The Deep End

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Deep End TV Poster Image
So-so drama about young lawyers includes iffy themes.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show is constantly testing the young lawyers and their ability to balance personal ethics with the often-conflicting demands of their jobs. Is it possible to do the right thing and get ahead, or is moral compromise inevitable?

Positive Role Models & Representations

The central characters are young, intelligent, and accomplished, but they don't always make ethical decisions across the board. (One enters into a sexual relationship with a client, for example, while another obscures a client's mental incompetence under pressure.) There's a balance, however, of those who generally do the right thing vs. those who generally don't.


A male character says that he has an "impulse control problem" when it comes to women and often has sex with more than one partner in a single episode. Other characters have inter-office flings. No sensitive body parts are shown, although sex is implied via bare shoulders peeking out of blankets, characters fumbling with zippers, etc. There's lots of sexual innuendo, too, including phrases like, "Don't stick it in anything that hasn't been fully vetted first."


Mild swearing (think "damn" and "hell"), but more frequent use of sexually charged language like "screw" and "nail."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults are shown drinking alcohol in social settings, mostly in a responsible way. The young lawyers often celebrate by doing a "victory shot."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this adult-driven legal drama relies on sexual innuendo to keep things interesting -- and one of the main male characters is sexually impulsive, often sleeping with more than one partner per episode. The language, too, is sexually charged, with characters using words like "screw" and "nail" along with mild curse words like "hell" and "damn." Excessive drinking is mostly kept to a minimum, although the young lawyers routinely celebrate with a "victory shot."

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What's the story?

In this sexy primetime soap opera, four young first-year law associates (Matt Long, Tina Majorino, Leah Pipes, and Ben Lawson) -- who are quickly joined by a fifth (Mehcad Brooks) -- dive into THE DEEP END at a prestigious Los Angeles law firm and struggle to stay afloat. But navigating their new surroundings -- and satisfying their hard-to-please superiors, including the firm's resident "prince of darkness" (Billy Zane) -- requires a challenging mix of book and street smarts.

Is it any good?

The Deep End was essentially designed to be a Grey's Anatomy staffed by lawyers ... but the storylines aren't quite as compelling. And while it's true that the show won't win any awards when it comes to originality, it isn't utterly skippable. A few of the characters, at least, have the requisite amount of bite that it will take to win lovers of legal dramas over -- that is, if the show doesn't drown in low ratings first.

In particular, we're rooting for Majorino's Abby to keep on growing that backbone, and we'd love to see more of Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz and his portrayal of vice-loving Southern lawyer Rowdy Kaiser, who bears more than a little resemblance to "Ragin' Cajun" James Carville.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how lawyers are typically portrayed on television. Does this show makes any inroads to changing those stereotypes? Teens: If you know a real-life lawyer, ask him or her how this show compares to the realities of their day-to-day lives.

  • Does the show present any negative consequences to inter-office affairs or sexual relationships between lawyers and their clients? What types of complications could ensue from these types of relationships in real life? Are they a good idea?

  • How accurately does the show portray diversity in the workplace -- or lack thereof? Are real-life law firms more or less diverse in terms of gender and racial representation?

TV details

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