×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders’

With:
Gary Sinise, Alana De La Garza, Daniel Henney, Tyler James Williams, Annie Funke

CBS has so exhausted the supply of serial killers in the U.S. that the network has perhaps inevitably gotten into the import-export business. Enter “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” the second spinoff (following the short-lived “Suspect Behavior”) of that franchise, which opens with a voice-over that says 68 million Americans (a relatively small percentage, when you think about it) travel abroad, while offering that subset, as well as those who stay home, even more reason to be xenophobic and fearful.

Granted, it’s hard to completely fault CBS’ reasoning, given the success the network has enjoyed with back-to-back versions of “NCIS” on Tuesdays. And just to make the connection even easier to digest for the network’s traditional viewers, Gary Sinise, who headed up the New York version of “CSI,” plays Jack Garrett, the boss of the FBI’s International Response Team (or “IRT,” one supposes), which leaps into action whenever an American gets so much as a parking ticket overseas.

Not surprisingly, in the two episodes previewed, young people find themselves in peril, with a pair of college-age women disappearing after volunteering on a farm in Thailand, and a guy going missing on a vacation in Mumbai, after his buddy wakes up minus a kidney. It’s all backed up, inevitably, with lots of impressive-sounding statistics about all the bad things that can happen to Americans in foreign countries, without much in the way of disclaimers or context that not all international travel is likely to be ruined by an organ thief.

Joe Mantegna, star of the mother-ship show, gives the whole exercise a push by making a brief cameo with Sinise in the premiere, providing a reminder that CBS rather shrewdly tends to build these vehicles around male stars of a certain age with an element of feature-film cred. After that, though, it’s a pretty quick dive into the crisis at hand, introducing, on the fly, his crack team, which includes Tyler James Williams and “Law & Order” alumna Alana De La Garza.

Logistically, the producers get some credit for approximating all these far-away locales. But any ingenuity pretty much ends there, and Sinise’s character is so gruff and gravely as to make David Caruso’s old “CSI” role look emotionally effusive.

In one respect, the series does create guest opportunities for minority actors. But so far, anyway, the significant speaking roles fall into two distinct categories: local police contact or brutal murderer.

CBS certainly knows its audience, and it’s hard to argue that there’s an appetite for such programming. Yet just as the “Stalker” pilot drew condemnation for its use of violence against women as a plot point, this latest procedural cynically serves up the serial-killer version of “We Are the World,” simply to put a new wrinkle on a genre where the only border that really counts is on a chalk outline. Viewed that way, “Beyond Borders” isn’t beyond much of anything, except maybe the pale.

TV Review: 'Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders'

(Series; CBS, Wed. March 16, 10 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by the Mark Gordon Co. in association with CBS Television Studios and ABC Studios.

Crew: Executive producers, Erica Messer, Mark Gordon, Nick Pepper, Adam Glass; director, Colin Bucksey; writer, Messer; camera, Yasu Tanida; production designer, Stuart Blatt; editor, Mickey Blythe; music, Steffan Fantini, Marc Fantini, Scott Gordon; casting, Scott David, Becky Silverman. 60 MIN.

Cast: Gary Sinise, Alana De La Garza, Daniel Henney, Tyler James Williams, Annie Funke

More TV

  • Outlander 406

    'Outlander' Recap: Jamie Encounters William Again in 'Blood of My Blood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Blood Of My Blood,” the sixth episode of “Outlander” Season 4. The action in “Blood of My Blood” picked up almost immediately after the previous week’s episode, as evidenced by the fact that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was still staying with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and [...]

  • The Flash -- "Elseworlds, Part 1"

    'Elseworlds, Part 1' Recap: Barry Allen and Oliver Queen Swap Skills, Visit Superman

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 1,” the first part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 9. After past crossovers that introduced beloved characters’ doppelgangers, a wedding and death, “Elseworlds,” the fifth annual “Arrowverse” event, had a lot to which to live up. Unlike previous years, [...]

  • Stranger Things

    'Stranger Things' Season 3 Teaser Reveals Episode Titles, 2019 Release

    Netflix dropped a new teaser for the upcoming third season of “Stranger Things” Sunday, confirming that it will land on the streamer in 2019. The teaser also revealed the episode titles for the third season, which are as follows: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • Michael Che Defends Kevin Hart on

    Michael Che Ribs Academy Over Kevin Hart Controversy on 'SNL'

    Kevin Hart may have alienated some in Hollywood over his recently resurfaced homophobic tweets, but that didn’t stop “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che from cracking some jokes in support of Hart on Dec. 8’s “Saturday Night Live.” After briefly recapping that Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after the 2011 tweets came to light, [...]

  • THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY

    'The Umbrella Academy' Superheroes Series Premiere Date Set on Netflix

    The dysfunctional-family superheroes of “The Umbrella Academy” are landing on Netflix worldwide on Feb. 15, 2019. The live-action series is based on the “Umbrella Academy” comic books created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, published by Dark Horse Comics. The Netflix original series comprises 10 one-hour episodes. “The Umbrella Academy” stars [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Jason Momoa"

    Robert De Niro Appears as Robert Mueller in 'Saturday Night Live' Cold Open

    Robert De Niro made a surprise appearance as special counsel Robert Mueller in “Saturday Night Live’s” cold open. De Niro popped out of a closet in a sketch that skewered President Donald Trump and the mounting legal pressure Mueller’s investigation has put on many of Trump’s associates. Alex Moffatt played Eric Trump in a bedtime-story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content