Criminal Minds: The Third Season (2007)
|Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Thriller|
|Paramount || NR - 860 minutes - $55.98 || September 16, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-10-04|
Writer(s): Jeff Davis (created by)
Cast: Joe Mantegna, Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Kirsten Vangsness, Paget Brewster
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“The worst cases cross their desks. Worst-case scenarios cross their minds.”
“Criminal Minds” is yet another excellent procedural drama to go along with “CSI” and “NCIS”. It’s a show that appeals to different people: those who like self-contained stories and those who like multiple-part storylines. The reason I like the show is because it focuses primarily on the story while at the same time still manage to develop their characters without it overpowering the plot.
For those unfamiliar with the show, “Criminal Minds” follows a team within the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) who take on some the most shocking cases across the country when the locals cannot find the killer or killers. The team is comprised of Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner (Gibson) [Hotch], Supervisory Special Agent (or SSA) Derek Morgan (Moore), Dr. Spencer Reid (Gubler), SSA Jennifer Jareau (Cook) [JJ], computer techie Penelope Garcia (Vangsness) and SSA Emily Prentiss (Brewster).
Season 3 begins by wrapping Gideon’s story because actor Mandy Patinkin chose to leave the series at, I believe, the end of season two. Luckily fans will get a proper closure within the first two episodes before moving on with more shocking crimes for the team to tackle as they learn to work without Gideon. By episode 6, ‘About Face’, Joe Mantegna joins the cast as David Rossi, a retired agent (one of the founding members of the BAU) turned famous author who returns to the FBI in Gideon’s place. A good number of episodes help flesh out the Rossi character without interfering with the flow and it never feels forced. There is also some development of for Hotch as his home life begins to suffer and Penelope getting shot.
For me, there aren’t many standout episodes or even standout actors in “Criminal Minds”. It’s an ensemble series where no one person gets the limelight over another and instead they only succeed together rather than one person getting the juicier scenes or subplots. As much as I enjoyed the Gideon character, I always felt he had a larger presence and although indeed he is missed, the transition was nearly flawless. Also thankfully, a dumb minor subplot with new BAU Director Erin Strauss (Jayne Atkinson of “24”) was quickly done away with (Strauss was trying to find dirt on Hotch to get him removed).
“Criminal Minds” might not have the ratings or attention of “CSI” or any other drama (procedural or medical), but for my money it’s probably the most consistent now three years in. My main concern is if the writers can keep up with the quality as it enters year four and beyond (no sign this won’t last 8+ seasons) and with the number of cast changeover whether it’s Patinkin or Lola Glaudini whose character left after she murdered a rapist in cold blood (but was cleared by police under “self defense”).
Here is the episode breakdown with my personal favorites with an asterisk (*):
02. In Name and Blood
03. Scared to Death
04. Children of the Dark*
05. Seven Seconds
06. About Face
10. True Night*
12. 3rd Life
15. A Higher Power
16. Elephant’s Memory*
17. In Heat
18. The Crossing
19. Tabula Rasa
Profile: Rossi/Mantegna (7:47) – This is a glimpse at the new guy in town and Joe Mantegna’s thoughts on the character and the difference between television and doing film. The writers also talk about the comparison of Rossi and Gideon.
Shemar Moore: Criminal Minds’ Wild Ride (5:43) – A nice little featurette about the “CM” bike team, headed by Moore, that rides to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
From Script to Screen: “True Night” (12:25) – Focuses on one of the most visually arresting episodes of not only this season, but the entire series run. It goes through the idea, shooting scenes, special effects, visual effects and features an interview with guest star Frankie Muniz.
Killer Roles (15:51) – Profiles unsubs featured in the season and talks about getting the right actors for the parts. It also has audition footage and interviews with the actors including Jamie Kennedy who plays one of the more unique villains of the season.
The Criminal Element: The Making of Criminal Minds, Season 3 (20:17) – Overview of the third season from the departure of Mandy Patinkin to special effects and set design. One interesting tidbit, the subway train set used for the season finale was originally built for “Seinfeld”.
A funny gag reel (5:13) and some throw away deleted scenes (4:55) finishes things off in this set.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
“Criminal Minds” is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78 AR). The video looks good and about right with the original airing on television. Colors are rightfully downplayed as the stories tend to be fairly dark and bleak.
A Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is used to fulfill the dialogue with the occasional score and moments of action. I didn’t notice much coming from my rear speakers, but overall it’s an OK track.
“Criminal Minds” is one of the better dramas on network television today and in my book, right there with “CSI”. What was so good about this third season was despite losing its main/highlight character the show went on without a hitch as the other characters took up the load even before Joe Mantegna joined. The DVD set isn’t anything to boast about as it is missing commentary tracks, but you pay top dollar for the show and that alone is worth the price.