‘Criminal Minds’ Season 7 Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 12:24 pm,

criminal minds season 7 premiere prentiss Criminal Minds Season 7 Premiere Review & Discussion

For all intents and purposes, the Criminal Minds season 7 premiere masterfully presented the long overdue reunion of the series’ core members, after what was a very confusing past year.

The episode, entitled “It Takes a Village,” written by longtime Criminal Minds scribe Erica Messer, beautifully juxtaposes a pseudo flashback storyline with rich character arcs and a familiar, although uniquely original, delivery of the typical case-of-the-week.

Serving as a bookend to last season’s storyline involving the death of Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), the members of the BAU must account for their brazen actions surrounding a last-minute case, which involved the man that presumably killed their co-worker, to a Senate Judiciary Committee.

With a continuous flow of rich dialogue, compelling scenes and a general sense of not being able to figure out what will happen next (which is extremely rare in television), the Criminal Minds season 7 premiere wonderfully represents the talent of the cast and crew involved in the series, all while slyly including analogies to their past experience with the firings of female cast members from the series.

criminal minds season 7 premiere garcia Criminal Minds Season 7 Premiere Review & Discussion

With each line delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee proving to be more passionate than the next, one can’t help but believe that these scenes were written as a proverbial emotional release for what all transpired over the course of the year. A flurry of firings, rehirings and a general sense of not knowing who all would return to Criminal Minds, this season premiere presents a set of eerily similar thematic elements.

While this episode’s concluding storyline, which began last season, isn’t specifically the best representation of a spectacular Criminal Minds case story, the manner in which it’s executed provided a refreshing change to the all-too familiar case-of-the-week.

Instead of simply focusing on the flashback storyline, which typically involves past events leading up to a shocking scene that was introduced in the beginning of the episode, a perfect balance was struck between their past actions, the reasons for those actions, and what resulted from the actions. As the timeline seamlessly jumped back and forth between each and every event, each character of the series was given the chance to shine, with a deeply compelling monologue typically following whatever events in the past were shown.

criminal minds season 7 premiere jj Criminal Minds Season 7 Premiere Review & Discussion

By far the most profound of those moments came from Matthew Gray Gubler, as Dr. Spencer Reid. While other members of the team confidently presented their position to the Senate Judiciary Committee, there was a certain element of beauty that came from Reid’s intellectual dominance and Gubler’s vocal timbre. The moment where the Senator stated “Calm down, Mr. Reid,” and Gubler replied, “I am calm – and its doctor,” may very well be one of the best performances of a line in the history of the series.

In a sense, the Criminal Minds season 7 premiere was much more than a concluding story-arc – it was a competent resolution to everything that transpired on-and-off the screen last season. While it can be said that many fans would have simply enjoyed seeing all of the familiar characters back together again (no matter the reasoning), the producers of the series made a conscious effort to respect the intelligence of those watching and to satisfy both the fanatic and intellectual side of its many viewers.

With the ending of the episode wrapping things up all too perfectly, due to a speech delivered by Prentiss, the premiere very much represents the notion that it’s the journey that matters, and not the end result.

Of course they’re going to be fine. Of course nobody from the team is going to be permanently suspended. But that doesn’t mean the manner in which we came to this resolution wasn’t appropriately earned, or deserved.

Let’s just hope that, as the premiere suggests, the team will remain intact from here on out.


Criminal Minds airs Wednesday @9pm on CBS

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

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  1. I agree wholeheartedly! This was a great review of a great episode. To keep this short and sweet: I’m so happy the team is back together (as they should be!), Reid was AMAZING, and seeing JJ and Emily’s “I’m so glad you’re back” moment was a victory for everyone who petitioned to get them back!

  2. I’m glad you specifically mentioned Ried’s moment with the committee. It stuck out to me too. It really allowed Gubler to show something a little different than the norm.

  3. I agree with both of you. I loved the episode. My favorite part was Reid saying “thats Doctor” too.
    I look forward to next week with our entire team that we love!

  4. The irony of the JJ and Emily scene where they welcome each other back was not lost on me. It was perfectly placed in my opinion and it was a scene you could picture the real life friends saying to each other on their first day back on the set. It was nice to see and from the writers stand point definitely an “ode” to the fans I think for all their support and hard work in getting those ladies back on the show.

    The episode was amazingly written and moved along cleanly. There wasn’t a moment when I sitting there going “ok c’mon move on to the next thing” like I was with last season’s opener (I’d rather just completely forget all of season 6. I go on the notion that most of it didn’t happen).

    The fact that the writers and cast members themselves seem to be reinverigorated and energized going into this season shows on screen and for sure rubs off on the fans who don’t seem to have been this excited since…I don’t know when! Season 7, I think could be this show’s “it” season. The season that finally propells this show into the forefront of tv.

  5. I liked the whole episode, but one part. I think that Prentiss’ speech was terrible. It supposedly convince the Senator to leave the BAU team intact, so I thought it had been more impressive, not merely a repetition of the values of the Bureau. What do you think?

    • I agree that Emily’s speech was terrible and almost blighted the whole episode for me. The FBI/patriotic oath was dramatic pandering and in a real hearing would have been laughed at unless J Edgar Hoover had returned from Hell to oversee the hearing.

      Reid was fabulous, go Doctor with a capital D and he’s a sharp shooter now too! Hooray!

      The case wrap-up was all beside the point, I thought to the team’s reunion, but I couldn’t help but feel poor Declan had the worst parents anyone ever had.

      • I didn’t have a problem with her speech/oath; however, I thought her intro speech to the team was very lame. The way she apologized for pretending to be dead sounded hollow and weak, like she was apologizing for being late to a meeting or missing a phone call. I lover Prentiss, but that scene was poorly acted.

  6. I think this once excellent show has become ridiculous. This silly premise of a senate review was just too much for us. So unbelievable, like the ‘reunion of the team’, that we turned it off about 40 minutes in. Yes, someone made some bad calls and dumped cast member/s the fans really liked, but this episode to get them back together was too lame. How many times are the fans supposed to really care about the team getting in trouble, being split apart, etc? Are the writers that out of real plot lines that fit the show’s premise? This has gone from a show on expert profilers to your basic guns-blazing cop show… with too many cops! Everyone running around in bullet proof vests with guns drawn?!? When did Spencer become mr macho field agent? Why is JJ running around in the field with gun drawn, running point and barking orders? She was a PR media liaison who knew nothing of profiling and, like Spencer, was pretty uncomfortable around the action. Sure, people grow in their jobs and careers, but not to the point that they outrank or boss around far more experienced team members. I predict a huge drop in the ratings unless the next few episodes are far better written and more suspenseful. I Hodge in Afghanistan away from his son who lost his mother to murder? Ridiculous! Can’t the writers try to keep it a bit more real? I’m finding it hard to care about any of the characters anymore. Finally,when are they going to dump Joe Montegne who adds nothing to this show except a bad fake suntan? He’s bee great in many roles, but not this one. Too many stars spoil the show….so do silly story lines and cast changes like musical chairs.

    • Considering the Senate Judiciary Committee actually does provide oversight for the FBI in real life, the premise of this episode is neither silly nor unbelievable.

    • Wow, Ann, were we even watching the same show?? I loved this episode and feel the writers took a difficult situation from Season 6 and perfectly resolved all the previous situations, Prentiss, J.J., etc.

      I was very moved when Prentiss quoted the oath the team took which explains the basic reason the team does what it does.

      As for Joe Mantagne, take a closer at “Rossi”. He is a part of the team. He is Hotch’s friend, Emily’s secret keeper and an experienced profiler. He was one of the agents who started the BAU. There is more to him, just as there is more to the other characters, than we know.

      I can’t wait to find out more about all of my favorite BAU agents.

      • I agree – Loved the episode too!

    • As much as I wanted to see prentiss and JJ return to the show and team, I also found this episode, though dramatic, kind of unbeleivable, like come on basically they can break every rule in the book, quote their oath and everything is back to normal? Doesnt sound very realistic to me. Plus they has already gotten questioned following Hotch’s ex-wife’s death and it was again decided that Hotch would stay the leader. -_- this episode reminded me of that one. Anyways atleast the team is back together.

    • If you were an avid or even a semi-devoted one, you’d know that he answers to all of your questions have been answered and addressed prior to the beginning of this season.

      “How many times are the fans supposed to really care about the team getting in trouble, being split apart, etc?”
      Clearly you missed the HUGE backlash that was spurred as a result of Prentiss (Paget Brewster) and JJ (AJ Cook) leaving the show – the backlash that resulted in their being rehired. So the fans are not “supposed” to care about the team being split apart, they do care a heck of a lot. The majority of fans were waiting eagerly for this episode just to see the team back together.

      This has gone from a show on expert profilers to your basic guns-blazing cop show… with too many cops! Everyone running around in bullet proof vests with guns drawn?!? When did Spencer become mr macho field agent? Why is JJ running around in the field with gun drawn, running point and barking orders? She was a PR media liaison who knew nothing of profiling and, like Spencer, was pretty uncomfortable around the action”

      CM is about as far from a basic cop show as you can get. That aforementioned backlash? It was a result of the team dynamics of the show being ripped apart with the departure of JJ and Prentiss. People tune into CM not only for the storylines and action, but for the team itself which is more of a family than a work unit.

      The changes in Spencer did NOT happen overnight. They started in the episode in which he was drugged. He spent the last seven months thinking Prentiss was dead – he has changed. It’s been seven seasons – it’s been a natural evolution and the fact that he’s so hardened now is a storyline in and of itself.

      JJ is out running in the field with gun drawn and barking orders because when she left the show last season she was sent to work in Washington where she had a different position – a more authoritative one. She’s back now but NOT as the media liasion – she is a field agent. The promos to the show stressed this fact – JJ is not the same and this season focuses a fair amount on her. From AJ Cook herself an interview:

      “…there’s quite a few changes for JJ because she went away and now she’s back and we’ve sort of had to explain that. She’s going to be sort of stepping into the whole profiler situation there, which is a big change for her especially since in season two she said she was comfortable with the role that she was playing as a liaison. Well, things change. So, yeah, it just seemed really natural and organic to take that next step. She’s been away and has seen some things and had some experiences in her life and now she’s back. It makes sense and she’s loving it. She’s just naturally a really good profiler because she’s been around these people for so long. I’m having a really good time doing that because I never got to do that in the past. And we’re going to see a little more into her personal life which is always fun. That’s what I love about our show. We’re going to see more into everyone’s personal life. That’s what’s so great about a season seven.

      “I predict a huge drop in the ratings unless the next few episodes are far better written and more suspenseful”
      I wouldn’t chance a lottery ticket. ;)

      Rest assured that fans love this cast and all of the characters and that is why the team was brought back together. This is a show in which the cast has seamless chemistry.

      “Too many stars spoil the show…so do silly story lines and cast changes like musical chairs.”
      You don’t have to worry about more cast changes – this is back to the ORIGINAL team and this is how it will stay – I bet the hate letters to CBS have ceased now that the family is back together.

    • HOTCH-not Hodge-was in Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

      Rossi/Mantegna is a fabulous addition to the show. He has great lines and seamless interaction with all members of the team…not to mention the fact that he’s hot.

    • No I agree with Ann. I think the thread of the story was correct, taking into account the abrupt departure took Prentiss, it was obvious that the chapter would be back the same. PG In the episode said that since the death of Prentiss Reid went far to the shooting range, just as he was questioned “how to protect people if they could not protect themselves” (episode 20, season 6). And it is true that JJ does not know anything about profiles, for six years, almost seven, who was in BAU, gained experience in that field, even on occasion enter Hotch profiles suggested, but she preferred to remain as currently liaison with the media, and is excellent with weapons and has a good shot, as was demonstrated when the attacker settled PG. And as I told Prentiss, his return to the BAU was to occupy the space left by Emily, who was most needed at that moment as the communications link. I think the script gave answers to the questions left over from the sixth season and gave the basis for new developments in the seventh.

  7. The Spencer Reid line will most certainly be quoted, a la like all of the McCoy “I am a Doctor, not a _” lines from Stark Trek. Well written and acted episode. Look forward to the rest of Season 7 if it keeps that level of quality.

  8. I completly agree that the season opener was well played and I too loved DR. Reids response to the committe.

    As a matter for discussion, what do you all think about Morgans reaction to Emily? Reid, Penelope and Rossi seemed shocked but genuinely glad to see her, but Morgan was PISSED!!! Could it be because he felt the most betrayed by not being in on the secret? If so, then wouldn’t it be more logical to turn his anger on Hotch? My theory (correct me If you think I’m wrong) is that their is something brewing between Emily and Morgan. When I thought back to other episodes, the two of them do seem to be a little flirty with each other on occasions. It may be nothing but it could make for an interesting twist.

    • I felt that Morgan was the one that felt betrayed the most because he was the one who found Prentiss after Doyle left her for dead. So he’s had to live with the guilt of not getting there a few minutes sooner (and possibly saving her).

      The whole team knew he would take it the hardest. When Hotch said something along the lines of “if anyone has a problem, direct it towards me” he seemed to be talking to Morgan. And, when he took Morgan aside (after the hearing) and said “this isn’t about you or me…it was about keeping Emily alive,” it reinforces the notion that the team knew Morgan would feel crushed at being essentially lied to for the last seven months (Prentiss was his partner).

  9. I watch television shows to be entertained. This premier engaged and entertained me. I can’t ask for more than that. I loved seeing the cast interaction. I thought the writers did a wonderful job venting their frustration from last season in a sly way without being hurtful or over the top. The whole cast is excellant and backed by an amazing crew. I honestly think Erica Messer, show runner, the cast and the crew will have a fun season. As a fan, I look foward to upcoming episodes. Let the entertainment begin.

    • well said and my thoughts exactly!

  10. I’m a true Criminal Minds fan. It’s an extraordinarily powerful, suspenseful drama filled with emotion. I love the entire cast. All the characters are so nicely developed. Thomas Gibson’s performance as the team’s leader is completely absorbing! I worked for a former FBI agent years ago who resembled Gibson’s character in every way, and the actor wonderfully captures the different roles FBI agents perform along with the expression, and tone of voice. The writers are amazing. Each show is loaded with fantastic dialogue. I look forward to many more shows!

  11. When is criminal minds series 7 being aired in the UK

    • January 2012 I think :)

  12. This episode was all about the hapiness of being back together : the characters, the actors, the scenarists. It coloured everything. That was a genuine feeling. I think Prentiss’s return could have been more developped and yes, an idealistic speech can not convince a comitee made of experts in real life but so what? it was meant to start afresh as soon as possible…

  13. Thumbs up to the producers and writers and who everelse was involved in getting the old family back together!! And double thumbs up to the cast for being the best team on television I’ve ever seen.

  14. realistic really Im sorry but does anyone here work for the FBI so how can you know whats realistic for them or not.

    Here a Idea do what I do is reserach before you speak The season premeiere was Good while there were things I did not like how from last season they cut out how Doyla found the boy and it took him these long to find him and How Ashley left but NOTHING perfect people

  15. Criminal Minds starts here in the UK next week and I cant wait. I never liked Seaver so I am glad she is leaving and JJ is coming back. I dont rally care HOW she comes back, I am just glad that she is and that Seaver is going.

  16. Thank You for doing the right thing and getting the girls back. By doing that I believe that you saved the show….Now don’t mess with it again….we all like it the way it is…

  17. I would like to see some of the Old team come back

  18. Old team ? Like who, you mean Gideon and Elle ?

  19. Yes do something like NCIS did Last Year with Kate

  20. I dont watch NCIS but yes I do miss Gideon. I would love him to see him come back in some way. Not too bothered about Elle though. I didnt like her very much. I was glad when Prentiss replaced her.

  21. I PVR’d last week’s episode and just had a chance to watch it. So GOOD!! I wasn’t sure if I would continue watching the show, although I have been a loyal viewer for the past 6 seasons. I did not like the casting changes that occured at the end of last year but am so happy to see the old team back together. I love this show and I love the cast just the way it is.

  22. I must know the model number of the frames ( eyeglassses) penelope is wearing, the blue ones with gold sides… anyone know? those are amazzzzing! I love Garcia and Dr Reed . great show.

  23. How many colors has Garcia had her hair and how many different colored frames has she worn. Shes like a kaleidascope.

    • Over the years she realistically has toned things down, but we never want to loose that quirky and awesome Garcia. Great glasses. Great character! The most vulnerable member of the team, but in so being, lives life according to her terms without developing layers of emotional defences. You go girl!

  24. I was so glad to see the opening image with all the team together ! All last season that picture had two big gaps in it.

  25. CM is my focus each Wed. night, a true blue fan I am, and for the most part love what CBS has given us- wonderfully entertaining episodes, that are believable and don’t insult intelligent people. While each year showed consistent improvements, with great story lines and actors improving in quantum leaps, something came undone in Season 6, and in my opinion the show is struggling to make amends.

    It Takes a Village was simply to full of absurdities to be believable, with our beloved team members falling out of character, accept perhaps for Rossi and Garcia. (And I believe that Rossi has proven a real asset to the team.)

    In my opinion the wonderful interactions between team members has proven to be the most useful tool in keeping thing interesting for fans; the development of a supportive friendship between Rossi and Hotchner, the ongoing somewhat unfulfilled relationship between Garcia and Morgan, the strong bond the women of the team share, the care taken to provide comedic relief in the right places,and the good gender mix all work wonderfully well. It helps too that each team member demonstrates their own unique strengths (and weaknesses) making them so believably human. I can’t help but mention Dr. Reid as I make this point. So it was not a surprise that breaking up this team, spelled problems.

    The Season 7 premiere just seemed so scattered with far too much going on; a federal investigation, Hotch off in Pakistan showing little real leadership, with an almost passive Morgan – not exactly the guy we’ve come to know. Emily’s return was almost bland, just so underwritten I think, and Doyle’s demise just was way too overplayed, with far too many characters coming out of the woodwork. JJ simply did not play to her strengths, and looked uncomfortable in her new role. Even in the knowledge that people and events change with time and experience, this was by far to much character departure to be squeezed into one episode.

    Last but not least, Emily’s so called saving of the team was just so corny! And after all that huffing and puffing of the investigative lead, if that did it, I’d be thinking about investigating the investigators.

    So my bottom line to CBS is thank-you for bringing the team back together, now please please get yourselves and the TEAM back on track.

  26. I wish Ried would grow his hair long again. He suits it much better.

  27. Miss seeing Mandy Patinkin in Criminal Minds? Don’t miss out on his newest project on Broadway. Check it out:

    • I loved Mandy Patinkin. Hes got a new show out called Homeland now

  28. Wow. I’ve seen a lot of clueless,dumb things posted on this.
    1. It’s Hotch–not Hodge.
    2.Yes,JJ DOES know about profiling. How else would she get into the BAU? Get hired off the street? It’s even said in an episode, “this job requires a bit of profiling.”
    4. Her character was NOT boring,if you actually paid attention. Just quit being rude.
    5. And as the season seven premiere being “scattered,” yes,it’s gonna be scattered since it IS the season premiere and there would be a lot to introduce,I would think.
    6.Reid being “Mr.Macho” and JJ “barking orders?” What,is everybody supposed to stay exactly the same throughout the entire show? I’m sorry that you feel it’s wrong that characters change and grow thoughout the years. It can’t be helped,so get over it.
    7.And Ann,just look at your comment,and I feel exactly the opposite.

  29. Well I love the show and am just really pleased that the girl who took JJs place for a while didnt stay. Cant remember her name. I wonder if Rieds headaches will come up again though. There are alot of story lines that appear and then disapear like that girl that Morgan took a shine to for two episodes. I thought he was going to have a romantic fling with her and then there was nothing. Thats kind of annoying when that happens.