So as few of you know (actually, probably none of you) I am a recovering television addict. I was hoping there was a more formal phrase, like “teleholic” or something, but alas, according to Wikipedia, no. It’s just Television Addiction.
Anyway, my poison in my teleholic days was crime shows. If they investigated murders, I was All About It. CSI (but only the Las Vegas one), Law & Order, Without a Trace, NCIS. There’s entire networks dedicated to investigative journalism. Real life crime! I probably babysat for way longer into adolescence than I intended to just so I could watch crime TV after the kids went to bed.
At some point I realized that all this television was no good for me. No good. I still struggle with it. I can’t ignore TV that’s playing in restaurants and if I’m at someone’s house and they turn the TV on, I have to go into another room or I’ll be sucked in. Internet addiction might have replaced Television Addiction. Might have. I’m not sure.
Some of the old TV shows are still on, but there’s new ones. Without a Trace went away. It seems to have been replaced by Criminal Minds. From what little I know, it’s about criminal investigators for the FBI who specialize in serial killers. They take the killer’s MO and guess what the killer’s mind is like, and use that information to find the killer. In real life, while there are criminal profilers who do federal investigations, they’re not a specialized team. They’re like consultants, who are brought in to assist in difficult cases sometimes. And honestly, experiments have proven that despite their training, they’re no better than the general population at profiling criminals.
So I was taking my lunch break at work, and Criminal Minds was on. I sat behind the TV and tried to focus on my word puzzle, but no. This show kept beating my ears. With its dramatic music and dramatic one-liners. They found out that one of the killers had bought a double soy latte and for some reason they magically knew that this double soy latte was relevant, so one of the women said, “You know, I suddenly have a craving for a double soy latte.”
Like this dude:
He kinda looks like a poor man’s Cillian Murphy. I thought I recognized him from something, but I looked on his IMDB profile and, like, he’s been in a Wes Anderson film and he was in 500 Days of Summer. He’s also the current voice of Simon from Alvin and the Chipmunks. And other than that, this is his big role. So he’s just…one of those dudes who’s mildly successful in Hollywood, I guess. Just another character actor.
Lord he’s skinny. You can’t tell from this particular picture, but he is a stick.
Anyway, part of the reason I knew this show was ridiculous was because they go to the coffee shop where this Plot Relevant Latte was purchased. They showed the owner(?) of the shop pictures of the victims, but none of their faces really stick out to him. Then they notice that one of the bulk travel boxes is actually a camera and asked if he was recording them. The owner(?) seemed ashamed of the camera. He stuttered that it was just to watch the cash drawer — okay fine it was to watch his coworkers…
Everyone knows that there’s cameras everywhere in a retail environment? Especially at the registers? Like it’s standard procedure? Has been for decades? The cameras are there to catch the criminals? If this man is really a coffeeshop owner or manager or whatever, this shouldn’t be an embarrassing fact, it should be something he’s always had to deal with. As criminal investigators, they should know this. They should have asked about the security footage. They had the date and time that the Plot Relevant Latte was purchased. After showing him the faces, their next question should have been something like, “So can we see your security footage from April 17th?”
And the writers should know this too! Looking at the security footage is practically cliche!
And the footage was in High Definition, and it was in color. They even did the thing where they zoomed in on the footage and it started out blurry, but then it suddenly snapped into clear focus to show the tiny detail needed to continue the plot. (here is a comic explaining what I’m talking about — it’s too big to post here, being 4250 pixels tall)
And then Discount Cillian Murphy was brought in, with giant nerd glasses and a sweatervest,
OH MY GOD I FOUND A PICTURE OF HOW STUPID IT WAS
And apparently this HD color security footage could be played at whatever speed you wanted, so he watched it at THE FASTEST SPEED.
The owner of the coffeeshop was like, “Are you sure? No mortal man can handle footage that fast!”
The black FBI investigator standing in the shadows laughed. “You don’t understand. Tell him. Tell him you read War and Peace!”
“Again!” said Discount Cillian Murphy. “In the original Russian!”
“This is relevant and a normal thing for nerds,” said the coffeeshop owner. Thus convinced, the coffeeshop owner played the entirety of April 17th for Discount Cillian Murphy.
There were many dramatic close-ups of his eye.
Discount Cillian Murphy babbled something about speed-reading while staring at the screen. Then he found the next plot nugget and the story continued.
Loaded with the information from the Plot Relevant Latte and the thing about the nurse’s nametag that Discount Cillian Murphy found, Our Hero Greg from Dharma and Greg called up the next magical nerd.
Her IMDB describes this character as “bespectacled-brainiac-tech-kitten” which is a weird bunch of a words, but certainly they are four words strung together, which is nice. Also, this character is played by an actress named Kirsten Vangsness, but the character’s name is Penelope Garcia.
To be fair, they did nail the tumblr-hipster look, but a) she’s like 40* and therefore wouldn’t dress like a college student b) actually that’s really my only problem with the way she looks c) wait I remember now — they’ve always had her dress this way for the 10 years this show has been on, which means that this look was meant to look stupid and nerdy and they failed completely, what the heck people
Greg calls up Tech Kitten and this is my other big issue with this show. You see, it was Tech Kitten who found the Plot Relevant Latte. She called up the main team, or they called her up, it doesn’t really matter. A phone call was made. She said, “[the victim] bought a Double Soy Latte at Not Starbucks on April 17th.”
-An FBI Hacker
-Has Easy Access
-To Financial Records
Except these can’t be financial records, because financial records wouldn’t say “Double Soy Latte”. Financial Records would say April 17th, Not Starbucks, $4.78. But remember the quip from the female FBI investigator above — Tech Kitten specifically said “Double Soy Latte”, causing the quip.
They ask, for some unknown reason, if this coffeeshop is near a university?
“It is,” says Tech Kitten.
Our Hero Greg says that the University isn’t relevant, because our killer lacks any academic thinking (?????)
Is the university near a hospital?
“There’s a hospital tied to the university,” says Tech Kitten.
Don’t…don’t they live in this city? Shouldn’t they know that there’s a hospital tied to the university? According to IMDB, this show takes place in Quantico, VA, which lacks a university, so maybe they’re telecommunicating with the local police. Except Black FBI Guy, Discount Cillian Murphy, and Brunette FBI Chick all went to the coffeeshop in person. So like, in a world where Magical FBI Hacker knows that you bought a Double Soy Latte, the FBI’s greatest criminal investigators don’t know that there’s a hospital tied to the local university?
They ask if there’s any patients at that hospital who have been declared terminal in the last month.
Tech Kitten presses some buttons. I will admit that the button-pressing was not button-mashing, which is how NCIS portrays hacking.
The typing depicted actually seemed to have some sort of purpose. She appeared to make the computer do some sort of task. She didn’t use her mouse, and there was surprisingly little actual typing. Perhaps she already had this list prepared. I don’t know why she would have this list prepared. I’m about 109% certain that having this sort of list is 64 kinds of illegal and violates doctor-patient privacy.
“There are 300 patients who have been declared terminal in the last month,” says Tech Kitten.
“Do any of them match the Other Plot Relevant List?”
The sixth one on the list did. She scrolled right over his name, bringing up a picture and little bio on him.
I wish I could remember what the other Plot Relevant List was. It didn’t bother me as much as the list of patients declared terminal, so it didn’t stick out in my mind. But it also seemed weird that the FBI would have that list on-hand. It also seemed weird that the data was so accessible. You would think it would take a while to compare the two lists. But she just had two windows open and magically scrolled to the correct one. You would think some of this information would require warrants to get. But no, Tech Kitten just c&pd and hacked her way through our privacy laws.
In case you’re wondering, the killer was Kevin from The Office.