The Unit, Criminal Minds: Realism in Latter Seasons?

Well so I’ve just been watching The Unit for the first time. Season 1 was quite good. Season 2 was staying about the same. One episode, two episodes, on up to episode 9. Then just as sudden as everything, it dropped off shearly. Within three episodes, I’m looking at a paranormal researcher talking about dreams. Yeesh.

I’m going to finish up with S2, at least. Is it worth watching S3 or S4 if I’m more interested in the realistic aspects of the show than the “entertainment”?

Same thing with Criminal Minds. Their setup with a magical hackers and so on was always silly–straight from the first season–but the criminals were all based on classic cases from the real world, so far as I could tell. But from episode 1 of season 2, all that had been dropped and it was on to fantasy psychopaths like Hannibal Lecter or whoever. My parents say that Season 4 is very good, but I’m not sure that they are referring to the level of realism.

Criminal Minds is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I don’t view the show as being very realistic at all for two reasons. First, profiling isn’t really a magic bullet that lets you catch the bad guys so easily. Second, the writers seem to be unaware that judges don’t just give warrants to search homes for no reason. I can’t count the number of Criminal Minds episodes where they get a warrant to search someone’s home simply because the individual fits their profile.

To be fair, they rarely show court warrant applications, so we have no idea what basis they’re applying on. Of course, in the absence of any other evidence shown on screen, it’s a reasonable assumption, but still, it depends.

Some folks may consider it truth in television: a judge deferring to a federal agency and carelessly giving out warrants he shouldn’t? Inconceivable! :smiley:

Yeah, there are 2 or 3 episodes that have some random weirdness that doesn’t fit the theme of the show. But it doesn’t stay like that - stick with it, it mostly sticks to its formula.

On more than one occasion they’ve shown the profilers executing a search warrant when the only “evidence” they have is that an individual fits their profile. Another area where they fail at realism is their consultations with their computer guru, Garcia. Garcia seems to have instant access to almost any database in the United States and said database almost always has the exact information she needs. Lot’s of shows have magical computers though.


“Unitopia” exists in a slightly fantastic world where there are psychics and prophetic dreams. It’s not used much through the show but it’s definitely there.

Realism? No. This went right out the window early in the series. Season 4 is especially bad for this. The bad guys have a conspiracy that the Unit keeps tripping over. They end up having to leave Fort Griffith and move out to California. Unfortunately they move right into the middle of conspiracy central. However, despite crossing paths and exchanging bullets several times, the conspiracy never quite figures out what the Unit is and vice versa. This lets them work in two stalker plots (because nothing is more fun than stalking a wife of a special forces soldier!), a rape sub-plot and characters who end up joining the Unit just because.

By season 4, this show was ripping off bad plots from 24 and trying to weave them into an exciting conspiracy. But by the time you get to the actual payoff you’re left saying “What?! That’s it?!”