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 Shut Eye is a tense drama about con men and women in the storefront psychic business. Said psychics are cynical and untrustworthy, exploiting clients for their cash and turning over kickbacks to a controlling group of Roma -- or "gypsy" as they're often referred to on the show -- mobsters. Almost every character on the show is unreliable and violent. People, particularly women, are often hurt on-screen: A man hits a woman in the head with a metal bowl, a woman's face is slowly slashed as she shrieks in agony, a cigarette is put out on a woman's thigh to convince her to talk. Characters have sex on-screen; breasts are visible. Cursing includes multiple uses of "f--k," "damn," "hell," and "s--t." A woman is called a "c--t," and a man is called a "p---y." Characters smoke cigarettes on-screen.
What's the story?
Set in the seedy underworld of Los Angeles storefront psychics, SHUT EYE opens as fake clairvoyant Charlie Haverford (Jeffrey Donovan) suffers a head injury that somehow grants him visions of things yet to come. This is only the latest complication in a life spent funneling money from fortune-telling businesses to an empire of Roma crime bosses, dealing with pressure from his upwardly mobile (and unfaithful) wife and partner-in-crime Linda (KaDee Strickland), and worrying about his angsty teenage son Nick (Dylan Schmid). But when the Haverfords start spending time with mysterious hypnotist Gina (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and underworld figure Eduardo (David Zayas), their lives become ever more complicated.
Is it any good?
With an utterly unique setting and appealing actors, this drama intrigues, but it has so many subplots and side characters that keeping it all straight requires patience. Careful viewers, however, will find things to like about Shut Eye and its outlandish swings. Not only is Charlie a failed magician and fake psychic who starts having real visions, he's beset with a bitter wife, dangerous mob bosses (under the unhinged rule of Isabella Rossellini!), an ominous client who implies that he'll use his considerable criminal connections to bring Charlie new business, a therapist who doles out psychedelics, and a horny and anxious teenage son who needs Dad's guidance (and a ride to therapy). It's a lot to take in, but it's compelling stuff, particularly for anyone who's ever wondered just what lay beyond those neon strip-mall signs promising answers to life's many questions.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dysfunctional characters in Shut Eye and discuss why writers so often turn to them for material. Why is a person with serious problems a more compelling character than one with a calm, "normal" life?
Criminal enterprises are often the setting for dark dramas. What other examples can you name? How does Shut Eye keep you invested in characters who do bad things?
Are any of the characters' criminal actions in any way justifiable? Does the end ever justify the means?
For kids who love dark drama
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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.