What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this crime drama fuels its weekly plots with realistic depictions of violence and often places characters in situations of severe emotional distress. There aren't a large number of on-screen deaths, and blood is usually kept to a minimum, but characters can be seen begging for their lives -- which can be equally troubling. Some of the killers are sexual predators, and characters sometimes use words like “damn” and “ass.”
What's the story?
CRIMINAL MINDS follows a team of FBI psychological profilers (led by Joe Mantegna) as they track down mentally disturbed serial killers. In their detective work, the profilers use some traditional methods, such as interviewing suspects and the now-omnipresent forensic techniques made popular by CSI. However, the hallmark of this group is their encyclopedic knowledge of the human mind and patterns of behavior. Through hard work, the use of new technology, and plenty of lateral thinking, they are able to read the minds of the killers and predict their next move.
Is it any good?
All of this should sound awfully familiar, as Criminal Minds is undeniably derivative of popular crime procedurals like CSI and Numb3rs. (And, somehow, it even inspired its own spinoff -- Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, which airs right after it in back-to-back fashion.) Yet on Criminal Minds, the recurring characters we see week to week routinely fail to be compelling, thanks to underdeveloped relationships and dialogue that isn't much more than a pastiche of witless banter and hackneyed truisms.
Of course, mature viewers who crave the built-in suspense of the crime-drama formula and don’t mind the hopelessly wooden writing, might make Criminal Minds part of their weekly fix -- and that’s fine. Just know that it’s a weak brew compared to shows that do it much better.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the show’s level of violence as it relates to the content. How realistic are the program's storylines? Is violence exaggerated for the sake of dramatic tension, or is it merely reflective of the world we live in?
How does this show compare to other crime dramas on television? Does it do anything differently to distinguish itself from similar shows?
Why are crime dramas so popular, despite their grim depictions of modern criminals? What draws viewers into plots that are essentially designed to disturb them?