Monday, January 9, 2012

Criminal Minds

I took a little time one night last week to solve the world’s problems with a friend. When I got home, The Beloved Spouse was curled up on the couch watching Criminal Minds on A&E or some other indistinguishable cable channel. I had nothing better to do at that hour, I like Joe Mantegna, so I plopped myself in a chair to see what I’ve been missing on commercial television.

Jesus Christ, is this show bad.

Where to start? The dialog. Half the show consists of FBI profilers telling each other about profiling, like they don’t already know. Expend a few ounces of effort and at least bring in an ignorant guest star if you’re going to explain things to us.

The cast. Once the credits were over, they might as well have run a screen insert in one corner with a head shot for all the more Mantegna does. Thomas Gibson, late of Dharma and Greg, walks around with a furrowed brow looking brooding and tormented. (TBS says she thinks his wife died. I think he’s constantly reminded he used to spend his work days with Jenna Elfman and is now stuck in this piece of shit. He doesn’t even have to act to look brooding and tormented.)

Deirdre Lovejoy (Rhonda Pearlman in The Wire) may be a fed; I’m not sure. TBS said she didn’t think so, which made it okay for them to explain Profiling 101 to her, but later I saw her with an official FBI windbreaker, so I’m not sure.

The rest of the team consists of the obligatory ice bitch female lead profiler/detective, a younger hunky guy, a younger chick who dresses just professionally enough to show how hot she’d be if she wasn’t dressed so professionally, and a black guy. There’s also the goofy-looking chick back at the office who can click a mouse three times and find sealed juvenile and foster home records, complete employment and substance abuse histories (including which meetings an individual attended last week), dental records, shoe size, rings size, and preferred alcoholic beverage. She solves the case for them in a couple of two-minute segments; the rest is padding.

Then there’s the plot. My episode showed a young husband and wife team travelling the northwest killing people for kicks and sexual gratification. When they turn to killing the man’s father because he abused him as a child—which is strictly a he said/he said situation—the master profilers deduce they’re going after the woman’s father next. They’re in Idaho; Dad is in Spokane, Washington. The killers are in a car, so the feds grab the ubiquitous government plane. Do they call the guy to warn him? Do they call local police to warn them? Hell, no. They fly the two youngest members of the team there, who then drive to the guy’s house to hear his wife tell them he’s at work—Duh!—which is where our kill crazed couple thought to go first. Do they call the police , or Dad, then? Fuck no. They hotfoot it over there to arrive—damn!—too late to save Dad, but just in time to create a hostage situation when the bloodthirsty wife’s young half-sister walks into the gas station just before they kill Dad in the back room.

As you might have guessed by now, these profilers are also gifted hostage negotiators. Having figured out wifey killed hubby’s old girlfriend so she could have him, they begin to tell him exactly what she’s going to do to keep him on the string while they make their escape. She then proceeds to do exactly what they predict within thirty seconds of each prediction. It was like watching an old Warner Brothers cartoon where Daffy Duck is thinks he’s been exposed to a germ and shows every possible symptom just as Bugs Bunny reads them to him.

Damn right I watched the whole show. It’s not every night I get to see a primer in how not to tell a story.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

So agree. The only network drama with any merit is THE GOOD WIFE. The rest are cookie cutter messes.