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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 Stalker is at heart an artfully done police procedural. However, it's not for young or sensitive viewers due to its graphic violence and scary material. It features particularly personal crimes, with a lot of dread beforehand. Victims, who are generally young and female, are often filmed from the point of view of a stalker, which may frighten viewers and bring on fears of being watched or stalked themselves. In addition, Stalker depicts deaths in very graphic detail, and there are jump scares and horror movie-style music, settings, and pacing.
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Non-Violent Crime show alternative
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What's the Story?
If you're a STALKER in the city of Los Angeles, the Threat Assessment Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department is coming after you. Department head Lieutenant Beth Davis (Maggie Q) takes her job extremely seriously; there's a dark reason why. Meanwhile, volatile and talented new detective Jack Larsen (Dylan McDermott) is good at his job, seemingly able to divine the motives and methods of stalkers with almost extrasensory perception ... almost as if he were a stalker himself. When these two pair up, they're an incredible team. But with unseen forces working beneath the surface of the cases they crack each week, David and Larsen are destined to collide. What will happen next is anybody's guess.
Is It Any Good?
Another case-of-the-week show! What does this make, several dozen? Do network executives have no imagination at all? That said, this is pretty snazzy stuff. The camera work and music are beautiful, and McDermott and Q have chemistry and charisma to spare. Also, the show's pretty terrifying and disturbing: A few minutes into the pilot, a screaming co-ed is being splashed with gasoline, locked into her car, set on fire, and rolled backward into a pole. Whoa! Later on, one dead-eyed young man tells another that if he'd really wanted to scare him, he'd have poisoned his food instead of just waited in his dorm room in the dark.
Scary. Adults for whom crime-and-punishment serials are a guilty pleasure may find this lots of fun. The writing is quite good, and the cases taken on each week are different enough to be compelling. There are moments of genuine dread and horror, not to mention surprise, plus plenty of possibilities for ongoing sucks-you-in drama. However, it's graphic, creepy, and frightening -- think twice before you let tweens or even teens watch.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why the police procedural is such an enduring staple of network TV. What types of situations or drama does the show's setting enable? Name some other police procedurals. How is Stalker alike or different from these shows?
Characters who have some type of dark secret in their pasts are common on television. Why do you suppose this is so?
What types of victims are usually featured on Stalker? Male or female, young or old, attractive or plain? Why do you suppose the show chooses to feature this type of victim?
- Premiere date: October 1, 2014
- Cast: Dylan McDermott, Maggie Q
- Network: CBS
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: February 26, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Morally murky drama is compelling, tense; some violence.
How to Get Away with Murder
Tense legal procedural is steamy with some violence.
Long-running crime drama has intense violence.
For kids who love thrills
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.See how we rate