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"Criminal Minds" Middle Man (2010)

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Great episode with Amazing Guest Stars!

10/10
Author: georgiapeach73 from United States
3 November 2010

I love this show, but this episode "Middle Man" was particularly good with great guest stars; please have Robert Newman and Michael Grant Terry on as guest stars as often as possible. Better yet, recurring or regular roles would be even better. They really heated up this episode!!! Not to take away from the regular stars of the show that keep me watching week after week, but we all know that Criminal Minds must rely on guest stars for the episode plots. I'd say that this episode hits a Perfect 10 because of Newman and Terry! I think the guest stars made me realize how wonderful the regular actors are as well. The way the regular stars all interact on a weekly basis make this one of the best shows ever! I could see Newman being part of that team. Terry could make a wonderful serial killer in my opinion!

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Twisty, complex and thoroughly engrossing with great supporting cast work

8/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
8 February 2017

'Criminal Minds' had several high points in Seasons 1-5. Season 6 onwards also had high points but significantly less frequently, and the overall standard became hit and miss with a wider divide than before between the seasons' best and worst episodes.

Season 6 saw well-done episodes such as "Hanley Waters" (one of the season's best unsub performances in Kelli Williams), "Into the Woods" (creepy with one of the show's best child performances of unusual naturalism and complexity), "The Longest Night" (a season premiere that improved on the previous season's season finale) and "Remembrance of Things Past" (confused portrayal of Alzheimers aside, this was powerful and chilling stuff).

It also saw mediocre or worse episodes like "Today I Do" (very blandly derivative of 'Misery'), "25 to Life" (didn't start off too badly but fell apart after the identity of the unsub is revealed) and especially "The Thirteenth Step" (one of the biggest examples of a 'Criminal Minds' episode that didn't feel like 'Criminal Minds'.

"Middle Man" is one of Season 6's better episodes, and there is actually very little wrong with it. Only two things and they are minor. It has been criticised for being overly misogynistic (all due to some disparaging comments made by a character that is clearly intended to be disliked by the viewer from the get go) and trying too hard to show empathy for the unsubs (despite the awful nature of the crimes, only the leader is properly evil), but these are criticisms that isn't really agreed with by me. The scene where the team are discussing details of the case in the presence of security was unprofessional and careless, in a situation that was potentially dangerous and could have cost jobs or even lives if being watched. While the supporting cast's acting is some of the best of the season, Grant Albrecht is a little unconvincing and wooden.

However, Robert Newman sinks his teeth into the hostile sheriff role, and really relishes playing an unpleasant character, giving the character so much juice without overdoing it and turning into a cartoon. The unsubs are truly interesting here, so well performed, analysed and developed that seeing a lot of them was in no way a hindrance, and all three are up there with Kelli Williams and Tim Curry as the best unsub performances of the season. Michael Grant Terry is particularly brilliant as Chris.

The acting from the leads is typically very good indeed, no complaints there. There are some lovely moments, such as Garcia feeling more positive about her role, Reid's hilarious "I'm from Las Vegas" quip and Hotch showing his authority and firmness towards the sheriff, one cannot help cheering seeing somebody standing up to such a character.

Great profiling too (some of the best-written of the whole season), where one sees the team working as a cohesive unit with great individualistic psychology into the unsubs' minds, no over-reliance on technology and no conclusion jumping (things that eluded a fair few episodes in Season 6). The writing is very thought-provoking and tight, and the story is tense and suspenseful with lots of shocking twists and turns (including one big twist that was a huge surprise) without being confusing. The atmosphere evokes chills sometimes too.

Visually, as always with 'Criminal Minds', "Middle Man" is stylish and atmospheric, while the episode is also hauntingly scored, tautly paced and solidly directed.

All in all, a very good episode and actually almost great. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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Fathers covering up for children, always a bad idea

10/10
Author: rachel-garber1947 from United States
14 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was an excellent episode and exposes the dangers of covering up a child's past run-ins with the law. The father (who was also the sheriff) thought he was doing his son a favor by covering up his past crimes, at the same time, he had an abusive relationship with his son. Parents do their children no good when they let them get away with bad behavior, at the same time they can be the most likely to have an abusive relationship with that child. I was surprised that the sheriff wasn't arrested for interfering with the BAU investigation. I think that's illegal? The audience is tipped off to the fact that the sheriff is of the school of thought that dictates, "we don't need any interference from government agencies." His attitude toward the victims is another indicator that he sees no reason for the BAU to be in his town in the first place. The women are exotic dancers, they are probably prostitutes as well, therefore why should anyone, much less he and the BAU care about their murders. It was interesting how Prentiss and Reid were able to figure out how the women were chosen for abduction, but the best part of the episode was the end when the father realized his son had to be held accountable, and finally Hotch telling him to be there for his son. It took a heinous crime for the father to step up and be a father, not cover up, but BE THERE. The resolution was probably the first time the father was a real father instead of a relentless disciplinarian. It's too bad it took the murder of three women for that to come about, but I suppose better late than never, let the healing begin.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"Criminal Minds" excellence in criminal sociology; It's absolutely fascinating

10/10
Author: tlynn1 from United States
6 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Criminal Minds," my favorite show of all time just had an A+ episode. The writing by Rich Dunkle was spectacular. Stars Thomas Gibson and Matthew Gray Gubler lit up the screen along with great guest acting from former "Lizzie McGuire" co-star Jake Thomas. Of course the suspense that makes the show thrilling would not occur without the superb directing of Rob Spera.

What happened in this episode? Well, in this episode Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) and his team are called into Indiana to investigate the killings of several exotic dancers in cornfields. The team soon correctly profiles that there are three men behind these killings. What made this episode so fascinating was the new structure that exists between three killers versus the typical alpha male-subordinate relationship between two killers. The new criminal-analytical theory introduced in this episode has room for three killers. There is the dominate alpha personality who is older and has complete control and leadership over the rest of the group. Then there is the lieutenant who is the middle man (which is the name of the episode because this was the "protagnist" out of the three) who comes from a broken home, respects the dominate, and knows the land. Finally, there is the follower, the newest member who is not yet committed to the alpha and is therefore dispensable. In the words of Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) from an earlier episode "It's absolutely fascinating." "Criminal Minds" was superb this week. To further explore this theory in context view the video link below and fast forward to 2:50. New episodes of Criminal Minds are on Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS. "Criminal Minds" excellence in criminal sociology has made it my click-of-the-week. From My Blog: http://e-daytv.blogspot.com/

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