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The Widow

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Widow TV Poster Image
Great actors lend gravitas but this drama fails to launch.

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Positive Messages

Secrets and double dealing are common in this twisty drama, but themes of courage and perseverance are demonstrated in Georgia’s storyline.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Women and people of color have strong and central roles. Many characters are duplicitous and not what they seem; Georgia and Emmanuelle are noble characters who do what’s right even if it puts them in danger. 


Child soldiers are an integral part of this drama; viewers see them carrying guns and cringing in horror as they see and hear innocent people being killed. Expect to see some blood and gore, like when Georgia hurts her leg falling on rocks, and realistic-looking footage of riots. 


The focus is off romance, but we do see a married couple kiss in bed in their underwear and refer to having sex (although they don’t). 


Language is infrequent but includes “s--t,” “twat” “bastard” (in French, subtitled) “hell.” 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink in bars no one acts drunk; several characters smoke cigarettes. Drugs play a part in a criminal plot.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Widow is a mature drama about a woman (Kate Beckinsale) whose husband disappears while he’s in a mission in Africa. Violence is frequent, with a major storyline involving child soldiers who carry guns and participate (reluctantly) in the murder of civilians; we hear gunshot and people begging for their lives but don’t see actual deaths. In other scenes, people beat each other during riots, and a woman gets a gory wound on a rock. Sexual content is light, but there are characters kissing in bed in their underwear and references to (off-screen) sex. Language is infrequent; expect “s--t,” “hell,” “bastard,” and “twat” (meaning an obnoxious person, not the body part). Adults drink in bars when they’re celebratory or sad; no one acts drunk. Drugs play a part in a criminal scheme. Several characters smoke cigarettes. 

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What's the story?

Three years ago, Georgia’s husband’s plane crashed while he was en route to the Congo, leaving her to become THE WIDOW. But his body was never recovered, and Georgia can’t shake the feeling that he’s somewhere out there, alive, maybe trapped. When a friend finds photos of a familiar looking man, Georgia knows what she has to do next: turn over every rock in Africa until she either finds answers -- or her missing husband. 

Is it any good?

A beautiful setting and effective old-pro actors lend gravitas to this cloak-and-dagger-in-the-jungle mystery, but the story moves too slowly to really catch fire. Beckinsale makes an effective lead, unnervingly intense, unsmiling, and intrepid; Alex Kingston’s easygoing surface is a smokescreen hiding (menacing?) secrets. But there are lots of characters holding down several storylines, and none of them appear to be going anywhere fast. 

The central story of a desperate character searching for a lost loved one would be plenty juicy enough to hold focus, but the proceedings are immediately bogged down by competing tales about child soldiers, a mysterious political group both Judith and Georgia's husband were involved in, a pair of blind people about to undergo an operation in hopes of restoring their sight, and a drug cartel led by a man who’s not who he claims to be. It sounds good on paper, but each story meanders and moves so slowly that viewers may be tempted to move on to dramas with more fireworks. A slow burn is one thing, but this story takes too long to fan the flames, which may cause your interest to quickly sputter out. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why dramas about spies and secret agendas are so popular. What shows can you think of that are similar to The Widow? Why is the idea of people with secrets such a compelling one for viewers? 

  • How do the characters in The Widow demonstrate perseverance and courage? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

For kids who love mysteries

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