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In the two seasons that it has been on the air, CRIMINAL MINDS has definitely become one of my favorite police procedurals. CRIMINAL MINDS has proven itself to be one of the most intelligently written crime series on television and features a crackerjack ensemble cast that really makes the material shine. Additionally, what separates CRIMINAL MINDS from other shows of the same ilk, is the fact that the series looks at criminal activities from the inside out, basically dissecting the crime from a psychological viewpoint, instead of just the physical evidence. For this reason CRIMINAL MINDS focuses primarily criminal activities of repeat offenders such as serial killers, rapists, arsonists... etc, plus the occasional psychopath. On a weekly basis, CRIMINAL MINDS follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia, who assists local law enforcement agencies across the country to track down an UnSub (Unknown Subject Of An Investigation) by basically getting inside the criminal's head.

The season two cast of CRIMINAL MINDS is as follows: Mandy Patinkin is the team's best profiler, Supervisory Special Agent Jason Gideon, who struggles with his own inner demons, while getting under the skin of UnSub with surgical precision. Thomas Gibson is team leader Supervisory Special Agent Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner, who tries (sometimes unsuccessfully) to balance his professional and personal lives. Shemar Moore is Senior Special Agent Derek Morgan, who grew up on the mean streets and survived to become an expert in obsessional crimes. Matthew Gray Gubler is Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid, the teamís resident genius with multiple PhDs, who specializes in statistical analysis, has the ability to read twenty thousand words per minute, in addition to spotting complex patterns. A.J. Cook is Special Agent Jennifer "JJ" Jareau, the only non-profiler on the team, who serves in the capacity of liaison between the team and local law enforcement, as well as the teamís public face with the media. Kirsten Vangsness is FBI Audio/Visual Technician Penelope Garcia, a computer/technology expert, who works behind-the-scenes at the teamís headquarters in Quantico, Virginia. Season one regular Lola Glaudini appears as Elle Greenaway in only the first few episodes of season two. Season two adds Paget Brewster as the new character Special Agent Emily Prentiss, whose surprise transfer onto the team may have been due to the influence of her politically connected parents.

CRIMINAL MINDS: THE SECOND SEASON ($65) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features the twenty-two episodes that were aired in the showís sophomore year. The twenty-three featured episodes are as follows: The Fisher King Part 2, P911, The Perfect Storm, Psychodrama, Aftermath, The Boogeyman, North Mammon, Empty Planet, The Last Word, Lessons Learned, Sex, Birth, Death, Profiler, Profiled, No Way Out Part I, The Big Game, Revelations, Fear And Loathing, Distress, Jones, Ashes And Dust, Honor Among Thieves, Open Season, Legacy and No Way Out Part II: The Evilution Of Frank. Highlights of season two include Gideon coming face-to-face with one of the most diabolical serial killers that he has ever encountered, and Reid having to deal with the aftermath of being taken hostage and tortured by an UnSub.

CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment has made all of the episodes that comprise CRIMINAL MINDS: THE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that feature the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. The episodes offer fairly impressive visuals on DVD; easily besting SD broadcasts and offering a respectable second place finish to HD. Sharpness and the picture detail are both very good for a television production. Colors are nicely saturated and the flesh tones are appealing. Blacks are deep, and the whites are clean. Contrast goes slightly beyond your average television production, with the lighting design avoiding sitcom flatness much of the time. The episodes generally appear very clean, as blemishes and grain generally do stay under the radar. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.

All of the episodes featured in CRIMINAL MINDS: THE SECOND SEASON come with good quality Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. Once again, the sound design goes slightly beyond typical talky TV fare, but never approach theatrical caliber. Channel separations are more than respectable, with the outlying channels seeing a bit more activity than a typical television level production. Not surprisingly, the forward soundstage is dominant, with the rears only seeing occasional active effects. Still, the surround channels are well utilized for ambient sound and musical fill. Fidelity is tops for a TV production; the music sound great and there is a surprisingly deep bottom end for effects. Dialogue is crisp and always easy to understand. An English Dolby Surround track has also been provided, although no subtitles are included.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as some nice extras. Four episodes include running audio commentaries: The Fisher King Part 2, The Perfect Storm, Profiler, Profiled, and Revelations. Featurettes include Profilers, Profiled (a look at the characters), Behavioral Science: Real Life Criminal Minds (inside the real BAU) and Meet Kirsten Vangsness (profile). Deleted Scenes and a Gag Reel close out the supplements.

CRIMINAL MINDS is definitely one of the best police procedurals on television. The DVD set looks and sounds great, making CRIMINAL MINDS: THE SECOND SEASON a must have. Recommended.



Criminal Minds - The Second Season



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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