TELEVISION: Criminal Minds: As Promised Someone Dies!

There are many reasons that I gave up on Criminal Minds [CBS, Wednesdays, 9/8C] – among them, a seemingly deliberate bad treatment of women and unctuous and predictable writing. Both are present in this season’s premiere, subtly entitled Mayhem. It’s the resolution of the terrorist investigation/car bombing cliffhanger that ended the show’s third season.

Criminal Minds, S4

You may remember the scene: members of the team moved to their various SUVs and one exploded. Turns out that in the case of the one that exploded, its passengers hadn’t quite gotten into it [can you say cheat?] and were blown back by the explosion, not instantly killed. Not only that, but a passer-by calls 911 – of course no one is allowed to approach them because it was established that the bombers were actually looking to follow up the initial bomb with one to take out the initial response team[s].

So, we’ve got a badly injured woman. How she survived being scraped along the street for twenty yards, leaving a trail of skin and blood, is beyond me [when we get a glance at it, her back is so much hamburger]. Meanwhile the male agent is blown into the air and comes down across the street and is only shaken up and cut from the SUV’s windows – or so it seems. Actually, it’s later shown to be bad enough to have both agents requiring emergency treatment.

In the meantime, we get a bunch of fairly predictable events – the injured agent driving the ambulance to a hospital that has been barricaded, another agent discovering the second bomb and appearing to die saving everyone… the usual – and the only member of the team that comes off well is, once again, Garcia [Kristen Vangsness].

Sadly, all of the episode’s major reveals were obvious to me well before we reached them [before the teaser was over, actually]. And the promised death once again put a woman through all kinds of agony – a Criminal Minds staple. Not that Mayhem was totally ridiculous – it was beautifully filmed [though the hamburger shot could have been briefer] and Vangsness’ performance was excellent. On the other hand, Joe Mantegna’s David Rossi was reduced to the role of bystander and Paget Brewster’s Emily Prentiss was little more than window dressing.

Overall, then, Mayhem reminded me why I seldom watch Criminal Minds. It was overblown fooferaw and pretty much a waste of my time. Don’t let it waste yours.

Final Grade: D

3 thoughts on “TELEVISION: Criminal Minds: As Promised Someone Dies!”

  1. Hey you must hate Crimianl Minds.
    Because you have the worng actor’s name with the charchater’s name.

    AJ Cook plays JJ Jareau and Garica is played by Kirsten Vangsness.
    So you know what if you don’t like the show don’t say anything bad about it just say that it wasn’t what you thought it should be and leave it at that.

  2. Apologies for getting the name wrong. My bad.

    Unfortunately, Criminal Minds remains one of the worst shows ever to be a hit in the history of television. The writing isn’t just bad, it’s exploitative [and not in the fun way of exploitation movies, but rather, the exploitation of women – usually through the torture of serial killer victims being played out onscreen, though this time it was through grotesque injuries to a woman from being skipped along a street turning her back into hamburger. Men rarely suffer physical abuse of the kind and proportion that women do – and that makes the show misogynist as well as poorly written. And Thomas Gibson’s acting is so wooden that he makes Robert Beltran, of Star Trek: Voyager look like Olivier. Plus, Garcia got it right when she asked Morgan why it was always him who had to play hero – a riff that was boring by the end of season one.

    I actually liked the show when it was called “UnSub” back in 1989. The plots were remarkably varied and the writing brilliant. Overall, the cast was vastly superior as well. If it ever comes out on DVD, you might want to check it out. It shows how a show of this nature should be done. Of course, it didn’t pander to a lowest common denominator audience, so it got axed after one season, but that one season was infinitely better than the best ep of Criminal Minds. In fact, I find myself wondering why the creators of UnSub haven’t sued the creators of Criminal Minds for not only ripping them off, but turning what was a terriific concept and running it into the ground.

    As for not saying anything, well CBS sends me screeners and they expect me to review them. You’ll note that I’ve also reviewed The Mentalist [a vastly more intelligent and well written series], as well. “It’s not what I thought it should be” isn’t a review, it’s a meaningless phrase that utterly fails to express the loathing I feel for the show and the episode being reviewed – and there’s no point in writing a review if I don’t call ’em like I see ’em. That’s my job.

  3. I wouldn't call it exploitative, but I would say it attempts to tackle situations and stories which require alot of sensitivity and knowledge of the subject.

    Unfortunately no one involved with the show seems to have any, ludicrous and plain wrong quotes of detailed information to theories and explanations that are most often comical and offensive to the average intelligence.

    Which also sums up the acting. With this show I hope the main cast gets targeted by the Unkown Subject only time the show entertains.

    Paget Brewster on the otherhand is hilarious and hope she gets some better work.

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