TV Review: “Criminal Minds” – Naturally Aging

Written by Danielle Sing April 21, 2016

criminal minds

Season 11 is coming to a close for the long-running “Criminal Minds” and the series second spin-off, “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders”, premiered a month ago. While the series says true to the innovative concept that made this show a hit in its early seasons, it’s starting to show its age. The pace of the show is becoming slower and it’s repeating some ideas used in previous cases. The character development in Season 11 is great but at times feels extremely rushed. Though “Criminal Minds” is still good, this show seems to be fighting against newer, younger and more exciting shows.

Season 11 opens with Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler) waiting for a job interview with Agent Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) who hopes to fill the empty position on the team. After waiting in his office all day while the team solve one of their stranger cases, Hotchner hires Dr. Lewis on the spot for her dedication. She is immediately welcomed onto the team as a recurring member and the team is excited to have Jennifer Jareau (AJ Cook) return from maternity leave. Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) and Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) are both hunted by outside forces who threaten their own and their loved ones lives. Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) continues to struggle with his mother’s worsening Alzheimer’s and David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) is trying to learn what it means to be a good father and grandfather.

“I thought I dodged a bullet when I turned 30 and didn’t have a schizophrenic break like her, but this is somehow bigger and scarier because I can actually see it happening. All the memories that we used to share are just dying. I can’t stop it, I can’t help her. All I can do is find people that I can help.”

The main thing with “Criminal Minds” is that it constantly has to have new ideas as they follow the profiles of the killer rather than catching them like the majority of cop shows. Unfortunately this season started to repeat some ideas, such as physically silencing victims and a copycat killer who uses the method of several different infamous serial killers rather than just one. While I can imagine that after eleven seasons new ideas are hard to come by, “Criminal Minds” doesn’t need to reuse old ideas. Also, “Criminal Minds” is slowing down its pace. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the episode “Entropy” is just Dr. Reid talking with Aubrey Plaza, who plays the terrifying and methodical Black Widow assassin, as he tries to discover her plans. It’s slow but the slow pace allows it to be one of the most interesting episodes to date. The slow pace also brings in a lot of personal and family time within the characters, and that shows that the series and the characters are aging. They would rather spend more time with family than solve crimes, and that would be a fitting end to “Criminal Minds”.

criminal minds

If the constant changing of female characters in “Criminal Minds” is their mid-life crisis, then the exit of one of their original and most beloved characters, Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) is them planning for their retirement. While Moore’s departure will not end the series in its entirety, it will definitely signal that the show only has a few seasons left. While the show tried to do some justice with Moore’s departure, it felt extremely rushed. The show covered over six months in three episodes to develop the character and explain why he was leaving. While they are the most exciting and fast-paced episodes of the season, if these episodes were done over the course of the season, it would have felt less abrupt and the character development would have been believable. The Dirty Dozen plot line also feels rushed and underdeveloped, and it felt like a nuisance for the team rather than an admirable enemy. While it will be interesting to see who they replace Moore with, I highly doubt the character will have the same chemistry with the other characters that Moore did. On that note, Aisha Tyler did an excellent job fitting in with cast and I am happy that the series finally found a female character who fits in since Paget Brewster who played Emily Prentiss – she makes a guest appearance this season.

“A mole hunt is ill-advised for those who don’t want to risk their own skin. That’s an old proverb I just made up.”

Overall, “Criminal Minds” is still an enjoyable show to watch but it’s very obvious that the series is coming to an eventual close. Because of this potential end to the series, they’ve started to slow down the pace, reuse ideas, and are rushing character development and departures. I may be biased having watched the show since its inception, but even with these problems, the show is still good but not as good as it used to be.

My Rating: 7/10

criminal minds

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