The second offering of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, "Lonely Hearts," took a very big step towards its name sake and reminded us why we wanted a spin off.
Honestly, after last week’s pilot, I was not sure if Suspect Behavior would be able to find its way on the path of being a decent show. I had my fingers crossed and threw down the gauntlet and challenged CBS to make it right.
I am happy to say that this week the show made great strides in finding the path and rhythm that could make it as strong as Criminal Minds.
While the overall flow of the show felt smoother this week, here are the parts of the show that stood out to me as having improved the most over last week’s pilot:
- They actually used the behavior of the suspect. From the first conversation about the “UnSub” they began formulating the behavior that would create and motivate the person they were hunting. Thank you for remembering what the show is about.
- The whole team participated. Each member of the team actually had a key moment of dialogue. It drove home how much this didn’t happen last week when I realized Matt Ryan is using his English accent.
- Janeane Garofalo wasn’t so angry. There were a lot of comment last week here (and other places) that felt Garofalo was mixing her personal views into her character. I am thrilled that it doesn’t appear to be the case as this week she fit right in. I loved her performance with Marcus.
However, that is not to say the show doesn’t still have a ways to go. If CBS can iron out even a couple of these points, it could rank up there with other great shows:
- Introduce us to the team. The episode of Criminal Minds that featured the team aired in April of 2010, more than 10 months ago. Please take a moment and work in telling us more about the strengths and weaknesses of the team, something more than the “red cell” text intro we are getting.
- Use team members names. While I know Whitaker character is Cooper, I only heard names mentioned once when he was giving assignments and that was done so fast I didn’t catch them. I know it is a bit cliché, but how many times does Catherine call Hodges by name in CSI? How about Castle’s name (I think there is a drinking game for this one)? We need to hear their names more often so we can learn them if you want us to be attached to them as a character.
- Get an appropriate office location. I am not saying it can’t be unconventional, but the current choice is too unconventional. They made a point of showing the neighborhood the office is in when Whitaker drove up. There is no way the FBI would have a team where 4 of the 5 members do not look like the locals and stand out horribly setup in that location.
- Tone down Whitaker’s brooding. Why does Whitaker feel the need to be on the verge of an emo attack and be so brooding? I get the strong, troubled, history type, but he needs to bring it back in about 50 percent. Doing the job he does, if he doesn’t find a little more internal happiness he is not long for this job.
Lastly, I am curious if Cooper is supposed to be highly religious? He said last rites over one of the corpses and had a cross on a silver chain hanging from his hip (not to mention hanging out in the church at the end). Don’t get me wrong, I think it is adding some depth to the character and I am happy to ride along to see where we go, it just seemed out of the blue.
What did you think of the second installment? Am I being too hard on it? Am I being too forgiving? We had a lot of really good comments from TV Fanatic readers last week and I look forward to reading your thoughts on this episode.
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.