Series on crime

This has been a Criminal Minds weekend. And largely it has been due to the accumulation of past episodes which I have neglected over the past few weeks as a result of the increasing work load I have been receiving at the office. It would seem that the recent change in our office administration has affected me, despite the fact that I am in the lowest level of employees where I (comfortably) just try to live out my days in my own little world. Well, that’s gone now. Oh well… Enough about me and back to the series.

I have just watched Episode 18 of this season and it was sad to see Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) go. Although she didn’t die despite what JJ ( AJ Cook) said to the team (yes JJ made a special appearance), it was still sad to see someone you have accustomed to seeing over the past three or four seasons, say goodbye. I would say though that the way she made her exit can be something on which a lot of future episodes can be anchired on, in fact, I even think that it can be used as a jump off point for a spin-off series. That would be something nice to consider. Then again, it will be focused on what Prentiss used to do as an agent and no longer a crime-oriented series.

Speaking of spin-offs, I also just finished catching up on the Criminal Minds spin-off: Suspect Behavior. It would seem that the new series is picking up speed in its stories, what is troubling though is it is starting to sound and look like how the Criminal MInds started. It is less cerebral though, but still very much like how the story of the other team started with Agent Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin). What leaves me lost though is what makes the other team different from the original one aside from the office and the agent’s backgrounds and attires. I think it would help if the producer would really try to build up the story behind the new series. And it would also help if they would give the new team it’s own identity. As far I know, there are several teams in the real FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit and it would help if they choose among those and select the types of crimes the new team handles.

Anyway, in case you are wondering why I am so much into these series, let me tell you this: I used to cover a lot of crime stories before. Back when I was still a cub reporter in Cagayan de Oro, I was assigned to cover crime stories in the daylight hours in my first few weeks with a broadcast company. Of course that was usual for starters. What made things different though was when I was assigned to the graveyard shift, which actually came after a year and several other beat assignments.

Being a crime beat reporter gives you experiences which you may not have nightmares about but certainly alters you perception of the people around you, the society you move in, and the value of life in general. When you have seen the capability of human beings to inflict pain, misery, and death to another being, your view of humanity changes from one which was widely influenced by your naivete, to one more real and more human.

Anne Frank may have said that man is basically good despite her being locked up in an attic hiding from the Nazis, but I wonder if she had said those lines in the confines of Auschwitz, Buchenwald or Dachau. Her diary was after all written before she and her family was shipped to a concerntration camp. Maybe if she was asked of her view of humanity before she died, she would have answered differently.

Covering the crime beat during the graveyard hours give you that different perspective of human nature. The crimes a human being does to another human being under the cover of darkness are more brutal, more bestial, more instinctively animalistic. And it is in the aftermath of these crimes and seeing the state of the victims that you ask yourself how a person is capable of committing such acts against another person.

It was in an effort to understand the things I covered which attracted me to the Criminal Minds series. Some of the crimes the BAU in the series covered reminded me of the crimes I used to see up close. It maybe that the setting of the stories is in the United States and I was in some small city in Mindanao and in the growing metropolis of Cebu, but the nature, actions, and effects of crimes are the same. The dead look the same, the weapons, similar, and the suspects share the same behavior. I guess like the good side, the dark side of humanity also has what some call as the “universal subconcious” which manifests itself in extreme circumstances in milder actions for some, and in brutalities for others.

It’s been years though since I have seen my last dead body up close and personal. And I have never had any nightmares about those which I have seen. But the perspective on human beings and life that was shaped by the things I saw and reported have remained with me. I think, no matter how many times I watch the Criminal Minds and its various forms, the perspective will always be there: humans are the most merciless and brutal animals on the planet. It may take more years and season before that perspective will change. For now, I shall try to ease its effect by watching the Criminal MInds. Even if Paget Brewster is no longer there.

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