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Criminal Minds: How true is their BAU?
Criminal Minds: How true is their BAU?
For those of you who are intrigued by sociopathology, Criminal Minds is a drama you may want to watch. The show airs on CBS on Wednesdays at 9:00 P.M. The series focuses on profiling criminals. The members of the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) are headquartered in Quantico just like the real BAU profilers.
The NCAVC [The National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime] is comprised of four units: Behavioral Analysis Unit-1 (Counterterrorism/Threat Assessment), Behavioral Analysis Unit-2 (Crimes Against Adults), Behavioral Analysis Unit-3 (Crimes Against Children), and the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP). http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder
On the television show, the team takes on “unsubs” AKA unknown subjects. The “unsubs” more often than not are serial killers. If one happens to watch often, he or she may begin to think serial killers are everywhere when according to the FBI,
Serial murder is a relatively rare event, estimated to comprise less than one percent of all murders committed in any given year. http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder
This statistic does not stop the TV BAU from doing what they do best:
Analyzing Human Behavior
The most recent TV BAU team includes:
Aaron Hotchner – former lawyer for the Federal Government
JJ or Jennifer Jareau– Hotchner’s assistant, responsible for coordination and public relations
Derrick Morgan – former law enforcement officer
Dr. Spencer Reid – youngest member, has identic memory
Penelope Garcia – Computer Whiz and “wears her individuality on her sleeve” per Rossi
Rossi - Career FBI agent, the experienced elder
Jennifer Love Hewitt-mysterious newest member
Perhaps the TV team is somewhat representative of the real BAU players. In 2005, the FBI hosted a multi-disciplinary Symposium in which
A total of 135 subject matter experts attended the five-day event. These individuals included law enforcement officials who have successfully investigated and apprehended serial killers; mental health, academic, and other experts who have studied serial killers and shared their expertise through education and publication; officers of the court, who have judged, prosecuted, and defended serial killers; and members of the media, who inform and educate the public when serial killers strike. The attendees also reflected the international nature of the serial murder problem, as there were attendees from ten different countries on five continents. http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder
Like any television drama, one must become vested in the characters if the show is to be successful. One of the ways Criminal Minds accomplishes this is by working as a team. While each character on the show has a “life” outside of Quantico, their real family is the team they work with solving heinous crimes committed by all kinds of offenders.
They reference real serial killers like “The Green River Killer, BTK Killer and Ted Bundy.” In one episode, the unsub (before naturally being caught) commits murders that replicate “Jack the Ripper”-probably the most well-known serial killer.
The TV BAU solves their cases by analyzing the unknown subject’s motivation and stressors and in the process explores the myths that exist regarding serial killers: topics also covered at the 2005 Symposium.
- Myth: Serial killers are all dysfunctional loners.
- Myth: Serial killers are all white males.
- Myth: Serial killers are only motivated by sex.
- Myth: All serial murderers travel and operate interstate.
- Myth: Serial killers cannot stop killing.
- Myth: All Serial killers are insane or are evil geniuses
- Myth: Serial killers want to get caught.
On the television version of BAU, the team must be invited by the local law enforcement authority before they can assist. And when they are called, they go in style for there is a pretty impressive airplane ready and waiting just for them, all of the best technology is at their disposal; and best of all, they care about each other so they function well as a team.
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Criminal Minds Photos: 1. Joseph Campbell on CBS.com
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