Thursday, April 4, 2013

Criminal Minds Review: RESTORATION

Criminal Minds review of 'Restoration'.  Written by Jim Clemente and Janine Sherman Barrois.

Here is the press release/TVGuide-type synopsis of the episode:
On tonight’s show the BAU goes to Morgan's old neighborhood in urban Chicago in search of an UnSub targeting middle-aged men, and a clue leads Morgan to believe that they are after someone connected to the man who molested him as a child. Skipp Sudduth (THE GOOD WIFE, “Third Watch”) returns as Captain Stan Gordinski, who helps the team with the investigation, and Julius Tennon (“Lonesome Dove”) reprises his role as Carl Buford, the man who abused Morgan as a child.

Matt Mitovich says in a TVLine article:
Moore says that since “Restoration” was fully focused on revisiting this particular story, the episode did not even attempt to move forward this season's Replicator arc, in which the BAU team is being stalked by a serial killer recreating solved crimes. That said, as Season 8 draws closer to the finale — and with cast members' contract talks holding up renewal — “I know one of us is going to be in harm's way, because that's how it always goes down,” Moore reveals. “I do know that one of us, who you may least expect, may or may not be taken out. And that's all I can say. It's an interesting twist that I don't think people are prepared for.”  Full article can be found here

So that statement in Matt Mitovich's article makes Moore's Twitter post linked below kind of sound like a farewell: It said, “Thank you to CBS, The producers and writers, and my fans for allowing me n [sic] supporting me to portray DEREK MORGAN FOR 8 SEASONS” and attaches the photo shown below that says, “But I really do tip my cap to what Derek Morgan does because they're real people in this world that do what Derek Morgan does for the FBI” Shemar Moore.

picture: @shemarmooore


The episode began with some kids at a convenience store talking to the owner. After they leave, the owner closes up and is attacked.

We cut to Morgan working on one of his properties. Rossi shows up with a nice bottle of something yummy and they are going to share a drink. Rossi makes a comment about renovating and Morgan says he doesn't renovate, he restores. They are about to have that drink when the phone rings and Garcia calls them into a case.

Two men had been killed in the south side of Chicago. The team goes to Chicago, with Morgan and whatsherface going to the convenience store, and JJ and Rossi going to the first crime scene. JJ/Rossi found some words written on a dumpster and called Morgan to tell him about it.  Morgan looked around and found the same words written at the convenience store. “Look to the sky.” Whatsherface went on and on babbling about the linguistics of the phrase, but it was obvious that the words meant something to Morgan.  He shushed her and said he knew what it meant.

Back at the police station, Morgan told his story about Carl Buford because of the words found at the crime scenes.  They were something Buford used to say to Morgan during their “sessions”: “You better man up boy, look up to the sky.”  Hotch was very concerned and told Morgan that he didn't have to tell everyone, but Morgan said they needed to know.

Captain Gordinski, formerly Detective, told Hotch that he never knew about what happened to Morgan and if he had, he wouldn't have arrested him 6 years ago and wouldn't have been so hard on him when Morgan was a child. Gordinski was surprised that Buford had more than one victim, and Hotch told him that preferential-type sex offenders have many victims.

Morgan went to find James, the young victim Morgan from “Profiler Profiled”, to see if he could give him any information. James wanted nothing to do with it. He was in total denial about the whole thing.

Morgan wanted to see Buford, but Hotch told him he wanted him to do something with JJ first. The scene cut to JJ and Morgan looking out a window.  She led him through a cognitive interview to Morgan's childhood, to try to identify other victims. He wasn't able to identify anyone and again went to Hotch to talk about seeing Buford. Hotch told Morgan he could go, but that he would go with him.

At the prison we see that Buford had converted to Islam, and when Morgan arrived, said something snotty like, “of all my boys, you were the last one I thought I'd see here.”  He told Morgan he was an Islamic scholar (I think to impress Morgan and to try to steer the direction the interview was going). He tried to be sanctimonious, but he couldn't stop being a smart ass. Carl tried to throw Morgan off by asking him about his favorite ice cream when Morgan asked him to write a list of every one of his victims, he kept up the patter until Morgan had enough and told Buford that if he didn't comply and give a complete list, he would tell the Muslim brotherhood exactly WHY Buford was in prison and see how they liked him then.

And damn, what a list! A whole page full of names! Buford, still trying to maintain control over Derek, said he would give Morgan the list only if Morgan shook his hand. Morgan shook Buford's hand, and Buford told him “you were always special Derek” and that “there are a whole lot more like me out there, boy.”

Outside the interview room, Hotch told Morgan that he didn't have to shake Buford's hand, but Morgan brushed it off and said he needed to go to the men's room before they left.  It is obvious that the entire exchange with Buford really sickened Morgan because when he went into the bathroom, he rinsed his face with cold water and threw up.

They get the list of names to the PD and while reviewing the list, Gordinski said he had arrested all of those kids and said he would never had done so had he known what was happening to them.

Garcia ran the list of Buford's victims and found one who fit the profile. They go to his apartment building, break into his apartment and the dude runs down the fire escape! Of course Morgan is the first one off the blocks and chased him down. He wasn't the UNSUB, but he was a Buford's victim and was strung out on drugs. Morgan knew him and asked him to look at Buford's list to see if any names popped. While talking, the guy told Morgan that there were other guys not on the list: gang bangers; older than they were; from Buford's old address. He told Morgan about a guy named Rodney Harris, a drug dealer. Morgan and Rodney used to crack heads when they were younger, so Morgan knew him. Garcia again performed her magic and found out that the first victim was Rodney's son's swim coach. The swim coach had been accused of molesting Rodney's son. She told them that Rodney's cell phone was pinging at his ex-wife's house.

Rodney was at his ex-wife's house when she, her husband and her son arrive at their home. Rodney went bananas; pistol whipped the husband and held a gun to his ex-wife's head in front of the window in the front of the house when Morgan and the rest of the team arrived. Derek went into the house to talk him down. He talked to Rodney about Buford, he told Rodney he knew Buford had molested him, and told him that Buford had done the same thing to him and that he made sure that Buford was locked away for life. Then he told him to look at his son, told him not to do this in front of him. The son told his dad that he loved him and his ex-wife told him their son still needed his dad. Rodney put the gun down. Morgan let him hug his son before taking him away.

Outside the house, Gordinksi told Morgan that the only reason he became a cop was to tell right from wrong, but that he got it all wrong. He apologized to Morgan.

At the PD, the press was clambering for news and Gordinski spoke to them about Buford. Morgan came back outside when a reporter asked if being a victim of sex abuse made Rodney a murderer. Morgan spoke to the press by saying “No, it didn't.”  He went on to say he was a victim of Carl Buford, and gave a very moving speech. The scene cut to some of Buford's victims (James and the strung out drug addict who led them to Rodney), and to the prison where Buford was incarcerated. Some of Buford's Muslim brothers asked him if “Carl Buford” used to be his “government name” (apparently he changed his name to Mohammed while in prison) and Buford mumbled something about it not being him and quickly walked out of the room. The scene ended with Buford coming face-to-face with another Muslim brother as a door closed.

Later on the plane, Morgan received a phone call telling him that Buford was dead.

The episode ended with Morgan again restoring his property, with some nice jazz music playing.

What I liked

There was a lot of Gordinksi remorse for treating all those boys so badly when they really were victims, which went a long way to show his growth and sorrow for his own ignorance of the situation with Carl Buford. Gordkinksi was a real horses' ass in “Profiler Profiled”, and I was glad to see him redeemed.

I liked that Morgan told the team, the police officers, and then the reporters about what happened to him. It showed great strength of character and did a lot to make me like him more. It showed him as much more than a tough guy and the person that always kicks in the doors and tackles UNSUBS.

What I thought was weak:

In an episode such as this, one that really highlights a specific character, it is difficult to give the other characters equal time, and this certainly held true for this episode. Other than the beginning when Rossi and Morgan were going to share a drink, Rossi disappeared from the episode. JJ was there to do the cognitive interview and to tell Morgan that it was over at the end, but she was pretty absent as well. I know that Reid was there but I can't really tell you anything he said or did. Even Garcia was pretty absent from the episode, and especially since this was Morgan-centric, I thought she might have been a little more angsty. There was some Hotch, being Dad, watching over his kids to make sure everything turns out OK. I still can't figure out how whatsherface, ummmm, BLAKE, that's her name, fits into the mix.


All-in-all, this was probably my favorite episode of the season. It was fast-paced, sent an important message about child sex abuse, especially in minorities who historically are reluctant to report this type of abuse, and allowed Morgan to confront his abuser and showed that Morgan is much more than a He-Man tough guy.

Lady of the Lake

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