Parents' Guide to

The First 48

By Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Top-notch crime docudrama is too grisly for kids.

TV A&E Reality TV 2004
The First 48 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+

Emotionally and psychologically intense real life crime scene investigation documentary.

The First 48 is very similar to the popular TV show, CSI, but this is the real deal - no actors, no scripts - this is 100% real with graphic portrayals of criminal acts and behavior. It follows the daily lives of experienced homicide investigators with their cases and work which involves attempting to chase and apprehend the murder suspect, talk to potential witnesses or family members of the suspect, and give the victim's families the shocking news - the murder of their loved one, turning into a dramatic and grieving reality. As you know, this show deals with mature subject matter and very dark themes, such as the details and implications from the certain crimes range from 1st degree murder, armed robbery, rape, torture, home invasion, drugs, abuse, and gang wars. The strong language is beeped since it's a TV-14 rated show, but there's unbeeped uses of d*mn, h*ll, sh*t, b*tch, and b*stard. There's some episodes that deal heavily and graphically with drugs and alcohol related issues and crimes - criminals that abuse or kill to obtain certain drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, crack, meth, ecstasy, and prescription pills. It is NOT a show intended for children to watch and is way much darker than your average CSI show. Older teens and up should be fine if they can handle the dark themes. Violence (3/5) Language (3/5) Drugs (5/5) Sex (0/5) Intensity (4/5)

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 16+
Blood, gore, you see dead bodies... and the police that are investigating cuss a lot. Very violent show - it's NON-FICTION, not fiction.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (7 ):

Fans of crime docudramas will find The First 48 to be one of the best of its kind, with very high production values and unprecedented access to ongoing investigations. But be prepared for graphic scenes, including footage of dead bodies and blood. In the episode about the Memphis high school shooting, for example, viewers see the dead body of a 17-year-old boy slumped over in the passenger seat of a car and get a glimpse of a cell phone stained with blood.

In addition to the show's visually graphic elements, some scenes can also be very depressing -- such as arrest scenes that include family members looking on or confessions that clearly spell the end of freedom for a young person. Though The First 48's content isn't for younger viewers, certain episodes could provide reality checks for teens who are fascinated by crime dramas that glorify both violence and police work.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: June 3, 2004
  • Cast: Dion Graham
  • Network: A&E
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: June 19, 2023

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