Criminal Minds Review

Criminal Minds Review

Criminal Minds is a 20-episode kdrama that aired from July 26 – September 28, 2017. It focuses on a team of profilers that solve crimes. Throughout the series members of the team become more than bystanders as they work to decipher the criminal’s mindset to capture them.

The Good

Tried and true cases. This series is based on the US TV Series Criminal Minds which began in 2004 and is still going after 13 seasons. There was a plethora cases for Writer Hong Seung Hyun to select from. For the most part Writer Hong selected interesting cases and reshaped them to fit the Korean viewing audience. The Reaper (Kim Won Hae) was the riveting criminal of the series. A long time serial killer, he had direct interactions with the team. If an episode showcased the Reaper, it was a good one. After building up the evil Reaper, there was a stretch of episodes the criminal wasn’t featured, leaving a void that other criminals attempted to fill. Unfortunately, they weren’t as compelling. Writer Hong’s final two episodes provided a final showdown with the Reaper and a clever way to showcase the “best” crimes of the series.

Teamwork was the cornerstone of the Criminal Minds Team’s success. Initially there was tension between the team members. Kim Hyun Joon (Lee Joon Gi) didn’t want to join the team and wasn’t enamored of the team leader.  Team Lead Kang Ki Hyung (Son Hyun Joo) had lingering issues from past cases he’d work. Team Lead Kang was the only character with nuance and was the most interesting. His struggle was clear and Son Hyun Joo’s portrayal made it subtle but pervasive. Ha Sun Woo (Moon Chae Won) had a grudge against Hyun Joon when he joined the team stemming from a mutual connection to a case from their youth. The remaining team members; Yoo Min Young (Lee Sun Bin), the public face of the team, Professor Lee Han (Go Yoon), the Brainiac, and Na Na Hwang (Yoo Sun), the computer geek with a heart, provided the baseline. I enjoyed the team’s evolution to mutual trust and seamless execution.

Room for Improvement

Limited character depth. The emotional depth of the marquee team members was explored but it didn’t yield strong emotional ties to the characters for the viewing audience. The exception was Team Lead Kang whose trials and tribulations garnered my sympathy and support for this stoic character. In fact, most of Criminal Mind Team could be described as stoic. This limits connection opportunities.  Lee Joon Gi is one of my favorite actors. His talents were never tapped by this series.

Procedural dramas don’t excite me. This is a genre I’ve watched more of because actors I follow have starred in them. Most procedural dramas are good not great. Procedurals live and die by how fascinating the current case and criminal is. If the writer pens a gripping case and guest actor shines in the nefarious role it can be electrifying. Tunnel is my favorite procedural drama because the overarching story was more important that the individual cases.  Tunnel had compelling marquee criminals and the support cases enhanced the storyline progression and character’s growth. I cannot say the same for Criminal Minds. It had moments, but it didn’t deliver a weekly dose of engrossing TV.


Would I recommend Criminal Minds?

If you love procedural dramas, I would recommend this series. The long running US series provided a successful framework for the team, cases, and signature quote. If you want to watch a series with emotional depth that showcases the great Lee Joon Gi, this series would not satisfy.

OST.

The Criminal Minds OST has 2 vocal songs with a 7  instrumental songs featured in the series. I like the 2 vocal songs:
* “Higher Plane” by Flowsik featuring Kang Min Kyung (link)
* “Another Day” by Yoo Hoe Seung of N.Flying (link)
Drama wiki has all the OST details (link). All 9 OST songs are in this playlist (link):

Episode 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | Series

Asian drama fan

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Posted in Criminal Minds, Kdrama, Reviews
3 comments on “Criminal Minds Review
  1. Jane Tilly says:

    I concur that Son Hyun Joo (TL Kang) was the only nuanced character in the Criminal Minds cast.
    I think there was a good ensemble of actors that worked well together. I was surprised a the formidable villain Kim Won Hae played as The Reaper. Kim Won Hae usually plays VERY QUIRKY characters, in fact thr first time I felt I could take him seriously was in “While You Were Sleeping”.

    The most serious crime in this drama was wasting Lee Joon Gi’s talent. I suspect many of us watched this series simply because he was in it; I KNOW I DID❗. Other minor offenses include not developing other characters within the team.

    KJT, you were spot 🔵 on “Tunnel” being a much better example of a procedural drama that was done right. I felt “Criminal Minds” fell short of the mark 🎯.

    If you are still die hard Lee Joon Gi fan, go ahead and watch, but set your expectations low, because you see him run (RUN 🏃‍♂️, LJG, RUN 🏃‍♂️), rather than emote. I would recommend you spend your precious Kdrama watch time on “Tunnel”.

    • The most serious crime in this drama was wasting Lee Joon Gi’s talent. I suspect many of us watched this series simply because he was in it;
      Excellent point.

      “Tunnel” being a much better example of a procedural drama that was done right. I felt “Criminal Minds” fell short of the mark
      I usually don’t cite other series in a review, but this one begged for a comparison.

      RUN 🏃‍♂️, LJG, RUN 🏃‍♂️
      I did chuckle every time he dashed down the road chasing a criminal. That could have been a drinking game for this series.

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