The Investigator parents guide

The Investigator Parent Review

In this movie, a retired police officer discovers that faith isn't necessarily blind.

Overall B

Former police sergeant James Buanacore (Wade William) uses his job skills in a criminal justice class, where he and his students try to investigate the homicide of Jesus Christ.

Violence C
Sexual Content A
Profanity B
Substance Use C-

The Investigator is rated PG-13 for some drug material and a scene of violence.

Movie Review

James Buanacore (Wade William) has spent 20 years investigating crimes for the New York City Police Department. But all that changes when he is involved in a drug bust that goes wrong, leaving one man dead in the street. James is then given the opportunity to retire by his superiors. (In reality there is no question—he will retire.)

Then while dealing with the loss of his job, James faces another family challenge when his wife miscarries their almost full-term baby. Despite the compassion of his family and friends, James refuses to be comforted. Feeling abandoned by the God he regularly worships, he also turns his back on his religious upbringing.

Finally his brother Paul (David Sanborn), a Hollywood actor, tells James about an employment prospect. At first the retired policeman is reluctant to take a job teaching criminal justice and coaching baseball at a Christian high school but it’s the only option he has. And it seems that his tough demeanor may be just what the mouthy and disrespectful students need. Taking a stance in the classroom and on the baseball diamond, James begins to earn the respect and trust of his students and players. However, he continues to avoid participating in the morning devotionals at the school.

As his teaching skills improve he begins to educate his students about the finer points of police work. Eventually the students want to put those skills to the test, especially when the reality of Jesus Christ is questioned. Without any eyewitnesses, James and his students have to dig through historical records and circumstantial evidence in their mock investigation into the homicide of Jesus. While he leaves it up to his students to come to their own conclusion about Christ, James recognizes this is more than a classroom project for him. It becomes a personal mission to find out what he truly believes himself.

The script, written by Richard Romano, is based on the screenwriter’s own life experience as a NYPD police detective, high school teacher and coach. (He also has worked as a technical advisor with his brother Ray Romano on the television show Everybody Loves Raymond.) While the film contains few content issues for family viewing with teens, parents should note a man is killed during a drug bust and later a man is found dead in his apartment after a supposed drug deal turns ugly. The scene also depicts the grief of the young man’s father who finds his son dead on the floor. A character, in an authority position is also caught dispensing prescription drugs to students.

Applying his career expertise in a unique way, James discovers that faith isn’t necessarily blind. For both the former sergeant and his students, it becomes an act of faith to open their eyes to the evidence.

Note: This movie opened in a limited theatrical releases on September 13, 2014.

Directed by Curtis Graham. Starring Rebecca Galarza, Fernando Martinez, Ylian Alfaro. Running time: 101 minutes. Theatrical release May 27, 2014. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The Investigator here.

The Investigator Parents Guide

Why does James choose to report the drug dealing at school even though it may cost him his job? Is it important to maintain personal standards and values even when others disagree with you? Is the excuse that it will hurt the students if the drug dealer is exposed a valid one?

James and his students look for proof of Jesus Christ. What evidence do they find? While some people demand evidence of God existence, are they able to prove that God does not exist?