The Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI: How Much Does "Criminal Minds" Sice It Up



One of the most watched television dramas currently airing is the CBS primetime drama "Criminal Minds," a show that chronicles the existence of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit and its main team of elite profilers that search and capture serial killers and rapists that threaten and harm society. The show is an amazing thrill to watch, but then after watching a number of episodes, one wonders how much of this action and thrill is real. Do FBI's behavioral profilers jump into burning buildings to save victims and actively head into the line of fire to capture the best of them? The answer is a very blount no. "Criminal Minds" is a sice up of what the


Behavioral Analysis Unit really is and what they honestly do.

For one thing, nobody who works in the real BAU call any kind of suspect an "unsub" (short for unknown subject). "Unsub" was simply a term created for the TV show, but it goes further. For one thing, "Criminal Minds" makes one believe that the BAU consists of hundreds of criminal psychologists working day in and day out to capture criminals, when in real life, there may be ten or twenty of them working as full time employees. The reason they do not need that many is because these experts would be lucky to get ten cases total in a single year, and any more than one-hundred deaths due to a serial killer any year would be a tragedy. Not to lessen the impact of their position, but they are more provisional workers than they are active in most cases.

You may also wonder why I have not called these employees, "profilers." On the show, the team is made up of high class profiler/special agents, but in reality, the FBI does not contain an occupational position as a profiler; most of them are known as criminal psychologists. They never end up in the line of fire, nor end up trying to capture the criminals they helped to figure out in the end. Most of the time, these guys do not even leave headquarters unless it is absolutely necessary.

Also, on the show, the team is, more often than not, able to solve a case in two to three days. In reality, on the other hand, cases that are pushed up to the BAU by the local, state, and federal governments usually take weeks or months to crack, and at the point they usually end up there, they have been investigated for around two to three weeks. There are actually over 25,000 times more criminal psychologists in the field of capturing Internet sex offenders than there are in the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI.

As much as former producer Edward Bernero wants audiences to believe that these are just well created chronicles of what happened on real cases, the superhero-like qualities make the characters of "Criminal Minds" less and less of the epitome of criminal psychologists in the BAU. Nonetheless, many will still believe that what they are watching is what they want to be when they grow up. If what you see on "Criminal Minds" is what you want to do with your life, then become a detective or a police officer; criminal profiling is not for you. But even with the many flaws the television show displays, "Criminal Minds" is probably one of the best shows on television and I will continue to watch it for entertainment (it comes on at 9 pm eastern time on Wedensday nights on CBS). Anywho, even if the real criminal psychologists of the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation do not do the radical police work that the show portrays them to do, they are still heroes who help capture the criminals and put them behind bars.

POSTED BY R. Turk On 2012-01-29
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