'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior - DVD Edition'
(Forest Whitaker, Janeane Garofalo, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2011 / CBS-Paramount)
Overview: Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker plays the meditation-prone leader of an elite FBI unit charged with finding the perpetrators of especially heinous crimes.
DVD Verdict: WARNING: SPOILER ALERTS COMING! ... As I have said many a time, I am a HUGE fan of these kinds of show. Love 'Criminal Minds' (the original) and so assumed I would love this spin-off ... I was only kinda right! Anyway, as stated, what follows reveals plot points and other such spoiler pieces so beware!
'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior' is, as you might well have guessed simply from its title, a spin-off from said original. Together with a new cast, a creepy Oscar-winner lead (more on that later), and a very decent cast of good actors, I expected great things. But, once it began, the main office where they get their cases gave the tone of the series away in a heartbeat. Located above an old gym - still being used and never has anyone poking their heads through the windows/doors of it to see why this team of commando-types is always rushing up there! - is also very ugly, dingy and unkempt but more non-descript, and "colored" in grays and browns. (ie: that was how the series panned out too!)
Forest Whitaker, you deserved better for now we all know that this is called the 'DVD Edition' because CBS cancelled the low-rated freshman drama after just 12 episodes! Indeed, it seems the show's time slot has now gone to the new drama 'Unforgettable,' which features Poppy Montgomery.
As for the show itself, it was awkward, ungainly, poorly paced. Too much time was spent in setting up the characters and the crime scenes therein. Personal issues within the Red Cell were pulled apart and explored by Whitaker's character, Agent Cooper too many times. Not allowing for a flow to come to the series. As for the cliffhanger, well, we'll never know the outcome of that, I guess!
In the season opener, 'Two Of A Kind,' the series gets under way with an intro that informs us what Red Cells are (although, in truth, we find out in the special features they are actually called Red Tiger's) before we're into the first case: that of a missing girl in Ohio. As we progress we find out more about each character within the Red Cell that is led by Agent Cooper (Forest Whitaker). In 'Lonely Heart,' a female serial killer in Cincinnati acts like a hooker killing her victims at luxury hotels. Coming with a great finale twist, we also get to see the crossover character Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) here from the original series doing double time too.
In 'See No Evil,' we get a great opening twist, where a woman abducts a man in a rainy Tucson parking lot, subsequently killing again and again thereafter. But why and what makes her do it so calmly? In 'One Shot Kill,' a sniper is killing people in Chicago and one of their own team goes head to head with him - literally! In 'Here's The Fire,' a school headmaster in Virginia puts a bomb into his own school, but why and who is really behind the act?
In 'Devotion,' an Illinois family goes to take a photo in the woods when the father ends up hanged by a tree just minutes later. Coming with a brilliant twist ending about two thirds of the way through, you'll never guess it! In 'Jane,' a young girl in Indiana is kidnapped and a man gets his throat cut. A serial killer is on the loose in the worst possible way. In 'Nighthawk,' a spree killer in Tulsa is killing people with a baseball bat. A well scripted, thought out story, it comes with some great external lead acting.
In 'Smother,' a new mother is kidnapped in a New Hampshire parking lot, leaving her baby in the car. And in 'The Time Is Now, an episode that promises so much but ultimately fails to deliver, a woman on death row is in court to battle the charges against her - delivered some 10 years ago. In 'Strays,' young girls are being kidnapped in D.C. and put into a sex trade. This one also stars the heavily-tattooed Memmo Fierro (of the Mala Noche Gang) actor (not character) from CSI: Miami, Robert LaSardo.
In 'The Girl in The Blue Mask,' people are being beaten to death, half their faces cut off in Quantico - right on the doorstep of the Suspect Behavior team. The why becomes apparent early on, but the whether-it-was-needed scenario plays out brilliantly all the way to the final reveal. In the final episode of the season/series, 'Death By A Thousand Cuts,' French Stewart ('3rd Rock') stars as a man out for vengeance in a story of a life for a life. Located in Dallas, Texas, the story brings us a great twist towards the end and also a cut-to-black gun shot at its end - that meant the end of Stewart's begging-to-be-killed character OR the end of Agent Beth Griffith (Janeane Garofalo).
And so, aside from what I detailed before all the episode information, two other things that override my complete enjoyment of this series were, and I am sorry to say this, Forest Whitaker's lost weight and droopy eye! My goodness, it has just become way more prominent. That and the fact that as much as this 'Criminal Minds' is a spin-off from the original, the crimes are beyond imagination. And yet, when you watch some of the special features you will learn (sadly) that most all are real cases from the FBI files! But they are just so, well, unwatchable some times!
The addition of the 'Criminal Minds: Series 5' episode 'The Fight' (in a "back-door pilot" approach - and one that didn't include Janeane Garofalo's character at all!) was very nice as it brought about how the two teams came together to aid each other, and thus allowed seamlessly for the spin-off to occur. Much like they did in 'NCIS' with 'NCIS: L.A.' With regard the plethora of other special features, Loved Ones is a behind-the-scenes featurette, there are two audio commentaries from the cast and crew, a featurette on how Criminal Minds: Suspect behavior came to be, another on all the characters/actors, one on the co-Producer Jim Clemente, who was himself once a Special Agent, a featurette on how the make-up department made all the dead bodies/parts, and a Gag Reel - that shows clearly that Janeane Garofalo finds it hard to commit to straight-faced acting! [RT] These are all Full-Screen Presentations (1.77:1), and come with the Special Features of:
'Criminal Minds': Series 5 Episode - 'The Fight'
Loved Ones Featurette
2 Audio Commentaries - with Cast and Crew
Alternate Reality: The New Criminal Minds
House of Corpses