To the point, Criminal Minds is very compelling television. Ever since The Silence of the Lambs and perhaps long before, we have been fascinated by serial killers and the profilers who try to get inside their heads. To see evidence of the continuing trend, one needs only look toward the success of shows like Dexter. Of course, serial killers are not the only prey this FBI team pursues, but they are certainly the marquee item on the agenda. To be sure, there are equally disturbing subjects such as arsonists, bombers, kidnappers, and rapists to give the show a touch of variety, but let’s face it, it’s the killers that keep us tuned so attentively to Criminal Minds. But now after 15 seasons the series has come to an end, and we realize it wasn’t just the murderers we’ve been tuning in to see. The characters have become like a little family, and their stories were just as compelling over the years. Now Criminal Minds finishes with a brief 10-episode final run, and it’s out on DVD from CBS Home Entertainment.
Let’s not take anything away from the show’s true force here. This is an excellent cast being fed brilliant scripts playing to an awesome crew. Everything just clicks on this series, and it only got better in the second year. I am truly impressed with how much these characters are fleshed out and how much we learn about them without the need for office romance. No precious show time is squandered on excessive personal life stories. We’re given just enough to bring the characters alive beyond their team dynamic, which is quite strong. Each character is constructed through the subtle nuances the actors infuse their performance with. From the moment you watch your first episode, you will find this team believable enough to care about them and their work. Surprisingly, the show often gets muddled in a ton of exposition, but somehow it’s carried off by the cast so that you never find yourself going numb with clinical information overload. Granted, the material itself is attention-worthy, but these guys pull it off no matter how interesting the information might be. Add to the stellar portrayals a writing team second to none in the industry. The support teams do everything they need to make sure these talents are never wasted.
It’s tough to wrap up a story that has taken this long to tell. The season moves away from the usual standalone killers and cases and brings back one of the more infamous bad guys from previous years. The Chameleon is Everett Lynch, and he dominates the final ten episodes. The vehicle works because having a known element as the chase, the show can dedicate more time to finally giving these characters those final emotional beats to satisfy the fans before it all comes to an end. The final scenes have one of the cast members about to move on. I won’t spoil it for you here, but that goodbye scenario allows the show to say its own goodbye to the fans who have watched the show for 15 years and saw two spin-offs end with hardly a whimper.
The show ends with one of the better finales that really has us able to believe these characters and their cases are still going on out there in fiction-land. There’s no attempt at shock or being too stylish. There’s no Sopranos gut-shot to he fanbase. It’s emotional, but that doesn’t slow down the drama that continues right up to the end.
The 3-disc set contains all 10 episodes and sadly only two short features. One asks the crew to reveal what their “soul photo” from the show might be, and another is a final look at these last episodes. The show will be missed, and I honestly hope they don’t try another version. I’d rather we remembered the show for the quality of writing and production as we saw for 15 years here. There were 323 episodes in those 15 years, so let the binge watching begin. “Well, Will totally has the sleepover covered.”