Saturday, March 16, 2013

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (Thoughts on Show + Finale Resolution)

Over a year ago my brother introduced me to the TV show Criminal Minds. I quickly became a huge fan. Now criminal investigation shows are a dime a dozen nowadays, but Criminal Minds is my current favorite out of all of them, and that is saying something because I do enjoy other similar shows like NCIS, Bones, Castle, and CSI. The reason I like Criminal Minds is because it is the most realistic crime drama. This fact does turn a lot of people away because of how dark and scary it can be, but that doesn't bother me in this case because it deals with a lot of psychological issues and really gets you inside the mind of the criminal, thus teaching you a lot and I find that fascinating. So in this past year or so, I got through all seven completed seasons and caught up with the series as they are currently in their eighth season. Along the way they included an episode with a second Criminal Minds unit known as a red cell that helped them with a case. That episode was there to set up a spin-off series called Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. It started in February of 2011 and went for one half season of 13 episodes. It never got off the ground in terms of popularity and CBS decided to cut it short and not bring it back for a second season. After catching up to Criminal Minds on TV, I needed another show to follow, so despite knowing that Suspect Behavior had been cancelled, I decided to give it a shot. Turns out I was really disappointed that it got cancelled as it was a good show that had a lot of potential.

Suspect Behavior featured Forrest Whitaker as the lead of the team and Janeane Garofalo, Michael Kelly, Beau Garrett, and Matt Ryan (not the Atlanta Falcons quarterback) as team members with the lovable Kirsten Vangsness reprising her role as technical analyst Penelope Garcia for the spin-off show. The biggest challenge of a criminal investigation show is getting together a cast of people that just connect with the audience. You can have the best writing and best villains, but if you don't have a likable cast then you don't have a show. I feel that this was the biggest problem for people with this show. Criminal Minds fans have been so used to the fantastic cast of Criminal Minds that it was hard to get used to this new cast and thus after an episode or two they gave up and just didn't give them a shot. However, I really enjoyed this cast. I especially liked Forrest Whitaker as the lead role as well as Michael Kelly and Matt Ryan. I hadn't gotten used to the two girls on the quite yet, but I feel that I could've grown to like them more. And as far as Kirsten Vangsness goes, I absolutely love her in Criminal Minds, but I don't think she quite fit with this cast. They should've had their own technical analyst.

Was Suspect Behavior perfect? No. It had it's issues. The specific story lines in the episodes at the beginning weren't particularly strong and the criminals at times weren't completely believable, which was sad considering that was the strong point of Criminal Minds. Also, I've never been a huge fan of the random personal drama on Criminal Minds that lasts an episode and instantly is solved by the next episode. Sometimes it works really well, but other times it detracts from episode. Suspect Behavior does a particularly poor job at this aspect. However, despite not being a perfect show, the big key is that Suspect Behavior got better as it went along and by the time the finale came around, that episode was just as good if not better than the normal episodes of Criminal Minds and I feel that there was a lot of things that they could've built on to eventually create a show that was just as good as the original Criminal Minds and thus it was extremely disappointing that this show wasn't given a shot at even airing one more season. CBS really failed when they cancelled it. Shame.


Now on a side note, I want to discuss the finale real quick and in doing so, I am going to throw up a quick SPOILER ALERT because this paragraph is really meant for those few people who cared enough to watch the whole show. As a recap, they face a criminal duo that kidnaps people's loved ones then contacts the other party and tells him or her to go to a public place and shoot someone or else their loved one will be killed. As the finale goes on, Agent Beth Griffith (Janeane Garofalo) gets kidnapped and Sam Cooper (Forest Whitaker) is the one that is contacted. Sam Cooper is told to come to a certain spot and he does. What he finds is that the person he is asked to shoot is one of the two men in the duo, the one who they learned all about who is a troubled individual that is being used. Sam Cooper wants really badly to help him rather than shoot him, but a gun is being held to Beth's head and if Cooper doesn't shoot the guy, Beth is the one that is going to get shot. The episode ends when time runs out and a gun is fired. However, we do not see on screen which gun was fired and the episode ends. This is a fantastic episode and a fantastic ending. Sadly, we are left on a forever cliffhanger and will never know how the story resolves because it is after this episode when the series gets cancelled. I searched the web for answers and could not find any official statement by a cast or crew member on how they were planning on resolving that, so instead after much thinking, I have come to the conclusion in my mind that Sam Cooper couldn't get himself to fire his weapon in that scenario and thus Beth is the one that gets shot and killed. This would lead to a very emotional and tragic opening to the second season that would include them eventually finding and arresting both men in the duo, but ending the episode with a funeral procession for Beth. They would need to hire a replacement for her, but they could do it. It would be a really sad episode, but it would be one that would go down as one of the best episodes of the show had it been given the shot to go forward. But that's just my opinion. If you have seen this episode, please feel free to post your thoughts about what would've happened in the season opener because I would be interested in reading them.

15 comments:

  1. I think that the man should of grabbed the gun from coop and shot himself. and Beth would have lived. but the man holding Beth would have thought that Sam shot him and thought that he could get the FBI to do what ever he wants so he tells Sam to shoot a police officer.so Sam pretends to shoot an officer. thinking that Sam would go to jail he lets Beth go but Beth wont forgive Sam for shooting those men for her. so after Beth tells the team what he looks like she leaves. but Sam cant live with the fact that Beth thinks that he killed someone. so Sam tracks her down to tell her the truth. after he does so Beth says that she sorry for thinking that he shot those men and Beth rejoins the team and they go back to working on cases as if it never happened

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well thought out. I like it. However, in the time we black out and hear the gun shot, does the guy have enough time to steal the gun and shoot himself? Also, I would think it would be hard to steal a gun from an FBI agent and if he did, Sam might be forced to shoot him. I think the guy would sadistically like Cooper to make the choice himself

      Delete
  2. They say that the episode "epilogue" in season 6 or 7 is somewhat wrapping up this finale episode. It does suck that there won't be another season of suspect behavior. However if you think about it, it makes sense. Had cooper taken the shot, he would have been charged with manslaughter for murder of a man that did not have a weapon. If cooper did not take the shot then Beth would have died and cooper would feel the guilt and may leave the team anyways much like Gideon in the original series. There is always that possibility that cooper subdues the suspect as Beth fights her way maybe using the back of her head to headbutt the guy or to move out of the line of fire

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good thoughts. As you say that, I reflect to that one finale in Criminal Minds that ends with George Foyet pointing a gun at Hotch with the gunfire going off. Of course in the next season it is revealed that the gun was fired, but Hotch wasn't killed. Perhaps they could've done something like that.

      And I'll have to check out the episode "Epilogue" again. Thanks!

      Delete
  3. I was thinking something on the lines of a third person being involved. As in the possibility of someone from the local PD, or even better, Hotch was following the case and figured out where the unsub and Beth were and shot the unsub before he pulled the trigger on Beth. Episode 1 of Season 2 could have revealed that Sam called Hotch for some help on the case (or maybe Garcia had kept Hotch in the loop).


    I just watched it again, Prophet was not in the last scene. Maybe he went to the right house?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are interesting thoughts. Since writing this, I've had a lot of time to think about this and I do think it's possible that a third party is involved

      Delete
  4. Or maybe it was the mother of the self-injuring duo member that shoots the gun...we have long forgotten about her by this point in the show. Thanks for sharing your post. I watched the whole series on Netflix not knowing about the cliff-hanger and was hoping for resolution as well, somewhere. A shame they cancelled the show. I actually really like case...Garafalo and Whitaker were a big attraction to the show for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment! That's a very valid point. Having written this two years ago, I never imagined that I'd still be getting views and comments on this post at this point still.

      And hey, if you are a fan of Criminal Minds, it's getting another spin-off! Hope this one survives past the first season :)

      Delete
  5. Here is my theory, here me out. So after watching SBU and finishing "Death by a Thousand Cuts" i have came to this thought. Assuming BAU and SBU is in the same world and timeline, I believe Beth did get shot. So if you have watched the original Criminal Minds, you would remember that there is a crossover between these two casts. The episode is called "The Fight" and notice that both squads were there except for Beth. Nothing was ever mentioned about her, but I do believe that the writers had already planned out. However, what gets me is that "The fight" was aired a year before "Death by a Thousand Cuts" and that is what trips me out. But yeah, summarizing, I do believe that Beth got killed :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was also planning on leaving the unit, so that is a possibility too.

      Delete
  6. Here is my theory, here me out. So after watching SBU and finishing "Death by a Thousand Cuts" i have came to this thought. Assuming BAU and SBU is in the same world and timeline, I believe Beth did get shot. So if you have watched the original Criminal Minds, you would remember that there is a crossover between these two casts. The episode is called "The Fight" and notice that both squads were there except for Beth. Nothing was ever mentioned about her, but I do believe that the writers had already planned out. However, what gets me is that "The fight" was aired a year before "Death by a Thousand Cuts" and that is what trips me out. But yeah, summarizing, I do believe that Beth got killed :(

    ReplyDelete
  7. I commend you, Adam, for creating this forum! This is a LARGELY under-appreciated show, and a total casualty of CBS to have cancelled it on a cliff-hanger. They could've done, say, a 10-episode season 2 if they didn't have faith in the show, but at least give it a chance; the writers could've turned things around and added some interesting plots and character development which could've turned people's opinions of the show around. Adam is right; this show had HUGE potential.

    Nobody really knows that Red Cell Teams (FBI teams who report only to the director and come when called) and Tiger-teams (rapid response teams who can quickly travel across the country with a different, special insight while more traditional teams are prioritized to solve other crimes, but the idea is that these guys can fly anywhere, anytime at the FBI Director's behest) That's how the team was described by Jim Clemente, and that's how Director Fickler (roughly) described the team in episode 5, which IMO would've made a much better premiere, and to have had "Two of a Kind" air 2nd would've been perfect...

    Regarding the cliffhanger, Joe Sparenberg, who postulated his theory on January 3rd, 2015, made an excellent point! Season 2 Episode 1 could've been a partial cross-over with one of the team members having potentially sent Penelope an emergency signal to contact Hotch and fill him in en-route to the potential crime scene where Beth was being held, and the shot we heard was Hotch shooting that condescending bastard rogue prison guard in the head at center mass (he was SWAT at one time lol) ...since there have been no official resolution theory statements by any cast/crew, I'll assume that's what happens. Perhaps Beth goes into a bit of PTSD after that and it could've been woven into the storyline and depicted in an accurate, practical way. (P.S. it could've been Mick set up with a sniper riffle, and took the shot to Beth's kidnapper; after all, there was a window in his place and they made a point of showing it from what would be Beth's Point of View)

    Thank you, Adam, for recognizing this show for the short-lived greatness that it was! And to the gentlemen who commented before me, yes there is another spinoff; its pilot aired 3 days before your post lol and its about a team from the International Operations Division of the FBI, they work within roughly the same parameters as our beloved BAU, and report to the same Section Chief who is now Matt Cruz (hope everyone's seen the S8 finale and Season 9 ep 4) They are called the IRT (International Response Team) and hunt unsubs on foreign soil (different country every week) using the same profiling tactics as the BAU. Such teams do exist in the FBI, in fact the FBI has 87 offices around the world (not including U.S. soil) It stars Gary Sinise, Alana de la Garza (Law & Order, Scorpion), only her role was played by Anna Gunn in the pilot, CM Season 10 episode 19; Daniel Henney (Hawaii Five-O), tech analyst Russ "Monty" Montgomery played by Tyler James Williams (The Walking Dead, Everybody Hates Chris) and Annie Funke as their resident sarcastic medical examiner. Looks pretty cool, and it airs March 16th, 2016, right after Criminal Minds's 250th episode, "The Sandman"

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think cooper would end up shoot the man and go to prison, while the man who capture beth kill her and gone. The second season will show cooper regret his decision in prison and vow to find and kill the man responsible. He plan to break from the prison and reassemble the team but everyone decline and instead being assemble by the head of the fbi to hunt cooper. At the end cooper find the man who kill beth and at the last moment he decide to forgive him. Cooper back to the prison but found peace in his heart after he solve things he regret.


    And when we think the story end, the head of fbi pay a visit to cooper and offer him to get back to head the red cells again due to an emergency situation...

    ReplyDelete
  9. I belive the unsub shot himself by grabing the gun in Coopers hand and wrapping his hands around Coopers forcing the trigger down. Then Cooper, knowing Beth is out of time, quickly takes a photo and sends to the second unsub who let's her go. But this is also an interesting theory:
    What if the gun that goes of is the one Cooper has, BUT that's filled with blanks and this turns out to only be some sick powered play and the unsub calls the second one before he shoots Beth, saying Cooper actually went through with it.

    ReplyDelete