversary and current boss. Stark's underlings are a diverse, well-dressed bunch who hang on his every word. The exception is Sarah Carter, who plays Madeline Poe, a volunteer prosecutor who wows Stark with her brains and ambition while alienating the other lawyers with her aloofness.
Is it any good?
Without Woods, Shark would be just another formulaic legal drama. But his acting chops are sharp and his presence strong. While work consumes much of Stark's life, he also has a 16-year-old daughter to care for. Though the show's writers may be aiming for a Veronica Mars-type father-daughter relationship, this duo has none of the quirky sweetness of that twosome. Instead, the wise-beyond-her-years Julie Stark (Danielle Panabaker) speaks to her father with a tone of pity, a sentiment that seems ill-fitting for the showy, loud-mouthed lawyer.
Shark is clearly an adult drama. The cases profiled in each show are sometimes gory and always entail a criminal act, some of which have sexual elements. And while Stark is a generally likeable guy, he uses tactics some would consider unethical -- and he's a realist rather than a true believer in justice.
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