(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia)
For the past eight seasons, “Criminal Minds” has captivated viewers with constantly enticing episodes, and has continued to do so in its new season, which began airing on September 25. The drama has reached beyond my expectations. The producers raised the tension at the beginning of each episode, making the show more addicting than ever.
In the first episode, the unsub takes the main stage with his self-destruction and, for once, the BAU does not solve the crime. The cliffhanger at the end worked well because nothing in the episode suggested this plot twist. The deviation from starting with a dark scene was also a nice change. The first episode mirrored the typical “Breaking Bad” beginning by starting with the flash of a scene and not returning back to it until the end of the episode.
This focus on the unsub’s deranged character in the first episode also allowed attention to be drawn away from Hotch’s (Thomas Gibson, “Dharma & Greg”) decision to leave the BAU and to become section chief. With the possibility of the team having to manage without Hotch, viewers were plagued by the treacherous week-long wait until the next episode.
Episode four also employed unusual tactics. With the unsub performing lobotomies and not killing the patients, the cast was still able to terrorize viewers without killing a victim. This rarity of having victims face mortality but not actually die added a nice diversion from the usual plot formation. This was probably done to focus the audience on the October 16 introduction of the new character, Matt Cruz (Esai Morales, “NYPD Blue”), and to raise curiosity about his mysterious relationship with JJ.
The show needs to tread carefully when making dramatic changes in characters. This is one of the only shows on television in which I do not have a favorite character, and I am sure many avid fans can agree. Between the tragic murders of both Reid’s girlfriend and Hotch’s wife, I am not sure if I am ready for this secret relationship between JJ and Cruz, whether it is romantic or not. The audience will just have to wait for next week to delve deeper into Criminal Minds.
“Criminal Minds” airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS.