Criminal Minds is the perfect quarantine binge.
BY MEGHAN BEERY, ‘21. GRAPHIC BY MORGAN PLAGENZ, ‘21.
There are three main items required for a successful Netflix binge: a blanket, a snack and a large amount of free time. The third item has been in high supply for the past five months giving many people the opportunity to discover plenty of binge-worthy shows. One such show is the American crime drama Criminal Minds.
Created by Jeff Davis, Criminal Minds is based upon the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) in Quantico, VA. A team of profilers well-versed in behavioral analysis uses their knowledge of human psychology and behavior to catch criminals (also called unknown subjects or unsubs for short). Each episode focuses on a different unsub with a unique behavioral challenge spanning from OCD to an acute stress disorder.
The team is led by Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), an experienced profiler and new father. He is assisted by Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and SSAs Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini), Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), Jennifer Jareau (A.J. Cook) and technical analyst Penelope Garcia. From a 23-year-old genius with an eidetic memory to a BAU senior agent suffering from a major depressive episode, each character has a unique struggle that adds depth and interest to each episode.
By combining criminal cases, warped psyches and the private struggles of each character, Criminal Minds creates a suspenseful yet sweet balance of good and evil. The cases show the worst of humanity, but the kindness of the characters and their never-ending fight for good shines through.
Still, the show is not for the faint of heart. It depicts sex trafficking, rape, kidnapping, mutilation, arson and other unsavory activities. Despite the witticisms thrown into each episode, there is still a dark undertone. The show requires a certain level of desensitization.
However, the writers use the dark themes as opportunities to comment on human nature. Criminal Minds demonstrates that good and evil are not mutually exclusive. It is often things that are out of someone’s control that can dictate who they grow up to be, whether it’s the environment where they were raised or a behavior they developed. The show does not shy away from philosophical questions about good vs. evil and nature vs. nurture, which adds an extra layer to the plot.
Despite the dark undertones of the show, Criminal Minds provides a fresh and interesting perspective on human behavior and human nature. Because of the dynamic characters, unusual stories and thought-provoking questions, the show is an excellent option to fill the many free hours in a day.