I have to admit...I had a difficult time coming up with Friday topics for this month. After all, there aren't a lot of scary television series out there to talk about.
Actually, correction. There ARE a lot of scary television shows out there...I haven't watched a lot of them though, as I've never really been a huge fan of gory shows.
(Which probably explains why I have never seen one episode of “Dexter” or “American Horror Story”.)
But there are dozens of shows that air which I've seen at least a handful of episodes of. And for today's spooky television spotlight, I thought that I would feature a television show that is still going strong.
It's a show that depending on what the episode is about, I can either sit through it no problem, or I'd either find it so disgusting that I would need a sick bucket handy because I would throw up from the gore and subject matter.
Today we're going to be taking a look at the CBS television series "Criminal Minds". It seems hard to believe, but the show debuted on September 22, 2005. And even though the series survived the loss of a main character early in its run, and said farewell to a few others along the way, the show continues to garner huge ratings week after week. And, I can verify that in the three months that I have been in electronics, I've sold quite a few sets of the eight seasons that are currently available on DVD. It certainly is a very popular show.
And as it so happens, the show is the perfect one to watch right around this time of year. After all, we see all sorts of brutal, gory, and unthinkable criminal acts performed on the show every episode. Murder, kidnapping, robbery, arson, terrorism, and other crimes against humanity are featured each and every week (which is why it is probably not a good idea for your young children to watch the show).
Oh, heck. I'll admit that there are some episodes of "Criminal Minds" that I still can't bring myself to sit through, just because of the fact that there is either too much gore, or because the criminals (known on the show as "unsubs") give me the heebie-jeebies. Though, I suppose it is to the credit of the actors who are portraying them that they do such a convincing job.
But of course, these criminals can't stay loose of the streets forever. After all, if they did, the world's population would decrease faster than the epidemic of "Captain Trips" did on "The Stand". That's why the stars of the show - the unsung heroes if you will - are members of the FBI's Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU), who send teams of people out to various cities and towns within the United States of America to investigate crimes and catch the unsubs before they destroy any more lives.
So, who are the heroes of "Criminal Minds"? Well, just like the "unsubs" that appear on every single episode of the series, the group of detectives who appear on the show have a variety of different backgrounds and reasons behind why they joined the FBI. You have a man who has a genius IQ and a schizophrenic mother, a woman who once faked her death before rejoining the BAU, and another woman who almost ended up dying of a gunshot wound after being tricked by an "unsub" after going out on a date with him.
Some of them only lasted a season or two...others have been on the show since the very beginning. These are their summarized stories. Which one is your favourite?
JASON GIDEON - Played by Mandy Patinkin, Gideon was a Senior Supervisory Special Agent of the BAU during the first two seasons of the show, and the team's de facto leader. Once Patinkin left the series in 2007, his character was written out. As of right now, his whereabouts are unknown, but Gideon left the series by taking off towards the state of Nevada after facing a series of setbacks - one of which was the murder of his dear friend Sarah at the hands of a serial killer. But prior to Gideon's burnout, he was the best of the best, and took down several unsubs while he was in charge. But with Gideon's departure, another person had to step into the role.
DAVID ROSSI - Played by Joe Mantegna, Rossi has been on the show since 2007. In his youth, he worked within the BAU, took some time off to teach lectures and go on book tours, and rejoined the current team. And in some manner, his life seemingly parallels the life of his predecessor, as while he is on the show, he does the best job of profiling criminals, and he too loses someone very dear to him - in Rossi's case, he was in a relationship with Section Chief Erin Strauss, who was murdered by a serial killer who called themselves "The Replicator".
As it so happens, Rossi and Gideon weren't the only ones to lose someone they loved while serving within the BAU.
AARON HOTCHNER - Played by Thomas Gibson, Unit Chief Hotchner's professional life is everything. In fact, there are some cases in which his work overshadows his personal life, which ultimately lead to the break-up of his marriage. Sadly, Hotchner's ex-wife, Haley, is murdered by a serial killer known by "The Reaper", and Hotchner ends up killing him with his bare hands in a show of revenge. These days, Aaron Hotchner is trying to balance a new relationship, being a father to his son, and helping the team solve the cases they are working on.
So, who else is on the team?
DEREK MORGAN - Played by Shemar Moore, Morgan once took over as the Unit Chief while Hotchner was grieving the loss of Haley. And Derek Morgan was very busy in his youth. He attended college on a football scholarship, took judo classes (where he happens to hold a black belt in said martial art), teaches self-defense classes, and prior to joining the BAU worked as a police officer and a member of a bomb squad. It makes him one of the more valuable members of the entire team. But Morgan also had his demons. He was sexually abused by someone close to him, and as a result, he gave up on religion the church for almost twenty years because of it because of it. But when the next person ended up getting shot and almost died, he prayed to God for the first time in several years, hoping that she would be all right.
PENELOPE GARCIA - Played by Kirsten Vangsness, Garcia is the team's Technical Analyst at the team's headquarters in Quantico, Virginia. She kind of reminds me of Abby from NCIS in a way because she can log onto and invade entire computer networks to find information out about people but not actually have much human contact with the team themselves. But when Garcia was shot by a man whom she arranged an Internet date with, the team worked overtime to bring him to justice. Garcia would survive the ordeal, and has dated since (her most recent relationship being with David Lynch (Nicholas Brendon). She is essentially the team's token nerd, as she loves technical gadgets, plays online games, and changes her look more times than Miley Cyrus, Madonna, and Cher combined. But in the end, she is a valuable ally to the team...even though when she was drafted to work for the BAU, her only other choice was prison as she was caught hacking into a government website by the FBI!
DR. SPENCER REID - Played by Matthew Gray Gubler, Spencer Reid is certainly one interesting character. Graduating from high school at the age of twelve with an IQ of 187, Dr. Reid is the youngest member of the BAU, and is often introduced by other agents as Dr. Reid so that people will take him seriously. It can be fair to say that Reid is socially awkward (Matthew Gray Gubler has stated that Reid has Asperger's Syndrome), but his brilliant memory, high intelligence, and unique view on the world has helped him crack cases faster than anyone else. However, Reid's mother (Jane Lynch) was also diagnosed as being paranoid schizophrenic, and Reid's biggest fear is that one day he will end up the same way. But as of season nine, he has not shown any symptoms...yet.
JENNIFER "J.J." JAREAU - Played by A.J. Cook, J.J. is one of the few "Criminal Minds" cast members to leave the show and come back a season or two later (this was to accommodate the real life pregnancy of Cook). Off-duty, J.J. is the loving wife to William LaMontagne Jr. (Josh Stewart), and mother to their son Henry. But when she is on duty, she is the team's profiler. Though she left for a spell to take on a job at The Pentagon (during which time she was replaced by cast member Rachel Nichols who played Ashley Seaver), she returned at the beginning of season seven. J.J. was also one of the key players involved in faking the death of another BAU agent, who had no choice but to go into hiding to escape an old nemesis.
EMILY PRENTISS - Played by Paget Brewster, Prentiss was brought onto the BAU after the departure of Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini). Although Gideon and Hotchner were taken aback by her arrival (neither one signed off on her transfer), she became a huge part of the team with her language skills and intelligence. Prentiss had a rough childhood, getting pregnant when she was a teenager and having an abortion, as well as having a rough relationship with her mother. And, Hotchner and J.J. helped her to fake her own death when someone was out to get her. She came back from the "dead" for a little while, but left at the end of season seven to head London's Interpol division, being replaced by...
DR. ALEX BLAKE - Played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, Blake took over Prentiss' role in the BAU, and initially the other members weren't sure how to work with her as their loyalty was with Prentiss. Luckily for Blake, her charm and skills helped win the team over, even though she only joined the BAU to repair her damaged reputation after a case gone bad. Still, the team most always have her back, and most recently helped Blake cope after she was threatened by a serial killer.
So, how do you like that? A group of people with wildly different backgrounds, stories, and personality traits coming together to put criminals to justice.
How's that for teamwork?