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 The Great American Manhunt is an educational and engaging docuseries inspired by dramas like CSI, Bones, and other forensic-oriented television. Unlike police shows where criminals and other unsavory types are being hunted down, the targets in The Great American Manhunt are regular (non-criminal) people. The experts explore their theories by learning about specific occupations and activities and matching them up with the clues. Tweens and teens interested in science and investigation will gain some insight into the tools these fields employ.
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What's the story?
A team consisting of a retired police detective (Bill Erfurth), a forensic anthropologist (Natalie Shirley), and a clinical psychologist (Daniel Shapiro) are challenged to track down a living mystery target somewhere in the United States. The team is not allowed shortcuts such as DNA, dental records, or ID databases, but is given clues such as medical and psychological tests, clothing, and surveillance video to help track down the target. Each episode begins with a viewing of the surveillance video and initial theories on the target's physical features, location, and occupation. Each theory is then followed up by the team outside the lab as team members interview and work with other specialists to determine how clues may have come about.
Is it any good?
While not as fast paced as a forensics mystery show, THE GREAT AMERICAN MANHUNT is a fascinating look at how experts might go about tracking down a target. The experts form a theory and then go into the field to test their theories. Sometimes their hunches don't match up with the clues as more information on the theory is explored. Not only do viewers learn about forensics and psychology, but also about various other occupations and activities and how they leave clues on a person's body. Some occupations and activities, such as boxing, leave obvious clues while, other activities such as being in a band, firefighting, or motorcycle racing are revealed to have surprising effects and injuries as well. It's possible to fracture your pelvis surfing, who knew?
It's fun to follow along with the mystery and form theories while viewing. The Great American Manhunt is a fun and educational show for mystery lovers, and a great choice for kids interested in forensic science, but who are too young or sensitive to handle the violence and gore that normally accompanies these televised investigations.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what they learn from this show. Did anything surprise you? What do our scars and medical history say about us? How accurately do our clothing and other features reveal our occupations or personalities? What would investigators be able to tell about you by examining your body, etc.?
Talk about the different experts and targets that appear on the show and the various occupations they represent. Also, at least one target is a famous person who is a role model to many. Does someone have to be famous in order to be a role model? Are any of the experts on the shows role models?
Talk about the appeal of the crime shows that inspire this show. Why are people fascinated by crime and mysteries?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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