Review: Criminal Minds – The Uncanny Valley (2010, US)

This Criminal Minds episode is best known for having a guest appearance from a former Star Trek veteran and film director Jonathan Frakes. Whilst the scale of the big name guest doesn’t quite tip you off about the whole plot, it does lessen the impact of the episode’s ending.

However, this episode stands out in series 5 purely for the fact that the victim from the teaser receives much more of a focus throughout the story due to the nature of the crime, instead of the show’s normal routine having one already dead for the FBI team to pick up a trail. The episode is from the middle of the season and after the ten-episode arc that rolled on from the end of series 4. It’s refreshing to have the child abuse angle to a Criminal Minds episode properly acknowledged although it peaks as part of the ending.

“Uncanny Valley” has a distant similarity in the crime to the movie Kiss The Girls, a common problem with crime fiction in general from books, movies and television. Even so, whilst it doesn’t beat “Mosley Lane” as the best non-story-arc episode of the season and must take some general fictionalised liberties with the way the victims attempt to help themselves, the writing is as taut and smart as always and has a valid comment to make on the effects of child abuse, even if it doesn’t have Mosley Lane’s gritty realism.


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