The Forgotten



Dark-toned crime drama has an inspiring purpose.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the show deals with the circumstances and consequences of violent crime and has a dark tone overall, it does promote the importance of volunteerism, as well as the significance of serving as a victim’s advocate even after their death.

Positive role models

While their volunteerism isn’t completely selfless, the group commits their time and energy to helping homicide victims -- and, in some cases, their families. The volunteers try to be nonjudgmental about the victims.


Violent deaths provide consistent plot points throughout the show, and dead/decomposing bodies are sometimes shown at crime scenes and in photos. Punching, pushing, and bludgeoning are sometimes visible, although the blood and gore are minimal. Guns are shown being drawn. Some of the murder victims show signs of sexual trauma.


Not all that frequent, but can be racy when it occurs -- underwear-clad couples tussling in bed, kissing, etc.


Words like “hell” and “damn” are occasionally used. 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Investigations sometimes lead the volunteers into bars and clubs where alcohol is served and drinking is visible. Drug dealing is sometimes discussed.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this crime drama about volunteers dedicated to identifying nameless murder victims has some pretty dark themes -- but it also humanizes these victims and highlights the importance of victim advocacy. Because of the subject matter, expect frequent discussions about violent deaths, as well as scenes that include violent acts (punching, bludgeoning, etc.). Characters are shown drinking; drugs, drug dealing, and sexual assault are occasionally discussed, and there's occasional salty language.

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What's the story?

THE FORGOTTEN stars Christian Slater as Alex Donovan, a former police officer who heads up a Midwestern branch of a civilian network dedicated to investigating the murders of unidentified victims. His group of amateur sleuths includes science teacher Lindsey Drake (Heather Stephens), headstrong Candace Butler (Michelle Borth), phone company employee Walter Bailey (Bob Stephenson), and med student-turned-sculptor Tyler Davies (Anthony Carrigan), who's forced to join the team by court ourder. Donovan’s former colleague, Officer Grace Russell (Rochelle Aytes), acts as the group's link to the Chicago police department. Together they're committed to helping uncover the stories of the unchampioned deceased.

Is it any good?


The Forgotten sets itself apart from other crime dramas because it's committed to humanizing victims rather than simply solving the mysteries of their death. To do so, it gives the victims a voice in the storytelling process and allows them to tell their stories without judgment.

Although the subject of identifying the dead is rather dark, the show still succeeds in providing intelligent and, at times, emotional entertainment. It also pays homage to the thousands of volunteers who help police departments across the country keep crime victims and their families from being forgotten.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of seeing violent images on television. Do you need these kind of images to tell a "good" crime story?

  • Why do you think people volunteer for victims' assistance and advocacy groups, even if what they have to deal with is very disturbing? How do they cope with some of the difficult and/or frightening details of a criminal case?

TV details

Cast:Bob Stephenson, Christian Slater, Heather Stephens
TV rating:TV-14

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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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Teen, 13 years old Written byYuran101551 October 16, 2009


I think this show is great! I have no problem sitting and watching it for an hour with my family.


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