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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders is a spin-off of the Criminal Minds franchise that follows a tight-knit team of armed FBI specialists who are tasked with solving crimes around the world. Most cases put the team -- and the people they're trying to save -- in serious danger, so expect to see sudden moments of violence, and realistic injuries and death with visible blood. Characters also use words such as "hell" and "damn" but nothing stronger.
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What's the story?
CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS shadows members of the FBI's International Response Unit as they solve crimes abroad and bring traveling Americans in trouble back home to safety. The team takes orders from their veteran chief, Jack Garrett (Gary Sinise), and includes Clara Seger (Alana de la Garza), a language expert and cultural anthropologist; Matthew Simmons (Daniel Henney), a former Special Ops agent and expert profiler; Mae Jarvis (Annie Funke), a spunky medical examiner; and Russ "Monty" Montgomery (Tyler James Williams), a tech analyst who keeps everything running smoothly stateside.
Is it any good?
Though it transports viewers to a variety of far-flung locales, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders doesn't really cover a lot of new ground when it comes to creativity. After all, when you strip away all the exotic elements, it's still a basic crime procedural like so many others on television, complete with a carefully constructed team of near-perfect diversity, in terms of race, gender, and body type.
The cases themselves aren't super compelling, and some of the dialogue is borderline corny. But what saves the show, at least for families, are the main characters' quirks (the interplay between Matthew and Mae is particularly charming) and the admirable ways in which they work together. Each team member adds a necessary skill set that's critical to the success of the mission. Yet their care and concern for each other beyond the mission turns out to be the very thing that makes you care about them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders' portrayal of other countries and cultures. How much of an effort does the show make to be accurate? Is accuracy important, even if it's "just a television show"?
How does Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders compare to the original Criminal Minds series? Is it targeting the same audience? How can you tell?
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