This will be my first season watching Criminal Minds in-season having only seen it on Ion and A&E reruns. I made the decision to watch last year’s season finale because 1) I knew it is the kind of show you can jump into mid-stream without feeling lost (pun…intended); and 2) I heard they were going to kill off one of the team. Unfortunately that turned out to be a bit of an oversell as it was Strauss who bit the bullet at the hands of Hans Solo. Not really what I was expecting and, frankly, kind of a cop out. I generally do not subscribe to the theory that killing off a character is gimmicky but in this case it clearly was exactly that.
Because Crim is a procedural there isn’t much to think about before the season. If there is one thing I would like to see it is that the writers would crimp into Garcia’s data mining abilities. She is every bit the electronic snooper that Harold Finch is on Person of Interest but her methods are simply a means to an end for Criminal Minds. I want to see this for two reasons. First, the more I watch the show the more “hand of God” her work seems. Her ability to pull up exactly the right person through the most exacting and bizarre search parameters is often too much to be believable.
Here is an example. In season seven, episode 11 Hotch asks Garcia to find everyone in a region with an IQ higher than 120. Then she is cross referencing Zodiac Killer researchers with high-level chess players. I mean, come on.
How they might throttle her back can be found in the second reason: The NSA spying revelations resulting from Edward Snoden’s stealing and subsequent leaking of government documents. Garcia only acts when the BAU is chasing an unsub as opposed to the NSA’s blanket surveillance but the limitless pools of data she is able to tap into and the relative ease with which she does it make an easy comparison. I would love to see a case where her work incorrectly identifies an unsub and leads to her being sidelined or severely crippled in what she is able to do. How the team does its work without her would be interesting to see. Except for when she was shot (by Longmire’s Bailey Chase, no less) she has been one of the show’s most constant characters, right up there with her dark chocolate, Derek Morgan. Let’s shake it up a little.