There is a trend on TV toward the gruesome, the nasty, the cruel and sadistic. The villains on the procedurals seem to be ever more not just murderers, but serial killers and torturers. Scenes of bloody attack and cruel treatment are common. It may be a raising of the stakes, but it doesn’t raise the interest, and it can make viewing things an unpleasant experience. There are some things that Mrs. Nat’s TV simply chooses not to view.
Criminal Minds is designed to fit into that category. Federal agents specializing in psychological profiling of roaming serial nasties bop around and figure out what the criminals are like, and thus find them.
It has a couple of good folks in the cast. Mandy Patinkin, who played the damaged-but-brilliant-at-his-job doctor on Chicago Hope, plays a damaged-but-brilliant-at-his-job agent. Thomas Gibson, who showed a joyful bouncy light beneath an officious facade in Dharma and Greg, gets to show an officious facade here.
As with most technical specialty procedurals done these days, the abilities shown here seem to go several steps beyond likely reality, and the logic takes a leap. (There is one scene here where they reckon someone’s been playing Go against himself, obvious because the Go board is on a lazy susan. Which might make sense, if Go was a game where there were sides and directions, like chess. However, it’s not. The reasons one might have a lazy susan for solo play – to be able to consider problems from different directions – apply equally as well for two people playing against each other.)
Overall, yet another procedural to generic effect. Plus a layer of gruesomeness, if you like that. Me, I think I’ll skip it. (And hope that Gibson lands back in sitcoms again.)