“Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” certainly had the potential to be like “NCIS: LA” in distinguishing itself from its parent series, however what makes the original successful isn’t so much the cases but the chemistry between the cast, which is the failure this series had from the start. Forest Whitaker, as good of an actor as he might be, was completely wrong for the role and the rest, in terms of the writing, seemed to try too hard to force something to come together rather than let it form naturally.
Genre(s): Crime, Drama
Paramount | NR – 539 min. – $54.99 | September 6, 2011
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Edward Allen Bernero & Chris Mundy (developed by)
Cast: Forest Whitaker, Janeane Garofalo, Matt Ryan, Kirsten Vangsness, Michael Kelly
Features: Episode Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Spin-Off Episode
Number of Discs: 4
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
“Within the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit are rapid response teams known as Red Cells. These nontraditional teams operate outside the bureaucracy and report solely to the Director of the FBI.”
When it was announced, via a back-end pilot (or planted spin-off) in 2010, that there would be a spin-off of CBS’ hit series, I was dubious as most of them usually suck. When I watched the back-end pilot on “Criminal Minds”, my fears that it would stink did not subside despite producers getting an Academy Award winner in the lead. And then “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” aired as a mid-season replacement and frankly, while it’s not as well oiled of a series compared with some, it wasn’t too bad.
That being said, it’s also an unnecessary series that, like many new shows, struggled at the beginning but never quite got a footing afterwards. I don’t know if the producers and writers forced the cast chemistry rather than let it build on its own but with each episode, the storylines came across more like rejected stories for its parent show so they just adapted it with the new characters.
The story for “Suspect Behavior” follows a team from the FBI’s BAU – Behavioral Analysis Unit – as they roll into towns across America to track down killers, solve perplexing cases and bring closure to the victim’s families. Unlike the other BAU, this one is more autonomous reporting only to the FBI Director (RICHARD SCHIFF) and can basically take any case they want whereas the other they would have to be invited in by the local authorities.
The unit is headed by Sam Cooper (FOREST WHITAKER), a soulful fellow who seems to be in tune with everything in the universe, or at least looks like he is… The rest of his crew is a mishmash of personalities: Beth Griffith (JEANEANE GAROFALO) is the Senior SSA followed by Supervisory Special Agents Jonathan “Prophet” Sims (MICHAEL KELLY), a former convict; the perceptive Gina LaSalle (BEAU GARRETT); and ex-British Special Forces soldier Mick Rawson (MATT RYAN) along with technical analyst Penelope Garcia (KIRSTEN VANGSNESS) pulling double duty and making an awkward cameo in each episode; I say awkward as she usually does this via video conference so it seemed a tad out of place and dare I say, forced.
I compared “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” with CBS’ own “CSI: Miami”. I consider both shows to be slightly entertaining, and at times ridiculous, but nothing more than time wasters when I wasn’t in the mood to watch anything else or even anything taxing on the brain, and the spin-off fit the bill. With regards to the episodes, I can’t say any of them really stood out which is probably why CBS unceremoniously cancelled the series even with a cliffhanger finale.
- Two of a Kind
- Lonely Heart
- See No Evil
- One Shot Kill
- Here is the Fire
- The Time Is Now
- The Girl in the Blue Mask
- Death by a Thousand Cuts
Overall, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” is an OK show with some moderate entertainment value but falters with poor casting, Forest Whitaker is a fine actor but wrong for that role and as the show’s lead and Janeane Garofalo is just annoying… personal preference but I never liked her, though to be fair, she seems to be subdued. Anyway, I suppose for passing entertainment the show is alright but it doesn’t hold a candle to the original even when compared to that show’s first season.
This four-disc DVD set comes housed in a standard keep case inside a matted side-sliding slip cover.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5
“Criminal Minds” Season 5 Episode: ‘The Fight’ (44:03) – This is the back-door pilot for “Suspect Behavior” which introduced audiences to most of the main characters.
Episode Commentary on ‘Two of a Kind’ – The track features Executive Producer Edward Allen Bernero & Actors Forest Whitaker, Michael Kelly and Beau Garrett. The track is fairly laid back with the commentators joking around some while also offering up tidbits on the story and characters.
Deleted Scene (5:19) – This scene was removed from the episode ‘Lonely Heart’ because it served as character introductions and showing off their headquarters which was already established in the first episode.
Deleted Scenes (13:45) – Given episodes are restricted to 40-45 minutes, scenes have to be removed and what we get is the excess that offered nothing to the episode at hand. For this one, on the episode ‘Here is the Fire’, it’s more or less character moments which are nice to watch but nothing special.
Deleted Scenes (11:54) is more or less the same with scenes that were removed due to time constraints. Again, it’s more character moments.
Episode Commentary on ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’ – Berneo, Whitaker, Kelly and Garrett once again return this time joined by episode guest star French Stewart.
Alternate Reality: The New Criminal Minds (19:02) is an introduction to the new series providing info on the new cast and their characters, how it differentiates from the original, etc. It’s actually a fairly informative featurette explaining that there is really a “Red Cell” within the FBI combining it with a “Tiger Team” of agents who are on call 24/7.
Inside the Red Cell (14:34) – This featurette examines the Red Cell itself and the team that comprises it, giving a closer look at the characters. It’s your basic here’s this or that character and then getting comments about each one from various members of the cast and crew.
The Profiler (6:53) takes a look at the act of profiling and what goes into it.
Loved Ones (4:53) – This is a behind-the-scenes featurette on the episode ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’ guest starring French Stewart and his demented character.
House of Corpses (9:10) covers the bodies that have piled up over the season and the work it took to make it look right for the various methods of murder.
Gag Reel (5:25) features on-set shenanigans and flubbed lines by the cast.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
“Suspect Behavior” is presented in its original 1.78 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio and the transfer itself is nice if not unremarkable. Obviously when it aired on television it was in 1080i HD so it’s not going to be quite as clear, but even so the color array is good and there’s a minimal amount of pixilation.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is standard here with clear dialogue levels but whenever it gets into more action-packed sequences, it’s a bit more flat offering little to no depth. Not a big surprise but still worth mentioning.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
“Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” certainly had the potential to be like “NCIS: LA” in distinguishing itself from its parent series, however what makes the original successful isn’t so much the cases but the chemistry between the cast, which is the failure this series had from the start. Forest Whitaker, as good of an actor as he might be, was completely wrong for the role (he might’ve served better in a guest part) and the rest, in terms of the writing, seemed to try too hard to force something to come together rather than let it form naturally. Outside of the cast, the cases are alright but nothing too special and thus it makes “Suspect Behavior” to be an average and ultimately unnecessary show.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman