21 Jump Street

1987 TV-14 3 seasons

21 Jump Street

1987 TV-14 3 seasons
  • Overview
  • Seasons
  • Details
Johnny Depp stars in his breakout role as police officer Tom Hanson, the sardonic leader of a pack of cub investigators who pass as pupils while squelching underage mischief in this late 1980s crime drama. Whether joining a gang, posing as punk rockers or infiltrating a prom, the job requirements are many and great for Hanson and his team as they combat youthful but no less hostile culprits. Peter DeLuise and Holly Robinson Peete co-star.
Holly Robinson Peete, Steven Williams, Peter DeLuise, Johnny Depp, Dustin Nguyen, Sal Jenco
  • SEASON  1
  • SEASON  3
  • SEASON  4

Summary of Season 1 (1987) - 2 discs

Fresh-faced undercover cops head back to high school on the hunt for criminals in this hip cop show. Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson Peete, Peter DeLuise and Dustin Nguyen star as young law officers assigned to investigate crimes involving teenagers. In Season 1, the gang investigates drugs, prostitution and arson, and Captain Jenko (Frederick Forrest) is killed in an accident. Guest stars include Jason Priestley, Josh Brolin and Blair Underwood.
TV-14 - This program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age.
age 14+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 14+
age 14+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that 21 Jump Street is basically Law & Order for teens, and much more serious than the 2012 theatrical release of the same name. Battle lines are drawn clearly: The show's police officers are on the side of good, the criminals on the side of bad. There is very little moral ambiguity; it is easily evident who viewers are supposed to root for. This is a police procedural show, so there is a "crime of the week" on each episode; parents may be concerned about some of the crimes spotlighted, such as one episode where a young baseball player is menaced by villains out to murder him, as well as one where one of the show's officers is named in a paternity suit leveled by a high-schooler. Many kids will find the dated fashions, music, and expressions hilarious; parents may find themselves explaining outdated slang.

Sexual Content

Some references are made to dating, love, and romance, as well as to characters (male and female) being attractive. There is no nudity or onscreen sex, but there may be mature discussions, such as one episode that features a teen who accuses an adult of impregnating her, and another where a young girl becomes a prostitute.


Violence, drugs, prostitution, even murder are confronted head-on from the stance of "crime doesn't pay"; criminals may brandish guns but there is no bloodshed. Violence is always followed by consequences, and the characters in danger are almost always teenagers and adults.


Characters occasionally insult each other ("dork," "spazz"), and the general tone between the officers is one of mockery. Villains on the show occasionally use words like "freaking" or "crap."

Social Behavior

There's a clear message that crime is bad and the most appealing folks on the show are the good guys. Social issues are front and center in the show, from gang issues to AIDS awareness. Crime may occasionally appear glamorous to teens, i.e. criminals are sometimes good-looking and appealing.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Many episodes revolve around drugs and drinking, from the perspective of these things being negative. Criminals are often shown drinking and smoking or at bars.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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