By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
British crime drama is too violent for most teens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Soldiers often appear proud when they take out a criminal, and they always use violence as the means to their end, even when their subjects are subdued and unarmed. A main character struggles to come to terms with a troubled past and an abusive alcoholic father. The series focuses on counterterrorism efforts, so there's plenty of illegal activity (robberies, hostage situations, hijackings) within the plot.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent, strong gun violence in confrontational scenes between officials and criminals. Killing is shown at close range, and graphic shots of corpses and wounded characters are common. Veteran soldiers proudly discuss the methods they use to hunt and kill terrorists -- including, in one case, the best way to kill with one shot.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Occasional mild flirting between adults, but it doesn't really lead anywhere.
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Strong expletives like "ass" and "s--t" (unbleeped) are common fare.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some supporting characters smoke occasionally.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this British military crime drama about a team of elite sharpshooters is too intense and violent for kids. Killing and other violent images are shown at close range, and scenes of bloodied, mangled corpses are common. Perhaps most disturbingly, the soldiers use violence as a first, last, and only resort, taking down even unarmed criminals that they've already subdued and appearing almost proud of their actions. Expect strong language (including unbleeped uses of "s--t") and occasional smoking, too.
Where to Watch
Based on 1 parent review
A very good TV program, But so violent.
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What's the Story?
British drama ULTIMATE FORCE follows the counterterrorism efforts of an elite group of soldiers within the Special Air Service (SAS) -- the British equivalent of the Navy Seals. The series centers on a handful of team members known as the Red Troop. They're led by tough Henno Garvie (Ross Kemp), whose passion for the job is an inspiration to the men who serve under him. For troops like Ricky Mann (Danny Sapani) and Jem Poynton (Elliot Cowan), Garvie's intensity is something to live up to, but for new recruits Alex Leonard (Heroes' Sendhil Ramamurthy) and Jamie Dow (Jamie Draven), their superior's scrutiny can be daunting. In each episode, the men of Red Troop put their lives on the line as they fearlessly barge into life-threatening situations to take down the bad guys. Whether it's intercepting terrorist hijackers or dealing with a hostage crisis, these soldiers are the last line of defense against the world's worst criminals. Using their sharply honed infiltration skills, they descend on the crime scene to diffuse volatile situations of all kinds.
Is It Any Good?
Intense and remarkably violent, Ultimate Force is designed to appeal to action fans, and for adults who fall in that category, it could be an entertaining choice (though some may find its pacing a bit slow compared to its American counterparts). But its tendency to show extreme, close-up violence makes it questionable even for older teens. The soldiers rely heavily on firepower to subdue criminals and even kill those who are already unarmed.
Not only are graphic shoot-'em-ups shown at close range (complete with blood spurting from gunshot wounds and splattering around the victims), the soldiers often seem proud of their kills. And even scenes without direct physical violence are influenced by its presence -- as when Garvie schools his new recruits on the most efficient placement of a bullet to kill a victim with one shot.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Do you think graphic violence is ever appropriate on TV? Why or why not? Do you think kids who watch violence on TV or in movies or video games are more likely to become violent themselves? (Get a few facts on the issue here.) Parents, talk with your kids about the difference between real life and fantasy. Point out that consequences exist.
- Premiere date: September 16, 2002
- Cast: Jamie Draven, Ross Kemp, Sendhil Ramamurthy
- Network: BBC America
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 24, 2022
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