I’m surprised to actually enjoy this show, since it is nothing like the type of cop shows that I enjoy. In truth, I think I like it more because it has Janeane Garfolo (who I’ve grown to love while watching the West Wing) than because there is anything particularly good about it. Having never watched the other Criminal Minds, I can’t really comment on how it compares, but the show is something of a basic formula. Each week, a serious crime is committed and the elite FBI Unit, called a red cell, is called in to investigate. The main way they solve crimes is by getting into the heads of the criminals they are trying to find.
Sam Cooper (Forest Whittaker) has a knack for getting in the minds of the villains. Beth Griffith (Janeanne Garfolo) is particularly good and figuring things out but tends to get fired for her attitude. Jonathan “Prophet” SImms is on probation for killing a child molester. Gina Lasalle (Beau Garrett) is good at picking up small details in a crime scene. Mick Rawson (Matt Ryan) is a sniper and British. This is about all we really know about the characters so far (which is a little unfortunate after the number of episodes so far. I’m intrigued by the characters but I hope they take the time to really delve into their pasts and their stories. If not, the show will quickly lose its appeal (namely, Garfolo will not be enough of a draw on her own).
In one review that I read about this show, the reviewer complains that this spin off is unnecessary, a clone, and not a true spin off because one character carries over from the original Criminal Minds. To this I would say no spin off is ever necessary, it was bound to be clone-like, and perhaps he doesn’t know what a spin off is since it is not contingent on having completely unique characters (Private Practice got Addison from Grey’s, Angel got Angel, Cordelia, and later Wesley from Buffy, all Baywatch incarnations had David Hasselhoff, Sarah Jane went from Doctor Who to the Sarah Jane Adventures, Time of Your Life got Sarah Reeves from Party of Five, etc) or even that they completely break ties with the old show, though that is more common because usually actors don’t have the time to film two shows at the same time. I will admit that this show provides little to nothing unique in the procedural drama department, but I’m hoping the characters will be interesting enough to invest the time.