Written by Senora Bicho
Okay, I admit it. I love crime. Movies, books, TV, fiction and non-fiction. I am addicted and can’t stop myself, even when it causes me to wake in the middle of the night sure that my husband is trying to kill me. Now when it comes to crime on television, I am not usually overly selective. American Justice, 48 Hours Mystery, Law and Order, CSI (only the Vegas version though, I do draw the line somewhere), etc, etc. There is definitely more than enough out there these days to keep my DVR full.
However, Criminal Minds is an interesting diversion from the usual crime drama. This show focuses on the criminal and tracking the unidentified suspect down through profiling. The series follows the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) as they try to solve cases that involve a serial offender. The show really focuses on the absolute worst of the worst. The crimes are extremely brutal and the cases this season ranged from child pornography to the bloodiest of serial killers.
Season Two brought on a lot of challenges and personal obstacles for the BAU. Criminal Minds, as described by the executive producer, is a self-contained show in that a viewer can come in and out of the show without being lost. However, the writers do throw in “cookies” about the characters that reward regular viewers. This season brought a lot more personal information and development of the characters.
Each episode begins and ends with a quote from the likes of Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde that summarize the main issues being addressed. These quotes illustrate the intelligence of the series. The BAU is considered an elite team within the FBI and each character brings a different expertise. Jason Gideon, played by Mandy Patinkin, was the heart of the team in the first two seasons. He asked to be released at the end of season two and was replaced by Joe Mantegna for Season Three. Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) is the head of the unit. You see a bit of his family life over the course of the season and get a hint of the strain his job has on his marriage. Hotchner grounds the group and provides the rational, calm force. Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) is the brain of the team and amazingly can solve the unsolvable. Reid’s super-genius, photographic mind admittedly provides a cheat for the writers as disclosed in one the featurettes. The four other team members each play their part, from computer geek to hunky stud, but are not as dominate or engrossing as these three.
Season Two starts with the conclusion of the hunt for the Fisher King from the Season One finale. Early on in the episode, the suspect shoots one of the agents, Elle Greenway. This causes the slow destruction of her psyche and subsequent resignation midway through the season. She is then replaced by Emily Prentiss, whose admission into the group is highly suspect by Hotchner and Gideon as neither approved it. The finale of the season indicates that Prentiss was brought in due to her family connections and the favor that got her into the group is now being called on to help bring Hotchner’s career to an end.
The DVD collection offers some great special features, first and foremost being the audio commentary. Each commentary offers a wonderful collaboration that has been thoughtfully considered. Writers, actors, directors, and producers are all brought together to bring excellent insight into the episodes they narrate. There are four episodes that offer commentary tracks and I really wish they had done more.
There are three featurettes, all also well done and interesting. A spotlight of Kristen Vangsness, who plays the computer wiz on the show, is included. This is a lighthearted offering that is not very noteworthy. Last but not least, there are two deleted scenes and a gag reel. I continue to be confused by the fact that serious shows feel the need to include a stupid gag reel. They are never funny and this one is no exception.
Season Three of Criminal Minds is already underway and if you love crime drama like I do, give it a try. If after a few episodes you are hooked, then go out and buy Season Two to get caught up on what you have missed. If you are already a devoted fan of the show, this is a worthy purchase just for the special features.