“Within the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit are rapid response teams known as RED CELLS. These nontraditional teams operate outside the bureaucracy of and report solely to the Director of the FBI. ”
It started as a back-door pilot last year on an April episode of Criminal Minds called The Flight. We are introduced to the Red Cell Team. The team is headed by one Sam Cooper, played by Forest Whitaker. Sam’s talent is that he can really get inside of a killer’s head. He has a kind of empathy for the killer and can easily put himself in the killer’s shoes. Of course, it takes a mental toll, and he suffers for the skill. Don’t confuse empathy for feeling sorry for the killer. Michael Kelly plays his right-hand man John Sims, or as he’s affectionately called, Prophet. He’s an ex-con who has received a full pardon for his crimes. He dedicated himself to using his insightful abilities to predict behavior for the good guys. Next up is Gina LaSalle, played by Beau Garrett. She’s the heart of the team and the brains. Matt Ryan plays Mick Rawson who is an ex-military sharpshooter and one of the coolest behind a long-range rifle. The weak link of the group was not actually in the back-door pilot. Irritating as hell Janeane Garofalo might have single-handedly brought the promising show to its knees and off the schedule after a mere 13 episodes. She plays Beth Griffith, who is just as bleeding-heart and outspoken as the actress who plays her. She’s been fired from unit to unit only to settle on this squad. It’s obvious that someone on the crew is a huge fan of this idiot and decided she’d make a wonderful addition to the team. They figured we’d love watching her abrasive personality and thin acting skills on a weekly basis. Yeah, how’s that working out for ya?
The show itself is pretty much close to the original Criminal Minds. Each week the team travels to a city where a particularly elusive or bad criminal is terrorizing the residents. They use their abilities to profile the unsub and eventually bring them in. The show spends less time on the actual profiling and more on the hunt. This turns it into more of a basic police procedural and another likely reason for its swift demise. The show also utilizes the talents of Kirsten Vangsness as the eccentric computer geek Penelope Garcia. The actress worked both shows, but I found her to be a bit more restrained and reserved on this series.
In the end that might be the final element that brought it all down so quickly. The show never had the incredible character chemistry that the original has. These characters feel much more distant to us and don’t quite have the same family dynamic. There’s little doubt that a huge effort was made, but they just never come across with the same spark and thus couldn’t hold on to one of the largest audiences for a drama on television. It also ends in a cliffhanger that won’t be solved unless they decide to take that up in the mother show next year.
Each episode of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This is a nice transfer that seems to work almost all the way around. Colors are near perfect reference, particularly flesh tones. Black levels are nicely rendered, adding a depth of detail to the darker scenes. It is actually some of the better lit daylight scenes which show the most serious flaws. Lighting often looks harsh and becomes very grainy and broken up. It is here that I believe you’ll find the strongest hints of compression artifact. This doesn’t happen all the time, but quite a few exterior shots display this unfortunate blemish on an otherwise excellent picture.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track works. The film utilizes the common trend of using music to work a few montage images into the story. The music is not merely stereo mixes thrown into the bunch, but decent 5.1 mixes in their own right. Dialog, which is essentially the entire show, is always up front and center where you’re sure to catch every word.
Alternate Reality – The New Criminal Minds: (19:02) Cast and crew attempt to compare and contrast the show and characters with the original series. There’s talk about the unique challenges facing them, and we get a look at some of the bad guys.
Inside The Red Cell: (14:34) A look at each of the characters/actors.
The Profiler: (6:53) Jim Clemente is a real-life FBI profiler who serves as a producer and consultant on both shows. He talks about authenticity among other things.
House Of Corpses: (9:10) A gory look at the corpses designed and executed for the show.
Gag Reel: (5:25)
The show is worth watching. Whitaker provides another strong and nuanced performance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up on the original series. Of course, the real good stuff is always the bad guys. I have to say that the creative team continues to cast some excellent criminals with some rather cool personalities. Of course, when I say cool I’m not condoning the actions, merely pointing out that they do a wonderful job in keeping us entertained. It’s not like I’m loving the killers. “Don’t make it like I’m crazy.”