Criminal Minds is series that premiered on CBS in 2005 and followed profilers from the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) led by Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin). The team profiles various killers known as unsubs — unidentified subjects.
Due to creative differences between Patinkin and the creators, he left after the second episode of the third season. The departure of the lead could have been the death of the show; however Gideon’s second in command, Agent Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner, (Thomas Gibson) was put in charge of the profilers which include Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), and Jennifer ‘JJ’ Jareau (A.J. Cook), who is the agent who decides what case they take on each week. Rounding out the team in a tech support role is Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) who is a computer whiz and helps get the team the information they need almost instantaneously.
After the profilers dealt with Gideon’s departure (he had a mental breakdown on the show and was seen driving off into the sunset) they added a new member to the team — David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), who is a more experienced agent and is a counterpoint to Hotch since Hotch can become emotionally detached from a case and Rossi adds some humanity.
The show is different from other crime shows as it concentrates on the killers instead of the crime and has the killer be either gender, whereas most serial killers portrayed in shows are male. The show has also had some great guest stars and season four is no different as Wil Wheaton, Jason Alexander, Luke Perry, Mitch Pileggi, Alex O’Loughlin Garret Dillahunt, Bruce Davison, Walton Goggins, C. Thomas Howell, Jackson Rathbone, and Jane Lynch have appeared as either the killer of the week or someone connected to the profilers.
Criminal Minds is dark, with the team delving into the psychological profiles of the killers and deducing what the unsub is trying to accomplish. This causes the team to get into some interesting cat-and-mouse games to bring the killer to justice and the writers have put many of the team in danger at one time or another. This season had a two-part finale that crossed from Detroit into Canada, and had a previous unsub return, putting Hotch’s life in danger as the screen faded to black.
The extras for Criminal Minds: The Fourth Season include “Working the Scene,” short (between three and six minutes) behind the scenes featurettes which concentrate on one aspect of the episode in question. These featurettes cover guest stars, stunts, directing, and more. There are eleven of these featurettes spread out over the seven discs, and they're quite interesting.
“Character Profiles” gives each of the seven starring characters a three to four minute profile in which the writers, producers, and the actor who portrays the character discuss what drives the character.
There’s also a gag reel and several deleted scenes rounding out the extras. It would have been nice to have some commentaries, but with a new season about to start, maybe that DVD release will include some.