Southern Justice

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Southern Justice TV Poster Image
Rural Cops with bloody victims, drunk folks, drugs.

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

Positive Messages

It highlights the day-to-day challenges faced by police officers in Southern rural regions of the United States while on the job.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Officers are doing their jobs; some demonstrate compassion while doing it. Alleged criminals range from habitual drunk drivers to people capable of violent activities.


Folks are sought out for crimes like domestic battery and assault; the aftermath of these alleged crimes are shown, including victims with bruises and bloody wounds.  A few defendants struggle with police while on camera, or are chased down by SWAT teams. Guns, rifles, and police dogs visible. 


Occasionally there's some bleeped swearing. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drugs and alcohol are responsible for the majority of arrests, ranging from drug production to people committing crimes under the influence of drugs and alcohol. People are sometimes shown under the influence. Marijuana and other drugs are occasionally visible. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Southern Justice is a police-themed reality series set in the American Appalachian region. Not surprisingly, there's a lot of descriptions of criminal acts ranging from domestic violence to running meth labs. Occasionally altercations between alleged criminals and police are visible; victims of criminal acts are sometimes shown with bruises and bloody wounds. Alcohol and drug use are a major theme here; scenes of people engaging in drunken behavior and drugs like marijuana are visible. There's occasional bleeped swearing, too. Older teens should be able to handle it, but it's not meant for younger kids. 

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What's the story?

SOUTHERN JUSTICE is an unscripted series featuring law enforcement agencies in America's Appalachia region. Cameras follow Sheriff Wayne Anderson in Sullivan County, Tennessee, and Sheriff James Williams of Ashe County, North Carolina, as they work with their fellow officers to protect the rural area. From looking for alleged batterers to raiding drug labs, these police officers must balance enforcing the law while working within the close-knit culture of these communities.

Is it any good?

Southern Justice offers a voyeuristic look into the world of law enforcement in an area where the crime culture mainly revolves around alcohol and drugs. It also highlights some of the larger implications these crimes have on the overall communities, including the rise in production, sales, and use of designer drugs in the area, and how this correlates to the increase of reported violent crimes.

It's not always the most action packed show, but Southern Justice offers some insight into the unique social problems that these rural areas are facing today. Watching some of the officers being polite and sympathetic while doing their jobs is also a refreshing change when comparing them to other police-themed reality TV shows. Overall, if you like this sort of reality fare, you will probably find it worth watching. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about criminal cultures. Why do the types and frequency of specific crimes vary according to geographic region? How do things like poverty, education, and even boredom factor into the kinds of crimes that are common to specific areas? How can these factors be discussed without creating stereotypes about people or places? 

  • Are all the events that are featured on police-themed reality shows real? Or are they staged or over dramatized in front of cameras to make it more entertaining? How do you think people who have been chased or arrested on these shows feel when they see themselves on TV?

  • What is the appeal of a show like this? How do you feel watching people in difficult circumstances? Does it make you feel better about yourself?

TV details

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For kids who love reality shows

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