The Good Guys

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
The Good Guys TV Poster Image
Witty buddy cop comedy mixes guns, drinking with laughs.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Some mixed messages here. On the positive: Teamwork is important, even when partners don’t always agree on their strategy. Though the two detectives have very different ideas about how to solve their cases, and though they frequently butt heads, they always have each other’s backs when the bullets start flying. On the downside, breaking the rules and engaging in dangerous and sometimes unethical behavior (like seducing victims) is portrayed as funny and sometimes necessary to solving cases.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Detective Dan Stark is a model of what not to do. A onetime hero, he’s now a washed-up cop still coasting on accolades earned decades ago, and relishing his reputation as a maverick. To the rest of the force, that just means he refuses to follow procedure and his rash actions often put others at risk (as well as his frequent drinking on the job). His straight-laced partner Jack Bailey is stuck on babysitting duty, yearning for a transfer to a more glamorous assignment, and often bickers with his immature teammate.


Plenty of action, including gunfights, car chases, fistfights, explosions and more. People get shot and sometimes die, and some sequences show badly wounded people. The sequences are not especially graphic, and seem comparable to many other standard action shows.


No nudity or onscreen sex, but some kissing and plenty of suggestive situations and innuendo. Some scenes take place at strip clubs, though none of the female dancers in the background are nude.


Relatively tame. “Dammit” is about as rough as it gets.


A Pontiac Trans Am plays an important role in the show.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One cop character drinks often, sometimes while on duty. Some cases revolve around major drug deals.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this witty but formulaic action comedy -- which follows two bickering police detectives -- pulls laughs from the antics of a washed-up rogue cop who frequently drinks on duty, seduces crime victims, and often breaks the rules (with much success). The cops frequently engage in gunplay, and characters sometimes die, though nothing graphic is usually shown. There are a few major drug deals and also a good bit of sexual innuendo.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10-year-old Written bySTEPcoach October 29, 2010

Great fun, very good show, dads and sons can watch together.

One of the funniest takes on cop shows I've ever seen - great writing and super acting. The idea of taking a burned out supercop and allowing him to mentor... Continue reading
Parent of a 13 and 15-year-old Written byrdnewman October 17, 2010

Teens ok; a possible cult classic in the making

This show is like many of the cult classics that didn't get high enough ratings: clever writing and the actors are clearly having fun. While there is a f... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 9, 2010


this show is so funny it doesnt have that much violent but does get sexual and has some language 10 and up

What's the story?

Detective Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks) has ticked off his supervisors one time too many, so now he’s stuck investigating the most insignificant incidents. Worse, he has to babysit his new partner Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford), a veteran cop who follows his gut no matter how many rules he has to break in the process. Stark was lauded as a hero for saving the governor’s son -- three decades ago. Now he’s a washed-up cop, who drinks on duty and cruises on his fading glory because the department can’t get rid of him. Together, they set out to solve the city’s inconsequential burglaries, which seem to regularly lead them to major crimes.

Is it any good?

There’s nothing especially original about THE GOOD GUYS. Rogue cop with a straightlaced partner? Seen it before. Detective that refuses to follow the rules, yet still manages to make the big bust and infuriate his superiors in the process? Yep, been there too. But a lack of originality doesn’t mean the show is no good. The witty scripts make it clear the series doesn’t take itself too seriously, and Hanks and Whitford breathe new life into this standard formula.

Hanks is fun (OK, maybe a bit stiff, but that’s the point here) as the frustrated, by-the-book cop, but Whitford is the best part of the show. Stark still thinks he’s a hero who can do no wrong; it doesn’t help that women still swoon when he tries to take their statements, and his ridiculous decisions still lead him straight to the bad guys. The two bickering partners have enough chemistry to elevate this predictable series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about cop shows. Do the partners here seem similar to the officers in other popular police series? What about their characters is drawn on other classic buddy-show stereotypes, and what do you think is original?

  • Why do you think the “rogue cop” character is so common? Does a series carry more dramatic heft when one of the main characters is a rule-breaker? Do you think these characters are as common in real life as they seem in television and movies? What do you think the real consequences of Dan Stark's behavior would be?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love courts and crime

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