The Unusuals



Quirky cop dramedy isn't as graphic as other crime shows.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The detectives often use questionable tactics to solve cases, and many characters seem to be hiding a secret past. One character is suicidal, but it's part of his "quirkiness." Shraeger is a strong female but faces a lot of sexist attitudes. The majority of the featured police/detectives are male and Caucasian; Det. Leo Banks is African American. The show's secondary characters are from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. There are references to God, prayer, and being "born again."


Frequent conversations about violent acts. Suspects are occasionally "roughed up" by detectives. Images of bleeding/bloody shooting and stabbing victims. Guns are frequently visible, and people are shown being shot (sometimes to death), but little blood is shown when that happens. Violence against animals is also discussed.


Lots of sexual innuendo, plus references to pornography, cross-dressing, solicitation, affairs, and date rape. At least one scene shows Shraeger in a bra/getting dressed. Prostitutes are visible and are sometimes shown in skimpy outfits and soliciting men.


Language includes words like "damn," "hell," "slut," and "bitch."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Consumption of alcohol (beer, hard liquor, champagne) and prescription pills. Images of cocaine, and frequent mentions of various illegal narcotics, drug dealers, and drug busts.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this quirky cop drama stars tween/teen-fave actress Amber Tamblyn, it's not intended for young viewers. While it isn't quite as graphic as shows like CSI, there's frequent sexual innuendo (including references to criminal sexual behavior) and images of scantily dressed women, guns are frequently drawn, and sometimes people get shot (and killed). Images of shooting and stabbing victims are also sometimes shown. Characters drink and use prescription drugs, and there are frequent conversations about illegal narcotics (which are also sometimes shown). Language includes words like "damn" and "bitch."

What's the story?

THE UNUSUALS is a quirky dramedy about a team of New York police detectives who use their street smarts and distinctive personalities to solve cases. Amber Tamblyn stars as Det. Casey Shraeger, who's suddenly transferred from NYPD vice to homicide and paired with Det. Jason Walsh (Jeremy Renner) after his partner's mysterious death. She finds herself working alongside an eclectic crime solvers like skittish Det. Leo Banks (Harold Perrineau), suicidal Det. Eric Delahoy (Adam Goldberg), obnoxious Det. Eddie Alvarez (Kai Lennox), and spiritual Det. Henry Cole (played by Josh Close). Shraeger soon discovers that her colleagues' unusual personalities seem to be covering some dirty little secrets -- and she sets out to find the truth.

Is it any good?


The Unusuals attempts to put a unique stamp on an otherwise ordinary crime series by introducing murder and corruption plotlines through the show's odd -- but mostly likable -- characters. Most of the show's lighter moments come from the characters' outlandish behavior or their far-fetched police tactics. But despite the fact that the writing sometimes seems more silly than witty, there are some subtle plotlines that make it interesting.

Like most crime dramas, the series has its fair share of violence, bloody images, strong language, sexual innuendo, and frequent discussions of criminal activity -- though it's not as graphic as shows like CSI, and the humor helps keeps things on the lighter side. Teens and adults who like this sort of thing may find it entertaining, but it isn't meant -- or age-appropriate -- for younger viewers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about shows that mix different kinds of genres/tones -- here, drama and comedy -- to create something that feels new. Can you think of shows that have done that successfully? What's the appeal? Families can also discuss the variety of crime shows on television. Why is this kind of show so popular? What sets one show apart from the others?

TV details

Cast:Adam Goldberg, Amber Tamblyn, Jeremy Renner
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old January 21, 2013

The unusuals

This tv show is like miss fisher murder mysteries it is a great show i love it i love jeremy renner
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byAnna_lana June 29, 2009

Not for any viewers, but especially not younger audiences

I've been very disappointed in MANY ABC shows lately and The Unusuals isn't any exception. The stories generally have great potential to be fun and interesting but the language, violence and adult content makes the show WAY too much for viewers. Definitely would not allow younger viewers to watch and would exercise caution for any viewer.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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