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TV Series Review

It's not easy to raise a daughter, especially if you're a single dad. And especially if you're raising her to be a steely assassin.

But that's exactly what Erik, Hanna's resourceful dad, is trying to do. He spirited the girl away from a secret laboratory in Romania when Hanna was just an infant. For 15 years, father and daughter hid in an Eastern European forest that not even a gingerbread witch would dare live in.

All that time, Erik trained his little girl to use weapons and her wits, talking to her in a litany of languages and quizzing her on the sorts of American movies a normal 15-year-old might be aware of. You know, a 15-year-old who hadn't spent her entire life isolated in a forest.

But beneath those lessons, he taught an even more serious one.

"Human beings are …" he'd begin.

"… not to be trusted," she'd respond, as if in church.

But those days are gone now. Father and daughter are separated. Hanna's surrounded by human beings. Indeed, some of them are not to be trusted. At least one of them—Marissa, a steely assassin in her own right—wants Erik dead and Hanna …

Well, what does she want with Hanna? That's the real question.

Mean Girl

Hanna is, in some ways, a coming-of-age story, and one more universal than you'd expect. After all, Erik is a loving, over-protective father—albeit one, admittedly, whose love and protection have gone to extremes. And Hanna is in some ways a surprisingly typical teen. For years, her hidden home was Hanna's whole world. Now she has a measure of freedom with which to experience the real world herself. She's meeting new people, seeing new places and experiencing new things—things that, most certainly, Erik (and many other fathers) would disapprove of.

'Course, some of her experiences take place in military prisons or secret scientific facilities. Or, when she inevitably escapes such places, in some of Europe's hippest cities and on its hardest streets.

But always, Hanna's on the run from Marissa (a CIA agent who's following her own agenda) and trying to reunite with her dad, if she can—and perhaps in the process, learning a little bit more about who she is and what, exactly, she's supposed to do with her life. Is it just all about ending the lives of others?

Pretty in Red

Amazon's Hanna is based on the 2011 film of the same name (which starred a young, up-and-coming Saoirse Ronan and a gleefully wicked Kate Blanchett). Though rated PG-13, it certainly didn't garner its relatively family-friendly rating via any particular restraint. That film was intense and bloody, and there's something a little jarring about watching a teen girl become so proficient at killing.

This television show, which bears its own deceptive rating (TV-14), is of a piece with the movie. But while PG-13 films are quasi-legally bound to watch their mouths, television shows have no such constraints: F- and s-words are heard in the mayhem. But the issues hardly end there. Hanna, now in the throes of adolescence and with only her father for company for all those many years, is experiencing new pulls and attractions toward some of the people whom she meets, and some show a similar interest in her. How graphic those attractions get, time will tell.

But Hanna is, above all, a killer. And violence is the show's biggest caution. Death comes quickly, sometimes painfully and often quite bloodily—both for Hanna's own quarry and to those hunted by her archnemesis. Most everyone here, it seems, has a talent for termination.

But given the level of blood we see, perhaps it's only fitting the show has a heart, as well.

Yes, Hanna's about a teenage assassin, doing battle with other folks out for blood. But underneath that storyline, the show's also about a girl and her father. The former seeks her dad's approval in whatever she does, but she longs to be her own person, too. And the latter? Well, he knows Hanna faces a formidable world, and he just hopes that he's given his little girl the skills and courage to cope.

And as a dad myself, that sounds pretty familiar.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Feb. 3, 2019: "Forest"



Readability Age Range



Esme Creed-Miles as Hanna; Mireille Enos as Marissa; Joel Kinnaman as Erik; Rhianne Barreto as Sophie; Félicien Juttner as Olivier; Khalid Abdalla as Jerome Sawyer






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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