Violence on TV often gets viewed harshly by the medium’s strongest critics, but it’s usually cable series like The Walking Dead that bear the brunt of the judgment. On the broadcast network side of things, CBS’ Criminal Minds has been at the center of violence-related conversations – not that it’s stopped mass audiences from watching. Star Joe Mantegna recently took some time to defend the necessity of the show’s more lurid material by saying that it would show a lack of respect to the profession to depict things any other way.
Mantegna and his Criminal Minds co-star Esai Morales took part in a Reddit AMA, and they were about as unironically forthcoming as anyone has ever been for an AMA. One questioner brought up former star Mandy Patinkin having left the show due to its violent content, and asked if either of the actors had ever been heavily affected by an episode. Here’s how Mantegna responded, making it clear he wasn’t speaking for Patinkin as he did so.
To his credit, there are people that do deal with horrible events as a part of their jobs, but Criminal Minds has definitely upped the shocking violence and disturbing material over the years in a way that presumably doesn’t reflect real life so strictly. The show used to delve more into the profiling aspect of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, but as the plots needed to get more exciting, the actions of the murderers and other criminals took precedence. It’s hard to imagine what Patinkin would think of the show now, after it’s had multiple cannibal plotlines.
Morales comes down more in the middle of the argument, understanding how Mantegna feels while also grasping how the media thrives in showing the horrible side of humanity. But they both agree that the show’s basis on real life helps. Mantegna continued…
Criminal Minds ended Season 10 earlier this month, though it’ll be back on CBS for Season 11 this fall. Will either it or its spinoff Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders tone the violence down, or will we see the same amount of sordid bloodshed? So long as there are criminals out there making life hell, as well as other shows pushing the envelope, I'm betting so.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.