The Guard

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
The Guard TV Poster Image
Formulaic rescue drama is milder than most, but still iffy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Being a rescue worker can be a rewarding career, but it is not without its own challenges. These members of the Canadian Coast Guard often take home the stress of their jobs, and their off-duty lives are sometimes quite messy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The brave members of Canadian Coast Guard face danger and death every day. Their high-stakes, high-stress job takes its toll on their personal lives, but they still willingly risk their lives to save others. That said, several workers have unhealthy or antisocial ways of dealing with stress that parents would not want teens mimicking.


Many intense scenes feature people in life-threatening situations at sea.


A few relatively tame sex scenes, but no nudity. One female character tries to manage the stress of her job with drinking and casual sex. One character has a penchant for online sex chats.


Very mild swearing, including “dammit,” “bitch” and “Jesus” (used as an exclamation).


A few logos are visible, including Corona beer and MasterCard.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters drink at parties and some people smoke cigarettes. One female character handles her stressful job by getting very drunk and engaging in casual sex.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this drama about members of the Canadian Coast Guard follows all the standard formulas for high-stakes rescue dramas. There’s plenty of life-or-death action when the characters are on duty, and plenty of personal drama when they are not working. There is some smoking, a few bar scenes, and one female character who likes to blow off steam by getting very drunk and engaging in casual sex. None of this is particularly explicit, and the show is fine for some teens.

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What's the story?

When danger strikes on the seas near Port Hallet, Canada, THE GUARD is first on the scene. The brave members of the search-and-rescue squad face life-or-death situations every day, including sinking boats, men who have been washed overboard, and dangerous smugglers. The team members face even more drama when they are off duty, trying to to juggle their sometimes-messy personal lives.

Is it any good?

The Guard is a solid B-plus; it hits all the standard marks for a search-and-rescue series and doesn’t stray from the tried-and-true formula. There’s excitement in every episode as the team confronts life-or-death situations, and the off-duty action makes it clear that these high-stakes jobs can take a toll.

But the show doesn’t quite manage to make the characters into fully-fleshed out people. Carly (Zoie Palmer) blows off steam by getting wasted and crawling into bed with whoever happens to be nearby. Miro (Steve Bacic) has trouble relating to people, and prefers online sex chat rooms. And Jeremy (Andrew Vanderlee) can’t shake the guilt from a harrowing rescue gone bad. They all seem to come straight from medical drama central casting. The show isn’t bad, and give it credit for focusing on the Coast Guard, a largely unsung branch of the armed forces. It just isn’t particularly original.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about rescue workers. Do you think these jobs are as stressful as this series makes it seem? How would you handle a career where life-and-death situations are a regular occurrence? How would you manage the stress? Why do some characters turn to drinking to blow off steam? What are the real-life consequences of that?

  • How does The Guard compare to other search-and-rescue medical dramas, such as ER, Third Watch, or Trauma? Does it rise above the crowd, or does it seem like so many other shows?

TV details

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