Criminal Minds, in which we learn that maybe car showrooms aren’t that bad.

 

First aired: 17th March 2006

Cast:

Mandy Patinkin – Jason Gideon

Thomas Gibson- Aaron Kotchner

Shemar Moore – Derek Morgan

Matthew Grey-Gubler  – Doctor Spencer Reid

Lola Glaudini – Elle Greenaway

Kirsten Vangsness- Penelope Garcia

Synopsis: Seattle, Washington a woman called Heather is corresponding by e-mail with a man selling an vintage car. She has a test drive and soon realises that she is being kidnapped when she is being driven home after the test drive, but by that point, it’s already too late.

Washington DC, Supervising Special Agent Aaron Hotchner is talking baby names with his pregnant wife Hayley and gets a call. At a bar, Derek Morgan is doing well with a group of ladies all hanging on his every word, he too gets a call. At Quantico, Jason Gideon is teaching a class of junior federal agents and is interrupted by Dr Spencer Reid, they are all needed. This missing girl, was number 4 in Seattle. Number 3 has been found dead and this group of agents, known as the Behavioural Analysis Unit are called in to assist the local police. As Gideon looks at the scene, Morgan questions his mental fitness to be in the field after a case went badly in Boston. After taking all that he can see, Gideon talks things over with the team and then gives a profile to the police.

The profile posits that this man will have already injected himself into the investigation, the police have already met one of the people involved. This leads them to Richard Slessman, who is lured out of his mother’s attic by Elle Greenaway who is trying to join the BAUis man. In interrogation it doesn’t take long for Hotch and Gideon to realise that Richard isn’t the guy, only fitting part of the profile and as Morgan and Reid search both his home and the computer within (with an assist by the BAU’s IT specialist Penelope Garcia) are able to get enough information as to where Heather is likely to be, through a live video feed. Needing more Gideon and Elle head to the prison that Richard was in, looking for his cellmate who was likely to be his accomplice, but really it’s one of the guards Tim Vogel. Vogel is spooked, but manages to elude Elle and Gideon. At Richard’s home, Reid realises that the light seen on the video moves, or sways and tells Hotch that the woman is on a ship, a fact he uses to get more information out of Richard, giving them the exact location. Elle and Gideon get there, only to face Vogel and a hostage. Sizing up Vogel’s mental state, Gideon rattles Vogel by casting aspersions on his manhood, giving Elle more than enough of a chance to shoot him, saving the girl. Hotchner reveals to Gideon that he’s been monitoring him under orders to learn whether he can still work in the field, but believes he can and will tell the higher ups that.

Days later, Gideon is buying petrol and comes across someone matching a profile he gave the police of the footpath killer. He doesn’t react. He walks back to his car, followed by the footpath killer.

Notes: Serial killers are very TV criminals, with their dramatic acts and eye catching sensationalism and they often both on TV and in real life, overshadow the people who try to understand, track and catch them and this show is that side of things. Crimes solved with psychology, attention to detail and research do not sound particularly sexy, but this show kind of pulls it off. About half of the cast are less than impressive, with Lola Gaudini being more than a little forgettable and it’s a bit of a come down for the usually entertaining Mandy Patinkin. Shemar Moore and Matthew Grey-Gubler seem to bounce well off one another and Kirsten Vangsness’ Garcia is just a delight. Acting as the backbone of the show, if not the lead is Thomas Gibson, fresh off his role in Dharma and Grey, who walks into the role of team leader and immediately owns it. Hotch is by the book, but loyal to his team and talks openly with Gideon about how he’s under the microscope, showing no interest in the politics of his job and only bothered with putting bad guys away and in doing so saving lives. It’s nice to see a police character who isn’t some kind of rebel, or maverick, but a family man who’s good at his job and works as part of a team and in the small time he’s on screen made an impression.

The show itself is a basic procedural, with an emphasis on psychology and behaviour in the solving of crimes and it’s actually very good, it’s thin, but there’s room to build something pretty good out of all this.

Verdict: 

Does it work? Yes, it’s a by the numbers police procedural, it’s kind of hard to mess up the premise.

Does much need fixing? This episode seems to centre on the character of Gideon, it needs to take full advantage of the large ensemble cast in possesses.

Does it stand up? It’s okay, but doesn’t grab you. Many procedurals have something extra that this lacks.

Do I want to watch the next one? I did which seemed to solve some of the cast problems, but no further than that.

Did I enjoy it? Not especially, it was on the list, because I have enjoyed the later seasons.

Overall: 3 out of 5 (Barely) It’s  good concept that feels a little unfinished, like an un-iced cake.

Published by Munky

Liverpool based family man and unrepentant geek, trying to understand what's going on in my own head, which is not always being a good place to be. Remember always, we live in a world of wonders.

One thought on “Criminal Minds, in which we learn that maybe car showrooms aren’t that bad.

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