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YMMV / Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders

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  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: Anticipating obvious accussations of xenophobia and racism, the staff very clearly refrains from depicting non-white and/or non-culturally Christian unsubs as evil. The same applies to local police departments: The more removed a local cop is from the average American, the more likely it is to be depicted as sympathetic and professional (although often dealing with lack of means, if working for a Third World country department), instead of corrupt, hostile or incompetent. The worst goes to Hispanics, who seem to fall just under perfect balance of being white enough and culturally removed enough to be okay shitting on their culture.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • In "Citizens of the World," Mae and Matt discuss the misattribution of "Play it again, Sam" to Casablanca.
    • "El Toro Bravo" opens with the quote "Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be," and attributes it to Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. It actually comes from the 1972 musical Man of La Mancha.
    • In "The Matchmaker," Smug Snake Marion Codwell makes the common mistake of attributing "The death of a person is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic" to Joseph Stalin.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • Some of the vehicles seen in places where RHD vehicles are mandated by law.
    • "The Harmful One":
      • The portrayal of Thailand was definitely over-the-top. Sure, you might get strong-armed into a ping pong tournament. (Ironically, the only people there who make you feel unsafe at all are the drunk tourists.)
      • The unsub in the first episode is inspired to perform Human Sacrifice by a form of Buddhism...which forbids harm to any living being.
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    • "Whispering Death": Japan, "the suicide capital of the world" (actually it's Guyana; Japan is only 17th).
    • "Iqiniso":
      • The Apartheid-era South African secret police are identified as "the Office of State Security". They were the Bureau of State Security, commonly known as "BOSS." Also, those who gained amnesty did so openly-their identities are a matter of public record, thus negating the whole plot.
      • The Special Forces Brigade is under the South African Army. The police force either would deploy the Special Task Force or the National Intervention Unit. In this case for the episode, it would be the STF since closeups of the uniforms show STF insignia and patches.
    • "Citizens of the World": A cruise ship docked in Libya in June 2014? Seriously?
    • "The Lonely Heart": No, you can't radiocarbon date a metal object. Radiocarbon dating only works with organic materials.
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    • "El Toro Bravo": A bullfight being held on a holiday doesn't mean that the bull is any more 'sacred' or 'worshipped' in reality than the goose is for being cooked on Christmas. In the past, when a bull killed a person it was traditional for bull breeders (the same guys said in the episode to be the ones who appreciate bulls the most) to slaughter both the bull and its entire bloodline. Despite the enduring myth, bullfighting is not, and has never been intended to be a fair contest between man and animal.
    • The almost non-chalant treatment of suicide in "Denial." See They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot.
  • Growing the Beard: Season 2 is superior in every aspect to Season 1. It's a shame the show got cancelled just as it was finding its footing.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Most UnSubs here are Tragic Monsters to varying degrees.
  • Narm:
    • The voiceover at the beginning of each episode, saying how "68 million Americans leave the safety of our borders every year" as the map moves to this week's episode's location.
    • The "safety of our borders" part is ironic and darkly hilarious, given that it's a spin-off of Criminal Minds. Sure, America's totally safe with all those Serial Killers running around. The Spaniard dub changes it to just "leave our borders" (and also "if danger strikes" to the less sensational "if an incident happens").
      • When applied to real life the line is damn near laughably ignorant, as you are far more likely to come to harm from others inside your country's borders than outside.
    • The episode "Il Mostro" for Italian viewers. So, so much.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize:
    • While mostly averted, this turns up in "Iqiniso" when Arnold Vosloo, probably the most famous white South African actor alive, appears as the concerned father of the victims of the week. Of course he's playing a larger part in solving the crime than any other victim relative.
    • Jim Beaver, known for "Supernatural" and a previous apparition in Criminal Minds, plays the unsub in "Blowback."
  • Paranoia Fuel: Word of God is that the show isn't about scaring Americans out of travelling abroad, but the promos sure love the words "Americans go missing/get in trouble abroad every year."
  • Special Effects Failure: In the premiere, except for a couple scenes, the use of green screen is very obvious and the stock footage of streets clashes terribly with the sets the characters walk in. There is even a brief shot where a sandy, desert-like hill can be seen in the background of what's supposed to be humid, lush Thailand. It gets better in later episodes, but the car scenes are often a problem.
    • A Season 2 episode features a lion that was blatantly obvious CGI.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • For the same premise done on a theatrical budget, see 2007's The Kingdom.
    • 2009's proposed show Washington Field, about the international offices of the FBI and created by many of the people involved in developing the original Criminal Minds and later Crossing Lines. Unfortunately, the show wasn't picked up and only a TV movie/pilot episode was produced.
    • The episode "Machismo" in the first season of parent series Criminal Minds has the original team going to a foreign country (Mexico) and dealing with many recurring issues in this spin-off.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Technically, there is nothing in the premise that forces every episode to be about middle class American tourists being victimized by foreign serial killers, as even the mother series has non-serial killer episodes once in a while. The IRT could just as well assist in stand-alone crimes (such as the FBI did in the Amy Bradley and Natalee Holloway cases), cases where the serial killer is suspected to be American (as it happened in the Lisbon Ripper case) or in which no Americans are involved at all (as it was proposed in the Monster of Florence, Rostov Ripper and Mataviejitas cases, even though the FBI ultimately only intervened in the first and only to elaborate a profile). In fact, showing that the IRT's intervention is requested by the local police force rather than the local American embassy (and then worming itself into the local LE's investigation unwarranted) would eliminate a lot of the show's criticism.
      • They're finally starting to level things out since the UnSub of "Iqiniso" was a white South African seeking revenge for the murder of his sister by attacking her murderer's children twenty years later. The UnSub of "The Ballad of Nick and Nat" is suspected to be American.
    • "El Toro Bravo": The killers "see bulls as superior" and target foreign runners that "disrespect" the bulls by touching them during the Running, taking selphies or waving a newspaper. The reason these are banned in reality is not because of some abstract sense of "respect" for the bulls, but pure security concerns: A runner that has one hand occupied while actively bringing the attention of an already panicked bull to himself just makes himself likelier to get injured, and also increases the risk of the bull getting separated from the herd, losing sight of the guide oxen at the front and becoming both unpredictable and dangerous to other people. Making the killers out to avenge someone who was hurt because of a foreigner's imprudence during the Running would be both more believable and also get rid of the (lampshaded) Plot Hole caused by the police not knocking on the door of the one local celebrity with a very obvious reason to hate Australians and Americans, one minute after Australians and Americans began to be murdered in town.
    • "The Harmful One" has a fleeting mention to the murder of two British backpackers in a Thailand beach resort, Hanah Witheridge and David Miller. There is strong evidence that the post-2014 coup Thai government railroaded two innocent foreigners into prison (and eventually the death penalty) in order to close the case ASAP and keep Thailand's appeal as a tourism destination intact. The dropped plotline involving Lambert's brother may have been a loose dramatization of this case, for all we know.
    • Suicide is an extreme taboo in Muslim culture, to the point Muslim majority countries have the lowest suicide (or reported suicide) rates in the world - but you would never guess that from "Denial," whose premise is a seemingly Muslim Egyptian woman spree-killing men she blames for her husband's suicide, then killing herself when cornered. Compare the infamous 1999 EgyptAir crash, where the American investigators found conclusive evidence that pilot Gameel al-Batouti had committed suicide by crashing the plane on purpose, but were forced to leave it as "undetermined" because their Egyptian colleagues and authorities (nevermind al-Batouti's family) would simply not admit that. It is also well documented that many Muslim suicide bombers are young, suicidal men who are convinced to "martyrize" themselves as an acceptable alternative to "pointless" suicide. The episode could have incorporated this by making the unsub be in denial about her husband's suicide and convincing herself that he had been murdered by the other guys, with her delusion being fueled by the police listing his death as an unsolved murder despite evidence of suicide. This way, the "Denial" title could have applied to the unsub as well as the victim's mother who doesn't want to admit her son's homosexuality.
      • This could also be a good contrast to the episode "Whispering Death" that aired back to back with it, whose starting premise is the fact that suicide is considered honorable in Japanese culture and the police will close a case as suicide without a second thought.
  • The Woobie: The unsub in "Paper Orphans" suffered a psychotic break after she had a miscarriage, her husband died in the earthquake, her two younger children died in the following cholera outbreak, and her eldest daughter was abducted and possibly raped/murdered. As Clara puts it, this offender doesn't have as much a stressor as a lifetime of them.
  • You Look Familiar: By way of Shared Universe with Criminal Minds:
    • Anthony Azizi, who played Guantanamo prisoner Jamal Abaza in CM, appears here as Egyptian deputy minister Arkem Sarkis.
    • Anjali Bhimani, who played Doctor Rasgotra in CM, plays Indian mob boss Hasina.
    • Juan Carlos Cantu, who played the first suspect's uncle in "Machismo" (the first CM episode to take place outside the US, in a fictional Mexican town, and therefore a precedent to this spin-off), plays the unsub's former boss in "De Los Inocentes."


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