The Nine

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Nine TV Poster Image
Now-familiar flashback formula works ... again.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Most characters go beyond the traditional "good guy" and "bad guy" labels, but it's these shades of gray that make them more interesting. For example, one character is a heroic cop with a serious gambling problem, and one of the robbers seemed to participate reluctantly. The female characters are well-developed and speak their minds.


Suicide and death are discussed, and a funeral is shown. There are also several graphic scenes in the flashback sequences that show dead and dying bodies covered in blood. Guns are a central part of the plot and are used to instill fear in the hostages.


Palpable sexual tension exists between several of the main characters, with occasional shots of women in lingerie or other suggestive clothing. Characters are shown kissing passionately but not actually having sex ... although it's easy enough to infer. Implications of cheating.


Relatively mild: "Jackass," "hell," "bastards," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character has "party girl" tendencies and sometimes drinks to excess, though not on camera.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that most of the characters in this high-concept serial drama (with the exception of one female high school student) are adult hostages who are the victims of a traumatic violent crime. At least one of them dies, and several of them are emotionally distraught after the fact, which could upset young children. The intensity of the hostage experience causes an upheaval in most of the main characters' everyday lives, with stable relationships crumbling and emotions swinging wildly. The flashbacks include plenty of violence (in the form of guns, blood, and torture), which means this isn't one for the kids.

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What's the story?

The lives of nine random Los Angelenos collided on an otherwise average morning when two brothers robbed a bank and held them hostage. But what really happened inside the building during the tense, 52-hour standoff that followed? That's for them to know and viewers to find out. That's the titillating premise of THE NINE, a character-driven serial drama that strings viewers along by revealing bits and pieces of information via flashback without revealing the entire story all at once. The Nine's motley crew of captives includes Nick (Tim Daly), a police detective with personal problems; successful surgeon Jeremy (Scott Wolf) and his social worker girlfriend, Lizzie (Jessica Collins); dedicated bank manager Malcolm (Chi McBride) and his teenage daughter, Felicia (Dana Davis); type-A assistant district attorney Kathryn (Kim Raver); bank-teller sisters Eva and Frannny (Lourdes Benedicto and Camille Guaty); and Egan (John Billingsley), a self-proclaimed suicidal "loser." Owain Yeoman co-stars as Lucas Dalton, one of the gunmen who makes their lives a living hell.

Is it any good?

The premise of The Nine is definitely intriguing, and Daly and McBride's nuanced performances are particularly noteworthy. But how many times can Hollywood twist already successful shows like 24 and Lost into "all-new" reincarnations before dramatic devices that were once inventive become hopelessly tired and cliched?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the believability of the storyline and how often bank robberies and hostage situations actually occur. Are there things people can do to protect themselves in extreme circumstances? And what, if anything, could these hostages have done differently? The show also brings up the importance of encouraging communication (and sometimes therapy) in the wake of a traumatic event. Why are some people hesitant to talk about a trauma they've experienced? And why do some victims of violent crime become emotionally attached to the perpetrators (a phenomenon also known as Stockholm syndrome)?

TV details

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