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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Law and order is the central theme, as is being loyal to one's country. Duplicitous characters are not glamorized.
Positive Role Models
Main characters are on the side of law and order. We see the central female CIA agent both at work and at home, struggling for balance yet succeeding in her job and helping keep her country safe.
Violence & Scariness
The audience sees some violence: a man who has been shot, KGB officers who rough up a suspect. There also are scenes wherein violence is threatened, and there's physical menace and suspense.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Adults proposition each other, but the focus is on espionage, not romance.
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A few curse words: "Aldrich has his head up his ass." There's also some rough language, as when a bathroom is referred to as a "piss pot."
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Products & Purchases
The miniseries is based on a book written about true-life events.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes take place in bars; no one acts drunk. The series' main villain makes references to going out for a smoke but doesn't smoke on-screen.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Assets is a tense, adult-oriented miniseries about a real-life CIA mole and the coworkers who ferreted him out. Many of the characters on-screen are duplicitous and dangerous; main characters will be in situations that are full of menace and include guns, occasional dead bodies, and some blood. There are a few curses and some rough language, as well as drinking and talk about adultery. Understanding the goings-on requires some knowledge of the CIA and espionage; younger kids will be quickly lost and also bored by the talkiness. Save this one for adults who are interested in the Aldrich Ames case, for watching after the kids are in bed, or with teens interested in politics or spying.
Is It Any Good?
The book Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed isn't required reading for enjoying The Assets, but it would help. Those without at least a cursory understanding of who Ames is and what he did will be a bit lost in the goings-on, when spying terms are thrown about with abandon and things move too quickly for a lot of explanation. That's actually a good thing for the type of viewers who will want to see The Assets, spy junkies who want a look at what really happened.
For said junkies, The Assets is a fiesta of inside information. Viewers will learn a lot about the CIA's inner workings and the United States' Cold War relations with the USSR. It's deeply creepy stuff, and it's illuminating to realize what was behind the Ames headlines. Meanwhile, a lot of the action will be boring for viewers who don't get the importance of what's going on. A clued-in viewer sees the fate of the free world at stake; one coming fresh to the Ames story sees an office worker frowning over pieces of paper in manila files. This is real-life spying, not a James Bond movie; adjust expectations accordingly.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.