7 Things: Finales #2 – Criminal Minds

If you don’t care, you probably don’t know that Paget Brewster left Criminal Minds for (quasi?) good this past season. If you don’t care, you may not even know that Paget Brewster is an actress who was on a show called Criminal Minds from season two through this past season. If you don’t care, you’ve probably already stopped reading, so you’ll never know that you’ re one of the lucky ones.

As for the rest of you, I apologize, for I am about to do this ranting thing.

I will preface said rant by saying that, as far as the writing and quality of the show goes, Paget is probably getting out just in time. While I certainly did appreciate the uptick in subtext in the early episodes, I found the season lacking as a whole. In fact, after getting into Criminal Minds just last summer and imbibing the first five seasons – and then finally the sixth – in one big gulp, I discovered that the show had already peaked.

The rest was just subtext.

Okay, not really. When it was good, I think Criminal Minds was one of the best-written shows on television. I do, however, think the show reached its pinnacle early – late season two – and plateaued for the next three seasons. This wasn’t a bad thing. Maintaining that level of quality for that long is damn impressive.

What goes up must come down, though, and pretty much every show I’ve ever seen has gotten better with time, peaked and then started going downhill. It’s a natural progression. No matter how brilliant a premise may be, there is only so much that can be done with it. No show should go on forever. The trick, I think, is for a show to clock more time heading up the hill than it does coming down it. It’s okay for a series to come out on even ground with where it began. It’s sad when it starts digging a hole.

Of course, some might say that Criminal Minds started digging its hole while it was still on the plateau by firing a slew of the writers who made the show worth watching and then releasing two of its three leading ladies from their contracts. Since the actresses were both brought back, clearly it wasn’t good for business. But, by then, it was too late. And they seriously need those writers back on staff. Not that it matters much to me. Because I am so outtie come next season.

Now, onto my finale complaints –

First, I get that they already sent Paget packing once with great fanfare (you know, when it was their choice to write her off), but that is no excuse for barely acknowledging her departure this time around.

Second, the on-screen goodbyes for Prentiss sucked. I mean, I suppose if all you wanted to do was see Prentiss dance with all of her male colleagues, you’d be all smiley and full of contentment, but if you wanted to see Prentiss say goodbye to ALL of the show’s leads, you got totally shafted.

Because Prentiss danced and danced and danced with Reid and Morgan and Hotch and Rossi. They smiled at each other. They had moments. The camera closed in on them. It was intimate. Then, for roughly 1.3 seconds, she clasped hands with JJ and Garcia at the same time in a distant overhead shot as they quasi-danced and that was it.

Now, I get that this is the United States of America – where we declare that dancing isn’t sexual so that people in relationships can feel free to hit the dance floor with strangers, while also finding dancing too sexual to allow individuals of the same sex to do it together on television – but the fact that they chose to go out like that, knowing that it would completely eliminate Prentiss’ relationships with her two female colleagues – one her only contact while she was away and the other the first to accept her back – is unacceptable.

Goddammit.

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