Tuesday, October 6, 2015

CRIMINAL MINDS Season 11 - 1101. The Job - Review

Season 11, amazing that our show is opening its 11th season! Who would have thought! It is so rare these days to have a TV show that can make it to its 2nd season much less 11 seasons... Extraordinary!

The Job brings our favorite team minus two members back on our screens with a case that will have all the elements of a classic Criminal Minds episode, plus an ending that may open up some new storylines that may be connected to a spoiler that was reveal by Criminal Minds star Matthew Gray Gubler in a recent interview.

The Unsub is a killer for hire who goes after his former clients in an effort to deal with those who have wronged him. He kills them in a gruesome way too, by injecting them with the liquid he injects himself to feed (he no longer can eat after he was shot in the jaw). This case is based on the Silk Road one the FBI worked a few years ago.

We have a woman who at first we think is a victim, however, she later turns out to be the wife of the SWAT Team Captain, who hired the killer because she wanted her drug dealer dead as he was forcing himself on her as payment for the drugs. Her husband finds out at some point what's going on and strikes a deal with the hitman in lieu of payment. This deal is why he gives up the police movements, why they hide him and why she drives him to and for the crime scenes.

Team wise, they are down two members. JJ is out on maternity leave; we have a cute scene with her and her new son, Michael who is played by her real life son Phoenix Sky. We also meet the new team member, Dr. Tara Lewis, who is played by Aisha Tyler. The introduction of Lewis was, in my opinion, the best since the introduction of Emily Prentiss; it was different and had the merit to give us a glimpse at who this Dr. Lewis is. We know she can be patient; she waited patiently for what seemed like an unbelievable amount of time from the moment she started her job interview with Hotch until it was resumed 36 hours later, when Hotch finally had the time to go back to interviewing her. She also showed that despite not having much field work experience, that when she was called upon by Hotch to help impersonate over the phone the SWAT Captain’s wife she did rise up to the occasion and made it work.

The ending with Morgan and the killer at the hospital had me wondering at first, but on second viewing, I got suspicious... First, Morgan asked the cop who is guarding the killer at the hospital to ‘give them a minute’, and we see the cop leave; I wonder, why would Morgan needed to talk to this guy without a witness? Second, why is Morgan taking this so personal? Yes, he almost got killed, but this has happened before, so why now? Strange. Who are The Dirty Dozen? Cops? FBI agents? Politicians? We know those are the ones who are the next targets. Will there be repercussions for Morgan? The nurse thinks he did attack the man... Lots of questions left unanswered!

What I Liked

  • Loved how Rossi was already at a crime scene when the episode started. Different from how usually the case is introduced.
  • The meth lab was creepy, complete with crazy junkie being interviewed by local cops!
  • Sassy Rossi is one of my favorite things about Criminal Minds!
    • Detective "Profilers, wonderful. Look agent, you tell me this perp got mommy’s issues…"
    • Rossi  "Couldn't agree with more, because this guy doesn't have mommy’s issues, because if he did he would probably be killing women."
  • Great editing work, as the detective asked Morgan how they (as in the cops) will catch this guy, Rossi's reply of "You don’t, he's most likely already left the state", prompts the rookie detective next' question, "Then, who will?" and we cut to Hotch coming out of the elevator, and then Penelope walks to him and they enter the BAU.
  • Great shot of the round table room from above as we look down on the five remaining team members going over the case file then cut to we presume the Unsub's room, he is sitting too at a round table and we have the same shot, from above as we look down on him. Our introduction to the Unsub is perfect, we see only the top of his head!
  • We never hear the Unsub talk or see much of him until the very end. All we will learn about him will be from the profilers! As a long time Criminal Minds' fan, I love to see the team work the case, find the clues through the behavior that will lead to who the Unsubs are and why they do what they do. 
  • Reid was being Reid, which means he was the genius he is supposed to be. He was not dumbed down to make someone else look good. Also love to see him in a suit and tie, he looked dashing!
  • Another high point was that the team was written to showcase their strengths and how they complement each other. Example: Hotch calls Garcia about their latest victim, she finds out the victim had established two months ago an escrow account with $40,000 in it; in prior seasons, Garcia would have found out WHY he did it, but this time she didn't know and she asked Hotch, who guessed someone close to the victim died two months ago and the $40,000 was payment to the hitman. That is when Garcia checks the victim and finds out his dad died, and that years ago, the victim was emancipated after he complained about some sexual abuse.
  • One of my favorite scene was between Morgan and Garcia as they were trying to thin down the list of possible clients to the hitman. It was funny, it showed their friendship and how well they work together without going over the top as sometimes it goes with their scenes.
  • Another great scene was the one at the garage where the Unsub had glued a grenade in the hands of his intended victim.
    • We got a scene with the team reacting to what the Unsub did at the garage! First, with Morgan and Reid from the Unsub's point of view, explaining why he did what he did, and then from Rossi's who explains what was the SWAT Captain and his wife involvement in this whole thing. Love when we have those scenes, as they are a good way to show us how they profile an Unsub. Wish we had more scenes like those!

What I Didn't Like

  • Minor thing, when the team is giving the profile to the potential new recruits for the team, only Dr. Lewis got something to say. Would have been good to have some other recruit to say something so to at least try to keep some of us guessing about who would get the job.
  • No Hotch in the action scenes.

In conclusion, as a season opener this was a solid episode with lots of profiling, and an Unsub that didn't take over the story. Breen Frazier wrote a solid, entertaining script in which all team members got to contribute without anyone being left on the side. The introduction of the new character of Dr. Tara Lewis was excellent and made me want to know more about her and I wish she will be staying. Didn't miss Kate much, Dr. Lewis made a much more interesting character. I really liked the reduced cast, it made for a much tighter writing, everyone had something interesting to do, no one had lines that could have been delivered by someone else. Aisha Tyler is a great new addition. She worked very well with Thomas Gibson and Kirsten Vangsness. The ending is, I think, the start of a story arc that may lead to a cast member (Shemar Moore? Pure speculations on my part...) leaving this season; if so, will be interesting to see how this will develop.

I will give this episode a 9/10. Excellent start of Season 11!


NOTE: all images can be seen full size clicking over them


  1. Great review Merlin. I agreed with everything you said and you caught all the points I noticed.

  2. Excellent review, Merlin! You have very good taste in CM material! As Rockie just said, you noticed all the points I did, and I' SO glad someone finally gave kudos to Glenn's classic overhead shot of the roundtable, switch to the unsub at a similar table. Typical Glenn Kershaw; amazing. I agree whole-heartedly with almost everything you said; I missed Kate (not the pregnant Kate, but the sassy, early Season 10 Kate)

    I had only one complaint, is that they made the ending mislead the audience further, (into the "who's gonna leave?" subject) rather than tying up the episode and leaving the season-arc to mystery. I, personally do not believe Morgan will be the one to leave. I doubt they would make it obvious from the first episode. Although us fans are quite astute, I think JJ will be the one to leave, (much to the pleasure of many people I've come across on this and other boards) as Erica Messer has, in several interviews, put so much overstatement on the fact that "people come and go in the FBI; its amazing and rare to have worked with someone for 10 years; most of the time people come and go." Perhaps trying to cushion the impact on JJ fans her exit will have ..? Pure speculation on my part, and this episode was incredible. Best season opener since "Nameless, Faceless" or "The Longest Night," tied with "It Takes a Village."

    And I do agree that this was the best new character introduction since Prentiss. Blake's was awkward and weird, and Kate's was too convenient and tied up in a neat little bow. This was realistic and interesting. ....GARCIA: (whispers to Hotch) "She's marvelous!"
    Next we have an episode written by Sharon Lee Watson, and directed by John Terlesky (who helmed "The Good Earth," "Pay It Forward," and "The Return" and quite well. And Sharon .... I just know it will be amazing. No more Janine writing the 2nd episode. Her writing was hit and miss; way more miss. Love that ER's Karen Maser has joined, and I love the new staff. Bring on Season 11, Bring on "The Witness" and LONG LIVE CM!!! (btw it may be a minority view, but I can't wait for Beyond Borders.

    1. Thanks for the nice comments SevereCMAddict :)

      I doubt it is AJC who will be leaving, it was said she will be back for episode 7 and to what leave 2 or 3 episodes later?

      My money is on Shemar simply because of all those tweets he did post back in may when he was in negotiation and he told everyone who would listen that season 10 would be his last. My guess he simply signed a contract for s11 to wrap up his character storylines. Of course I could be wrong! I guess we will have to wait and see :)

      Enjoy CM tonight!

    2. I could see Hotch leaving, based on storylines, this would be like his 19th year with the BAU. (Do not wish it, but would make sense). And I am holding out hope something related to the end of Mr Scratch resurfaces.
      Loved the first episode of the season though.

    3. It's not Hotch leaving...

      And why is because this is Shemar's instagram from today.... https://instagram.com/p/8jd7lTrg60/

      This virtual telescopes that he's leaving...

  3. Well I finally watched the last 10 minutes of THE JOB and it was easily the best part of the entire 11x01 episode -- except for the stupid & pointless Morgan "give us a minute" situation where he left himself open to charges of misconduct. It's not like anything he said would've been out of place in front of an entire courtroom.

    If that whole interlude is indeed telegraphing Shemar's eventual departure from the show, then GOOD RIDDANCE. If not, then it was just dumb, and the writers had better follow up on The Dirty Dozen clue. (Hitmen? LEOs? CEOs? What?)

    So maybe I was just in an odd mood when I watched the episode, but I just could NOT get into it, so I'm some of you all liked it, because I certainly didn't.

    But that's what makes the COMMENTS section interesting: YMMV, since our mileage certainly doesn't seem to match up on this ep. ;-p

    1. Yes seems this is telegraphing Shemar Moore departure, if this was just a build up for some minor character leaving then I will be disapointed as this was done already.

      Yes, this is why we have comments because there are many opinions and it is fun to read what others thought about an episode even if we disagree :)


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