21.5.10

Criminal Minds 220: Honor Among Thieves

This new episode opens in popular crime hotspot of Baltimore, where a Russian man is abducted from out front of his house by a pair of other Russian men, who immediately cut off his finger an leave it in his car as a message to his relatives. These crooks are so confident that the law won’t be called in that they don’t even bother wearing gloves when planting the finger!

There’s one thing that the criminals didn’t know, though – that Emily’s mother, an ambassador, knows the family, and is able to pulls some strings to get Greg’s team on the case!

They let the mother and daughter hang out in the meeting room, and even hold the cooler that their father/husband’s finger is being kept in. Which, you know, seems odd since there’s a chance they might be able to get fingerprints or other evidence off of it. Half the team heads to Baltimore with the daughter while the rest tries to track the bank that the ransom money is supposed to be paid into. There’s one problem: the price is a hundred thousand dollars, and the family just doesn’t have that much money!

Mandy and Reid meet with the local FBI agents, who reveal that there have been more than a dozen victims, and that all of the kidnapees are members (former or present) of the Russian mob, and who should all have money to spend on ransoms. This leads them to look into the victim’s background. Also looking into the background is Derek, whose interview with the daughter reveals that their family has an incredibly tragic past, with two brothers who died from disease, and parents that went on to be incredibly neglectful to their daughter.

Will the team manage to save dad in time? Not if the head Ruskie ‘Lyov’ has anything to say about it – he just enjoys beating the guy up, despite the fact that dad’s absolutely sure he has no money to offer.

In their desperate search for witnesses Mandy heads for the door of a man who’s been peeking out the window at him. Not only is the man intimidated by the arrival of a black sedan, but he’s also missing a ring finger himself!

So who’s in the sedan?

Yup, it’s a character actor and extras who often play Russians! The boss announces that he’s there to help, but the daughter runs out of the house, accusing him of kidnapping the father! Boss insists he’s going to help, though, and tells daughter that she shouldn’t have involved the FBI.

Making things far worse, now that the kidnappers know the FBI is involved they immediately start cutting up the dad! Yikes. This is not going well for the team. Shouldn’t they be checking into the Boss’ holdings?

Meanwhile Derek start profiling the family, and explains that the daughter hates her parents, and pretends to have money that she doesn’t really possess.

Wait, is she behind the kidnapping? Because if you put hating parents together with wanting money, that seems like a pretty good motive. It doesn’t occur to Derek, though.

Over at Emily’s mom’s house they’re still looking into the banking records, but having very little luck doing it. The scene’s not a waste, though, because I just noticed that Emily’s mom is played by Kate Jackson, form Scarecrow and Mrs. King!

Neat, huh! Apparently she was also on Charlie’s Angels, but I’ve never seen a single episode of that show, so it doesn’t have any resonance with me.

Then there’s a scene at the FBI where they go over the organizational chart indicating how the Russian mob works. The one interesting detail is that apparently a boss has access to an international crime fund that he can use without question, which sounds too crazy to be real, but I don’t know much about the Russian Mob, so who knows?

We also learn that Russian Mobsters are forbidden from having a family, and can only help other mobsters, never anyone else, like he offered to assist the daughter. Now this just seems crazy – how could mobsters not have families? Where would new mobsters come from, if not being raised in the criminal underbelly?

Anyhoo, a neighbourhood urchin swings by the daughter’s house, and delivers a severed ear! Well, at least dad isn’t dead yet – although I’m not sure why cutting him apart more quickly will help them get the money when the FBI is already involved. Wouldn’t they have been better off just killing him? Ah, there’s a new note in the box – they want half a million because of the FBI’s involvement!

Mandy heads into the boss’ restaurant, hoping to get to the bottom of the whole confusing kidnapping affair. Why is he so eager to help the families? Also, why was Mandy taking his offer of help literally, rather than as an attempt at intimidation that’s safe to make in front of the FBI? It turns out that Mandy is right, and that the Boss has a rogue operative running around. Before they can get any more information, though, the daughter shows up at the restaurant, asking for help from the boss. She even claims that she received a call from her father, announcing that he’s safe.

The FBI wants to continue the investigation, but they don’t have any evidence that the kidnapping even occurred! Wait, don’t they? Sure, daughter has the ear, but what about the finger? They call the home base, and quickly discover that the finger is missing from the cooler!

Wait, hold on – doesn’t that mean that the daughter had to have stolen it five hours earlier, before leaving for Baltimore? But why would she have done that, unless she was the one behind the kidnapping?

You know who doesn’t immediately figure that out based on the missing finger? The team. No, instead they go over to her house, hoping to ‘rescue’ her from the boss. Derek does remember in interesting clue, though – daughter is from the same town as boss! But what could that mean? And why did she involve the FBI?

With that avenue of investigation closed it’s up to Emily’s mother to save the day! She turned up some hacking assistance from the Russians to give to Garcia, but will it be enough to solve the case? Apparently so – Garcia precipitates an international incident by hacking into the computer, and discovers that the five hundred thousand dollars has been paid!

With the money paid one thug kills the other, and then gets ready to kill the dad – meanwhile the FBI has figured out that boss was the one paying all the ransoms? And why was he doing it? Because the killer thug is his secret son! His secret son that he’s been trying to protect by letting him get away with kidnapping gang members, and paying off their ransoms to keep them quiet.

Oh, and daughter is the sidekick in the whole affair. Yeah, this is all falling apart pretty quickly, as far as a ‘plot’ goes. Now that the FBI are tromping all over the case the Boss can’t let his son get away with his scheming any more, so he has some thugs rescue father and kill the two children.

That’s right. All the FBI accomplished this time around was to get a whole bunch of people killed who wouldn’t have otherwise died.

Oh, and just so we’ll be reminded that Russians are awful, the kidnappers are chopped into pieces and tossed off a pier.

Oy.

1 - Was profiling in any way helpful in solving the crime?

The crime was, in no sense of the word, solved.

2 - Could the crime have been solved just as easily using conventional police methods given the known facts of the case?

Actually, no. The police really should have never been called into an entirely private family matter.

So, on a scale of 1 (Dirty Harry) to 10 (Tony Hill), How Useful Was Profiling in Solving the Crime?

0/10 – Yeah, this was a pretty big mess of an episode. You may be asking yourself, at this moment, just why the daughter called in the FBI? The episode tries to explain that it was to put more pressure on boss, but that doesn’t really hold together. After all, for more than a year they’d been seamlessly kidnapping people and collecting the ransoms from them – at a hundred thousand dollars a pop, they’ve already cleared nearly two million dollars. So why is this last five hundred thousand so important?

Also the kidnappers don’t wear masks when dealing with dad, but then later announce that they didn’t plan on leaving witnesses. So why keep him alive at all?

Let’s not overlook the fact that the son thinks that Boss doesn’t know he’s the one doing the kidnapping, even though he’s kidnapping random people who aren’t mob-affiliated, and Boss is still paying the ransoms – why would he do that if it wasn’t a way of funneling money to his son.

Moreover, how was the boss explaining this to his subordinates? Sure, it’s established that he can take millions of dollars from the international crime fund with no oversight, but what about the mob guys who are getting kidnapped and mutilated? The boss mentions that he’s in a bind because it can’t look like he’s not sanctioning the kidnappings, lest the higher-ups think he’s got rogue people operating on his turf.

But how could he possibly be sanctioning the kidnappings? It wouldn’t make sense to anyone – why would the mob boss allow his own subordinates to be kidnapped, and then pay the ransoms for them, presumably to himself?

There’s not a single element of this episode that made a lick of sense. Even if psychology had in any way played into the proceedings, I’d be tempted to give it a zero based on its utter awfulness.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This episode is stupid, but I don't think it's fair to characterize it as "an entirely private family matter" that wouldn't warrant police involvement. I mean, the dad actually *was* kidnapped, and his finger and ear really were cut off. That's still a crime, even if it's your own daughter that does it. Although I have no idea why she decided to kidnap her own father instead of another stranger.

Anonymous said...

This post helped a lot though, thanks! I was so confused... now I know this is just a bad plot