Too Old to Die Young

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Too Old to Die Young TV Poster Image
Indulgent, violent mystery series about a corrupt cop.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This neo-noir has the standard nihilistic outlook, and is more interested in stories of corruption and abuse than redemption and heroism.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A diverse cast, but many of the roles are stereotypes (Latinx gang members, an African American sexual predator, etc.)


Lots of violence. A police officer is shot, another cop murders a helpless man, and a woman is tortured and killed.


Sexual content, simulated sex, and female nudity. One of the main plot threads features an adult dating an underage girl.


Frequent profanity: "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and smoke socially, and there is explicit drug use (especially cocaine) early and often.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Too Old to Die Young is a crime drama written and directed by filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) in collaboration with comics writer Ed Brubaker. The show routinely fulfills most expected stereotypes of an adult crime series: extreme violence, drug use (including cocaine), sexual content and female nudity, profanity ("f--k," "s--t") and a generally dark outlook on the world. The show also demands a certain amount of commitment: early episodes are upwards of 90 minutes each and move at a pretty slow pace.

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What's the story?

Corrupt cop Martin Jones (Miles Teller) has ties to a local drug syndicate. When his partner is murdered on duty by a rival cartel, Martin gets pulled into an underground network that may involve a Mexican cartel, the Russian mafia, the Yakuza, and the LAPD.

Is it any good?

This overlong, super-slow series lacks the dramatic tension that its creator Refn is known for. The past two decades have seen series creators and showrunners -- roles that used to be anonymous -- become brand names, so it shouldn't be a surprise that television now seems to be entering its auteur phase. Networks and steaming services have grown comfortable with recruiting notable directors and giving them complete autonomy over their work. When that strategy pays off, you might end up with something as unique and beguiling as David Lynch's Twin Peaks: The Return. When it doesn't, you might end up with something like Too Old to Die Young, an indulgent and irrationally confident series that demands too many hours of investment while teasing a payoff that may not ever come. The series feels like it's made for hardcore fans only -- maybe even as a test of their devotion to their favorite auteur.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about police corruption. Why does Officer Jones behave the way that he does? How is he using his position to benefit himself? Is this an abuse of power? How often do you think this behavior happens in real life? 

  • Who are you rooting for in this story? Why? Do characters behave how you expect them to or does anyone surprise you?

  • Why do you think the creators make some of the aesthetic choices they do? For example, why do you think the show moves at such a slow pace? Does this benefit the series? Why or why not? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries

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