Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Studying the Behaviors of the Criminally Inclined

The new television season has arrived!  Many of our favorite programs have returned, so Amber West and I decided to share a few more Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews to check out two additional CBS hit series – The Good Wife and Criminal Minds

First up – Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds follows a team of highly trained FBI agents who profile criminal behaviors for the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU).   There are tons of police procedural programs on TV today, but none like this. 

The BAU team’s home base is at the famous Quantico, Virginia location; however, they travel around the United States once a city’s local authorities request their presence at the scene of a crime.  The unit studies the unsubs, or unidentified suspects, instead of the crime itself.    

The team is led by Unit Chief Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner (Thomas Gibson, Darma & Greg).   Hotch’s dedication to his job cost him his marriage.  After his ex-wife Haley (played by Meredith Monroe) was murdered by serial killer “The Reaper” (C. Thomas Howell), Hotch gained custody of his son, Jack. Hotch attempts to make amends by being the best father he possibly can; he even coaches the little guy’s soccer team. 

Due to the graphic nature of his job, Hotch rarely smiles and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders; but, despite the difficulty, he will do everything in his power to protect his team.      

Next in line is Senior Supervisory Special Agent Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore, The Young and the Restless).  Excelling at his job, Morgan has been named Acting Unit Chief when Hotch is out.  He was in line to be the next Unit Chief of the New York field office, but he declined the position.   He is strong and fast, and is by far the most physical on the BAU team (he’s pretty to look at too). 

Morgan had a difficult childhood: he witnessed his father’s murder and he was sexually abused by the local boys’ club caretaker.  As an adult, Morgan was framed for murdering a few of his hometown’s local boys, but was later proven innocent by his team.   

Also serving the BAU as a Senior Supervisory Special Agent is David Rossi, played by Joe Mantegna (Joan of Arcadia).  Rossi is credited as one of the founding members of the BAU, but he retired to write books and lecture on criminal analysis.  He returned to the team after Gideon’s untimely departure (see below), and seized the opportunity to solve a cold case that had haunted him for decades. 

Rossi has been married and divorced multiple times, and often jokes that divorce lawyers are the only people in his personal life that he can make happy.            

Special Agent Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster, Friends – remember Kathy?  She dated Joey and Chandler….) joined the team after Elle walked away (see below).  Early on, Prentiss felt she had something to prove being that Hotch and Gideon suspected her mother’s position as a U.S. Ambassador had something to do with her joining the BAU team. 

Prentiss served Interpol for years, where she worked undercover hunting international arms dealer, Ian Doyle.  This past year, Doyle killed her Interpol colleagues one-by-one, blaming them for the death of his only son.  Doyle finally found Emily, hunted her, and killed her.  Or did he? 

Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler, Alvin and the Chipmunks motion picture franchise) is probably my favorite member of the team.  Reid is a genius; he graduated high school before he was a teenager; he has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology; he has a Ph.D in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering; and he has an insanely high IQ – all courtesy of his eidetic memory.  Reid reads faster than anyone on the planet (he scans the page with his finger and remembers it verbatim), he remembers everything he sees, but he struggles with certain things that he hears. 

Reid suffers from inexplicable headaches and fears that he has inherited his mother’s schizophrenia.  He is not as physically fit as the rest of his team, which probably led to his being held hostage twice (once by a character portrayal by Luke Perry and another time by James Van Der Beek).     

Special Agent Jenifer “JJ” Jareau, (AJ Cook, Tru Calling) also serves the team as the media liaison.  JJ joined the FBI after attending one of Rossi’s lectures, and she is the only non-profiler on the team.  Because she isn’t a profiler, JJ has a hard time understanding how people can commit such horrible crimes, but she remains professional and battles through each case. 

JJ recently returned to the team after she was forced to take a position at the Pentagon.  Besides Hotch, JJ is the only BAU team member with a child.   

Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia, played by Kirsten Vangsness, serves the team from Quantico.  Garcia joined the team after the FBI caught her hacking into their systems.  Rarely does she accompany the team to crime scenes; instead, she prefers to stay locked inside her computer lair wearing bright eye shadows and lipsticks while  frantically surfing the internet and databases for information to assist the team. 

Garcia is one of the only BAU team members to have an actual romantic relationship (fellow FBI analyst, Kevin Lynch, played by Nicholas Brendon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).   

The BAU team has suffered its share of casualites over the years.  Previous team members include: Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin, Chicago Hope) silently walked away without telling anyone after his former girlfriend was murdered by a serial killer; Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini, The Sopranos) left the team after she was shot following an undercover assignment; and Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols, Alias) was transferred out to another department, explained by Strauss downsizing the BAU team. 

Recurring characters include: Reid’s schizophrenic mother, Diana Reid (Jane Lynch, Glee); former New Orleans police liaison and father of JJ’s son, William “Will” LaMontagne (Josh Stewart, No Ordinary Family); and  BAU Unit Direct Supervisor, Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson, 24).    

The Criminal Minds franchise took an unfavorable dip last year with the one-season-and-done spinoff, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior starring Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo.  I have to admit that the story improved as the season moved forward, and unfortunately it ended with a cliff hanger.  Maybe the Criminal Minds team will do another cross over episode and close out that story line for us?

Regardless, the original remains strong airing new episodes every Wednesday night on CBS and in syndication on A&E and ION.  At almost any given time, one can find an episode of Criminal Minds to enjoy. 

As if my love for the characters isn’t evident by the length of my post, I must give Criminal Minds a GTV rating: it has everything we want and more, especially for this fiction writer.  Criminal Minds is an excellent source of research for understanding a potential protagonist’s actions in murder mysteries.  That’s my excuse for watching so much of it, anyway.  Yes, I’m going to keep telling myself that…     

What do you think? Have you watched Criminal Minds?  Who’s your favorite BAU team member? Were you disappointed with the cancellation of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of The Good Wife.  Amber was very adamant during the Tambery Awards production that Julianna Margulies win best actress – and she did!  Congrats, Julianna. 

Come back next week when Amber and I click over to NBC and review two of the channel’s hit programs – Harry’s Law and Law & Order: SVU.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.  We’re currently working on our September schedule and would love to chat with you!

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

47 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Studying the Behaviors of the Criminally Inclined”

    1. I adore Spencer Reid! I even tried “How to be a Serial Killer” on late night HBO (or another movie channel) this weekend simply because he was the star. I fell asleep….but I’ll probably try and finish it just because that’s how I do it! Thanks for stopping by, Lauralynn. New episode tonight!

  1. My parents watch Criminal Minds, so I have an idea of what it’s about. I’ve never watched Criminal Minds myself, though. This is a great rundown of the show. Awesome job, girl! I know this took some time and effort. Hats off to you.

    1. Catie! Next time you’re writing and near a TV, especially over a weekend, turn to A&E and work through one of the marathons. It is such a great show! It really takes us into the mind of crazy….thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. ❤

  2. Hi Tiffany. I love Criminal Minds! It’s hard to say who my favorite character is. I can say, though, that I didn’t like the Prentice death, not death thing. They already did that once, and it’s a bit overdone in general. But it’s still the only show I actually stop life to watch.

    I thought Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior had a great cast, but I didn’t think the stories were as gripping. I could see the seams where they tried to sew together the best parts of the original with, well, something original, and it came off as being put together by a committee.

    1. Hey, Piper! A part of me is just glad that Criminal Minds worked with Paget Brewster and allowed her to come back after seeking another project that didn’t take. I like the team as is and like most people, I hate change. 🙂

  3. One of my favorite shows. 😀 I’m so glad they brought back J.J. and Prentiss. Firing them was really stupid. Though I do feel bad for Ashley Seaver’s character. I liked the spin-off. Oh well.

  4. There are too many GTVs out there! I haven’t seen this one and didn’t know what it was about. Your low-down on the series is great and intrigues me. (I love Mandy Patinkin, by the way.) This one will have to go in the “check out when my other shows are in break” queue. Thanks to you and Amber, I have plenty to watch and catch up on!

  5. I love Criminal Minds! In fact, I record it on 3 different channels(CBS, A&E, and ion) and watch the episodes over and over. Dr. Reid is my favorite character as well. I thought I was alone in that. I never watched the spin-off though.

  6. Criminal Minds is my favorite show along with Bones. The cases are creepy and interesting, and the characters are fantastic. I was so happy they brought JJ and Prentiss back – last week’s show was a completely different atmosphere. I also love the sweet relationship between Garcia and Morgan. Like you, Reid is probably my favorite character, and Matthew Gray Gublar is hilarious. His youtube vids and tweets are fun:)

    1. Ah, Stacy…Bones and Criminal Minds. You’re my girl!

      The characters are wonderful. I got completely carried away writing this post and had to delete quite a bit. I wanted to tell everyone’s backstory….viewers don’t get to know TV characters as well as we do the BAU team very often.

      I’m going to have to check out MGG’s Youtube videos! Amanda linked one down below that caught my eye. Going now….

  7. Ooooooooh, I’m all tingly because Criminal Minds is the only show that freaks me out so much I have to hide under my covers at night.

    I used to love this show until I spent the night alone in a hotel room in San Francisco and watched CM at midnight. It was the episode where the killer tied a girl up in a barn and let loose dogs on her.

    I had to call my husband and make him talk to me until the sun came up, I was so scared and freaked out. Now, CM is ruined for me forever. I might need therapy.

      1. All these great comments have me thinking I might have to give it another try – in the middle of the day with all the lights on.

        I forgot to mention I love, love, love Garcia. The episode where she had a crazy stalking her was so good. It was fun to see her outside of the tech room.

    1. Yay, Tameri! I hope you’ll give CM another chance. Anytime one of the BAU team is involved, the episode is particularly wonderful. When Reid protects the movie starlet and falls head over heels, that’s a fave of mine.

  8. CRIMINAL MINDS CRIMINAL MINDS CRIMINAL MINDS!!!! I am so completely obsessed with this show it isn’t even funny. And I, like so many others, am completely in love with Spencer Reid. Actually, I am obsessed with Matthew Gray Gubler no matter what he’s doing. I do not go completely-rabid-fangirl very often, but he just does it for me! I swear to God I would marry him in a heart-beat if I could. Seriously! I have you seen this: The Look: Matthew Gray Gubler!

    Yes, I return to that article on a regular basis to drool some more. I have it BAD.

  9. I watch it now and then, but the explicit violence and similar stories keep me from being a regular. Favorite character? AJ, hands down. A great character who frequently provides balance the team needs – and a true hottie also.

      1. Yes, JJ is an absolutely fantastic character too! And AJ Cook is definitely not bad to look at. For the female characters, I also really adore Garcia. She makes me laugh SO MUCH.

  10. Criminal Minds is my second favorite show (Bones is first). Penelope is my favorite, but Morgan does other things for me. The dang show inspired me so much, I wrote a romantic suspense with a serial killer. Now I just have to find a home for it.

    Great blog. 🙂

    1. Cheryel, Bones and Criminal Minds are two of my favorites! Neither stay long on my DVR….I usually start them 20 minutes in so I can watch commercial free. Good luck selling your book! Let me know when it’s published. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I’ve never missed an episode of Criminal Minds. I love Spencer! But then I love them all. 🙂 I guess I wish I could read and remember like him, and not be socially awkward as a side effect. LOL Maybe I’m asking too much.

    1. If I could read like Spencer, I wouldn’t have all of these TBR piles in my office! Wait, what am I saying? I’d probably have a Barnes and Noble in my house! Thanks for stopping by, Jessica!

    1. How about you put the TV on A&E or ION at some point when you’re writing and leave a Criminal Minds marathon on while little man sleeps? I know he dominates the TV when he’s up and about, as he should. 🙂 Like Bones, I think you’re missing out….

  12. I used to watch this show religiously! Then Patinkin left and so did I. But I do still love the rest of the cast. Garcia and Reid especially. Oh but for the time, not enough time in a day. Hmmm. I should give it another try, shouldn’t I?

    It was the same with Bones. Used to watch that one every week as well. *sigh*

  13. Thank you, once again for making me feel like I DIDN’T give up TV (even though I did and have never seen this show). I have a feeling I’d be like Tameri and unable to watch it alone or at night. 🙂

    It’s great to see Shemar Moore land a great role after his time on Y&R. I used to do work for their casting dept and he is a very nice man. And a seriously YOWZA body.

  14. Criminal Minds is my favorite show of all time. Reid is my absolute favorite character. I have not watched the new season yet. =/ I am a wee bit behind and I have an obsession with watching shows in order. I was trying to when I had Netflix, but then the hubby canceled it. Oh well, looks like I’ll just have to buy them on DVD now. 🙂

    1. I like to watch TV in order too, Ashley. Episode two of the new season just aired this week, so you aren’t far behind. And wouldn’t you know it – I publish this article, and that very same night the show announces JJ has passed her rookie profiler exam. HA! She’s a profiler now, just like the rest of the team. CBS is one of the only network channels we have on OnDemand via AT&T U-verse. Maybe you have it burieed somewhere too – so you can catch up? Thanks for stopping by!

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