Written by Jennifer Amato
The opening of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders begins with the statistic that 68 million people travel outside of the United States, and those who go missing seek the assistance of the FBI’s international response team.
The scene then turns to Thailand, in the middle of the night, as a young man tries to coerce two young American girls to follow him to Bangkok. Assuming a gentleman nearby doesn’t speak English and is a peeping Tom, the group talks about taking $1,500 and leaving the area. One girl even says, “Girls get snatched overseas because they’re stupid enough to follow some guy.”
This opening situation is classic Criminal Minds, though the new spin on the series focuses on crimes that happen outside of the United States. There are a lot of interesting components, as this show brings in more worldly issues than the previous installation of the series: culture, politics, religion, gender roles, medical and law enforcement procedures, views of life and death, even weather. It is interesting from a global perspective, and I think there will be elements of teaching included, based on international differences. There are different conceptions of danger and crime in other countries. And Americans are not always welcome.
This is evident as the Royal Thai police don’t take the missing persons case as serious as the FBI, since without a body, there is no crime from their point of view. Another statement is that it’s not their responsibility to worry about missing Americans. Further, the show addresses real issues, such as the assumption at first that this may be a case of human trafficking.
I am addicted to the original Criminal Minds, so it will take me a little time to adjust to the new group dynamic of the characters. However, the first episode definitely shows potential. Plus, there is the same camera work, chase scenes, heartache and beautiful psychological story writing as the original.
Whereas the original Criminal Minds makes me never want to step foot outside my door, this new version makes me never want to step foot outside this country – unless I decide to go through FBI training first.
Rating: 9 out of 10