Suspect Behavior 103: See No Evil

It's a rainy day in (*), you know, one of those rainy days where the sun is shining super-brigh, but everything is still wet? Almost as if there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and someone was just spraying a hose straight up from slightly off-camera?

That's a woman running to her car in the rain, carrying her shopping bags. Who's watching her? It's a creepy limping guy with a hat! When she can't start her car, he offers to take a look at the engine - at this moment we realize from the way that this is being filmed that he's the victim and she's the killer. Why?

They're not hesitant to show his face-

But hers remains tantalizingly just out of frame. Anyhow, she drugs him with a syringe Dexter-style, then walks him over to his car and sits him in the front seat. Then, just before he dies, she gouges out his eyes with a scalpel.

Why doesn't she wait until he's dead to do this? Because she's a sadistic monster!

Who's also terrible at planning how to catch a victim. That was seriously her plan? Loosen a battery connection so that her car wouldn't start, then walk out to it over and over again until a single man parked nearby came to help her? She couldn't manage more than one person, of course, and if he'd been parked more than one space away, it's not like she'd have been capable of carrying him to his car (he almost fell over just going that far). How the hell many times did she have to walk in and out of that mall before this worked?

Anyhoo, it's over to the Cell's preposterous office, where Janeane discovers that Forest is already at work, beating everyone there. He explains that it's because he's the one that 'gets the call', and she suggests that he waits to call everyone else in until he can be sure he'll get there first.

Hold on a second... is this not their full-time job? Do they just hang out whereever, doing their own thing until they get a case? That doesn't seem like the best use of their time. At any given moment isn't there some psychological profiling that they could be doing?

Anyhoo, even though there's just been a single murder, the eye-gouging was vicious enough that the FBI is being called in to deal with it. We also learn that there are now apparently no standards for what is too disgustingly violent to air on prime-time television:

Hey, I had to look at it too, damn it.

The team arrives in Tucson, setting up at the local police station to work the case, spouting some nonsense about how leaving the body at the murder site suggests a lack of connection between the victim and the killer - and given that it's a ridiculously random lure crime, I'm going to have to say 'duh'. Half the team then hears over to the crime scene to get the lay of the land, and the audience gets a chance to peek behind the scenes at how television is made.

Note that this scene was shot just after the murder scene was shot! We can tell because the water they sprayed all over the crime scene is just drying up, but there's suspiciously little water anywhere else in the parking lot. Perhaps shooting this scene first might have avoided that problem, yes?

Analyzing the scene lets the team know that the killer could have planned to commit the crime in the rain, since it was forecast days in advance, and based on the fact that the victim didn't have any bags, he must have just arrived at the store, and was killed before going in to buy anything. Which all sounds good. They also guess from the 'predominately female environment' and the fact that poison was used, the killer must be a woman!

Forest checks in with the victim's spouse, because his incredibly creepy, intense mumbling twitchiness is exactly the quality you want in a person who's going to interview a grieving spouse. They do acquire a clue, however - the husband was about to get surgery for a bad knee! Forest then explains that it's possible that his physical limitation is what attracted the killer's attention - hobbled man is an easier target, and all. Of course, we know that's crazy, it was a random attack. But still, not a bad theory.

Also, the wife knows that his eyes were gouged out. Which seems like something the cops should ask the press should keep to themselves. I'm sure she'll find out eventually, but maybe she doesn't need to know immediately, right?

And now the show decides that its audience are idiots. Watch Forest's explanation of the murder.

That's right, apparently he believes that she followed him, and targeted him specifically, because of the limp. Except that can't be how it happened. We know this, because we saw it happen. She was leaving the mall, he was arriving. He chose to park near her, not the other way around. These are facts that we saw, outside of the realm of theorizing.

I'd dismiss this completely as terrible profiling, since it's a jump to conclusion unsustainable by the facts, except for one thing. He's right. Limpy was specifically targeted. How do we know this?

His eyes are left on a newspaper, in which resides the obituary for a man who died of a MRSA infection after knee surgery... just like Limpy was going to get!

So, to recap, this was the killer's plan. Decide to kill a guy who has some connection to a guy who had knee surgery and then died. Drive to a mall when it's raining, hoping that this man will (eventually) park next to your car. Walk out of the mall over and over again, pretending to have car trouble until the crippled guy who miraculously parked exactly where you needed him to hobbles over and tries to help.

You know, I've always wondered what the writers who didn't measure up to Criminal Minds' stringent quality standards wound up doing. Now I have my answer.

There's a little side-story about the local detective working the case asking Forest how he deals with the emotional fallout of these brutal murders. It's all very cliché and I'm not going to cover it, since that was basically all Mandy talked about for his two years on the show - and I don't think any of us want to go back there.

They check into the wife of the man from the obituary, and the show clearly wants this to be an effective red herring, but that's obviously a ridiculous idea. Gouging out someone's eyes is so hyper-vicious that it takes a special kind of madness to perform that act. It isn't the crime of a grieving wife getting misdirected revenge on a guy who was going to get the same surgery that her husband died after.

Okay, now here's something puzzling - the obituary that the eyes were left on? That guy died three weeks ago. Why on earth would it take three weeks to run an obituary? “If you'd like to send flowers, don't bother, the funeral was eighteen days ago”.

While they're busy chasing down the red herring the actual killer drugs a nurse and then stabs her ear with an icepick.

Because she's given up the medical theme of her crimes?

Okay, given the 'see no evil' title and the 'hear no evil' murder, we're officially deadly with a monkey-themed criminal, who wants people to keep quiet about something. Or, I suppose, angry because people are overlooking and keeping quiet about something. Speaking of keeping quiet, they go to talk to the doctor who performed the leg surgery that led to an infection-based death. They ask him if the wife was angry enough to kill, and the doctor responds that he doesn't think so.

Oh, and for the record, it seems that there were no security cameras anywhere in the medical clinic, so despite the fact that the killer sat around in the waiting room and then walked in and out of the office and examination rooms without anyone noticing or taking record of her face. Nor do they seem to have the fake name that the killer used to get an appointment - or was it fake? She removed a medical file when she left, it must have had someone's name written on it.

The team confronts the wife, who both has an alibi, and is able to yell them into submission. Which, you know, good for her. Our Red Cell still thinks a disgruntled patient is likely, but they have no idea how to locate one. After all, the doctor's files are confidential!

Wait, doesn't Garcia break into people's medical files literally every week on her own show? Why isn't she doing it here?

More to the point, though, couldn't you ask the doctor who the killer is? There are three dead people in this case: A patient of the doctor who died of an infection. A patient of the doctor who had his eyes gouged out. The doctor's nurse. Shouldn't the common denominator here be able to offer some insight? Yeah, he can't waive privilege, but he can point them to someone creepy, can't he?

The team decides to focus instead on the killers familiarity with both medical instruments and the layout of the hospital - what if it was a nurse? This leads to the Emily Prenitss Award for stupidest thing said by an FBI agent this episode:

Well, 'Angels of Mercy' put down people who they believe are dying anyway, or have no quality of life. So it's not one of those. Also, gouging the eyes out of a living person? Not particularly merciful.


Garcia grabs a list of nurses who've worked at the hospital, and finds that one of them sent an anonymous letter warning about high rates of surgical infections, but no investigation occurred. Could this have been her motive for killing people? To draw attention to the infection problem? They talk to the hospital's lawyer, although I'm not sure why they're not going to the doctor instead. The lawyer does let them know that the infection rates were a spike, and nothing more, so they go away, unsatisfied.

Um, a spike? That's not something worth looking into? Hey, team, do you know how they catch 'angels of death' in hospitals? There are unexpected spikes in percentage of deaths or infections. Whenever an 'aberration' happens they investigate the hell out of it, because it's their (basically only) job to make sure it doesn't happen again. Why aren't they acting like this is a lead?

Finally Forest realizes that they should just ask the doctor who the killer probably is, so a couple of team members do just that. Proving that plenty of time could have been saved, he mentions that a nurse Margaret was oddly interested in the infection rate. The cops rush over to her house, but the killer-

Justine Bateman! Is nowhere to be found! That's because she's already back at the hospital, headed in to murder the hospital lawyer! Oh, so that's why that pointless character was abruptly introduced. Now I get it. Can they possibly get there in time to save her?

Well, of course they can, she's the third victim. But let's see how they do it, huh?

Garcia tracks down Justine's bio, and discovers that there have been infection spikes at all the hospitals she's worked at! Really? And no one noticed this?

Forest and the Blonde then get the diagnosis completely wrong, causing me to question what they're even doing on this team. They announce that it's a case of 'Munchausen By Proxy', and that she's hoping that by causing infections she can then gain credit by sending anonymous letters that stop them.

Well, first off, Munchausen is when you cause an illness to attracted attention and sympathy to yourself. By proxy is when you do it to your child or someone close to you, so that people will be nice to you because of your suffering. Neither is the case here. What she's doing is the old 'hero homicide' thing, where you cause a problem and then rush in to solve it, so people will thank you for saving the day. If that sounds familiar, it's because regular Criminal Minds did it both with the sniper in season 1 and the guy who shot Penelope in season 3.

Hey, maybe that's why the bad diagnosis? They didn't want to admit they were just reusing storylines?

Anyhow, figuring that she wanted attention, they assume that she'd blame the person who handled the lawsuit that kept the infection quiet, depriving her of the attention she deserved! Her plan? Cut out the lawyer's tongue... so she won't be able to do it again? Huh?

The Red Cell rushes in and saves the day because, as usual, there weren't any police officers closer to the hospital apparently. Wait, hold on - this is a large hospital in Tucson, don't they have armed security guards on-site? Wouldn't that have been faster?

With Justine in custody, it's time to call it a day - except for a hilarious final scene where Janeane contrives to make sure that Forest isn't the last one at the office! Oh, those crazy kids.


Oh, and despite my hope that the show was turning into Milennium, Forest has an interview with Justine where Angels don't come up even once. Sigh.

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

Not especially, no. The victims were all connected to a doctor, who knew who the killer was. Psychological insight wasn't really a factor - unless you count recognizing a proverb about monkeys who hear, speak, and see no evil counts as psychology.

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

They followed concrete leads from one person to the next. Utterly conventional.

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

1/10 - Just terrible writing this week, guys.

Would this episode have played out any differently had the regular team been running things, or was there some advantage to having a rogue Red Cell that operates 'outside the bureaucracy'?

Exactly the same - or they might be even less efficient than the normal team. Oh, they tried to play up their independence and roguish behaviour by having Janeane announce that 'We're a Red Cell, we don't have a minimum number of victims' in order to justify why they're going to investigate a single murder. But that gets you nothing, Jeannie - one time the regular team investigated a stalking! They didn't even wait for a murder to happen! Now that's roguish!

Now, before we leave, news broke this week that Suspect Behaviour's ratings have dropped precipitously since the pilot. It seems absolutely no one cares, and the show may well be canceled. While I can't say I'll be sad to see it go, I won't go so far as to blame its possible cancellation on its overall terribility. No, I feel like it was a mistake to schedule Criminal Minds 2 directly after Criminal Minds. This isn't a Buffy/Angel situations where two interlinked shows compliment each other and sometimes cross over. This is the exact same show, and they're essentially airing it twice in a row.

Seriously, now, if you'd just finished watching an episode of a show, and then immediately after you could A: watch something else or B: watch the exact same show again, but with shoddier plotting and worse lighting, which would you do?

I'm pretty sure there's a lot more A people out there than there are B people.

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