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TV Series Review

If there's anything that television's parade of crime procedurals has taught us, it's that the United States is a really dangerous place.

There's really no lack of villains out there, it would seem. Psychopaths. Rapists. Serial killers. They're all out there, just waiting by our front door, ready to pounce as soon as we've finished our morning toast. And they keep replicating: Crime procedural fans might see several new villains every week.

But if American television tells us that things can be dangerous close to home, just wait 'til we see what's going on abroad.

Passport … to Danger!

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders takes us into the operations of the FBI's International Response Team—a crack cadre of agents tasked with solving crimes around the world involving Americans, be they victims or perps. As IRT chief Jack Garrett says in the pilot episode, "It's not their [foreign law enforcement's] job to worry about missing Americans. It's ours."

Garrett is joined in his criminal-busting activities by an assortment of professionals. Clara Seger has rejoined the force after a two-year sabbatical and serves as its supervisory special agent. Matt Simmons brings some detective muscle to the job, while Mae Jarvis offers her medical moxie. And while the rest of the team gallivants around the globe, Russ "Monty" Montgomery tends to stick a little closer to home—typing away on his computers, visiting with involved families and running interference with any Stateside pencil-pushers who might get in the way.

You might be tempted to feel bad for Monty. Garrett and his group fly in their own special jet and visit some of the world's most exotic locales, while he just stays home and stares at screens in some cubicle (just like a certain television reviewer I could mention). But the IRT's responsibilities are far from a vacation. At each stop, they must navigate a legion of unfamiliar local customs; coordinate with sometimes resistant local law enforcement; and navigate jungles, deserts and bewildering cityscapes.

All of that while also doing all the standard crime procedural detective work you've become accustomed to seeing on TV—easier said than done when the country you're in is still working on the whole running water thing. The morgues where the autopsies get done certainly tend to be much less snazzy.

Trouble at Customs

And, yes, the team always seems to need a morgue. While the IRT isn't solely concerned with homicides, a hefty number of cases involve a dead body or two left in a seemingly primeval forest or uncovered at a teeming bazaar. And where there are dead bodies, there's bound to be blood—seeping out of recent wounds, spattered across walls or leading to a dirty drug den.

Sex crimes are not unheard of, either. In short, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders has everything—both good and bad—that you'd expect from a CBS crime procedural. It fits the template the network has both honed and amplified for pert near two decades now. Beyond Borders may traipse around the globe looking for all manner of unsavory crimes to solve. But in the end, it looks a whole lot like its TV home.


Positive Elements

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Sexual Content

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Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

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Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders: Mar. 16, 2016 "The Harmful One"
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