TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Standoff TV Poster Image
Tense FBI drama needs more mojo. Teens and up.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main characters are upstanding, if sometimes casual, FBI agents. Every episode deals with some sort of criminal. The cast is nicely diverse; the FBI boss is a woman of color. Discussion of Muslims as terrorists; some sexism.


Lots of guns and other weapons. Little shooting or blood, but constant threat of violence, sometimes involving children.


Passionate kissing. General discussions about sexual relationships. The main characters are involved.


"Bitch" is used frequently, as well as other minor curse words like "hell" and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this high-tension crime drama depicts scenarios that may be scary to children and younger teens, including hostage situations involving kids. Perpetrators usually have weapons like guns or explosives and threaten helpless victims. FBI agents also carry heavy firepower, and though there's little actual shooting (except at the firing range), there's plenty of aiming. The two central characters are in a sexual relationship, and they kiss passionately and talk generally about sex. One minor character is overtly sexist without any repercussions.

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

(this show must stay on tv)

i love this show .fox is trying to take this show off because of the views but a lot of people like so we don't know if there going to be a second season.

What's the story?

Procedural crime drama STANDOFF takes a slightly different slant amid the overcrowded genre. Each episode details a single scenario in which FBI crisis negotiators Matt Flannery (Ron Livingston) and Emily Lehman (Rosemarie DeWitt) work together to talk down a perpetrator. To complicate things, Flannery and Lehman are lovers as well as colleagues. Livingston plays Flannery a bit macho:In one testosterone-laden scene, after Flannery has revealed his relationship with Lehman, one of his colleagues rudely tells him he needs to "keep that bitch on a leash." This prompts Flannery to pick up a rifle from the firing range and threaten the man, and soon the two are off to fight it out with paint pellet guns.

Is it any good?

Fans of procedural crime dramas might get a kick out of the show's innovative approach, and learning about crisis negotiation is a fun byproduct, but those looking for a complex relationship to pair with the formula might be disappointed. The formula works well at creating tension and a 24-like urgency, but the central relationship feels a little forced, which undermines the show's entire premise. Perhaps aiming for a Mulder-and-Scully dynamic, Standoff's creators have written Flannery as a go-with-the-gut type to contrast with Lehman's more academic approach to crisis resolution. But these stereotypes are loosely written, and the actors don't seem to fill them neatly, making the contrast less effective and less convincing.

While Standoff has very little gore, its premise hinges on the possibility of death. The sense of being on the edge of a serious tragedy makes it hard to look away -- but also potentially disturbing to younger viewers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about relationships at work. How does having an intimate relationship with someone you work with affect your job? Are there certain jobs at which people shouldn't be allowed to date each other? Can being in a relationship at work help you do your job better?

TV details

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