The Academy

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Academy TV Poster Image
Real deputy recruits learn to protect and serve.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Emphasizes the values of the Sheriff's Department, including integrity, confidence, and self-discipline. The training methods may seem severe, but they prepare recruits for the real challenges of law enforcement. Recruits include both men and women.


Guns, hand-to-hand combat, and other activities are visible, but they're presented within the context of training to handle violent situations. Instructors regularly yell at and insult recruits (also part of the training process).


Language including "hell" and "damn" is used mostly by instructors while training recruits.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series revolves around the L.A. Sheriff's Department's intense training program, which is designed to prepare recruits for the stress and dangers associated with law enforcement. To that end, instructors often yell at and insult the recruits (sometimes using fairly mild swear words like "hell" and "damn"); although they offer explanations for their behavior, it might be too much for younger or more sensitive kids.

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Adult Written bymail5511899 April 9, 2008

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What's the story?

Reality series THE ACADEMY follows a class of more than 100 recruits as they complete 18 weeks of intense training at the Los Angeles Sheriff's Academy -- the nation's largest Sheriff's Department. The men and women must survive the rigors of a program designed to make sure they're up to the physical, mental, and emotional challenges of the job. On a day-to-day basis, that means coping with nonstop pressure placed on them by the staff instructors, undergoing grueling physical conditioning, learning to make life-or-death decisions in a split second, and demonstrating integrity, leadership, and self-discipline at all times.

Is it any good?

Watching the recruits' struggle is intended to be more educational than entertaining -- staff instructors regularly offer viewers some of the underlying reasons for their extreme training tactics.

The series, which is narrated by Holt McCallany, also highlights some of the recruits' personal thoughts as they search within themselves for the strength and confidence to make it to graduation. As a result, The Academy provides an honest view of what it takes to work in law enforcement -- and it what it means to people who have chosen this career.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it takes to complete the intense physical and mental training necessary to become a law enforcement officer. Do you think this show accurately portrays what it's like to prepare for that kind of career? Is this show more or less realistic than other "reality" shows? How so? Which type do you prefer, and why?

TV details

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