Criminal Minds Season 9 Review “Persuasion”

Criminal Minds returned tonight with an episode stepping on the toes of the show that comes on right after it, as the team makes their way to Las Vegas to investigate some recently murdered waitresses. Sin City has been the setting for CSI for these last 14 years, so it’s always a little odd seeing a different CBS procedural with the same setting. I mean, it’s all filmed in Los Angeles, but it’s still weird!

Anyway, the concept of the episode was actually really cool. In most cities you probably wouldn’t buy the idea of a community of thieves living underground, but in Las Vegas you can kinda believe it. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out that there was a city of thieves underneath the Vegas strip, so that was a really neat idea.

The performances were great here, as we spent a lot of screen time with a few of the members of this pickpocketing cult. The best performance was by character actor David Clennon, who played Marvin Caul, the self titled Master of Deception. Clennon has appeared in plenty of films and television shows over the past few decades, but you might have seen him most recently in the second season of House of Cards. He was a great character, giving off the perfect amount of mystery and gravitas. You could really buy him as a magician and illusionist, but you could also really feel in his performance how cheated and frustrated he was that he wasn’t more successful.

Finn was played by Ashton Holmes, who’s been in plenty of other TV projects like Revenge, Nikita, and The Pacific. He did a great job with the role he was given, but he wasn’t anywhere near as interesting or developed of a character as Marvin Caul or Caesar.

Speaking of Caesar he was played by Michael Irby who is currently a series regular on Almost Human. He did a great job, and I actually found this character more interesting than the character he plays on Almost Human. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment to Criminal Minds or an insult to Almost Human. Probably a little bit of both.

The big reveal that Caul was The Doctor all along wasn’t really a surprise, but it was a surprise that Finn knew who he was all along. Not only that, but seeing Reid play Caul like a fiddle was really satisfying. It’s always fun to get to see Reid outsmart people, and I’m glad he got the opportunity tonight.

Overall I found tonight’s episode to be a lot of fun, and a big improvement over last week. I’m hoping the final five episodes start to ramp up, and they can keep this momentum going to close out the season!

Random Thoughts:

– The mountains where the bodies were dumped was filmed literally three minutes or so from my house. Pretty trippy.

– Marvin Caul being jealous of Romeo’s success reminded me of the season four episode of Supernatural with the awesome title “Criss Angel is a Douchebag”. The idea of a bunch of old magicians

– It was a bit of a bummer that we didn’t get to see Reid’s mom. I see Jane Lynch on Glee so often that I’m itching to see her playing a more dramatic role again!