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Opinion: Criminal Minds’ unrelenting violence is nothing more than crime porn

Opinion: Criminal Minds’ unrelenting violence is nothing more than crime porn
 The FBI profilers in Criminal Minds delve into murder sprees without showing much emotion, much like the psychopaths they hunt. | Photograph by: Robert Voets

Mandy Patinkin was not exactly subtle about his reasons for leaving Criminal Minds. In 2012, with Homeland now confirming he could get TV work again, he told New York magazine exactly what he thought of the CBS crime porn, which he abandoned rather abruptly after only two seasons:

“I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality.”

In fairness to Criminal Minds, since that very public kvetching, the writers seem to have made some effort to rape and kill women only as often as they kill men — one of our society’s more admirable attempts at gender equality, truly.

And in fairness to Mandy Patinkin, I don’t know that the truly soul-destroying thing about Criminal Minds is its taste in murder dolls, so much as the fact that nothing means anything in its godforsaken universe, least of all the raping and dismembering of our fellow humans.

Twisted serial murder sprees, occasionally sprinkled with rape, are the mass shootings of the Criminal Minds world: They provoke a flurry of outrage and tough talk for veritable days before everyone gets back to obliviously living their normal lives, and we do it all again next week.

To explain, if you have mercifully never seen the show: It follows a team of FBI profilers, one of those pseudo-mystical police-esque jobs TV writers mostly use as an excuse to create cardboard criminals out of pop psychobabble.

The team is put together with the care of a cut-rate boy band.

Some of the key members include David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), who is there to angrily confront people until they admit to everything; Jennifer Jareau (A.J. Cook), who does the same but is blonder; and Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), who does the same but also sometimes runs after them in a handsome way.

The two most important characters for understanding the utter fathomlessness of the show are Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness). Reid is a young genius located somewhere on the autism spectrum.

Though Gubler puts on a nasally nerd voice, the fact that he’s the one who’s supposed to lack the ability to respond appropriately to social cues only throws the rest of the group’s blasé attitude in sharper focus.

Maybe they’re meant to be a team of autistic savants, since the only time they show emotion is when they get mad or disgusted while talking to a suspect.

Penelope is sort of the extreme end of this, a wacky-glasses-wearing tech nerd who is always interrupting some database search for the most dismembered crime scene photos to tell Derek how much of him she wants inside her or make a joke about muffins or something.

It’s meant to be quirky comic relief, I guess, but it ends up making her look like someone who, at absolute best, cannot have an orgasm unless she’s staring deep into the eyes of a cadaver’s mug shot.

Whatever quirk this is meant to convey is undercut by the fact that everyone else will just sort of aw-shucks their way through another digression on how scary she finds clowns while standing ankle-deep in dead, raped women.

There is a profile that fits this behaviour: It is called being a psychopath.

It’s a shame the Criminal Minds team is too busy categorizing dead hooker body parts to notice the terror in its own backyard.

story via The Vancouver Sun

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