Criminal Minds: The TV Show and Characters
Criminal Minds Cast
Since 2005 viewers have been tuning in to see an elite BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) Team examine, profile and catch the criminals. Week after week this successful team brings crime into our living rooms. Luckily they are able to solve the most heinous crimes in less than an hour. Along the way we have gotten to know each of the team members on a somewhat personal level, after all we've been watching them for seven years. Well, some of us have anyway.
The show is based on a real profiler, John Douglas. Douglas was a BAU profiler for the FBI. Douglas is now retired but began criminal profiling twenty-five years ago. He has written dozens of books, novels, and manuals. He started out by interviewing criminals already arrested and in jail. But, this isn't about John Douglas but about the TV Series based on what he did.
Shemar Moore and Kirsten Vangsness
According to the Criminal Minds fan site, focusing on the criminal rather than the crime is what makes this show different from other crime shows. To give you a little more background before we look at the show itself, let's take a look at the cast, and what an interesting cast it is!
Only three characters have left the show in seven years; Jason Gideon played by Mandy Patinkin, Elle Greenaway played by Lola Glaudini, and Ashley Seaver played by Rachel Nichols. But, let us not dwell on the past!
Let's start with Penelope Garcia, played by Kirsten Vangsness...Garcia, as she is affectionately called, is a colorful character. Colorful in her appearance and in her reaction to the rest of the team. She usually stays in the office and works computer magic in locating license plates, cars, records, history, houses, anything the team needs, and she does it in record time. She is a computer genius. her past includes the death of her parents who were killed by a drunk driver when she was eighteen. After the accident she withdrew and started teaching herself computer skills. She became so good as a hacker that the FBI not only investigated her, but recruited her. She also works with families of alcoholics. She and Morgan have a unique relationship and often call each other pet names....Morgan refers to her as "baby girl" and she refers to him with numerous endearing terms such as "hot stuff" and "sweet cheeks".
Morgan, ah, the beautiful Derek Morgan as played by Shemar Moore. Everything a girl could ask for! He is a college graduate, with an undergraduate degree AND a law degree. Did I mention he went to college on a football scholarship? He witnessed the shooting death of his father when he was only ten years old and as a result became a juvenile offender. He was taken under the wing of a counselor who helped him get his football scholarship but also sexually abused him....are you seeing there's a lot of depth to our beloved Morgan? Each team member has a specialty and Morgan's is crimes of obsession and explosives.
Thomas Gibson and Joe Montegna
I have to admit it is fun researching this show and its characters. Its been a favorite of mine since it came on the air. Sometimes the crimes are dark, but unfortunately since they are based on real-life crimes, it is what it is.
Next up is Aaron Hotchner, played by Thomas Gibson, yet another really good looking guy. (Its not difficult for women to watch this show!) Hotch is a supervisory agent, the head of the team...in the beginning he was the only team member married. He also had a baby born in season one. However, as often happens to police and criminal investigators, his marriage with Haley did not survive and they divorced. His son, Jack, lived with his mother until Haley was killed by a murderer Hotch was chasing in Season Five, a horrible moment for all of us.
But Hotch's history shows us he was a lawyer and a member of a SWAT team. He also teaches about hostage situations and how to negotiate during hostage situations (his specialty). Hotch, too, was abused as a child. His father died of cancer and he has a brother. He is a very serious man seldom laughing or smiling but his team is totally devoted to him...and most of us like him too!
David Rossi, played by Joe Montegna, is one of those nice lovable guys who knows his stuff. Rossi was a Marine who joined the FBI. He's been married three times, but not currently, and has no living children. He had early ties with the Mafia but severed them when he went in the Marines. He came to the BAU, out of retirement, when Gideon left. He is a Catholic and a good cook. Seasons one, two, and three see him still obsessing over a case he never solved....the murder of two people, the one that left three children behind. He even wears a bracelet with their names and calls them every Christmas. He previously worked with Hotch and the BAU's section chief and is probably the only member of the team that is not afraid of her (the section chief) or intimidated by her.
His specialty is getting into the minds of criminals. Even though he is a somewhat 'late comer' to the team, he has become a confidant to each of them. His specialty is an official profiler.
Matthew Gray Gubler
Everybody loves Dr. Spencer Reid played by Matthew Gray Gubler. His little boy charm is everywhere! Two minutes of watching him and you know he's a genius! He graduate from high school at the age of twelve...went to CalTech at thirteen...earned three doctorates; Mathematics, Chemistry and Engineering (before the age of twenty-one)...holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Sociology...is currently working on another degree in Philosophy...has an IQ of 187...an eidetic memory (can remember an exceedingly large amount of information with extraordinary detail)....reads 20,000 words per minute....smart? What do you think? But, not unlike other geniuses he is not wise in the ways of the world.
He was bullied in high school. His mother suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and his father left...we find out in season four why he left. His mother was committed to a mental institution when he was eighteen and he visits her when he can. sending letters everyday. He excels at card games and magic. He joined the BAU when he was twenty-two and remains the youngest member of the team. He develops a drug addiction after being forcibly drugged while in captivity (an unsub), but seems to have his addiction under control. He is afraid of the dark and, one of the reasons my granddaughter likes him, he's a fan of Dr. Who.
It is hinted he has Asperger's which explains why he has trouble with personal relationships. Amazingly he is a technophone! After reading this you know Reid has more than one specialty....map reading or I guess I should say 'geographic profiling'...a 'linguistic profiler'...he is very analytical...very good with statistics...and the list goes on.
He is young, geeky, tortured and lovable.
Jennifer "JJ" Jareau played by AJ Cook. Jennifer was athletic in high school and went to the University of Pittsburgh on an athletic scholarship, as a result she's a good runner. She is also an excellent marksman. She has a baby and a boyfriend. She had a sister who committed suicide. Her decision to join the FBI came after hearing an author speak about his book and his experiences...the author? David Rossi!
She is afraid of the woods. Her team is her family...her real family never really recovered from her sister's death. She treasures family having had such a hard time with hers. She seems to treat Garcia and Reid like a younger sister and brother. She sees Reid for the vulnerable young man he is and 'hangs out' with Garcia. She is close to all in her team but it would seem she is most protective of Garcia and Reid (she asked them to be her son's godparents).
JJ's specialty? Media liason. Not only her specialty but her main job. She is very poised and understands people well. She handles reports to the media, and what information to present and how it is presented. She works with local law enforcement and even picks the cases the team will work on. She arranges for the plane to be ready, what hotels they'll stay in, etc. Though not a hostage negotiator she has been pressed into that position as well. She also handles people well....police, parents, even her own team.
Emily Prentiss is played by Paget Brewster. Emily is the daughter of a female Ambassador. As a result of traveling with her mother she is fluent in Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and some Russian. A Yale graduate she has been with the FBI for ten years. She considers herself a nerd and once told Morgan that she loves to read Kurt Vonnegut. Though Emily's past is never really discussed there are hints she's had an interesting one. The episodes that deal with her former nemesis "Doyle" lead us to really wonder what her past was like. Was she a spy? Was she a traitor? We never really find out but we know something went on. As the team profiles Emily to help find her in one episode, we do find out she is a former CIA agent whose job was to profile terrorists.
Often appearing hard core, her soft spots are evident in her treatment of Morgan and Reid. She also becomes friends with JJ and sometimes "hangs out" with JJ and Garcia. She is ever the professional but in certain cases you see an emotional, empathetic Emily. She can be sarcastic but has a great sense of humor, if a bit twisted. She is a valued and important member of the team which makes it all the more sad that she will be leaving at the end of this season.
The show takes this wonderful team of personalities and sends them all over the United States to profile the most dangerous minds in an attempt to find the perpetrators before they strike again. Criminal Minds, explores just that, criminal minds. When local police become stumped trying to solve a series of crimes, or catch a serial killer, the contact the BAU to come to their aid. The perpetrators they profile they refer to as the 'unsub'.
As we follow this team week by week we learn that each story is independent of the next. The producers allow us to come in and watch a show and be fully informed even if we've never seen any previous episodes. However, if you are a loyal follower you will notice nuances and comments that relate to past episodes or the developing personalities that a new viewer won't even be aware of. So, as a loyal viewer you become more of the family.
Each week, each member of the team dissects the crime and uses their expertise to form a profile of the unsub. Once each member has formed some working profile, they come together and piece the puzzle together to form a truly comprehensive profile. Once they are sure they go to the police agency they are working with and tell them what unsub they are looking for. For example, they may say, "the unsub is a forty year old male who lives alone. He has been treated badly by women and though he is in a professional position he holds an intense hatred that he manifests by slashing women. The positions he leaves the bodies in suggest he is remorseful and is sorry for his crimes. He lives in a four mile radius of the crimes and appears a bit withdrawn." Or, something like that. I think that helps you get the picture.
In addition to the crime in each episode there may be something going on with one of the team members that gives you a bit of insight into their personalities. An example might be the episode that finally introduces us to Reid's mother. Seeing her as a schizophrenic and listening to their conversations when she is lucid, allows us to see a little bit more of Reid. Speaking of Reid, current episodes are highlighting a mystery girl that's got everyone guessing.
I know I haven't done this great show justice but if you like crime shows, you'll love Criminal Minds. If you like watching efficient, well oiled teams working together, you'll love Criminal Minds. Give it a try!
I'd really love to hear your opinions about my hub and about the show, so please leave a comment!
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