Saturday, January 21, 2012


There be spoilers (Criminal Minds, Murder By Numbers). You've officially been warned.

It started with a tweet:

               PenguinUSA: Don't miss it: Patricia Cornwell will appear as
               herself tonight on CBS’s #CRIMINALMINDS 9pmEST!

And then I started preparing myself for some Miss Marple style story - the famous author helps the detectives solve the crime...Wait isn't that the plot of CASTLE? Yes, except I'm sure Nathan Fillion is a little more handsome, a little less spinster.

Then I think they've got to turn Patricia Cornwell into the murderer. She needs material for her next novel and thus creates her own murder. Wait...we've seen that one before too, haven't we? It's amazing that these fictional mystery writers have been successful for decades and all of a sudden run out a steam and need to kill somebody. I'm actually not a fan of this type of plot, so why am I even hoping that's the approach CRIMINAL MINDS will take?

Turns out I was wrong on both predictions. Patricia Cornwell is a guest speaker at one of Dr. Reid's conferences. Moments into the episode, we see a RED MIST book signing - and then she's gone.

I must tangent here for a moment to point out that "red mist" always makes me think of the bomb episode of Grey's Anatomy. Seriously, I watch this episode several times a year. I swear I'm not morbid! It's just that, no matter how many times I watch it, the opening gives me goosebumps. Those first 20 minutes leading up to "...And then tell them to call the bomb squad," is just well written. Try it.

Anyways...I was ready for Patricia Cornwell to have a larger role in CRIMINAL MINDS. I was almost disappointed when her screen time ended, but then I realized that any plot they could have included her in would have been well overdone. She kept it simple with the true purpose of a cameo (and of course a book plug).

The episode, though, was very enjoyable. My DVR used to be setup to tape approximately 11 episodes of CRIMINAL MINDS a day, so I've got the first few seasons covered, but a stopped watching a few years ago.

I'm glad that Patricia Cornwell wasn't the murderer.

Instead, the episode concluded with what felt like an abridged version of the MURDER BY NUMBERS ending.

And...Speaking of MURDER BY NUMBERS, though I've seen it uncountable times, I still can't remember who is the guiltier party. It goes back and forth so many times, my mind stops keeping track. Of course, that makes the movie enjoyable every time I watch it.

After this cameo mind-twist, I've begun to wonder how TV procedurals keep their material fresh. How do they not run out of plots and endings? Similarly, how do authors like Patricia Cornwell keep churning out new ideas? I can only hope that my creativity factory runs for as long as all of theirs have.

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