Photo Credit : CBS
If you are someone who watches more than one or two of the multitude of crime procedurals that fill the CBS and NBC schedules, there’s probably not much that can dissuade you from tuning in to the latest offspring of one of the heavyweight shows, “Criminal Minds.”
By : SHAWNA BENSON
If you are someone who watches more than one or two of the multitude of crime procedurals that fill the CBS and NBC schedules, there’s probably not much that can dissuade you from tuning in to the latest offspring of one of the heavyweight shows, “Criminal Minds.” For everyone else, let this review serve as a warning. “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” takes the concept of the original and duplicates it, right down to utilizing the walking search engine that is Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness, pulling double duty on both shows). Forest Whitaker, who is no stranger to television, having guest starred on “The Shield” in a riveting performance is not only wasted as the leader of this group of investigators, but looks like he knows it. He tries hard to make the ridiculous leaps in logic and unsupported conclusions sound reasonable, but far too often it feels like someone should have a “That was easy” button from Staples sitting on the desk to hit after inferring so much information from the smallest of clues to a crime.
Janeane Garofalo (24) plays his second in command, and she is as snarky as she is righteous, hardly a stretch for the actress, who is known for her sarcasm and activism. Still, she is the least offensive player in this drama. The show itself wallows in the twisted and bizarre crimes committed by sociopaths and psychotic malcontents, and though it attempts to show the audience why the suspect acts out with their crimes, it feels voyeuristic, as if asking the audience to sympathize with the monsters without presenting a full understanding of them. In the first episode, the team tracks down a man who has kidnapped a little girl from a white, suburban neighborhood. While investigating the case, they discover that another girl, an African-American girl from a bad part of town went missing 9 days earlier.
Photo Credit : CBS
Garofalo’s Agent Griffith is outraged that this mother never got the same kind of attention or support that their current victims are receiving, and makes it her mission to take on this case as well. Conveniently, the two kidnappings are linked, so I guess there wasn’t a problem of spreading resources thin, but if this were the real world, Griffith would likely be told to pound sand on the second case or pass it off to another team.
The rest of the cast is an assemblage of actors who can be changed out as easily as a pair of shoes. None have a particular story or point of view that really moves the story. The first episode attempts to make drama out of one team member’s previous “vigilante” behavior, but of course, it doesn’t really impact the story being told or derail the show from trudging through the story and investigation like a death march.
If it feels like I’m being too harsh on the show, there is reason. There is nothing new here that isn’t covered by “Criminal Minds,” or any of the other shows of its kind. The actors are sleepwalking, and never become their characters, just a group of people picking up paychecks to perform substandard drama that masquerades as entertainment. There’s nothing entertaining about the show, and the only emotion it evokes is boredom tinged with revulsion that this was put on the air. The stories are macabre, which isn’t a crime itself, but presenting them as if they are anything close to real police work or true profiles of deranged individuals, borders on a felony.
If there is justice in the TV world, the audience will reject “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” as an offensive piece of opportunistic filler. Yes, we know there is money to be made in these shows, as they continue to be popular. If this were a reality show, there would be outcry to the outrageousness and total disregard for the viewers this show employs. Since it is a scripted drama, it should be criticized just as strongly, and held to a higher standard, a standard this show doesn’t come close to reaching.
Please help Forest Whitaker, Garofalo and these other actors find shows more deserving of their talents. Do not watch “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” and allow them to escape this prison of mediocrity. Should you feel like disregarding my advice, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” premieres on CBS on Wednesday February 16 at 10 PM ET.