23.12.11

Criminal Minds 604: Compromising Positions

A couple are out on Lover's Lane, getting it on in their car. Not consensually, however - they're being forced to have sex by a man sitting in the front seat, aiming a pistol at them!

Naturally, he kills them, and the next day the team is on the case! It seems that two couples have been killed, only a week apart. Emily refers to this as 'not much of a cooling-off period', which is strange, considering that by the standards of this show, one kill a week is positively glacial. And again, I'm not sure how she knows the term 'cooling-off period'.

Before they can head off to Ohio to sort out the crime, Garcia swings by Greg's office, asking if she can come along as the communications liason. There's some blather about her job crossing over the most, and how important it is to have one, but the fact is, last week the team was without a communications liason, and absolutely no one noticed.

Also, isn't it much more important that they have a tech expert ready to go at a mainframe the second they need the information? Since she solves almost every case for them? Let's compare cases solved by Garcia to cases solved by JJ. It's an easy comparison:

Garcia: All of them.
JJ: None of them.

Whose role is more vital for the team again?

Hey, new opening credits team shot!

And how long has this explosion been in the opening credits?

Nothing ever explodes on this show.
While on the plane they talk in circles for a while about what the MO tells them about victimology and the killer. The conclusion? Maybe he knew the victims! So your big accomplishment is that you should look into the victims' lives? Wow - that was two minutes well spent.

They arrive at the police station and meet everyone - Garcia does a good job of prepping all the interviews, impressing everyone. Does this mean she's going to be on the road with them all year? That would tend to conflict with her duties on Suspect Behaviour, wouldn't it?

By checking into the crime scene and victims' families, they notice a few similarities - the men in the couples were super-successful in their lines of work, and the killer tried to create a comfortable environment for his victims to have sex in. Super-weird, but they make the assumption that the killer will be an alpha male along the same lines as his victim! Will that be helpful in catching him? Probably not!

Garcia then botches her job by talking to the press without clearing it with Greg, but I'm not really interested in this storyline, so let's continue on - to their sexual profile! Because the killer doesn't rape the women and forces the men to wear condoms and put on romantic music, the team figures that he has a physiological problem keeping him from having sex, like prostate removal or some such. Gee, what about cartoonishly small penis, as Mandy profiled way back in the pilot? Couldn't that be it?

While the team is worrying about their profile another couple is being murdered, although in this case one of them completely deserves it: the wife. That may sound harsh, but check this out. While the husband is busy fighting for their lives despite his hands being cuffed, kicking the villain for all he's worth:

That's a leg choke, by the way - the wife, despite not being restrained in any way, shape, or form, does absolutely nothing to help, or even flee for her life. Not stabbing the killer with something, trying to secure the gun, nothing. So after the husband gets shot because she didn't help, I can't feel at all sorry about the way her attempts to make nice with the killer end disastrously.

Also, the killer-

Looks completely different than the stuntman who was playing him while he got beaten up.

The team looks over the latest crime scene, and determines that the killer is probably in the swinger scene! They figure this out based on no information, so it can't count as profiling or psychology of any kind. Seriously, they jump from making the husband in the couples wear a condom to 'maybe the villain is a swinger'! It's nonsense.

Meanwhile, Garcia's having lots of trouble juggling her two jobs - she brings in Xander to help, but her equipment is all so customized to her tastes that he can't be much assistance.

Derek and Emily go to talk to the 'madam' of a swing club, and she - hilariously and nonsensically - mistakes them for Jehovah's witnesses.
She's got cleavage showing and he's wearing a t-shirt and a gun on his hip. They're too sloppily dressed to even be FBI agents, and she mistakes them for the clean-cut Jehovah's witnesses? As if.

They interview her about the world of swinging, and discover that only couples can get in - so who is this guy's partner? There's some more conversation about him going back to old patterns, and how loss of control over his partner because of his impotence has probably led to this crime spree, but none of that will help catch him, so let's move on.. to-

More murders! The killer tries to bluff his way into an orgy without his wife. Somehow he's able to accomplish this, and then he immediately takes out his guns and starts shooting people. Later, we'll learn that all of the victims were men. As if you can shoot indiscriminately into a crowd at an orgy and somehow pick who you're going to hit:
You can say all of his 'targets' were men, but there's no way all his victims were.

Oh, and Emily dropped the Prentiss Award-Winning line of the night:



Um, didn't you just learn about this from the madam two scenes ago? More importantly, participation in this kind of activity is exactly the kind of thing that's used to blackmail people. Why WOULD you give your last name? At least they know his and the wife's (probable) first names. And really, how many men named James are married to women named Maryanne and fit the exact physical description of the killer?

Oh, and because I forgot to mention it a second ago, there's no way he wouldn't have been caught after the shooting spree. How do I know this? Well, not only did he fire two non-silenced pistols for more than a minute, he then took the time to pick the lock to a back room in the house, just so he could murder the boyfriend of the woman in charge of the orgy. So he was there for between five and ten minutes after the shooting started. How did the army of cops rushing to the scene not catch him?

They (understandably) focus on the fact that he paused to pick a locked door, and decide he must be a locksmith. After all, if it wasn't habit, why would he have picked a deadbolt rather than simply shooting it out? Other than the fact that his handgun wouldn't have destroyed a deadbolt - have these people never seen mythbusters?

There's a passing comment that they 'knew he found his victims at the gym, but not how' - which is kind of an overstatement. After all, the victims all went to different gyms, so the idea that he found them at those individual places was complete conjecture. Also, none of this explains why he jumped racial lines, which is super-rare for murderers.

The case hasn't been solved yet entirely because of Garcia, it seems - she's been too busy talking to the families of victims to track down the employees of locksmiths. Again - you know this guy's first name and his wife's first name. You also have an exact and current physical description - match up marriage license records by age and name, then run photos by the madam. Why are you acting like this is a hard man to identify?

Their alternate path to finding the killer? Check out the first person he might have killed - the man his wife cheated on him with! After all, he must be obsessed with his wife cheating on him, since he's murdering couples? God, this makes no amount of sense.

Garcia calls a variety of locksmiths and lies about being from the phone company until she finds someone named James with a wife named Maryanne. So yeah, my public records search idea would have gone way better than any of this nonsense.

They check in on the wife - she's pregnant, and since James hasn't been able to have sex in a year, it must not be his baby! Assuming, as a consequence, that he must have already killed the father of her child, they show her photos of recent unsolved murders. The baby daddy is in there, of course, and the wife breaks down immediately after seeing him. Then it turns out that this whole 'trying to talk to the wife' thing was a waste of time, since he's wearing a cell phone that she can call. He hangs up when he sees it's her, though - which raises a question: why they didn't just track his location rather than phoning him?

Not that any of it matters - they ask the wife where he's likely to go, and she tells them about a bar they used to hang out at. Rather than simply walking in casually and shooting him, they have Emily go in and claim to be someone he met at an orgy, and then only shoot him when things go wrong. There's a whole scene of her lying unconvincingly during which the rest of the team could have walked up and shot him, but for some reason didn't - letting the conversation drag on solely so we could see how bad Emily is at reading people.

Which is an odd choice, among all the possible ways to present a profiler.

THE END

Oh, and Garcia will be back at the office from now on. Duh.

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

Of course not. They had no idea who they were looking for until he shot up a place where he was well-known.

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

They were told the name of a guy, his wife's name, his exact appearance, and they knew his probable occupation. He also carried a cellphone that doubtless had GPS. Of course the cops could have easily caught him.

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

1/10 - Come on, Criminal Minds - at least pretend their suppositions are helping, would you? I don't know why they weren't checking for his cell phone the moment they knew his name.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

And you still don't know his name is Aaron... Wow... Do you only pay attention to the stuff that pisses you off? It's called confirmation bias, and you have it.

Vardulon said...

Isn't confirmation bias when you only acknowledge evidence that backs up your thesis? Well, I'm pretty sure you'd have a hard time finding proof of that on this website. Or wait, maybe you wouldn't...

I kid, of course - thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! If there's one goal I've always had as a goal for vardulon.com, it's to provide a safe place for people to be cranky about things. Whether those things are how bad a job the producers of Criminal Minds or doing or how much of a jerk I am is irrelevant. As long as people are being cranky here, mission accomplished!

Anonymous said...

i continue to be impressed with your excellent writing, observational, and analytical deductive skills. i don't worry about your grammatical/spelling errors as you are not getting paid for these reviews, and i know you could spellcheck if you bothered. hey, if criminal minds doesn't bother to write intelligent episodes each week, why should you bother to run spell check?

also, while i usually catch many of the rediculous mistakes in the criminal minds universe, i have yet to catch all the ones you notice and rarely catch one you miss. your analytical skills are truly impressive.

finally, i appreciate the way you take the high road with some posts. you are more patient than i. of course i'm a lawyer (immigration) so i love to argue...but i would be tempted to metaphorically rip some people new ones when they miss seemingly obvious humorous anectdotes and attempts at wit, while you continue to refrain.

oh, and just to be cranky, use spell check once in a while dammit! (j/k)

thanks for taking the time to post thorough and entertaining and entertainingly thorough reviews. please keep it up!

Vardulon said...

Yikes, were you right about this review's sloppiness. Even by my normally lax standards of proof-reading this was egregious. While I can't promise that I'm going to go back and fix all of these, if they ever wind up being condensed into E-books, I'll definitely put the fix in.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this - he's being called "Greg" because Thomas Gibson played a character named "Greg" on the ABC show Dharma and Greg.