Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1018. Rock Creek Park - Review

Kudos to Sharon Lee Watson! Thanks for keeping us guessing all through Rock Creek Park! It's been a long time since we did NOT have an UnSub introduced right off the bat. And with his 16th outing on Criminal Minds, Felix Alcala's experienced direction kept things moving smoothly but with nuance.

THE WRITING

Casting and acting (more on them later) are key ingredients in an engrossing episode but it all starts with the writing, and I've come to anticipate Sharon Lee Watson's outings with pleasure. For me, A Thousand Suns and Amelia Porter were standout episodes in an otherwise mostly lackluster season.

Her epilogue was especially worth noting. After watching Congressman Troy and his now incarcerated mother in the prison visiting room, I suddenly re-evaluated their entire relationship, and started speculating about their future interactions. Yes, I know these are finite, fictional characters (I'm not cray-cray) but I think the hallmark of an excellent writer is when you start to imagine the universe their creations inhabit off the page, or in this case, off-screen.

For example, the formerly drug-addicted older brother Paul -- how much would it have sucked to grow up in golden Benji's shadow with Mommie dearest? There's likely more than one reason he escaped into drugs. And speaking of Dinah Troy, I can just envision her ruling her future prison wing with an iron fist: CEO of Cell Block D.

THE ACTING

When Criminal Minds casts someone the caliber of Tess Harper, it's a safe bet she will be doing more than cooing reassuringly at her onscreen son. And her performance as a modern day Eleanor Iselin allowed you to just visualize what a stifling, I mean -- wholesome upbringing her offspring had.  Like I said, more than one reason brother Paul took to gambling and drugs.

Actor Chris McKenna pulls off the balancing act of flawed, ambiguous/ambitious politician, possible suspect, and terrified husband commendably. The viewer had to identify with him while still having doubts. Too much shading in one direction or the other and it would either cause immediate suspicion or instant dismissal. If his performance had been weaker, the whole episode would have suffered for it. Plus, the prison scene at the end... well, his twitter page banner says it all.

Let's hold hands and pick a suspect: mother-in-law dearest and/or the distraught husband
(By the way, now that Congressman Troy's likely to be re-elected in a landslide, it'd be intriguing to have him back eventually, or at least mentioned, as an ally on Capitol Hill when a crucial case-related favor is needed.)

THE TEAM

The balance of screen time and activity for the BAU was good (although I still find Jennifer Love Hewitt's Agent Callahan entirely extraneous -- her scenes could have been handled by JJ without any noticeable difference). Reid's parallel storyline with the Russian mobster surveillance was not only entertaining (kudos for the return to early season visualizations!) but necessary. Bonus: Reid's Russian language abilities were acknowledged, and Emily Churchill's wry Agent Loker was a breath of fresh air.

The tag team final interrogation of Mama Troy by Hotch and Rossi, was priceless. There is a reason they are the senior agents, and there is a reason that Thomas Gibson and Joe Mantegna get top billing: experience and skill shine through from both the actors and the characters.

Dorian Loker made my day: please bring her back (or at least mention her this season and next)


THE PLOT & PACING

The multiple threads (such as double-crossing, lovelorn Russian gangsters) and red herrings (well hello, sociopathic former intern/lover) were skillfully woven in, enough to keep the viewer on their toes, but not so blatantly obvious as to make you snort in dismissal.

I didn't feel there were any excess scenes, with the possible exception of Morgan's detour into Garcia's office, but perhaps that was to either change the setting from the conference room or merely make the Morgan/Morcia fans happy.

Lessons from SE7EN: beware of gift-wrapped boxes when a loved one is missing.


THE UPSHOT

I'm going to pull a Mama Troy stunt and hold up Sharon Lee Watson as my personal golden child in front of the rest of the Criminal Minds writers. By holding off on revealing whodunnit until 00:50:00 and not 00:05:00 or 00:00:05, she kept this long-time viewer attentive and off balance. (Was it all an elaborate revenge plot by the betrayed wife? Was the one-term Congressman a Machiavellian criminal?) Gold star for the diabolical mother-son reunion scene at the end, which kept me thinking about the episode long after the credits rolled.

And lest you think Sharon was always a teacher's pet, I used to dread her early episodes (Sorry, but it's true, Ms. Watson) whereas now I look forward to her unpredictable plotlines. Keep it up!

I know it's too late in the season for my words to have any effect this year, but there's always season 11. Stop doing Show & Tell, Criminal Minds writers -- we're not second graders. If the audience is clued in long before the BAU, it all boils down to waiting for Garcia to pull a name out of her magical, silicon hat. It's not very interesting for the viewer if the audience feels like they're smarter than the heroes. Mix it up and keep us uncertain. Otherwise, we might as well go watch our DVDs of seasons past.


~~~~Chaucer

Friday, March 27, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1019. Beyond Borders - Promo Photos












CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1019. Beyond Borders - TVGuide: Get the Details! [SPOILERS!]


by Joyce Eng

What brings Gary Sinise to the BAU?

Criminal Minds will air the backdoor pilot for its spin-off on April 8, starring the former CSI: NY star as Jack Garrett, the head of an international BAU unit. After a family of four is abducted on a shuttle on the Caribbean island, his squad, which includes Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn, teams up with Hotch & Co.

"We find out that this unsub eluded Jack's team two years ago. He killed a family in Aruba and it [haunts] Jack that they weren't able to catch him," executive producer Erica Messer tells TVGuide.com. "Last year, he got away from the BAU when...
To Read More: TVGuide

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1018. Rock Creek Park - Comments Thread

This thread is open for you all to post comments and talk about tonight's new CRIMINAL MINDS episode, titled 'Rock Creek Park', written by Sharon Lee Watson.

Hope you've enjoyed today's episode, and remember that the next new episode won't air until April 8th!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1018. Rock Creek Park - Sneak Peeks






CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - 1020. A Place at the Table - Press Release

THE MURDER OF A MARYLAND FAMILY AT THEIR DINING ROOM TABLE HAS THE BAU LOOKING FOR SECRETS IN THEIR PAST TO FIND THE UNSUB, ON “CRIMINAL MINDS,” WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award Winner Edward Asner Guest Stars as Hotch's Father-in-Law, Roy Brooks.

“A Place at the Table” – When a Maryland family is found murdered at their dining room table, the team tracks down other family members and friends to uncover secrets that may have led to it. Also, Hotch must try to make peace with his father-in-law, Roy, after discovering he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, on CRIMINAL MINDS, Wednesday, April 15 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Edward Asner guest stars as Hotch's father-in-law, Roy Brooks.

CHEAT TWEET: Hotch tries 2 help his father-in-law deal w/Alzheimer’s. #EdwardAsner guests on @CrimMinds_CBS 4/15 9pm http://bit.ly/1GR0qfU

REGULAR CAST:
Joe Mantegna (David Rossi)
Thomas Gibson (Aaron Hotchner)
Shemar Moore (Derek Morgan)
Matthew Gray Gubler (Dr. Spencer Reid)
A.J. Cook (Jennifer “JJ” Jareau)
Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope Garcia)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Kate Callahan)

RECURRING CAST:
Cade Owens (Jack Hotchner)

GUEST CAST:
Grant Harvey (Marc Clifford)
Molly Baker (Jessica Brooks)
Rolando Boyce (Sgt. Carlson)
Devon Gearhart (Ezra Warren)
Pamela Roberts (Desk Cop)
Edward Asner (Roy Brooks)
Riley Neldam (Dillon Kingman)
McNally Sagal (Cora Gilliam)
Mary Mackey (Donna Kingman)
Dakota Gorman (Jenna Kingman)
Josh Plasse (Lance Kingman)
Chris Paul Davis (Frank Kingman)

WRITTEN BY: Bruce Zimmerman
DIRECTED BY: Laura Belsey

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 10 - BTS: 1022. Protection

This post may contain spoilers, probably small, but they may be big too; proceed with caution!
This post will be updated when more images of our dear gang are shared from the set.




Scouting 10-22. Great scenery. [1/2] - Photo by Harry Bring
Scouting 10-22. Great scenery. [2/2] - Photo by Harry Bring 
Scouting next to last episode. McArthur Park. Reminds me of the song by Richard Harris. - Photo by Harry Bring
I can officially announce that I will be guest starring on Criminal Minds. Today was the table read with the entire cast and I couldn't be any happier #blessed - Photo by Christina Vlahakes
Next up... #CriminalMinds #Season10 #LetsGo #Thankful #PaidToPlay #Blessed #LosAngeles #instadaily
 - Photo by Todd Williams
Spotted at the #CriminalMinds EP#1022 Read Through @GUBLERNATION
- Photo by CM_SetReport
Yesterday the great @THEIG stepped in for hotch at the table read! @sleewatson
witnessed the magic! @CM_SetReport lol - Photo by Janine Sherman Barrois
Had such a fun first day on set meeting @gublergram it was so awesome being able to work with you! Can't wait to film the rest of my scenes this week #criminalminds - Photo by Christina Vlahakes
Outside of my trailer earlier today and that's a wrap on day 1! - Photo by Christina Vlahakes
Our writer, @VirgilWilliams has an idea. - Photo by Krish Ribeiro
The Unsung Hero of "Criminal Minds"- Kevin McEveety Production Accountant
Extraordinaire!!
- Photo by Ian Woolf
My office today. #CriminalMinds #livingthedream - Photo by Virgil Williams
MacArthur Park at night, this should be interesting.... - Photo by John Hatchitt
Day 2 Criminal Minds Episode 1023 in MacArthur park with writer @VirgilWilliams @CM_SetReport
 #CriminalMinds - Photo by Liz Graham
I make dead people for a living. - Photo by Krish Ribeiro
My awesome director @tawniamck. Killing it... #CriminalMinds - Photo by Virgil Williams
Seeing double. #CriminalMinds - Photo by Virgil Williams
My office today. #CriminalMinds #livingthedream - Photo by Virgil Williams
The best part is when you work with friends. One of the best writers in the game and a hell of a guy, @djvluv  #CriminalMinds #ActorLife #Day1… - Photo by Todd Williams
Criminal Minds spooky tunnel location for episode shooting now (10-22). I wouldn't go there late at night ;-) - Photo by Harry Bring

Somebody in our Set Decoration department has a great sense of humor. Decorating our next police dept., added touch.
- Photo by Harry Bring
A portrait of an artist at work. #1stAD Terry Ham on the set of #CriminalMinds #Friday - Photo by CM_SetReport
The #CriminalMinds writer's hallway at 7AM. Season 10 is almost over... - Photo by Virgil Williams
#CriminalMinds @Converse Jack Purcell's and sweet sock game with @GUBLERNATION
- Photo by Virgil Williams
Hear no evil. See no evil. Smell no evil?? @ajcookofficial #CriminalMinds @GUBLERNATION @tawniamck
 - Photo by Virgil Williams
Two Blind Mice!!!! I can see Russia from here.. With Matthew's Glasses on... He sure is pretty but Blind as a Bat!!
- Photo by Shemar Moore
Love easy Stage days,after 3 hard racing ones. #prettygoodsetup - Photo by John Hatchitt
Dead people need love too#thethings wedoforyou#CM fans! - Photo by BJ Rogers
Just another lunch at #CriminalMinds - Ep 10-22 Day 6 of 8. - Photo by CM_Set Report
"Work" #HappyMonday #Day6 #CriminalMinds #Fun #ActorLife #Thankful #TheImaginedLife #JustPutMyFeetUpForEffect #TooMuchTimeOnMyHands #NotComfortable - Photo by Todd Williams