A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this crime drama's main character is a strong, smart female in a complex role. That said, since the series is about murder investigations, dead bodies, blood, and intensely emotional interrogations are all shown frequently. Crimes sometimes involve drugs and other nefarious activity.
What's the story?
Kyra Sedgwick plays a bold, quirky police detective from Atlanta who heads up a special murder unit of the LAPD in this riveting crime drama. Like the outstanding British crime series Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren, THE CLOSER's cases are complicated, the dialogue fast-paced, and the working relationships tense -- all accompanied by a strong, complex female lead showing off her stellar detecting and interrogation skills. Sedgwick's Brenda Johnson is a pleasure to watch; she's full of ticks and traits: her battle with sugar, her indecision over settling down with her FBI beau (Jon Tenney), the Southern charm she turns on and off, and -- most importantly -- her apparent disregard for her coworkers' opinions of her. The show's title refers to Johnson's unfailing ability to extract confessions from difficult subjects and tie up sensitive cases with passion and precision.
Is it any good?
While Johnson's co-workers don't always like her, they can't help but admire her dedication to her work and her unequalled abilities. In one episode, for example, Johnson investigates the murder of a police detective and a notorious criminal. She walks through a sea of uniformed officers who are protesting her delayed removal of the detective's body from the crime scene and stands firm against intense pressure to skip important investigation steps in order to appease the angry crowd. She's clearly a force to be reckoned with, wrapped up in tiny, blond female form.
Johnson's boss/former lover, Assistant Police Chief Will Pope, is played by the crackly J.K. Simmons of Law & Order and Oz, who turns in a quality performance to back up Sedgwick. Johnson's co-workers are a welcome mix of ethnicities, though they're mostly male; other female characters are rare, sadly. Tension between Johnson and the one other female character in the squad, Detective Irene Daniels (Gina Ravera), while hardly different from the guarded relationship between Johnson and the rest of her staff, could tip toward female backbiting with a slight push.
Blood and dead bodies are not uncommon, and semi-graphic descriptions of crime and violence are peppered throughout the action.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's main character. What makes Johnson so interesting? How is she different from other characters on crime shows? What does her relationship with the other main female character say about female relationships, especially in the workplace? How does race play out in the drama -- is it even a factor?