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 blithe British detective show is refreshingly light on the violence, sex, and strong language that often mark primetime crime dramas like Law & Order, making it a better choice for teens and even older tweens. Murder and illegal activity are discussed only vaguely, and the brief shots of victims (floating in a river, for example) aren't likely to upset most viewers. Episode storylines often allude to topics like illegitimate affairs, drug use, and incest, but the show is much more comedy than drama. The main character is a hardworking, dedicated single dad to his teenage daughter.
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What's the story?
Based on a popular series of books by Marjorie Eccles, THE GIL MAYO MYSTERIES centers on the fast-paced lifestyle of quirky, charismatic Detective Inspector Gil Mayo (Alistair McGowan), who pulls double-duty as a murder investigator and a devoted single father to his teenage daughter, Julie (Lucy Evans). The series follows Mayo from home to work, where he and his team check out crime scenes and track down clues in a variety of puzzling whodunits. From mysterious bodies turning up dead in suburban gardens to victims who take lifelong secrets to their graves, Mayo and his sidekicks rely on their individual gumshoeing strengths -- and plenty of teamwork -- to eventually point an accusing finger at the guilty party.
Is it any good?
Although the show revolves around murder and much of the characters' time is spent doing detective work, it's impossible to lump The Gil Mayo Mysteries in with modern-day crime dramas. It has a marked lack of violence, and its parallel storylines delve into the personal lives of the characters. Sometimes it really feels more like a romantic comedy than anything else, what with Mayo's constant wisecracks and his playful banter with Jones. That blithe tone means that this is one that families with teens and older tweens can enjoy together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why crime shows have such staying power on television. What draws viewers to shows about murder and illegal activity? Do you think that the popularity of shows about crime reflect the state of our society -- or does our society become more violent because of what's on television? Do you think these series offer an accurate portrait of detective work? Why or why not? Which series seem the most believable to you? Why? Is it OK to mix comedy with murder? Why or why not?