The Case of JonBenét Ramsey

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Case of JonBenét Ramsey TV Poster Image
Reinvestigation of famous case is disturbing, exploitative.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

New examinations, old evidence, criminal behavior (corruption, abuse) alluded to, multiple opinions offered.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Investigators want to honor JonBenét Ramsey; the Ramseys aren’t portrayed as honest. 

Violence

Detailed description of a brutal murder, autopsy images, reenactments; kidnapping, strangulation, sexual crimes also discussed.

Sex

The sexualization of young pageant girls alluded to; potential sexual abuse is also discussed.  

Language
Consumerism

Chevrolet logo clearly visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Case of JonBenét Ramsey discusses violent details about the high-profile, unsolved homicide of a 6-year-old girl. The descriptions of the cause of the death are discussed at length and in some cases recreated using alleged murder weapons. Images from the murder scene and other evidence, both real and recreated, are clearly visible. Corruption and sexual abuse are alluded to. 

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What's the story?

THE CASE OF JONBENÉT RAMSEY is a docuseries that reexamines the 20-year-old unsolved murder of JonBenét Ramsey. On December 26, 1996, 6-year-old JonBenét was reported kidnapped and later discovered dead in her family's basement. Retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente, who was once called in to profile the case, and Scotland Yard veteran and behavioral analyst Laura Richards have assembled a team of profilers, linguists, and forensic scientists, including internationally renowned Dr. Henry Lee, to help them analyze details and shed light on some of the controversies surrounding the unresolved case. They hope to answer many of the questions surrounding her murder to offer an informed opinion about who the murderer is. 

Is it any good?

Sensational and melodramatic, this series painstakingly revisits some of the most controversial details relating to the unsolved case. With the help of file footage, family photographs, interviews, and even a large-scale set built to look like the original crime scene, the team offers their thoughts about what may or may not have transpired. Reenactments of key events, which consist of blurry, shadowy images, are presented. Throughout the process, factoids from the press coverage of the time are also shared. 

The investigators note that they are doing this to seek justice for JonBenét, but it is hard to see past the exploitative way they come to their conclusions. The scenes describing the brutal way she died, which includes detailed demonstrations with alleged murder weapons, are disturbing. So are some of the brief -- but dark -- dramatizations featuring JonBenét, which add to the eeriness of the overall production. Those curious about the case may want to watch, but others will find THE CASE OF JONBENÉT RAMSEY disconcerting. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reasons people use television and other media to reexamine and discuss cold cases such as The Case of JonBenét Ramsey. Do dead-end investigations have a better chance of being revived and solved if the details of a case are made more public? What is the difference between sharing and discussing the facts of a case vs. exploiting these facts for entertainment purposes?

  • Is it necessary to show violent images, recreate violent behavior, or offer details about violent events, even if they're offered in an informative context? What kind of impact does including violent content on television have on viewers?

TV details

For kids who love true crime

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