Oklahoma University (OU) Bachelor of Fine Arts Musical Theater graduate Annie Funke’s show “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” (CMBB) debuted on CBS ch 6.1 KOTV in Tulsa on Mar. 16, 2016 at 9 p.m.. This would seem to be her big break after performing in many theater productions and a few movies and TV shows. However her attending the prestigious School at Steppenwolf in Chicago, IL and it’s association with Gary Sinise might have damaged her career because he is the star of “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” (CMBB) and the show is unlikely to last much longer like the other “Criminal Minds” spin off “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” (CMSB). “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” failed because Forest Whitaker would solve a crime out of the blue with hardly any explanation except that he was a genius. Reruns of the few episodes of “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” that were produced are being shown for awhile at 10 a.m. Tuesdays on ch 44.1 KTPX.
“Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” avoids the Deus ex mechina nature of “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” but it creates a new series of problems. The Beyond Borders aspect of the show is that the FBI is investigating crimes involving Americans in foreign countries. Shows in the past like “I Spy”used to thrill audiences with trips to exotic locales, but nowadays Americans can, with a push of a button, see live webcams from all over the world. CMBB doesn’t seem to even shoot in the locations. On the trip to a farm supposedly in Thailand it was clear the background was a bad blue screen attempt. On the trip back the background looked more real but didn’t look like Thailand. A picture of the victims in front of a temple looked like a bad photoshop job.
Not only is the foreign country just being used as backdrop by “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” the sole purpose of the show seems to be to blame the residents of the country for the crimes against Americans. In the pilot episode (spoiler alert) the serial killer was sacrificing Americans to his dead ancestors and it took an American FBI agent who was on sabbatical and happened to be in Thailand to talk the killer out of killing those he had kidnapped while the local Thai police just stood and watched.
Another point of the show depicted in CMBB is that the FBI is restricted from dong their jobs by the local police. The clever Americans outwit the locals over and over again. However it isn’t explained why the locals allow the FBI to carry guns and waive them around constantly. Also not explained is why the BAU would think one of the victims was the killer after they knew he allowed his picture to be taken and posted to social media.
With what is going on currently in the country, a much better spin off would, since it is a primary function of the FBI, focus on a team of FBI agents investigating police corruption and use of force. The BAU matching wits with institutions that know their tricks could be entertaining, especially with politics thrown in.