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IndependentMind

The Writers of Criminal Minds: Our Scribes

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To me it is all about the writing. No matter who you put to join the team. if the writing sucks, it will suck. That is why I didn't fall for Blake because she was just so bland and they never were acutally able to develop her properly.

I don't mean to compare here but even though I wasnt crazy about Shaw on POI her background and how they developed her was so well written that I eventually ended up liking her and it helped also that she and Root are such bad asses and crazy. lol. And I love both Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi.

Regarding, JLH one thing about her that I do like is her enthusiam. She is always giddy and smiling about her show or project. That is the opposite of JT. To me, JT never seemed like she wanted to be there.

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To me it is all about the writing. No matter who you put to join the team. if the writing sucks, it will suck. That is why I didn't fall for Blake because she was just so bland and they didn't want to develop her properly.

 

Fixed that for you, @IndependentMind.  ;-)

 

They've really kind of created a Catch-22 for themselves here, IMO. If they don't give Hewitt anything to do, it'll be because Messer's the jerk who didn't want to hire her and so refuses to let her actually act, which I think she's okay at. If they *do* give her something to do, it'll be because Messer's the jerk who gave Tripplehorn the dirty end of the stick because she didn't want to hire *her*. I'm mostly willing to wait and see, but I'm already kind of annoyed and the character isn't even here yet. And for the love of Whoever, *no* pairing with Reid, at least not right away. That'll sour me on her completely.

Edited by Cobalt Stargazer
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We often talk about the writers as one big entity, but since 8 I've stopped doing that. I think the only writers that I've absolutely lost faith in are Kim and Rick. Everyone else has risen to their craft and given us truly solid episodes many times in the past two seasons. Even Janine (that dumb season 9 premiere and Strange Fruit aside, she wrote The Edge of Winter and proved to me that she can do it when she demands it of herself) and Bruce! I've always liked Virgil, and Breen has been a favorite all along (even though he sucks with continuity), the man can write a profile! I like that they are considering guest writers, too.

 

Yes, there's the adage that even a broken clock gets it right twice a day, though I sometimes think the fandom can be a little too dismissive of some of the really good stuff they give us.

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Here's a spot to share thoughts and feelings about the hard-working people who put pen to paper and ultimately supply us with our show. Love 'em, hate 'em, or somewhere in-between? Let's talk about the group who hammer on the keyboard week in and week out - what we like about what they do, and what we think they could improve on. 

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My issue with the writing team is that the head of it is incompetent. Erica Messer. Every script goes through her. And she approves every script. She has a penchant, in my opinion, giving the go signals to the scripts written by Kim, Rick and the other not so good writers because she doesn't want to hurt their feelings. Or in Rick's case, they have been writing partners since ""Alias" days. As for Kim, I don't know how the heck she got the job as a writer. Someone had mentioned she and Rick are dating. Hmmm. Don't know if that is true.

When Ed was running the show, I felt he had standards. And that is why his writing team was exceptional. When he writes an episode it was something I look forward too. But with Messer,I can't believe that she is running this show. Her collaboaration with Rick is often the worst.

Also, how many has Erica featured Kershaw's song? 3 times and all involved major episodes. And this Kershaw is the daughter of one of CM's executive producers. I don't remember this happening when Ed ran the show.

The moment there is nepotism and fraternization, the show is ruined.
 

Edited by Willowy
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Kim and Rick have been dating for a few years now. If I'm not mistaken I remember they got together (or at least came out as a couple) sometime during season 7. Hell, they could be living together by now for all we know. 

 

Glenn Kershaw is Lily's father, and you are right that he's a co-exec producer, as well as a writer and director. 

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That is my problem with EM. She lets her emotions, in my opinion make the decisions for her. Kim should have never been a writer on CM. There is not one episode that she has written that was even close to being good. Not one single one. And EM should have never had Rick as her right hand man even though they go way back. He really is incapable of writing a good script. She was an assistant to EB for years and the moment EM and RD took over, she becamw a writer.

Lily Kershaw is good but she doesnt deserve to have three songs played in all three big episodes. And this is all because of Glenn Kershaw to help boost his daughter's career.

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I don't know that I have an opinion either way about any specific writer.  In general, I think any of them can get a scene just right, or completely wrong.  Same with a whole episode.  There are probably some who have more consistency with giving us quality episodes,and some who don't, but I don't even think that plays a major role in my level of satisfaction with the series. 

 

I'm more affected by the general misreading of what's interesting (explosions, and chases in the dark), the regression to form by some of them (writing something appropriate for another series they once worked on, that has nothing to do with CM), and, inexcusably, the failure to write the characters with any degree of consistency.  Not only is there little attempt to connect a character with his or her past in a significant way, but there is a failure to write them consistently from week to week in the same season.

 

Several of the writers have been open about having difficulty finding the right 'voice' for one character or another.  Rather than solve that problem, they seem to address it by ignoring that character----and this seems to be accepted practice.  Really, in your workplace----would you still have a paycheck if you told your boss, "I don't really like that part of the job, so I'm just not going to do it, okay?"  As though it's impossible to find writers who can competently write for each character on a show.  It's lazy, and the laziness starts to spill over into other aspects as well.  Research is another one of those 'lazy' areas.  It's often half-done, as though the person responsible couldn't make it through the whole page on wikipedia.

 

A major complicating factor is the quality of the editing.  The characterizations and general plot lines are clearly the responsibility of the writer.  But how things play out on screen, whether a story line makes sense, or an emphasis was appropriately placed------these things can be greatly affected by the choices made in the editing room. I'm not familiar enough with television production to know how many people have a voice in that process, nor who, exactly, they might be.  But I think they hold some degree of responsibility, for both the good and the bad.

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I agree with you there. Editing is a big part of how an episide turns out. And who is in that editing room? The writer, the director and of course, the showrunner.

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says:

 

Research is another one of those 'lazy' areas.  It's often half-done, as though the person responsible couldn't make it through the whole page on wikipedia.

 

 

Witness Ticona Joy, their researcher. Everyone sings her praises high and low because what she does saves them time, and no doubt she's able to find some interesting things... but she wrote "...Mecklinburg".

 

:/

 

You'd think, as someone who'd been researching the show for years, that she would be able to piece together a pretty excellent and formidable episode, considering she's probably been waiting to have her shot the whole time. THAT's the best she could come up with? 

 

Then, addressing what you said above... YES!! Pleeeease finish what you start! I'm still shaking my head over Reid's sudden 'MIT GRADUATE' status (seriously, someone... anyone?? should've caught that one. Hell, WE would've caught that one. We actually DID!).

 

Ugh I know this sounds harsh, and I truly do love my show and the people that give it to us... but neither am I blind to its holes. Especially when some are so glaring.


Also JMO, I do think that part of the reason they have 7 writers with both showrunner and assistant showrunner writing as well, is not only to share the workload throughout the season, but to be able to play to or tap certain strengths that each writer may have for a certain character or plot point. For instance, they all say Breen is good with technical. Virgil said "Whenever one of us has a tech question when we're writing our episodes, we go to Breen because he's good, he's the go-to guy for that, and that's just what we do. We all help each other." Kim has specifically said she cannot write Reid (and believe me I'm not sticking up for her. The abysmal "Mr. and Mrs. Anderson" was the final nail in her coffin as far as I'm concerned). 

 

But so I think the writing jobs are a little more flexible than a regular 9 to 5er. Still then... what's Kim's excuse because I don't think she's good at writing anything in particular. :P

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If she cannot write Reid, she should not be on the show. To think she has been there since the beginning.

It is really sad that it seems the reason why she us on the writing board is because she is dating Erica's right hand man.

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So apparently Rick's on his way to Brazil or something? With only three days off? Something isn't right...

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Well, I do hope he is out the door for good. Maybe CBS keeping them in line also means getting rid of some of the writers and hiring new ones and not the ones who are Erica's friends.

He really is a terrible writer.

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Or, maybe he's using Matthew's trick of posting pics after he's already back. 

 

While I agree with your assessment, @IndependentMind, I didn't used to. It saddens me that he's gotten worse the longer he's been at it. 

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So if they accept guest writers, does this mean I can forward them my stories? :-p

Anyhow...in general I never developed much of a hatred for any of the writers, since each seems to have their fair share of epics and clunkers. I'm not sure I'd call any of these guys “great”, though, because I don't think there's a cliche these writers won't go into the well for.

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Or, maybe he's using Matthew's trick of posting pics after he's already back.

While I agree with your assessment, @IndependentMind, I didn't used to. It saddens me that he's gotten worse the longer he's been at it.

In my opinion, a lot of that has to do with overconfidence and being so comfortable with the situation. Meaning he is very close to Erica Messer and he knows and believes that she had his back and as long as she is running the show, his job is safe.

If RD is terrible, KH is worse. She is the worst writer there.

What is her wriiting background?

Reid is a very intelligent and complex character. So if she can't write Reid, in my opinion, that says a lot about her intellect as well as her limited skills as a writer.

As I said earlier, there is no excuse for her not to know Reid, she has been there since the beginning.

Edited by IndependentMind
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She started out as Ed's assistant in 2006, but didn't start writing for the show until 2010. Before Ed all I can find is that she PA'd on a couple of movies like Date Night and Click.

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There's a poster who used to be on TWOP whom I haven't heard from in awhile. She used to work in TV as the script coordinator for ALF and Coach. I wish she was around here because she had some very interesting feedback about writing. When Virgil excitedly talked about how long of a script he initially submitted, she commented that no decent showrunner would allow a writer to turn in a script that long. One of the things about being a writer in the business is that they have to learn how to properly abridge their scripts to save time and make sure the episodes will fit in the time allotted.

 

DanielG, you would have to be a member of the Screen Actors Guild and possibly get an agent (I'm not sure on that) in order to have a script accepted-- at least that is the general rule. Even though it may seem that they sometimes just let in writers off the streets.

 

I remember when I thought that Janine was the absolute worst writer on the series because she wrote some total turkeys-- including my least favorite episodes of the entire series (like "The Thirteenth Step" and "I Love You Tommy Brown"). But then I thought Erica was vying for the worst writer title. Then it was Kim. I have to say in Kim's defense, the episode with the crippled son who was killing people and the mother who was helping was a very interesting one. I actually found myself interested in the side characters, but I felt that the team was an afterthought and the voices were wrong. I think if it had been a movie on Lifetime or a different TV series, it might have worked. Unfortunately the dialog was garbage. At least Kim admits that she doesn't know how to write for Reid.

 

Erica is very frustrating because her dialog for Reid is pretty bad but she doesn't seem to admit that. I don't mean to insult her intelligence, but she had the team thinking that using the word "metaphor" was a big deal in the episode "JJ". She has people act like Reid is a space alien because he knows about grammar. What she considers to be signs of a genius are not really all that great. Also, she doesn't seem to know how to give Hotch much to do that doesn't involve a girlfriend and she likes to have angry!Morgan. Good grief, the slow-clap scene is still unforgivable. I made my brother watch that and he turned to me and said "What the fuck?" That was easily one of THE worst scenes on the show. She also seems to ignore common sense and will have characters do things out of character or that no real person would actually do and has other people behave in ways that don't make sense just to have certain scenes. If Morgan had disobeyed Strauss and manhandled that politician in his own home the way he had, he'd be up on harassment charges and be kicked out of the BAU. That just went against so many laws... Oh, and in the one with the military school there was no explanation of how the boy's father overpowered all of those other boys. And the whole trial like thing in "It Takes A Village". Reid's behavior would not have flown and the speech Prentiss gave would have done nothing. She's also quite bad with continuity. Like she couldn't remember that JJ was sent to the Pentagon and the next thing you know they are saying "State Dept", only she was doing shit that no real state dept employee would do.

 

Rick is frustrating because he gets a bit combative with fans (especially Reid fans) and behaves a bit immaturely and rudely. He also makes excuses as to why he can't put out better scripts. He defended his need to show the unsubs early on because he seems to think the only way to learn about them otherwise is an info dump from Garcia in act 3. He completely ignores the fact that previous writers were consistently able to write the stories with actual unknown perpetrators and give us more info via victimology and the nature of the crime instead of an "info dump" at the end. I think he just lacks the skill and vision to do the kinds of stories that a lot of the earlier fans miss. Aside from the stuff with Sammy in "Coda"- which was somewhat overdone-- I found that episode boring as shit. I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters. I was pissed off at the near death experience thing from Reid in "Epilogue". As a woman of science, I just found it offensive that he would have Reid claim that he couldn't think of any possibilities for that hallucination he had while "dead". And I can't forget the oversights in "Sense Memory"-- which was a blatant ripoff of "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer". Only instead of taking the hair, the guy dunked their entire bodies to get their scent. /facepalm

Oh, and he had to wake them up first? Why? There was no purpose to waking them up first. If the guy's goal was not to torture them, then he should have left them unconscious. Also, people relieve their bowels when they die. That perfume solution he made would have smelled like shit. Oh, and he's not so great with continuity.

 

Back to Janine, I do think that she has improved and she has tried to tone down the gore and is open to some feedback, but she's also shown some extreme immaturity when dealing with fans. The whole "SHUT THE FRONT DOOR" and "THIS SHOW WILL BE ON FOREVER" in a chat were just inexcusable. That said, even though she has contradicted previously established profiling data in some of her episodes and has had some extremely ludicrous stuff, she did have some small moments that were nice. The two good things about "The Thirteenth Step" were Hotch asking Reid for info on the 12 step program and the fact that there was actually a brief explanation of why Reid disappeared at the end (they told Reid to stay at the station). Still, I question her tastes because she can't seem to handle doing an episode with only one unsub. Her unsubs are more like flamboyant villains than real characters. She likes to throw in the victim that is actually a villain too and she has people behave in a way that doesn't make sense.

 

Breen seems to be friendly with the fans and takes criticism fairly well. He does make some huge continuity errors and I think sometimes he goes for comedy at the expense of characterization, but I still like his writing.

 

Virgil also goes for some out-of-character sight-gags that don't work for me. He is pretty good at responding to fans, but he also has moments where he loses his cool and takes things a bit too personally and behaves immaturely in his interactions with fans. I know he and Rick have both gotten sort of defensive in the past. He's not one of the worst writers though.

 

Bruce, I'm not sure what to think. His episodes are not all that memorable to me, but he seems like a nice enough guy.

 

I like Sharon Lee Watson, even if I have been seriously disappointed in some of her episodes. She has missed the mark on some things and some of her episodes really flopped. I will say that she comes off as more mature than some of the other writers and she seems to really listen to feedback from fans and responds in a more intellectual way. I may be a bit biased because she is the only writer that really likes to write for Reid. Too bad she doesn't have his characterization down pat. I do think that she does listen to constructive criticism and has tried to improve and she actually does think things out. In Dorado Falls when she was asked about why the unsub didn't see his own reflection and fail to recognize himself, she said that was why the mirror was so dirty-- so he wouldn't be able to get a good look. That was a nice little detail that showed she actually thought things through. It's a subtlety that is often lacking in what we get from the rest of the writers.

 

Overall, the current writing team seems to either not give us enough info so we are left wondering WTF just happened or how certain leaps were made or they really hit us over the heads with stuff. There isn't as much in-between where it is subtle enough that its not screaming at us, but still clear enough that we get it.

 

I really feel what they've done with the personal lives has been a misstep because, despite seeing more of the team in their personal lives, I feel we haven't really learned anything all that new about the characters. I think we learned more about them in just the short lines that were worked in to how they reacted to the cases or dealt with things during the cases. Morgan being all wet in a towel did nothing to tell us about who he is, why he does this job, or what he gets out of the job.

 

As for Ticona, I didn't find her episode terrible. I think it was a good outing for a first attempt. I may be biased because I read the interview and she seems like an intelligent and thoughtful person though.

 

I find myself much more annoyed with the writers who seem to want to focus on action scenes and think explosions are so cool and great.

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I think with Blake, someone (not sure if it was JT or Erica or whoever) wanted to make the character completely different from any other previous female agent. They succeeded, but not in a good way. I liked that she was a calming presence, but she often came off as bland and boring. And I do blame all of that on the writers.

 

We don't know what they're going to do with JLH's character, but unless they give us some insight into her character and qualifications early one, they'll run the risk of backlash against her. With Prentiss we learned right away that her mother was a diplomat and she'd been in the agency for 10 years. Then in the second episode, her first full episode, we learned that she was fluent in Arabic and had lived in several middle eastern countries. By her 3rd episode we learned that she resented her mother's way of doing business. "I hate politics." She was by no means more prevalent in these episodes than any other character, but we still learned about her past, her capabilities on the job and something about her character and personality as well. We didn't get that with Blake. However, with the current writers, I don't feel we get good characterization of any of the team anymore.

The thing about Prentiss was, Hotch was resistant to her presence at first. He seemed to have some idea that she wanted the spot Elle had vacated as a lark, either that or she had something to prove, and he didn't like the idea of her using the BAU that way. The team returns from a case, and he finds her sitting in his office, and he looks both bemused and annoyed when he says, "*Please* tell me you haven't been sitting here for four days while I was gone." So the writers let him be in character because he was taking his dedication to his work seriously, and while obviously Emily was eventually accepted as a member of the team, she kind of had to get past him first to even stay on. She had to convince him to give her a chance, and she proved herself.

 

Then Emily leaves and Alex shows up, with a backstory that she was with the unit before but was demoted, thus causing her tension in the present with Strauss. The writers dropped the ball on really exploring that for some reason, and then the Replicator killed Strauss and it didn't matter anymore anyway. If they had had an affair in the past, as a brave handful of people suspect, *that* would have been an angle worth exploring, and it wouldn't have had to be a major focus. I'd like not to think that Erica Messer is so unprofessional and/or petty that she decided being made to hire Tripplehorn was an adequate excuse to give her almost nothing to work with, and that the writers followed her unspoken cue. I'm sure she's a nice enough person, and maybe she even thinks she did the best she could to give Blake a chance, and that she's doing the best she can in general to make CM a good show, and yet.....

 

Now Jennifer Love Hewitt is coming on-board, and apparently she's won Messer over a bit. Maybe that's enough to give her an edge and Kate Callahan won't languish in relative limbo the way Alex Blake did, but it'll kind of leave a bad taste in my mouth if that happens. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Edited by Willowy · Reason: Removed spoiler tag.
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I know it was retroactive, but when Hotch was talking to the superspy guy Clyde he mentioned how the recommendation for Prentiss had been phrased in such a way that it would make her a very appealing candidate and I suspect that Hotch knew something was up. The reason Hotch was resistant to Prentiss at first I think was because she was pushed on the team and he had not picked her-- Strauss had. Having Strauss, who was ready to backstab him at the first opportunity, appoint Emily is what made him suspicious of her. It took him awhile to realize that she wasn't going to spy for Strauss. Now that I think about it, its interesting that she was sent to spy on the team-- or that is what Strauss wanted her to do-- because it does sort of make sense for her to have been a spy if that was the case. But I think she was just really tired of the spy crap. Probably not as tired as I am of seeing it on tv though.

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I know it was retroactive, but when Hotch was talking to the superspy guy Clyde he mentioned how the recommendation for Prentiss had been phrased in such a way that it would make her a very appealing candidate and I suspect that Hotch knew something was up. The reason Hotch was resistant to Prentiss at first I think was because she was pushed on the team and he had not picked her-- Strauss had. Having Strauss, who was ready to backstab him at the first opportunity, appoint Emily is what made him suspicious of her. It took him awhile to realize that she wasn't going to spy for Strauss. Now that I think about it, its interesting that she was sent to spy on the team-- or that is what Strauss wanted her to do-- because it does sort of make sense for her to have been a spy if that was the case. But I think she was just really tired of the spy crap. Probably not as tired as I am of seeing it on tv though.

And actually, after the thing with Frank,  Strauss told Prentiss, "It's time for Aaron Hotchner's career to come to an end. I expect you to help me make that happen." or something along those lines. So she was planning to use Emily somehow to lever Hotch out of his job. I'm not sure if its inconsistent writing that after Foyet murders Haley, its Strauss who clears Hotch of responsibility at the review. Her acceptance of his explanation that he killed Foyet to protect Jack was kind of awesome, because that was the first time she'd shown him any kind of warmth at all, but if her intention was to shove him out of the Bureau (ironically more or less the same thing that happened to Alex) wouldn't that have been her best shot at it? Inconsistent writing, or just an attempt on the writers' parts to show that Strauss wasn't all bad? I really can't decide.

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Actually, I think Strauss still saw it as an opportunity to get rid of Hotch while making it look like she was on his side. At least that was my take on it. Granted, I think she did genuinely feel sorry for him, but she saw the opportunity to offer him an early retirement- which would take him out of the running as her competition. Up until they made her take a Face Turn (wrestling term for when an antagonist becomes a protagonist), I thought she was more realistic because she reminded me of some people my father had to deal with in the federal government.

 

Also, I had to cringe at how they did that because it would not be up to Strauss to decide if Hotch had done the right thing. It was up to OIG. Given what Foyett had done, the general LEO attitude would be that it was justifiable.

 

I wish we still had some writers on the show that have backgrounds in law enforcement. Jim Clemente is the only one and I think he trusts the writers too much with "cheating" for drama. It really shows that the writers don't seem to know much about how things actually work.

 

I could go on and rant forever about 25 to Life and how that episode never would have happened because there was no way they ever would have let the guy out if he didn't admit to committing the crime. Not to mention they never would have brought in Morgan to interview him-- they would have had a real psychologist or psychiatrist do that. I will have to stop myself before I go on about the slow clap scene.

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I had my own takedown review of 25 to Life when it aired, because I despised that episode so much. I have never watched that episode again, and I don't intend to. :)

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I had my own takedown review of 25 to Life when it aired, because I despised that episode so much. I have never watched that episode again, and I don't intend to. :)

25 to Life is the one with Not!Bayliss, right?

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Uh....I'm not sure. It is the one episode there is absolutely ZERO Hotch, Angry!Morgan was on full display, the full ridiculousness of having Ashley on the team was brought to the forefront, and Strauss of all persons was actually the voice of reason. There is so much badness packed into a 45 minute episode, and not surprisingly written by Erica and very much highlighted her writing weaknesses. 

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TBH it's one of my favorite Kyle Secor things I've ever seen him do, he really elevated the material. He played it with such a calm deference, you could see the goodness in the man... and you don't want to believe Morgan could be THAT wrong, yet still you question if he's actually the killer at one point. I also liked seeing more bts stuff the BAU does, much as we did in The Edge of Winter, my favorite episode of 9. 

 

But fully agree that as a whole, the episode sucked.

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This was Erica's first year as showrunner, and I don't think they had gotten their rhythm down yet, though it still seems weird to me that she wrote the eleventh episode. I'm so used to her doing the season openers and/or enders now.

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Actually, I think Strauss still saw it as an opportunity to get rid of Hotch while making it look like she was on his side. At least that was my take on it. Granted, I think she did genuinely feel sorry for him, but she saw the opportunity to offer him an early retirement- which would take him out of the running as her competition. Up until they made her take a Face Turn (wrestling term for when an antagonist becomes a protagonist), I thought she was more realistic because she reminded me of some people my father had to deal with in the federal government.

Hah, Face Turn!

 

Was it ever stated why Strauss thought Hotch was competition? Early Hotch seemed completely uninterested in the kind of political games Erin must have had to play to get to where she was, and he very politely calls Prentiss' mother an impressive woman in the scene where Emily says that she hates politics because it destroys families. He doesn't agree with her, but he doesn't disagree either. It seems like if he was a political animal, he'd have been openly jockeying with Strauss, since that would lend credence to the idea that she saw him as enough of a threat that she wanted him out of the way.

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My issue with Erin Strauss, early on, was that the show clearly painted her as a "villain" and I hate it when characters are so "cut and dry", because no one in real life ever is. I never understood what Strauss' motivation was for wanting to get rid of Hotch, or even to antagonize the entire team. I also believed the show pandered to political correctness in placing a woman in the role (many shows these days seem to stick a woman in a minor but "superior" role if the central figure is male).

I did like that she got character development- the alcoholism storyline, eventually seeing what the team goes through, becoming sympathetic with the team (and Hotch) and ultimately helping them out (as seen in "The Replicator").

Still, I would have enjoyed it more if her initial presentation wasn't so slanted.

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Hah, Face Turn!

 

Was it ever stated why Strauss thought Hotch was competition? Early Hotch seemed completely uninterested in the kind of political games Erin must have had to play to get to where she was, and he very politely calls Prentiss' mother an impressive woman in the scene where Emily says that she hates politics because it destroys families. He doesn't agree with her, but he doesn't disagree either. It seems like if he was a political animal, he'd have been openly jockeying with Strauss, since that would lend credence to the idea that she saw him as enough of a threat that she wanted him out of the way.

I so agree with you about Hotch not being overly political. Hell, if he were, he would have stayed a prosecutor!! As it is, he found his niche as the leader (in the wake of Gideon's burnout) of an elite group who shuts down criminals that are tougher than the average bear to catch. Hotch always impressed me as someone who constantly, voraciously learned everything he could about people, especially those who were damaged or warped enough to commit serial crimes.

 

Perhaps Strauss still thought, if he was enough of a star, he would be able to squeeze her out of the Section Chief role and put anyone he wanted there...?

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Actually, I think Strauss still saw it as an opportunity to get rid of Hotch while making it look like she was on his side. At least that was my take on it. Granted, I think she did genuinely feel sorry for him, but she saw the opportunity to offer him an early retirement- which would take him out of the running as her competition. Up until they made her take a Face Turn (wrestling term for when an antagonist becomes a protagonist), I thought she was more realistic because she reminded me of some people my father had to deal with in the federal government.

 

Also, I had to cringe at how they did that because it would not be up to Strauss to decide if Hotch had done the right thing. It was up to OIG. Given what Foyett had done, the general LEO attitude would be that it was justifiable.

 

I wish we still had some writers on the show that have backgrounds in law enforcement. Jim Clemente is the only one and I think he trusts the writers too much with "cheating" for drama. It really shows that the writers don't seem to know much about how things actually work.

 

I could go on and rant forever about 25 to Life and how that episode never would have happened because there was no way they ever would have let the guy out if he didn't admit to committing the crime. Not to mention they never would have brought in Morgan to interview him-- they would have had a real psychologist or psychiatrist do that. I will have to stop myself before I go on about the slow clap scene.

Zannej, I've lost respect for Jim Clemente. I think he's so enjoying his cushy Hollywood life that he lacks the balls to confront the other writers when they write stuff that is so horribly implausible. He is supposed to be their FBI consultant. He should speak up when things are not right, especially crap like 200, yet he now defends the writers. He could say, "well, you know this is just a TV show" but instead he actually claims that these things could happen.

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Danielg, for me it *was* realistic to have a "villain" like Strauss because there are actually people like that. The federal govt can be very cutthroat and there is a lot of backstabbing happening. People can and do sabotage others to try to get ahead. 

 

I can't remember for certain, but I could have sworn that Prentiss or *someone* mentioned that Strauss saw Hotch as competition for the job as head of the FBI. It was made clear from the beginning that people around Hotch thought that he was ambitious and that he had his sights set on becoming the director of the FBI. I don't think Hotch personally ever confirmed or denied that, but it was the perception about him. Even if it wasn't his goal, it was reasonable to think that Strauss believed it was his goal and that she knew that he would have a better chance of getting the job than her. Statistically, tall attractive males will get promotions over average looking females. Plus, I think Strauss was not as well-equipped for the job and I got the impression that she wasn't the most competent person. I used to fanwank that she was one of those sort of affirmative action appointees where the feds were pressured to put more females in higher positions to appear as if they did not have a gender bias (and this was a very real problem-- they put in underqualified females in supervisory positions just to meet a quota). I don't know if it is happening as much nowadays.

 

Strauss actually reminded me a tad bit of Doris Meissner...

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Danielg, for me it *was* realistic to have a "villain" like Strauss because there are actually people like that. The federal govt can be very cutthroat and there is a lot of backstabbing happening. People can and do sabotage others to try to get ahead. 

 

I can't remember for certain, but I could have sworn that Prentiss or *someone* mentioned that Strauss saw Hotch as competition for the job as head of the FBI. It was made clear from the beginning that people around Hotch thought that he was ambitious and that he had his sights set on becoming the director of the FBI. I don't think Hotch personally ever confirmed or denied that, but it was the perception about him. Even if it wasn't his goal, it was reasonable to think that Strauss believed it was his goal and that she knew that he would have a better chance of getting the job than her. Statistically, tall attractive males will get promotions over average looking females. Plus, I think Strauss was not as well-equipped for the job and I got the impression that she wasn't the most competent person. I used to fanwank that she was one of those sort of affirmative action appointees where the feds were pressured to put more females in higher positions to appear as if they did not have a gender bias (and this was a very real problem-- they put in underqualified females in supervisory positions just to meet a quota). I don't know if it is happening as much nowadays.

 

Strauss actually reminded me a tad bit of Doris Meissner...

But if it was a gender thing, and Strauss wanted to get Hotch out of her hair before his perceived ambition got in the way of her own career plans, then doesn't that make the stuff with Blake even more nonsensical? How did it benefit her to have more or less sabotaged Alex's career, unless the (fanwanked) affair really did happen? I can agree more with the idea that Original Recipe!Strauss would have wrecked Aaron's career without thinking about it, but that doesn't explain the why of her helping to flush Alex's reputation down the toilet. A little consistency would e appreciated, y'know? :-)

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I don't think Strauss's tanking of Alex's reputation and career had anything to do with taking out any perceived competition. I think she did it to cover her own ass and protect her own career. Someone was going to suffer for the mishandling of that case, and Strauss made sure it wasn't her. I can't remember if Strauss was Alex's boss or her colleague during the Amerithrax case, but either way Strauss made sure Alex took the fall for the results and not her. I think that would be a good example of backstabbing someone to save your own ass.

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Danielg, for me it *was* realistic to have a "villain" like Strauss because there are actually people like that. The federal govt can be very cutthroat and there is a lot of backstabbing happening. People can and do sabotage others to try to get ahead.

That doesn't surprise me- every workplace has its fair share of backstabbers and cutthroat artists- I work in a window factory and I deal with it every day. That part of Strauss' character I don't have a problem with.

The problem I have is that the show didn't give me any sense what's motivating her to sabotage Hotch's and Gideon's careers. As "House" showed, even the a-hole can be sympathetic, and Strauss deserved that opportunity. The other part of that is that while others may view Strauss as "the bad guy" (or "bad woman" if you will), Strauss herself will not see herself that way- nobody does. In Strauss' mind, what she's doing is the right thing to do, and I wanted to get a sense of that.

Perhaps something like that is a pipe dream given how simplistic the show draws out its characters, but I always like having the option to interpret characters the way I'd like instead of the show deciding for me who I should and shouldn't root for (within reason, though).

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Perhaps something like that is a pipe dream given how simplistic the show draws out its characters, but I always like having the option to interpret characters the way I'd like instead of the show deciding for me who I should and shouldn't root for (within reason, though).

 

And that is a good way to bring this thread back around to the writers. Nice organic tangent, but if we want to continue the Strauss discussion, lets take it to her thread from here. 

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Does anyone have a favorite writer? 

 

Most of mine are from back in the day, but if I had to choose one of the current staff it would be Jim Clemente. 

 

I don't know if he's gotten a big head or not, but it hasn't seemed to affect his own writing. His episodes have a sensitivity to character that are absent in other writer's work. 

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My favorite overall writer is Andrew Wilder, though I certainly didn't love everything he wrote. Of the current writers, it would probably have to be Breen Frazier, though I give him the side eye for some of his choices as well. 

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Agree with the names above, though I also like Oanh Ly. She wrote Amplification and Zoe's Reprise, but then again, she also wrote that dud Parasite. Sharon has been surprising me, in a good way, with some of her writing choices recently.

 

Even the best of them have a few stinkers, but I think the consistently best was Andrew. Also like Ed, Simon, and Chris Mundy. Ah hell, I can't pick just one. :P

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Oops. I forgot what thread we were in. LOL.

 

Anyway, someone was telling me that the writer firings were not just about the paycuts and people refusing. Apparently CBS decided to retaliate over the previous writers' strike and ordered Ed to fire some of the writers. He had to make the tough decision of who to keep and who to ditch. Now, I don't know if some of the people left of their own volition to prevent others from being axed or what-- but Andrew Wilder, Deb Fisher, and a lot of the very strong writers were kicked. To this day I really don't understand why they kept Erica instead of Andrew Wilder or Deb Fisher or the others. I also wonder if maybe there is some resentment from the ones who were fired toward the people who weren't... Which could probably explain why Erica basically shoots down any suggestions that the old writers should come back.

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Was Rick even one of the main writers at that time? I thought his time came after season 5? I can't really remember.

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Erica definitely should have been eliminated. I doubt we'll ever know what really went down. Maybe Andrew Wilder was just fed up with the situation. It's a shame. When I look back, most of my favorite episodes were by Andrew Wilder or Ed Bernero.

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Ian Woolf said they had already been grooming Erica for a long time, so there was no way they were going to fire her. As much as we complain about her favoring characters and certain 'spy-ish' plots, I can't really think of who else I'd rather have in her position. Certainly not Janine, who runs as hot and cold as a faucet, and certainly not Ian who's reflex, knee-jerk answer to everything is an immediate "NO!". Harry would be more appropriate in that spot, but he has zero interest in doing that.

 

When I think of other shows, the only people I'd consider getting their hands on CM would be the creators of Orphan Black. They know how to create believable and diverse characters with specialized skills, while giving us plot twists and murky hints that are eventually brought to light. I had high hopes for The Blacklist, but that show ran off the rails, and Mind Games forgot where it was headed and spiraled down the cancellation drain.

 

Jeff Davis, our show's original creator is someone to consider, though his reputation as a diva prone to sudden tantrums wouldn't bode well. Joss Whedon wouldn't touch a procedural with a ten foot scythe, even if he WERE ever to become available, and David Milch is brilliant but crazy. The two Aarons, Sorkin and Korsh, wouldn't work because CM isn't even remotely a Sorkin show, and Korsh is busy with Suits

 

Interesting to note that there aren't any women on my list. I guess I just tend to think of producers like Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy), and Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls and Bunheads), as an anomaly. Sadly, there just aren't many great women producers that are household names. 

 

If Erica were suddenly fired tomorrow, who do you guys feel could step up and firmly and adroitly take the reins?

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I wish CBS would throw a ton of money at Ed Bernero to get him back from the new Katherine Heigl drama on NBC. Looking back, Ed's main problem was the introduction of Ashley, and his days were far and away better than anything that's come after it.

 

I do wonder if Chris Mundy could handle the job. He wrote many of my favorite episodes, and he has a graduated to showrunner status. However, CBS did let him go from the spinoff because they didn't like the direction he was going, so I am not sure what he would do with the original. But at this point, likely better than Erica. 

 

I absolutely wouldn't want CBS to promote from in house, because I think most of them should be fired and not promoted. They need someone who truly understands the core mission of Criminal Minds and is interested in showing that. 

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