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Diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of eleven T L Spencer turned to writing as a way to cope with her condition. Her vivid imagination and love of all things paranormal influenced her writing. T L Spencer enjoys all forms of literature and is currently studying at university, hoping to become a teacher.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Criminal Minds... Season 1

Okay, I have to say that this show is seriously addictive.

I told you I'd be back with a review of the series and my fave episodes, and here I am. And this is a show that really doesn't disappoint. I've watched eight seasons in three weeks (quite sad, I know) and I'm just itching for the next one. But sadly, living in merry old England, number nine is a long way off.

Anyhow, there's a lot to go over!!!

Criminal Minds is all about behavioural analysis - getting into the minds of suspects (or unsubs) and figuring out what makes them tick. All set around an FBI unit in Quantico, this show is action packed and extremely detailed.... also very disturbing.

But with these disturbing features come some very interesting characters, people who can see through all the grime and blood, all the horrors to find what lies beneath. And I have to say that here lies possibly the strongest element to the series, as the agents are superb; they are individuals with charms, faults and mysteries all their own which keeps the stories going even when the crimes are a little dull. The human aspect to this series is particularly well written.

We have Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, unit chief of the BAU. He's the man that never smiles, is dedicated to his job, but is a family man through and through. He's willing to make hard decisions and never flinches. When he profiles, he is confident and I shows good leadership skills. Though not my favourite character of the show, I like the contrasts of Hotch's character; he goes from stressed and dedicated workaholic to chilled and loving family man - it's really kind of sweet. Plus, he brings an interesting dynamic to certain cases that involve missing children; things are obviously more personal. Played by Thomas Gibson.

SSA Jason Gideon is also known to many fans as the mystery man - he's the wise sage that has a particular gift for profiling, but it this gift has come at a price for him. He has a troubled past, returning to the BAU after a 'vacation'. Jason is quiet and somewhat introverted but is extremely quick-witted. He's the unofficial leader of the group because of his wisdom and experience. I love this character; he's just so quiet about his pain, and the techniques he uses to deal with it just really pull at the heartstrings. Played by Mandy Patinkin.

SSA Derek Morgan is the ex-cop from Chicago with UC and bomb experience; from the outside he looks like the stereotypical tough guy playing FBI agent, but all is not what it seems. This is why I love this show. DM has dark secrets in his past that this series brings to light, including a father that was killed in action and the fact that he was sexually abused. Derek is kind, strong, and protective. Played by Shemar Moore.

Dr Spencer Reid is my favourite character and I adore him. He graduated from high school at the ripe young age of 12, has 3 PHDs and 2 BAs, an eidetic memory and can read 20,000 words per minute. He also has an IQ of 187 and in S1 is only 23/24 years of age.  His social awkwardness, while being a symptom of his brains, is quite cute, and many of the episodes include moments where people are just totally confused by his ramblings - this is brilliant. Not many people can relate to him on an intellectual level, so its interesting to see that he gets on with everyone really well. Jason Gideon is a father figure to him, replacing the father that walked out on him; JJ is like a sister, Derek is the big brother, protective and joking. Even Hotch shows him affection. In many ways he's at the heart of the team, making connections that others can't see. From a writing point of view, this character is a great idea. And I love him. Played by Matthew Gray Gubler.

SA Jennifer Jareu is the communications liaison and lifeline to civilisation for the team; she deals with all the press and often makes all the difficult statements on cases. She also had to troll through every case, picking which ones the team should investigate. She's a strong, independent woman with fire and loves her team like a family. Played by AJ Cook

SSA Elle Greenaway is the newest member of the team - and also my least favourite character. She specialises in sex crimes, is very confrontational, yet quite intelligent. Played by L Gaudini.

Other characters include groovy gadget girl Penelope Garcia, played by Kirsten V, who is unique and a goddess with computers; she can work magic in her position as tech analyst and is good friends with each member of the team, especially Derek Morgan.

While these characters help build the series, the episodes are what make it. Twenty-two episodes were made for series one - each one of them memorable on their own way - the five below are my favourite:

1 x 02: Compulsion.
The BAU are sent to a college campus in Tempe, Arizona  in order to capture a serial arsonist. While most of the team investigate one path of inquiry, Reid takes Gideon's advice to think outside the box and discovers an interesting link between the fires, leading to a surprising suspect.

1 x 09: Derailed.
While heading to conduct an interview, Elle is held hostage (along with four civilians) on a train in Texas by a paranoid schizophrenic who is convinced that the US government is monitoring him through a chip placed in his arm. It is up to the team, Reid and Gideon in particular, to play into this fantasy, in order to save the hostages. Based on Ralph Tortorici.

1 x 11: Blood Hungry
While Gideon is side-lined on crutches at FBI headquarters, the BAU team head to Harringtonville, Tennessee, in an attempt to find a psychotic killer whose erratic and disorganised fantasies have drove him to cannibalism. Based on Richard Trenton Chase.

1 x 17: A Real Rain
The BAU travels to NYC to investigate a series of murders with a distinct MO, the work f a vigilante exacting revenge on criminals being released by the justice system.

1 x 21: Secrets and Lies
After a questionable death of an agent working in the CIA, the team is called to consult in Langley to identify a mole within the organisation.

My advice would be to watch this series. Along with the episodes, each disc has a bunch of special features from commentaries to making of documentaries, gag reels and deleted scenes. The profiles and FBI featurettes are probably the most interesting  -  the latter quite disturbing, as it has some of the gory details!

I give this series a 5 Stars. It has emotion, action, mystery, drama and a lot of disturbing stuff and is just highly addictive. The more you watch, the more you want to watch. It's great.

xxx


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