By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Engaging postal drama (seriously!) has great messages.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Educates viewers about many aspects and examples of criminal activity and ends each episode with a direct appeal to keep safe by making smart choices about behavior. Kids see how an investigation works, how clues are compiled and patterns identified, and how law enforcement officials strive to prevent further incidents.
Communication is a major theme. Encourages respect for the work of a low-profile segment of law enforcement, and sets out to educate kids and tweens about criminal activity such as identity fraud and Internet scams. At the story's heart is a teen who never lets his disability keep him from working toward his dreams and who enjoys a close relationship with his mother. The show references tragedy in the past and deals earnestly with the related emotions. Lots of diversity.
Positive Role Models
Preston is as good as they come; he's hardworking and goal-oriented, and he stays positive even in the face of adversity from his physical limitations and the emotional recovery after losing his father. The fact that he sets out on his own to help investigate cases against his mother's explicit instructions puts him in some dangerous situations without protection, but he always uncovers something vital to an arrest. His and Amanda's relationship is solid, and each relies on the other both at home and in the workplace. Excellent models of friendship in Noah and Veronica.
Violence & Scariness
Criminals are shown being handcuffed and arrested.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Preston harbors a crush on his friend Veronica, but there's nothing physical about their relationship.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Inspectors teaches kids and tweens about threats to their safety and encourages open discourse within families, all in an engaging drama series. The central character is a college student who interns at his mom's office, where he helps uncover clues to solve crimes such as identity theft and investment fraud. He and his mother are very close and often turn to each other for advice, and he is self-sufficient despite being confined to a wheelchair since a car accident. The series spotlights a lesser-known player in the constant effort to protect citizens' safety, and the content is created with input from the real-life Postal Inspection Service. Strong positive role models, captivating stories, and prominent teaching moments about personal and identity safety round out this excellent series.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
THE INSPECTORS centers on Preston Wainwright (Bret Green), a college student who interns at the U.S. Postal Inspectors' office where his mother, Amanda (Jessica Lundy), works. After being paralyzed in the car accident that killed his father, Preston is excelling both in school and on the job, and he's determined to follow in the footsteps of his parents, who were partners in the field. With the help of his best friends, Noah (Harrison Knight) and Veronica (Erica-Maria Sanchez), Preston works to solve crimes such as mail theft and consumer fraud.
Is It Any Good?
Created in conjunction with the actual United States Postal Inspection Service, this well-rounded series is surprisingly entertaining and educational for kids and tweens. Preston is a charming fellow with tall aspirations and a great personality, and unlike many screen teens, he enjoys a very close, mutually supportive relationship with his mom. That's a real treat to see, especially in a show geared toward young viewers. It's also nice to see a strong, independent character whose abilities aren't limited by a disability, and it's nice to see the comings and goings of supporting characters of varying abilities as well.
But that's only half the story. The Inspectors takes dusty topics such as identity fraud and Internet scams and turns them into compelling drama with touches of humor. The stories oversimplify the investigation process and the crimes themselves to accommodate plots that will keep kids' attention and fit the show's half-hour format, but they still convey a lot of excellent information that will help young people keep themselves safe in today's world.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the threats The Inspectors explores. How do devices such as cell phones and tablets contribute to threats against our safety and the safety of our information? What rules does your family have about online safety?
What makes Preston a good role model? How does he show he's overcoming adversity on a daily basis? What challenges do you face that you must overcome? Does a hero have to be judged on his or her accomplishments, or can an accomplishment be a positive attitude alone?
Kids: How does your family stay in close contact even in today's frantically paced world? Why is communication with your parents vital to your safety?
How do the characters in The Inspectors demonstrate communication? Why is this an important character strength?
- Premiere date: October 3, 2015
- Cast: Jessica Lundy, Bret Green, Harrison Knight
- Network: CBS
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models
- Character Strengths: Communication
- TV rating: TV-G
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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