The Oath

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Oath TV Poster Image
Police gang crime drama has drugs, cursing, violence.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Law enforcement can include bad people who do bad things. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some police officers make a career of breaking the laws they are sworn to protect. 

Violence

Lots of guns, rifles. Brutal, bloody beatings and injuries visible. People fall to their death, die in other ways. 

Sex

Strong sexual innuendo. Crude references uttered. Prostitutes visible.

Language

Words like "ass," "bitch," "s--t" frequent. The "N" word occasionally used. 

Consumerism

Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac logos visible, but not obviously promoted.  

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug gangs and sales a main theme. People are sometimes visibly drugged. Social drinking (beer, hard liquor), etc.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Oath is a crime drama about corrupt police gangs. Guns, brutal beatings, and bloody wounds and corpses are visible. There's some sexual innuendo, crude references, cursing (including the "N" word), and drinking (beer, hard liquor). The drug trade is a major theme, and people are sometimes shown drugged. 

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What's the story?

Executive-produced by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, THE OATH is a dramatic series about gangs run by corrupt cops. When seasoned police officer and prominent gang leader Tom Hammond (Sean Bean) is incarcerated, son Steve Hammond (Ryan Kwanten) takes over the Ravens, a gang of police officers working with high-level drug dealers in their district. He, along with brother Cole (Cory Hardrict), Pete Ramos (J.J. Soria), and Karen Beach (Katrina Law), steals, cuts deals, and launders the money at Frank Albenese's (Billy Malone) casino. But when the Ravens are arrested by the FBI, they cut a deal with Agent Aria Price (Elisabeth Rohm) and plant Agent Damon Byrd (Arlen Escarpeta) into the group in order to infiltrate the other cop gangs and the dealers they work with. The tensions between rival cop gangs are high, the drug dealers are demanding, and the Ravens soon find themselves dealing with unexpected complications. 

Is it any good?

This dark, fast-paced series features corrupt police officers consistently breaking the laws they are supposed to be upholding. Yet, despite the fact that Hammond and the rest of his cop gang are "bad guys," there's an attempt to foster a sense of understanding and, to an extent, fondness for them as the story progresses. Learning about their personal lives, including the Hammond brothers' time with their sick mother (played by Linda Purl), who is also part of the family business, contributes to this. 

The Oath, which is purportedly inspired by the tales of a former cop gang member, offers a solid story. But the dialogue can feel artificial, as do the settings where these conversations take place. The fact that the show's release comes at a time when the sense of distrust in law enforcement is notably high is also troubling. Overall, it isn't the best of crime-driven dramas, but still has strong entertainment value for those who enjoy this sort of thing. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the representation of law enforcement in the media and shows like The Oath. What kinds of stereotypes exist about police officers and other agencies who are supposed to uphold the law? Does the media reinforce or challenge these generalizations?

  • How do shows like The Oath contribute to the way people think about police officers? What potential consequences can this have? 

TV details

For kids who love crime shows

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