This show is the story of Samantha Waters. Her story is dominated by the omnipotent criminal Jack who is obsessed with Sam, but it is not exclusively so. This show ended at the end of the second episode of the fourth season. After that it lost all cohesion, but it attempted to refocus on a new profiler who replaced Sam. It's not that the new profiler's story was bad, but it was a completely new story that was different. It featured a completely new star character with a completely different personality.
Here's what I loved about the show:
The science of profiling.
Here's what I hated:
The obsession with Jack
The torture of Sam in many various ways, especially killing key people in her life.
Malone including his arrogance and irresponsibility
The twofold persecution of Malone story lines.
The rebellious Frances story line
The series finale cliffhanger
Many people denigrate the performances of Ally Walker. It is true that there are far too many of the same closeup shots of her with the same look on her face. They are basically prolonged stills and they require no acting ability. But Walker does far more than that. Personally, I love her laugh when it's completely spontaneous, but that's not all. Walker had to be a woman who is vulnerable and frequently frightened, but with only a few exceptions, she doesn't show her fear. At the same time she had to be confident in her own abilities. Mix in that frequently Sam pretended to be either insecure or fearful. She thinks on her feet and comes up solutions on her feet also. Walker is probably not Emmy worthy, but she is not just a pretty blonde.
Sam's close friends and Chloe are obvious feel-goods for the series.
I loved Criminal Minds until they messed around with too many cast changes. This show was a forerunner to that and there is a lot of the brilliant deduction appeal in profiling.
Many people love Jack. Certainly, his story was closely tied to Sam's. I just didn't like that story especially the obsession.
Part of the obsession was the torment of Sam that just went on and on. But not only does Jack torment her, but at least one time the writers do also (the Chloe custody episode).
Probably the biggest thing I hated about Jack was his omnipotence. Think about who he turns out to be at the end of season 3 (although we knew before that). He held down that identity and still moved all of the country ahead of the VCTF. Admittedly, he had some help for which we are totally clear always on who did what, but still he was too omnipotent. As a rule, I hate the omnipotent criminal (such as Pelant in Bones).
Malone is an idiot. He's arrogant and irresponsible. He fails his daughter many times over. He operates outside the lines too often for the FBI, despite what current events in 2018 tell us. The gods of television are idealistic and would like us to believe in people who are independent and equally idealistic. The most obvious flaw in Malone is chasing after the wife of his FBI rival. Career FBI guys can't afford to do that. You don't mess around in the office and you don't hit on colleagues wives. Maybe it happens, but it is idiotic.
In short, I think two things held me for 3 plus seasons of this show. One was it's sharing a two hour time period with Pretender. The other was Ally Walker as Sam. Watching it again in reruns leaves me frustrated more often than not.
Note about reruns. Right now it runs twice a day on a cable channel. But the AM and PM episodes are from completely different points in the series. That adds to frustration and makes things confusing.
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