While Criminal Minds has been a hit for six years, the pilot episode of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, "Two of a Kind" may very well prove that lightning really can’t strike twice.
I am a relative newbie when it comes to Criminal Minds. I have watched the show on occasion but it has always been out of sync with my TV watching. However, when the opportunity to watch a new Criminal Minds from the beginning came up, I jumped on it.
After all, I love cop/thriller shows and with the acting powerhouses of Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo leading the team, how could it go wrong?
Sadly it could go wrong in a lot of ways, the biggest of these being a lack of character introduction or team strengths/weaknesses dynamics.
A good pilot will introduce you to your new cast and give you a small taste of each of them to hook you into wanting to know more about them and returning the next week.
The only character we learned anything about was Simms who was a “pending” agent and became a “full” agent at the end of the episode. We got no information on the other four team members or info on the team as a whole.
That part aside, the overall story was acceptable; a kidnapping case, racing against the clock, trying to save two kids' lives. I say acceptable primarily because I never saw the “Suspect Behavior” from the title of the show really came in.Sure they batted around a few concepts about “why” he was doing it, but nothing stood out from other shows. Honestly, I felt like I was watching a discarded script from Without a Trace as the episode focused on clues, witnesses, and physical evidence, not the behavior of the suspect.
I will confess after watching last week’s pilot of The Chicago Code, I have raised my bar a bit on what I expect from new shows. That being said, I admit that I can (and will) forgive the horrid use of tropes or thin stories that barely skirt the line of complete ridiculousness in the name of TV entertainment.
But, it is very hard to get to the end of the pilot episode of a show and walk away feeling like I missed and episode because I have no idea who anyone is or what is going on with them. The entire episode actually left me scratching my head over a several things, such as:
- How does a convicted murder (even with a full pardon) make it past the review board to become an FBI agent? Was he an agent before when he shot someone?
- Who are the other three agents that are not Cooper (Whitaker) or Simms (Michael Kelly)?
- Why does their headquarters appear to be above a public gym? Doesn’t the FBI have field offices?
- Why are we introduced to the term “Red Cell” when it has not relevance to the story? Should the show been called Criminal Minds: Red Cell?
I am crossing my fingers that the awesomeness that is Whitaker and Garofalo will surface. I did get one really nice surprise, that being that Beau Garrett (Gem in Tron: Legacy) was one of the agents. I have seen other shows manage to pull it together after a shaky pilot and step up.
Okay, CBS, I have thrown down the gauntlet.
You have the makings of a good show on your hands, now go talk to David E. Kelley or Shawn Ryan and figure out how to harness your powers for good instead of evil!
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.