The Dresden Files TV Poster Image

The Dresden Files



Wizard crime drama is fun, but lacks magic spark.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main character seeks justice in a fairly positive manner, exhibiting only minor personality flaws. His main goal is to help people.


Realistic and fantasy violence like punching and kicking. Brief gruesome scenes -- like a skinless corpse. The show deals with all kinds of crimes, including murder.


Adult dating. Scenes in bed with minor kissing, some underwear glimpes. Minor sexual innuendo.


"Hell" and "damn."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this supernaturally tinged crime drama contains fantasy elements (wizards, ghostly creatures, magical spells, etc.) that could be scary to younger viewers. There's some violence, both realistic and fantasy -- such as a bad guy punching the main character repeatedly, drawing blood. Other minor adult elements include the main character waking up in bed with a woman, brief kissing scenes, and a quick look at a woman in her underwear. Brief glimpses of creepy, mildly gruesome elements (like a skinless corpse) occur semi-regularly.

What's the story?

In THE DRESDEN FILES -- based on the popular books by Jim Butcher -- Chicago-dwelling Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthorne) is a private detective who also happens to be a wizard. Harry's special powers and connections with otherworldly spirits help him (and hurt him) while he solves cases and assists his friend on the police force, Lt. Connie Murphy (Valerie Cruz). Harry solves crimes and gets to the bottom of mysterious events with the help of his more typically wizard-like sidekick, Bob (Terrence Mann), but Bob's powers are limited, so he often finds himself reluctantly reliant on Harry and the two consequently bristle around each other. While most episodes focus on a single case, clues to Harry's past and larger mysteries -- like the details surrounding his mother's death -- reveal themselves more slowly. The backstory also gets fleshed out through flashbacks that show Harry's non-wizardly father (who, coincidently, was a party magician) raising him.

Is it any good?


Thanks to the mystery surrounding the death of his enchanted mother and a childhood spent hiding and honing his magical skills, Harry Dresden superficially resembles another particularly notable wizard named Harry. But this Harry's wry sense of humor and Joe Schmo demeanor set him apart from your typical wand waver. He dates waitresses, drives an ancient Jeep, and looks a little rumpled around the edges.

With some ghoulish figures and potentially scary plotlines -- like the abduction of a child or the evil possession of a schoolteacher (one particularly nasty character magically skinned its victims, leading to brief glimpses of skinless bodies onscreen) -- The Dresden Files is best for mature tweens and up.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about crime shows. What do they all have in common? What sets this one apart from the others? What's the appeal of crime dramas? Does the fact that there are so many of them on TV make crime seem more present in our lives? What things about police and detective work do people learn from these shows? Families can also talk about magic. Do you believe in the kind of supernatural powers Harry has? Why are people so fascinated by the idea of magic in general?

TV details

Cast:Paul Blackthorne, Terrence Mann, Valerie Cruz
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:NR
Available on:Streaming

This review of The Dresden Files was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bypoetsnger April 9, 2008

Harry Potter Grows and Gets a Job

Plots a little slow and perdictable. But if you like mystery and magic, you'll find these characters entertaining and likeable. Well except the bad guys LOL.
Adult Written bylydia56 April 9, 2008

He's a good guy

The Deresden Files is all about the life of a good guy who tries to do the right thing. The main character, Harry Dresden, is morally a slightly goofy white knight and hero. He protects his friends and saves the damsels. Language is not an issue (yay). I have watched the entire first season and there was only on short scene with adults in bed, one with Harry in a towel (two large towels actually) and another brief view where a woman gets out of bed in underwear. You got the feeling the show was obligated to put something like that in because people today expect it, but the program does not rely on sex to sell. The Dresden Files season started rough but ended well. Overall it's clean, fun, entertaining and the good guys keep plugging away to keep being the good guys.
Parent of a 11 and 11 year old Written byFidgit77 January 18, 2011

Mystery and magic

I like this show personally but it might be a little scary for kids. My boys like the things that go bump in the night so we'll see how they like it.


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