The Shield

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
The Shield TV Poster Image
Parents recommend
Thoughtful, mature cop show...with lots of blood.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Mackey is a cop who doesn't play by the rules, and much of this show centers on his efforts to hide his actions from his superiors, who are often willing to look the other way as long as he continues to bring down the bad guys.


This cop drama includes beatings, shoot-outs, violence, rapes (and other sexual assault/violence), and deaths. Both criminals and cops are guilty of violent acts. It's realistic, and not pretty.


Some fairly graphic sexual scenes, including occasional nudity.


The characters live rough, and their language reflects their lifestyle. Lots of swearing, including "s--t" and "a--hole" (both unbleeped).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Being a cop is a tough job -- the characters on this show often unwind with a stiff drink or a smoke. Many of the villains are drug dealers, who sometimes sample their own wares.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this gritty crime drama makes little effort to sugarcoat its depiction of life on the mean inner city streets of Los Angeles. The criminals may be dangerous, but the cops are almost even more violent, and they aren't afraid to bend a few rules when it comes to extracting a confession from a suspect or forcing someone to rat out an accomplice. There are guns, drugs, sex, and plenty of swearing. It's realistic and well-done, but definitely not for kids.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRev.Jack_Package January 1, 2016
Adult Written byzeekattacklee February 3, 2015

Great cop Show...

The show does have it’s moments with language, Violence, drugs, and a bit of mature content. On that note, I Personally would want parents to use judgement bef... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bytvlover101 July 23, 2013

Amazing show, but wait till you're a little older...

The Shield takes an honest look in to the lives of law enforcement officers who have to face some of the most violent and disgusting criminals in a highly popul... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 20, 2010
the shield is a very great show!, perfect writing, acting, and hard to let go of ! ( TV-MA,V,S,L).

What's the story?

In THE SHIELD, Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) is an inner-city Los Angeles detective trying to keep the streets safe and put drug dealers away. He's often outgunned by bad guys toting some major firepower -- and almost always hobbled by his department's expectation that he respect his suspects' Constitutional rights. This absorbing police drama centers on Mackey's twin battles with criminals and the rule book. It's not quite accurate to call him a \"bad cop,\" but his willingness to flagrantly flout the rules, even in pursuit of a noble goal, also makes it hard to call him a \"good cop.\" Let's just call him a detective who gets the job done.

Is it any good?

The Shield clearly expects viewers to sympathize with Mackey, and he's often portrayed as just a big, cuddly teddy bear with his kids. But while it's certainly hard to side with the bad guys, it may be equally troublesome for many viewers to endorse Mackey's tactics. That debate, which has no resolution, is what makes The Shield such a watchable and thought-provoking adult drama. And adult is the right word for it -- between the frequent, often-graphic violence, strong language, and mature themes, The Shield isn't one for the kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the characters' efforts to get dangerous criminals off the street give them the right to break the law. These rough-and-tumble cops epitomize the "ends justify the means" debate, and one of the recurring plot lines centers on whether Mackey will be brought down by his flagrant violation of suspects' constitutional rights. Is he corrupt? How far is too far when it comes to getting information that will help crack a case?

TV details

Our editors recommend

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