CRIMINAL MINDS “The Stranger” Review

Criminal Minds (CBS) "The Stranger"

CRIMINAL MINDS “The Stranger” Season 6 Episode 21 – Another Criminal Minds episode, another screaming young and attractive white woman getting slashed. This however was not a problem as the writers utilized (sort of) scary movie techniques (there were all kinds of references which I picked up on, though they were subtle enough that if they were unintentional, then I’m clearly just a horror movie addict who needs rehab, stat!), from When A Stranger Calls to Psycho to the gold standard of slasher movie satire, Scream) to explore what is one of the most common police procedural cases in a relatively inventive way.

The case revolved around an killer with unrequited babysitter troubles who goes around stalking and murdering college women in order to get back at the one who shacked up with his father and had him put in an institution for displaying sadistic tendencies and a minor Oedipus complex.

The opening cinema outing scene is one I’ve been dying to see on Criminal Minds: a quick, five minute scene showing the team bonding outside of work. And sure, Seaver still felt out of place, but this is probably the first time we’ve seen her not only bonding with the team, but also handling actual tasks regarding the case. No more crappy secretarial work! Yay!

Criminal Minds of course is not a mystery or a detective show. It’s a psychological melodrama with guns. In Treatment-lite. Look, they find the killer’s next victim-and no, I’m not joking-with darts through her face.

What clever methods does this amazing Criminal Minds team use to catch their suspects?

Garcia GO! “Search for local women who died in their early thirties and are survived by a husband and at least one son and go back at least ten to fifteen years.” “Cross it with new marriage licenses filed by surviving husbands.” “The unsub’s always been troubled Garcia so look for youthful offenders who would have appeared in the sociopathic triad.”

“30 matches that match a social phenomenon so that doesn’t help.”

“Cross that with your list of newly released inmates and mental patients.”

“Oooh…[type] [type] [type]…here’s one!…He was put into juvi at 13 for…threatening his stepmother with a knife…he was released two weeks ago.” A slam and a dunk! What definitive parameters you have. And what a clever computer system that is. Why fuel the plane with Garcia and her awesome laptop?

Criminal Minds is easily on 100% case closing rate. If only the real FBI were half as clever as Garcia.

All in all, I enjoyed this episode. The main case could have easily been a bore, but with a terrific opening I found myself trying to guess what (if any) links could be drawn from one scene to another in a scary movie. Seaver was finally given some material, and I was able to enjoy several unintentionally hilarious moments-if I’m entertained then Criminal Minds is doing its job.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.

Random Thoughts:

Garcia to Seaver: “You may be all Sigourney Weaver ass kicking tough…” Yeah, we wish.

Calling the movie villain the “unsub” was a nice touch of developing the world of Criminal Minds.
“Is there any indication that [the victims] knew one another?” “No…their apartments are spread all over the city.” But didn’t Garcia just that they were all getting an education in childcare and child development? That’s quite a distincitve link.

This episode was co-written by Rick Dunkle, who wrote one of my least favorite Criminal Minds episodes (“Middle Man”) and Kimberly Ann Harrison who wrote one of my all-time favorite (and possibly the creepiest) Criminal Minds episodes (“Into the Woods”).

Does the end mean that Hotchner going to appear in Suspect Behavior as co-ordinator?

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