TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Shark TV Poster Image
James Woods is bright spot in mature legal drama.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The main character has iffy ethical standards, but is good at heart. Some racial and gender diversity -- mayor is Latino, freshman prosecutors are multi-ethnic, and Stark's boss is female.


Scenes of bloody, murdered body and a blood-splattered murderer. Graphic recounting of violent acts.


Some brief sex scenes, but no private parts revealed. Some discussion of sexual affairs.


Slightly more adult than other network legal dramas -- "a--hole," etc.


No obvious product placement, but Stark drives a flashy sports car and lives in a super-spiffy house.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking.

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.

User Reviews

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Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

I LOVE SHARK (52yrs old)

Shark was a wonderful show, I have seen that it is on the cancel list for next season, with its time slot I am surprised anyone saw it, what a wonderfullly inte... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bygenaburchette April 9, 2008

THE BEST SHOW...............

This show combines crime with the angst of bringing up a teenager alone. i love each episode more than the next!

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the meaning of justice. Is it better to lose ethically or win unethically? Do the means always justify the end? If you were in trouble, would you want a lawyer like Stark to help you?

TV details

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