Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Violent political thriller hits marks but lacks nuance.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 33 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 15 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Aside from people simply being good at their jobs, the positive messages are muddled at best.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ryan is a good analyst and smart CIA agent, and there are other similar characters, but most of the positive representations get lost in the fog of war.


Extreme violence: relentless gunfights, bombings, terrorist attacks, etc.


Some episodes contain nudity and simulated sex.


Strong language is used, but not excessively: "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," etc.


Jack Ryan is a character that appears in a dozen novels by Tom Clancy. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and smoke casually, and occasionally get noticeably inebriated. A little bit of drug use, as well as some depiction of drug smuggling.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is a political action thriller starring John Krasinski (The Office, A Quiet Place) and inspired by Tom Clancy's series of best-selling books. The show depicts the CIA's search for the leader of a terrorist sect named Suleiman, splitting its time between office work in America and missions in Europe and the Middle East. The show spends a lot of time with Suleiman, his allies, and his family, so there are depictions of terrorism from the inside and the outside. Expect some pretty extreme action violence, with at least one shoot-out in each episode, as well as military bombings and terrorist acts. Though sex doesn't feature in the main storyline, the show does have female nudity and simulated sex acts. Although the show does attempt to create sympathetic Muslim characters, they never really transcend two dimensions, and Muslims are mostly depicted as violent terrorists.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byruprayn September 3, 2018

Graphic sex

Be careful of this one parents - there is graphic (really pornographic) sex depicted with female nudity. I believe episode 3. So cringeworthy because it was unn... Continue reading
Adult Written bycbert December 29, 2018

Good Storyline- Too Much Sex

I hope other parents will take the time to read these reviews before watching this show with their teenagers...
I was looking forward to watching this show beca... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byNicosB12 September 2, 2018
Teen, 16 years old Written byJakobFromStateFarm December 12, 2020

Mature Content

Has lots of mature content. If that doesn’t bother you, I recommend you watch it. I suggest parents watch it before showing kids. Official rating TV-14. My rati... Continue reading

What's the story?

CIA analyst JACK RYAN (John Krasinski) discovers a series of bank deposits that lead him to believe that a terrorist named Suleiman (Ali Suliman) is planning an attack on the United States. After convincing his superior, James Greer (Wendell Pierce), of Suleiman's existence, Ryan is taken out from behind his desk and put into action in the field. He and Greer track Suleiman through the Middle East and Europe, attempting to catch him before he can launch his multimillion-dollar terrorist attack.

Is it any good?

John Krasinski is egregiously miscast as Jack Ryan, a relatively well-known character who's been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck -- actors who are believable in both the analyst and action hero sides of the character. Krasinski is, of course, best known for playing Jim Halpert on the American version of The Office, famous for mugging to the camera when his boss or co-workers say and do outlandish things. He brings an almost identical emotional palate to the character of Jack Ryan -- so much so that, after, say, wrestling an assault rifle away from a terrorist and threatening to blow him up with a grenade, it feels as if he's going to look directly out from the TV and crumple his face like a sad puppy. The show itself plays out as a relatively safe political thriller -- no jaw-dropping twists or unique insight into counterterrorism -- so without a believable and compelling hero at the center of the story, the whole thing is pretty dry. However, for fans of this genre who can deal with the weird casting, it's a tolerable entry into the Jack Ryan world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the differences between the job that Ryan is trained to do and where he ultimately finds himself over the course of the show. Ryan starts as an analyst, an office worker, but is quickly called into the field and sees a lot of violent action. What would a realistic depiction of a CIA analyst look like? How does Jack Ryan differ? Are there ways that we see Ryan cope with the dangers that he has unexpectedly faced?

  • How does Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan depict Muslims and Middle Easterners? Do you think they're represented realistically? Does anything surprise you about these characters? 

  • What do you think is the result of all the violence shown on the show? How does violence affect the lives of the characters? How do the "good guys" cope with performing violent acts? Do they any have regrets? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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