The Beast TV Poster Image

The Beast



Undercover drama exciting, but has questionable role model.
  • Network: A&E
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2009

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Barker is a classic law enforcer who doesn't play by the rules but gets the job done. He's respected by his peers, but some of his superiors wonder if he's on the take. As an undercover agent, he's expected to lie -- but some of his ploys clearly skirt the rules, both the minor bureaucratic ones that can make simple processes take weeks and the important ones, like constitutional protection. Barker also seems to relish hazing his rookie partner -- but although Dove gripes about the treatment, he has nothing but admiration for the veteran agent.


Plenty of violence, ranging from drunken bar fights to gun battles and even the occasional rocket launcher. Most of the characters carry guns. Some of the fights look realistic and intense, leaving the combatants bloodied. One sequence involves people playing Russian Roulette while high on drugs (nobody loses). Storylines include arms deals.


No sex, but heavy flirting between characters and some innuendo.


Some unbleeped swearing, including "s--t," "bulls--t," "prick," and "bitch."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A fair amount of drinking and drug references; some scenes show people taking drugs. The agents often unwind after work at bars, where some people are obviously drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main character of this adult crime drama is a maverick undercover FBI agent who's willing to break the rules if it gets the job done. His peers respect him, and his superiors tolerate his behavior since he has a strong record of bringing in the bad guys. But some of his actions seem way over the line, such as blowing up a colleague's car with a rocket launcher. Some of what he does is part of maintaining his cover, but he also seems to relish abusing his authority, whether he's hazing a rookie partner, "borrowing" weapons from the bureau's armory without proper authorization, or blowing up vehicles to impress a potential buyer in an arms deal. Expect some intense, realistic violence, a fair bit of drinking, and some drug use, as well as some unbleeped swearing (including "s--t").

Kids say

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What's the story?

Charles Barker (Patrick Swayze) is an undercover FBI agent who likes to break the rules. He pays little heed to bureau policies or social niceties, but his supervisors tolerate his behavior because he gets the job done. His rookie partner, Ellis Dove (Travis Fimmel), faces the dual challenge of keeping up with the unconventional Barker, both on and off the job, and enduring constant hazing from the veteran. Despite the mistreatment, the newbie agent has nothing but respect for Barker -- but this admiration is tested when he learns that bureau higher-ups suspect Barker may be corrupt.

Is it any good?


THE BEAST is another in a long line of law enforcement dramas centered around cops who don't play by the rules, balancing on the very thin line between criminals and the people who pursue them (as Barker explains, "we know where to cross"). It's not exactly an original setup, even with the twist that Dove has been asked to play double agent, trying to outwit the master.

But Swayze brings flair to the series. He's believable as a possible rogue cop, and he really comes alive when going undercover gives his character the freedom to play criminal. Too bad the wooden Fimmel, a former model, doesn't hold up his end of the show. Luckily, watching Barker educate Dove about the subtle details that can keep an undercover agent alive on the job adds an entertaining layer to an otherwise standard procedural.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about breaking the rules. Barker regularly violates bureau policies in his efforts to bring in the bad guys. Do you think it's OK to break the rules -- or even the law -- in pursuit of a greater good? Do the ends ever justify the means? What would happen if everyone did this? Does Barker seem similar to characters in other police shows? Why are these maverick cop characters so popular? How else is this show similar to and different from other crime dramas?

TV details

Premiere date:January 15, 2009
Cast:Patrick Swayze, Travis Fimmel
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byjetdrvr1 September 10, 2011

I am not impressed.

Feds running roughshod over Constitutional rights is nothing new. They've been doing it since the FBI's inception. Illegal bugging and surveillance is common. Drug use and criminal acts by agents in order to gain the confidence of a target is also common. These people aren't heroes. If it weren't for the badge and the gun, many of them would have become career criminals themselves. Some have.