'Criminal Minds': Did Gary Sinise and Anna Gunn Earn a Spinoff Show?

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·Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment
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This week’s Criminal Minds set up a spinoff of the series — a new drama that, if CBS decides to move forward with it, will star Gary Sinise and Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn as new government crime-solvers, internationally-based colleagues to Joe Mantegna and Thomas Gibson’s Minds characters. 

The episode, titled “Beyond Borders,” involved a kidnapping case in Barbados, and so in addition to the usual BAU heroes headed up by Mantegna’s Rossi, we were introduced to their international-law counterparts: International Unit Chief Jack Garrett (Sinise) and international-law expert Lilly Lambert (Gunn), along with Special Ops Agent Matt Simmons (Daniel Henney) and tech expert Russ “Monty” Montgomery (Tyler James Williams, freshly chewed up and spat out of The Walking Dead). 

Related: Tyler James Williams Talks New ‘Criminal Minds’ Role and ‘Walking Dead’ Death

The villain was a former abused child who, now an adult, kidnaps families, re-stages some dreadful scenes from his childhood, then tortures and kills his captives. Sinise, Gunn, and the others did a fine job delivering the awful dialogue that typifies your average Criminal Minds episode. As always, the investigators stand around and nod gravely at each other as one tells the other elementary psychological principles they already know. “He gets off on controlling their lives until the very end,” said Gunn. Shemar Moore nodded. “He’s asserting himself as the first-born child who has the most rage at his father,” said Sinise. Mantegna nodded. 

It had been a while since I watched a Criminal Minds but two things became clear: It’s the same thing week-in, week-out, only the locales and the guest stars shift (this week, the latter included Tom Everett Scott as the captive dad). And the hour is invariably very unpleasant, including plenty of scenes of children undergoing pain and terror. 

As long as Sinise and Gunn know what they’ve signed on for — the kind of soul-scrubbing repetition that sent Mandy Patinkin screaming into the night some years ago — I see no reason why Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders shouldn’t get picked up by CBS and turned into a lucrative entry in the soft-core torture drama that’s put Criminal Minds into a tenth season. 

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS.