And, yes, I realize there could be healthy debate about the merits of watching shows where women are the victims of violent crime. Do I sometimes struggle with that when the crime is particularly heinous? Certainly. I actually watch some scenes in fast forward. But I think “Criminal Minds” does a good job of both balancing out male and female victims and not glorifying the people who commit the crimes. It’s about catching the very, very, very bad guy (or gal), which is always satisfying. Also, Kirsten Vangsness is adorable and out. So, that’s always nice to support on the old teevee.
Right, so where was I? Oh, AJ’s return. According to TVLine.com, she could return as a full-time regular just as original series executive producer Ed Bernero is leaving. That would leave executive producer Erica Messer in charge, which coincidence or not seems kind of telling. The series sent fans into a tizzy at the end of last season when they were going to drop both AJ and co-star Paget Brewster’s contracts. Um, what? Drop two of the female leads and keep all the boys? Um, what the fuckity-fuck?
Fans rallied and managed to save a bit of Paget’s role (she was back, though not for every episode and as watchers know, has since departed), but not AJ’s. And then they brought in a younger blond model – The Not AJ. And then they proceeded to make most of her scenes with Joe Mantegna to give the show that weird, creepy father-daughter vibe it had always been missing. GENIUS! Also, can we talk about how utterly ridiculous it is for an experienced, veteran team to bring someone into the field who (when she started) hadn’t even graduated the academy yet? This isn’t a summer internship program, this is a highly skilled elite team.
Also, in one season the show went from one that was guaranteed to fulfill the Bechdel Rule every episode to one with spotty compliance and a lopsided male-to-female ratio. Thanks, but no thanks. I stopped season passing it after Paget left.
Word is that if Paget’s NBC comedy pilot doesn’t get picked up, CBS has an option for her to return to “Criminal Minds.” That means they could be bringing the whole band back together. I don’t wish failure on Paget in any way, but come on that would be awesome. (Yes, I know there are negotiations underway for Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore’s contracts.)
Anyway, bottom line, don’t fuck with the female characters. We’re not interchangeable like building blocks. You can’t just put a newer one in and think the tower you’ve built will keep standing just the same. Especially when those blocks are as badass as AJ and Paget.