Sunday, 28 October 2012

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior starring Forest Whittaker and Jeanne Garofalo PREVIEW

Profilers profiled – Jonathan, Coop, Gina, Mick, Beth. Pic: Alibi channel
Rating: ★★½

Alibi: starts Monday, 29 October, 9pm

Story: The elite profiling team at the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit investigate a series of murders in Cincinnati. Three men have been stabbed in hotel rooms during a three-week period. An unidentified blonde woman is suspected, but could someone else also be involved?

This spin-off from the successful Criminal Minds series has a good cast, headed by Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker and comedian/actress Janeane Garofalo. Among those offering solid support is Welsh actor and former Royal Shakespeare Company member Matt Ryan. He plays a former British special forces soldier.

Audiences were introduced to Sam Cooper's slick team of criminal profilers in the fifth season of Criminal Minds. There's the computer whiz, the hard nut (above), the former con, and Gina – 'attractive, tough, with a cunning sense of perception'. But while the CBS producers did OK with casting the show, the weekly stories fell a little flat.

Rolling Stones set the tone
Coop confronts Marcus (Jay Paulson)
This first episode opens with a blast of the Stones' Street Fighting Man as Coop – Forest Whitaker – roars up on a motorbike. The case is about a mysterious blonde who is murdering men in hotel rooms. Coop's team is called in to look for patterns in the mayhem, but the first thing they find is that any pattern is erratic. Is the killer a prostitute, a psychopath?

The mystery opens up intriguingly when a sociopath in prison is tied in to proceedings. Crime story fans will enjoy how Coop and his experts pick apart the manipulator's chilling behaviour patterns, such as the psychological tricks he uses to establish superiority when questioned by the FBI team.

No time for characters to develop in Suspect Behavior
Suspect Behavior's failure, however, is that too much is crammed into the episode. The talented cast are wasted firing staccato dialogue at each other at bewildering pace. Most disastrously, none of the team comes alive as a character (there's no time), while the story concludes on the staple of all second-rate crime series – the daft plot twist.

The series was seen as a sure-fire hit as it had a built-in audience from Criminal Minds, and spin-offs usally do well. NCIS has one, CSI spawned two, and Law & Order has gone global.

Suspect Behavior was the exception to the rule. CBS cancelled the series, so there will be no season two (be warned, Alibi viewers, it ends on a cliffhanger). Which is a shame because this could have been an interesting drama, and, given the chance, the actors could have made it fly.

Cast: Forest Whitaker Sam 'Coop' Cooper, Janeane Garofalo Beth Griffith, Michael Kelly Jonathan Sims, Beau Garrett Gina LaSalle, Matt Ryan Mick Rawson, Kirsten Vangsness Penelope Garcia, Richard Schiff Jack Fickler