The Whole Truth

Common Sense Media says

Clever courtroom drama is best for more mature audiences.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series depicts the committment of both sides in the legal process -- both the prosecution and the defense.

Positive role models

Despite opposing each other in the courtroom, Peale and Brogan respect the law and each other, and both work very hard. The cast is pretty diverse.


Suspects bound for trial are often accused of murder and other violent crimes. Images of murder victims and their bruises and bloody wounds. Guns are occasionally visible. Occasional scenes of people pushing and shoving each other. Cases often involve sexual assault of both adult and minor women.


Some strong sexual innuendo. Issues like sexual dysfunction and prostitution are sometimes discussed.


Words like “screwed” and “hell” are sometimes used.


The Mountain Dew logo is occasionally visible. iPhones and BlackBerries are visible, though their logos aren't obvious.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcoholic beverages (wine, hard liquor) are consumed during cocktail hours and with meals. References are made to drugs like marijuana and Viagra.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this courtroom drama features mature storylines about sexual assault, drug dealing, and murder. Potentially upsetting images include pictures of corpses, bruises, and bloody wounds; there's also some occasional salty language (mostly words like “hell” and “screwed”), social drinking, and sexual innuendo. Illegal and prescription drugs are often referenced, usually within the context of a case being worked on.

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What's the story?

THE WHOLE TRUTH examines how a criminal case is built from the point of view of both the prosecution and the defense. Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow star as Kathryn Peale and Jimmy Brogan, former law school classmates who often find themselves pitted against each other on opposite sides of the courtroom. Peale, a lead New York City prosecutor committed to putting alleged rapists, drug dealers, and murderers in jail, is assisted by Bureau Chief Terrence Edgecomb (Eamonn Walker) and ADAs like the obnoxious Chad Griffin (Sean Wing). Meanwhile, the quick-talking Brogan does what he can to defend these same alleged criminals from being convicted. Helping him fight for his clients are Alejo Salazar (Anthony Ruivivar) and an ambitious new hire, Lena Boudreaux (Christine Adams). Both sides must work with the same set of facts and navigate the legal process to make sure that they convince the jury of the suspect's guilt or innocence.

Is it any good?


This clever, well-written series follows each case by alternating points of view on the same story to reflect the different approaches and tactics employed by the defense and the prosecution. And the friendly rivarly between the two main attorneys creates a dramatic tension that's both interesting and entertaining.

Like most shows of this type, The Whole Truth contains its fair share of mature plotlines and violent images. Although these topics are offered within a specific context, they're not age-appropriate for younger viewers. But mature fans of sophisticated crime and/or legal dramas will thoroughly enjoy it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the legal system. What's the difference between a prosecutor and a defense attorney? How are both sides typically portrayed in the media? Do you think that's realistic?

  • What are some existing stereotypes

  • about lawyers? Why do you think they exist? Does the way the media

  • depicts lawyers reinforce or contradict these stereotypes?

TV details

Cast:Anthony Ruivivar, Maura Tierney, Rob Morrow
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of The Whole Truth was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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