You Are Wanted

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
You Are Wanted TV Poster Image
German crime thriller full of tech-related intrigue.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Technology is complicated; some people have troubling motives.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some characters are duplicitous, and others are simply trying to get by. 

Violence

Some gunplay; a man smashes his head into a mirror; a man sets himself on fire and falls to his death.

Sex

Sexual references are made; a topless photo is shown; sex is suggested (but no nudity is shown) between the protagonist and his wife.

Language

"Hell," "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some alcohol is consumed; one character is shown smoking in nearly every scene she's in, sometimes while simultaneously using an albuterol inhaler for asthma.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that You Are Wanted is a thriller series about issues of privacy and technology in the modern age. There's minor sexuality and some nudity (a topless photo is "sexted" to a character's smartphone) as well as acts of violence and some gunplay. A character is seen assembling materials to create a bomb, someone smashes their own face into a mirror, and a man sets himself on fire and jumps out a window. One of the detectives is a hard-core chain-smoker, and a child is creepily threatened on more than one occasion.

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What's the story?

Matthias Schweighöfer (who also serves as producer and director of You Are Wanted) stars as likable hotel manager Lukas Franke, whose comfortable life goes downhill fast when a mysterious cyber-menace hacks his identity and frames him for a crime he didn't commit. One moment, he's enjoying a surprise birthday party with friends and family, his sweet wife Hanna (Alexandra Maria Lara), who works as an illustrator, and young son, Leon (Franz Hagn), who is just starting kindergarten. Practically overnight, he's being inexplicably added to hacktivist group chats, he starts receiving strange packages full of electronics he didn't order, and his family is being spied on via the everyday devices in their home. (If this show doesn't inspire you to stick a piece of masking tape over your laptop's camera, nothing will.) When the feds start sniffing around, accusing Lukas of having ties to a terrorist plot, the tension really starts to mount.

Is it any good?

A nimble pace and strong performances from the leads make this cyber thriller a binge-worthy treat. The show looks great, too, from the Franke family's catalog-worthy, light-filled contemporary home to the shadowy tech dens where unwashed, hoodie-clad computer geeks hang out. It's always enjoyable to watch an attractive and sympathetic everyman character try to clear his name as an unknown assailant does everything in their power to turn the man's entire life -- and his own family -- against him. It's a formula that has worked time and again in shows and films like The Fugitive and North by Northwest. The fact that Lukas Franke's nightmare is borne out of relatable situations and ubiquitous objects (laptops, security cameras, bank transfers) makes it particularly gripping fun.

Amazon is hoping to make things easy on U.S. audiences by offering this German-made drama in an English-dubbed version, but the new voice performances are distractingly wooden. If you don't mind turning on English subtitles instead, it's highly preferable to watch You Are Wanted in the original German. Whether you speak the language or not, the actors' authentic intonations make for a better viewing experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why people enjoy watching suspenseful shows and movies such as You Are Wanted. We would hate to go through a situation like Lukas and his family did, so why is it so fun to watch?

  • What do we learn about the character of Lukas as the show goes on? Do you think he was an honest person all the time?

  • What are some ways we can try to be safer when using technology? Do the benefits of social media outweigh the risks?

TV details

For kids who love mysteries

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