Unusual Suspects



Mediocre true-crime docuseries features grisly images.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

No explicit messages, other than: No matter how hard they try, criminals always leave some kind of clue behind, enough for diligent detectives to track them down.

Positive role models

The police officers here are dogged, determined, and bright, and always manage to crack even the toughest cases. Sometimes they need a lucky break, but their hard work does pay off.


No violence onscreen, but every episode focuses on real-life crimes that are often grisly. The detectives discuss the incidents, usually murders, in explicit detail, and actual photos from the crime scene are shown, often showing plenty of blood.


No sex or nudity, but sex is sometimes discussed as a motive or factor in the crimes.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drugs and alcohol are often mentioned as a motivating factor in the crimes featured on the series.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this true-crime series recreates investigations of real crimes, usually murders, which are described in graphic detail, often accompanied by equally graphic crime-scene photos. Though there is no onscreen violence, the matter-of-fact presentation of these heinous events can be chilling.

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What's the story?

Cops know that most killings are relatively easy to figure out. The bitter ex-spouse. The angry business partner. A mugging gone wrong. But some cases just don’t make sense, and they are only solved when the detectives begin to consider the most UNUSUAL SUSPECTS. This real-life crime series explores the toughest cases, with the investigating detectives explaining how they worked the clues until a lucky break or some inspired sleuthing leads them to the killer. The show features actual crime-scene photos and graphic descriptions of the incidents, as well as dramatic recreations of key events.

Is it any good?


There are many shows like this on the air, and there’s certainly no shortage of actual crimes that might make for dramatic TV. The cases here are interesting enough, and the details of the investigations are fun to follow; most viewers will take a certain amount of interest simply because they know it’s real.

The only issue is that the show is not executed especially well. The detectives describe key events in clinical terms that are not always compelling to hear, and the acting in the dramatic recreations is often stiff. This show falls squarely into the mediocre territory, with nothing to make it stand out from the rest.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about murderers. What do you think motivates people to take another person’s life? Do you think most killings are premeditated, or spur-of-the-moment incidents? Do killers always leave behind enough clues for a skilled detective to catch them?

  • Do you think these real-life crimes are as terrible as some of the fictional killings on police dramas? Is truth really stranger than fiction? And why are there so many crime-related shows on TV -- what's the appeal?

TV details

Network:Investigation Discovery
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Unusual Suspects was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • 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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