Ultimate Force



British crime drama is too violent for most teens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


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.


Occasional mild flirting between adults, but it doesn't really lead anywhere.


Strong expletives like "ass" and "s--t" (unbleeped) are common fare.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some supporting characters smoke occasionally.

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.

Kids say

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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.

Families can talk 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.

TV details

Cast:Jamie Draven, Ross Kemp, Sendhil Ramamurthy
Network:BBC America
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD

This review of Ultimate Force was written by

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  • 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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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byTom_Gamer_Tom August 18, 2010

A very good TV program, But so violent.

Common sense are right with the rating but don't give enough in depth. So i'll do it :) Ultimate force is a very violent Tv series that will almost certainly have a loss of limbs and some very violent wounds. Like a very powerful claymore going off and blowing half of the leg off. The camera goes in at that point and you can see bits of flesh. Decapitations happen sometimes but they actually seem quite amusing. Its constant intense combat which may mean high violence. Its a lot violent than most of these Soldier/army TV series. There is a bit of violence and cursing but its barely anything to care about.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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