Bodkin parents guide: Bod-can your kids watch the new Netflix show?

Bodkin is a great Netflix series, but it's not okay for Bod-kids.
Bodkin. (L to R) Robyn Cara as Emmy Sizergh, Siobhán Cullen as Dove, Will Forte as Gilbert Power in episode 102 of Bodkin. Cr. Enda Bowe/Netflix © 2024
Bodkin. (L to R) Robyn Cara as Emmy Sizergh, Siobhán Cullen as Dove, Will Forte as Gilbert Power in episode 102 of Bodkin. Cr. Enda Bowe/Netflix © 2024 /

Bodkin, the new Netflix crime series, just dropped on Thursday, May 9, and it sure seems like it’s going to be a hit! We know everyone is going to be wondering how dark the dark comedy is and if it’s okay to watch with the family. If that’s you, we have you covered with this parent guide for Bodkin.

Created by Jez Scharf, the series tells the story of true crime podcaster, Gilbert, played by Will Forte, who journeys to the remote Irish village of Bodkin with two colleagues, Emmy, played by Robyn Cara, and Dove, played by Siobhán Cullen, to investigate the disappearance of three people more than two decades ago. From the jump, two things are clear: everyone in Bodkin is hiding something and no one wants their secrets to be revealed. As the trio presses on, their investigation becomes more and more ridiculous. Will they get to Bod-tum of this mystery? Or, will they face a similar fate as the Bod-ies they’re looking for? 

That’s the pitch! I was hooked by the trailer, and I enjoyed all seven episodes of the series. But, I’m in my 30s. I’m not a kid! Is the series okay for kids? Let’s explore. 

Bodkin Parents Guide: Explaining the TV-MA age rating

According to our friends at Netflix, who let us watch the series early, Bodkin is rated TV-MA for “language, nudity, and sex,” but that doesn’t tell the whole story, not by half. The dark comedy is going to be a tough one for kids to watch. 

Sex & Nudity: There are a few instances of sex and nudity in Bodkin, although not together. Yes, there are characters who have sex in the series, but there’s no nudity in those scenes. It’s in the bathroom at a pub in episode 5, and it’s quick. You could definitely skip ahead and not miss a thing. As I recall, the only nudity in the series is a group of nuns bathing together while one of the main characters is on an unintended ‘shrooms trip. Technically, the series has to be rated TV-MA for the sex and nudity content, but it’s far from the most mature elements in the series. 

Violence: You’d think a show about true crime podcasters and a journalist could steer clear of violence, but Bodkin leans right into it. There are shoot outs, bomb explosions, fights, and more. A man staples money to another man’s forehead. In every episode, someone pulls out a gun and threatens another person. Eventually, those bullets start to land and do damage. A boat gets lit on fire with someone inside. There isn’t too much blood and gore, but it can be quite disturbing at times. And, that’s not mentioning the dead bodies. 

Throughout the series, we see multiple dead bodies, including two that are more than 25 years old. The characters get up close to those bodies, and the camera follows. It’s not all that unfamiliar for those who watch a lot of true crime series or murder mysteries, but it could be shocking and upsetting for a younger audience. 

I should also mention that there is a suicide in the first scene of the series. One of the lead characters, Dove, walks into an apartment to find someone has hung themselves. You’ll only see feet dangling, but it’s very clear what happened. 

Language: This is where Bodkin earns its rating. The language in this series is as bad as any TV show I’ve ever seen. I love a colorful, graphic description, so I enjoyed it, but it’s not for kids. This is suspended-from-school language, okay? And, it’s not just a lot of f-bombs or general curse words. It’s the threatening nature of the language that’s the most disturbing aspect and the thing I’d be worried about kids hearing. Most of the inappropriate language is derogatory toward women, which is also uncomfortable and offensive. 

Drinking & Drugs: There is heavy drinking in every episode. I think the creators were trying to capture the lifestyle of a small Irish town where everyone hangs out, drinks, and carries on at the local pub. It’s a bit stereotypical in that nature, but it’s definitely the thing these characters do. 

There is some drug use in the series, although rather unintentional. One of the characters has her tea spiked with psychedelic mushrooms. We also see flashbacks of a person overdosing with a needle in their arm and verbal references to heroin and addiciton. 

What age is Bodkin appropriate for? 

If you have a child who has seen a lot of true crime documentaries or series, they’d probably be okay with Bodkin. I don’t think the series has anything they haven’t seen before. I’d feel most comfortable recommending the series to someone who was 16 years old and older. There’s just a lot going on in this series. Some of it is disturbing; some of it is just inappropriate for kids, especially the language and themes. This is truly a dark comedy, but I do think there’s also something that can be learned from this series. It’s just whether or not a child can understand some of the more nuanced conversations about true crime as a whole. 

As for what actually happens, the sex, nudity, and drug use are kept to a minimum. The language and violence can be a bit much at times for younger viewers, but the violence is on par with other similar crime shows. It’s much less violent than a show like Breaking Bad or Ozark. 

Aside from the language, which is explicit, and the stories some of the characters tell about the past, I wouldn’t feel too bad about watching Bodkin with teens younger than 16 or 17 if they were comfortable with the genre. Bodkin would not be the first TV-MA series to show a teen, though. You have to build up to something like this, especially since it’s also a commentary on the true crime genre. 

All seven episodes of Bodkin are now streaming on Netflix.

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