Salon TV Critic Trashes New CBS Procedural

Reading the pop culture musings and reviews of Salon TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz is always a pleasure. This week, he goes to town on the mid-season CBS offering Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, calling it a new low for the Eye Network’s “crime time” line-up.

Seitz wonders right off the bat if the same contractor builds all the serial killer lairs shown on CBS’ unending stream of procedurals, and if so, whether there are bulk discounts. He laughs off the ridiculous dialogue spouted by Forest Whitaker’s sidekick Janeane Garofalo and ponders yet another lazy element of this week’s debut:

The episode’s fixation on cliched signifiers of “childhood innocence” feels nearly as creepy as the perp’s assaults. One of the victims gets snatched while going to a store to buy ice cream. (On TV, kids are never kidnapped while buying Vitamin Water or falafel; it’s always ice cream or lollipops or some other “kid” food.)

At the heart of Seitz’s piece is the very justifiable concern that the prevalence on network TV of gratuitous, gory criminal procedurals has long ago crossed the yellow tape line of basic decency. Not even Whitaker’s “Shatner-izing” of his lines can save the show, which next week, Seitz teases, contains one of the greatest bad acting moments the critic has ever witnessed: “Whitaker emoting his way into a killer’s mindset while cradling a Ziploc bag containing two eyeballs.” Set your DVRs on stun!