Parents' Guide to

The Black Donnellys

By Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Revenge and loyalty drive violent NYC crime drama.

TV NBC Drama 2007
The Black Donnellys Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

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Tucker tries to balance tough-guy intensity with tortured sensitivity, but his portrayal of Tommy is a little stiff, and his facial expressions hardly vary from scene to scene. With so much of the emotional weight of the show resting on his shoulders, he needs to bring more nuance to the role for The Black Donnellys to live up to the credentials of the show's creators (Oscar winners Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco). Like any good drama series, Donnellys has several plot lines in play at all times. But with all the different characters, as well as an unreliable narrator, only the most astute viewers will be able to keep track of everything that's going on. The recaps that start each episode help, but those who come to the show late might still have difficulty piecing all the parts together.

Speaking of piecing parts together... Taking a page from The Departed and The Sopranos, Donnellys is intensely violent -- though slightly tempered for network television. For example, while both Donnellys and Sopranos might feature mobsters trying to dispose of a dead body, Donnellys "only" shows the blood spray on Tommy's face as he bashes the corpse into pieces with a sledgehammer -- while Sopranos might zoom in on the hammer as it connects with the body. (In other words? Network television or no, this isn't one for kids or the weak of stomach.)

TV Details

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