Criminal Minds: Would You Go 'Beyond Borders' With the New Team?

Criminal Minds Spinoff Review

CBS’ Criminal Minds this Wednesday night aired the “planted pilot” for a spinoff focused on a globe-trotting team. If ordered to series, will you get your passport stamped and join them for the ride?

In the episode “Beyond Borders,” a family of four is expertly abducted upon arriving in Barbados for vacation. International Unit Chief Jack Garrett (played by CSI: NY vet Gary Sinise) immediately swings into action, rendezvousing with Rossi and Hotch since they previously worked a similar case, down in Florida.

The three of them — joined by Derek, JJ and the International Unit’s law expert, Lily Lambert (Breaking Bad‘s Anna Gunn), and Special Ops Agent Matthew Simmons (Daniel Henney) — make tracks for Barbados. Here in the States, Reid and Kate search the victims’ home for possible clues, while Garcia works alongside the International Unit’s own computer wonk, Russ “Monty” Montgomery (The Walking Dead’s Tyler James Williams). “Monty” basically does what Garcia does, with the added duty of interacting with the victims’ Stateside loved ones, since his colleagues are usually “an ocean away.”

On the personal front, we learn that Jack is happily married and has a son who just entered the academy — a thought that gives Dad some pause; Lily has a brother imprisoned in Thailand on a bogus, stubborn drug charge; and Matt has a wife and four kids (!) under the age of three (!!).

Thanks to the distinct yet cumulative work of everyone involved, it is deduced that the UnSub had a rough childhood and wound up murdering his family, and with his abductions has been recreating tableaus of traumatic moments. Once it is determined that he absconded with the family on a boat (in part to enjoy certain legal loopholes), it’s just a matter of time until Hotch, Garrett et al are pulling up alongside the vessel, just as things are getting quite hairy. In the end, the entire family is saved, including the young son who got thrown overboard by the baddie.

What was your first reaction to the International Unit? And if CBS picks up Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders for the next TV season, will you stay tuned?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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84 Comments
  1. Aleana says:

    I enjoy it and I like the premise of the new spin off being international the cast has great chemistry plus I love Gary Sinise and they work well with the original team I’ll watch the spinoff even though I thought the first spinoff Suspect Behavior was good I think it just didn’t find it footing could’ve been a summer show back then

    • Daven says:

      I like that it isn’t going to focus solely on serial killers. It’s supposed to be including a little bit of everything.
      But I have to say that I really do not like Anna Gunn’s acting. No matter what I’ve seen her in, she ruins every scene for me. I’m going to give Borders a good look this fall, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to stick with it.

      • Avril says:

        Thank you! That’s exactly how I felt re: Anna Gunn. I love Gary Sinise, I could watch him read a book, and I really liked the rest of the team, separately and together, but she just didn’t seem to fit.

  2. Julie says:

    Hasn’t Criminal Minds already tried (and failed) a spinoff before? Although this one does look better than Suspect Behavior. I’m still sour about the whole mess with AJ and Paget which I believe was due to freeing up money to cover production costs for SB. And ultimately caused Paget to walk away for good. Hope AJ, JLH and Kirsten have their contracts all locked up.

    • Angela says:

      Heh, yeah, I do hope CBS learned from the last go-round with that aspect of things. So long as they leave the cast of the original alone and keep them intact, I’m fine with whatever.

    • Dave says:

      The problem with the first one was the cast. I can’t watch anything with Janeane Garafolo. She turns my stomach. But the cast of CM:BB looks much better! I wish them much success with this spin-off.

    • I have to agree with Julie. I figure they will this new show on and it will fail. Plus I do not care for the acting of Anna Gunn. She just isn’t that good. We need AJ and Padget, back, and heaven forbid if Kirsten were gone. The team is very complete and fit so well.

  3. Mr. Tran K says:

    It would be great if the Criminal Minds spin-off gets picked up as a series for CBS but we’ll see if it’s going to be even better than the disappointing Suspect Behavior back in mid-season 2011.

  4. Angela says:

    If this gets picked up, I’ll see how this team fares on their own before deciding whether or not the spinoff will be added to my list of shows to watch.
    But for the purpose of this episode? I liked them. I definitely like this premise more than that of “Suspect Behavior” and I think this team is a little stronger, too. And I like their interactions with the BAU as well-if anyone from the original ever makes an appearance on the spinoff, I’d enjoy watching them work together. I’m willing to see where this could go.

  5. Steven says:

    It was ok. I like Gary Sinise, though everytime i saw him I felt like i was watching CSI: NY. I felt some chemistry between Anna Gunn’s character and Hotch, which I think would be cool if they dated and crossed over shows every once and awhile. I missed if her character was married or not.

  6. wasn’t a fan of anna gunn’s character she was too soft spoken or something about her voice was off for me

    • jenferner8 says:

      She has very husky voice. I’m familiar with her name but not her work so voice threw me a bit. Also I hope the hair on Anna and AJ isn’t new trend…it looked way to overdone, and don’t get me started on Hewitt’s look in this episode.

    • Walter Freeman says:

      Two words: CHEEK BOTOX. Go back and watch how little her face moves below her eyes and above her lips. It’ll wear off eventually, and when it does, her pronunciation will improve.

      • Julia Bassett says:

        I was thinking the same! “what the hell did you do to your face?!” She’s a lovely woman, but she looked weird as hell in this. Also, I found it to be more Beyond Boredom

  7. ames says:

    No, didn’t like the spin off idea. Don’t like it, wouldn’t watch.

  8. Mary says:

    Needs more character development, which will come in time. Gary Sinise can do ANYTHING so I’m looking forward to CBS running forward with this show. I was disappointed that Suspect Behavior couldn’t seem to find its footing. I liked that show and Forest Whitaker very much. I hope they have better luck with this attempt.

  9. TLC says:

    Criminal Minds is my favorite show. I’ll definitely watch. But I’m like the other comments…LEAVE the original cast alone. When AJ and Emily left, I was upset. Glad CBS saw the error of their ways. With 3 ND IS shows, Criminal Minds and so with a good spin-off.

  10. Aj says:

    This has potential 😊

  11. Suzie QT says:

    Any series that has Gary Sinise is going to be worth watching and when you add Anna Gunn, you have a solid case for it getting better with each episode.

  12. JeffDJ says:

    I enjoyed the episode, though I’ll have to wait to see how they do on their own if they get picked up for series. But it was nice to see Gary Sinise on TV again, though it’ll be tough for him to shake his Mac character from CSI:NY (a show I still miss).

  13. joliealma says:

    I like the idea, but forcing it on me in the middle of one of my all time favorite shows seriously ticked me off. I practically want to boycott the new show just because of how it was forced on me in a way I don’t appreciate. Please, just have an additional special show at another time. That way, I’m not robbed of seeing my favorite characters really get to do their thing. In fact, then I would just be glad at the “extra” viewing of my favorite cast during an extra show. Also, what was that ridiculous comment about knowing the difference between monsters and human is why they solve the cases? I’m quite capable of abstract thought, and was not impressed with how that was presented at all. I much prefer the quote that was on criminal minds at one point about how children’s stories don’t exist to teach children that there are monsters; rather, the children already know there are monsters and the stories show they can be beaten. They are monsters and human. I also found the “bonding” between the two teams was forced and awkward in many instances. The end of finding the little boy in the row boat was completely unbelievable to me. I imagine that row boat would have been long gone since it was released earlier in the day, and no way could a little boy in the dark of night trying to tread water in the ocean see over the swells to find that boat far off in the distance. It makes me nervous that I could invest in an episode from that series again just to be totally disappointed in an unrealistic ending. I did like seeing the beautiful scenery and the idea of seeing the good foods they might eat, but we already have shows on the cooking and travel channels for that. I would take some convincing to give the spin-off a chance.

    • joliealma, tbh, I was pretty certain I’d boycott the show anyway (since I still have bitter feelings from last time & what happened to the CM ladies as a result), and after this episode I’m absolutely will not watch any long of them. I’m really, really annoyed by how much focus they got and all this forced, constant propping up by our team members and by the writing that kept emphasizing how talented and smart and well connected they are. I’m just really annoyed (and they interfered with every part of the show, even when giving the profiling, even when Garcia was doing her computer thing, even the quote in the end was hijacked) I barely made it through the episode.
      Why even bother calling the BAU when you handled so much of it yourself? I didn’t even care for the kid in the boat (though you’re right lol), I’m just so annoyed how everything was given to the new team on a silver plate. “I also found the “bonding” between the two teams was forced and awkward in many instances.” oh that really hurt also. I honestly kept looking at the time hoping the episode would finish faster. Really not fan of this CM episode, or more like: CM-spinoff: guest starring by the CM team.
      Yeah, sorry you guys for the tone but what a disappointment! I want my regular team back.

    • Velocisexual says:

      About the little boy, on top of all of it he also still had his hands tied when he was thrown in the water, so yeah I felt the exact same way about seeing him in the boat, it was the dumbest “happy ending” ever.

    • Mary Rose says:

      This is a common way to introduce spin offs. It lets the viewer know how it’s associated with the original. As for mistakes in the show, again you’ll see in this in practically every show.

  14. greysfan says:

    I didn’t mind it. If it means we get overseas destinations and there is some good writing and stories it could do well. I like the cast so that was a plus.

  15. Sandy says:

    I like the original but think this one has potential and would watch it. Love Gary Sinise. And would watch it for him. Not sure yet if I like Anna Gunn. Don’t know her. I’d give it a try it is defiantly so much better then the other spin off that I hated. Nothing like the original Criminal Minds but we shouldn’t look at it that way.

  16. Brianna says:

    I’d watch anything with Daniel Henney…faithfully

  17. Dolores Siciliano says:

    Can’t miss with Gary Sinese!

  18. Mark says:

    To say this is the only possible spin off is a bit premature because the episode on the pre BAU with a young Gideon etc for me would have made a better a series. Than this

    • Jennifer says:

      ^^^ This. I would watch that, esp. with the cast they had with the flashback episode. Although I will give this spin off a chance.

  19. Karen says:

    Definitely won’t watch. Gary Sinise is probably the most boring actor on tv and Anna Gunn was completely underwhelming. On the basis of this appalling episode I doubt it will make it to series.

  20. Hege says:

    I think it was ok. Gary Senise is always good. I will give spinoff a chance if they make it. Not sure about Anna Gunn. After seing her in Gracepoint where she played Olivia Colemans character from Broadchurch, I think she is overratet.

  21. Jean says:

    I really like Gary Sinise and Anna Gunn – think they will work well together. Been looking for a new “good” series since the CSI Miami and NY both shut down production.

  22. Tahina says:

    Not enough for me and make a sound decision based only last night’s..love Ana Dunn but last night she was kind of off to me.

  23. Elaine Brown says:

    I will watch anything & everything that has Gary Sinise in it. I wish CSI; New York still came on.

  24. kirads09 says:

    It was obvious this episode wasn’t about the unsub or crime really. It was nice there was a “happier ending” to this one. And Tom Everett Scott – was nice to see him pop up. It was meant to introduce us to the new team and did a good job already giving us a little about them. They will be different, and I like that. On board for now if only because of Gary. Criminal Minds still needs to give Matthew Gray Gubler much more screen time – always my #1 gripe.

  25. Eurydice says:

    I love Gary Sinese, so I’ll watch for a while. It depends on how they develop the characters. I watch CM because of the chrarcters, even though I kind of hate serial killers and gore and women screaming through horrible torture…hmm, I don’t know what that says about me…:-)

  26. Bren says:

    So good to see Gary Sinese back on my TV!!! I will definitely watch Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders

  27. chuckiechk says:

    I enjoyed it and think it would make a good spinoff. The huge difference between Suspect Behavior and Beyond Borders is the team on Suspect Behavior didn’t act like a team, which is what I think hurt the show. Their biggest mistake on Suspect Behavior was indeed focusing to much on Forest Whitaker, and not focusing on the “team”. One small change I would make on Beyond Borders is replacing Anna Gunn.

    • SK says:

      Agreed. I enjoyed it myself and like the team except for Anna Gunn. Maybe they can replace her with a different actress if it makes it to a series.

  28. Dave says:

    Any show with Gary Sinise is a winner in my book. Was sad to see CSI:NY end. Will definitely watch CM:BB! Bring it on!

  29. Mary Riordan says:

    Beyond Borders will be fine as it will not have Jj, Morgan, or Garcia. Too bad it will not have Reid, Rossi or Hotch.

  30. bella says:

    I would watch Gary Sinise in anything. And I was so relieved that Monte was a normal person instead of the cliched geek, that I could have jumped for joy. Plus, the family wasn’t dead by the time they showed up! I’ll watch the new show for sure if it gets picked up.

  31. Carolyn Perry says:

    With Gary Sinise at the helm, this spinoff is a slam dunk. Loved it

  32. Mr. Smith says:

    Good casting makes this spin off a good spinoff. As long as the writing remains as consistent as the original, Beyond Borders should be a success.

  33. SK says:

    Enjoyed the show. Love to see Gary Sinise again. I like the team except for the actress, Anna Gunn. Please replace her with a different actress when this spin off gets picked up.

  34. Elaine Large says:

    Love, love, love Gary Sinise… He plays such a great detective part…. great great actor

  35. susan says:

    Love Gary Sinise but didn’t seem like the team had a lot of chemistry.

  36. AW says:

    Spin off is fine with me as long as Gary Sinise is there!

  37. SoFla says:

    I will watch anything with Gary Sinise.

  38. Rick Ellefsen says:

    great cast of people. They seem like a good mix. You can’t go wrong with Gary Sinise

  39. vivian says:

    loved the show and so good to see gary sinise back on tv love that man

  40. Tintorera says:

    I’d watch it for Daniel Henney. But does his character really have to have FOUR children and a wonderful wife? Is that supposed to lessen his appeal to female viewers? ;)

  41. Keith Wyrick says:

    I’m on the fence about the Beyond Borders episode…parts of it were good, but I didn’t care for the way they had to “dumb down” Garcia to make Monty look good. She’s always confident, smart and sexy in her own way, and last night she came off as a frightened noob who kept stammering over everything and asking him questions and ideas. He was a good character, don’t get me wrong, but the writing made Penelope look bad, just my opinion. Sinise is a great actor in whatever he’s doing, so good fit there. Overall, it’s got potential, we’ll see what they do with it.

  42. MsTLB says:

    I stopped watching CM a long time ago. Is it just me thinking that Beyond Borders sounds like a knock off of Crossing Lines?

  43. matty says:

    I would watch, but only if they recast Gary Sinise. I cannot watch him.

    • matty says:

      Also, I liked Anna Gunn. She wasn’t that problematic for me. But I will not watch any show with Gary Sinise. He is a homophobic.

  44. Trista says:

    I thought it was much better than the Suspect Behavior spinoff. Love seeing Anna Gunn again!

  45. LEP says:

    Where would they be shooting these “international” scenes? Actually in those countries, or in studio or backlots in Hollywood, etc. with bits of footage added in to try to make you think that’s really where they are? If actually in those countries, I would enjoy it a lot more. Loved how Covert Affairs was on location all around the world.

  46. Pam says:

    I’ll watch because Gary Sinise is in it and I Love him. The rest of the Borders cast were ok but I don’t like the girl.

  47. Sandra Connors says:

    Would love to have the spin off (Beyond Borders).
    I have always enjoyed Criminal Minds and really hated when they took off CSI New York.

  48. Sara says:

    Before they start a new show I want them to fix the one they have. Criminal Minds used to have phenomenal writing and directing, with solid psychology and science behind it, and a plot that really lived up to the name “Criminal Minds”. This season and the one past it has turned into “Law & Order: BAU”. The criminals are just criminals. There’s no psychological delving into their character, and often profiles are given with NO supporting evidence whatsoever. The focus has switched from centering on the mentality and psychology of the unsubs to the personal drama happening with the team members, which is a SURE sign of a writing team who is not sure what direction to take anymore. And now they want to start a spinoff?

    The writing in this episode was ABYSMAL. I honestly didn’t mind having two teams working together, but in order to make it a “challenge” for the souped up international team, the circumstances surrounding the case were amped up to the ridiculous. The first cutaway shot when we discovered that the unsub was holding the family on a boat was not, I think, supposed to be so over the top as to be hilarious. The sheer amount of overkill…on a boat. Offshore. WAY offshore. NOTHING AROUND. Instead of thinking “oh noes, how will the teams find it?” I spent the commercial break laughing, it just struck me as ridiculous. Added to that we have a member from the other team instructing Garcia on how to counsel families, and reminding her of basic strategies when she doesn’t seem to be able to handle it. Is continuity even a THING in this show anymore? Penelope Garcia RUNS a counseling GROUP for the families of victims of violent crimes. It’s something she got in trouble for a couple seasons past, when she had her access stripped from her and the BAU found out she’d been instructed to monitor all of them. The fact that they downgraded her experience to provide a “bonding moment” with the new team member was extremely disappointing to say the least. The unsub was promising, but in the end the writers lost control of him. The way he’d been set up, a rage-ridden absolute control fiend who stalks families in order to exact revenge on his own by re-enacting their deaths, who kills in extremely personal fashion, had great potential. But by the end they had this controlling killer, who strangled his victims to death in a way that made it clear that he NEEDED to see them die, perfectly content to toss a victim overboard into the ocean, where he neither had control over the boy’s death, IF he died, and could certainly not see it happen. Shoddy writing. And enough others have called BS on the end that I don’t feel the need to rehash it again. This was the most disappointing Criminal Minds episode in a season of disappointing episodes. If they manage a CSI-style spinoff, which is what it felt like they are going for, I would not be surprised if the original CM series is canceled soon after. SAVE YOUR RESOURCES AND FIX THE ORIGINAL SERIES. New writers who know the material are desperately needed!!!

    I will not watch a spinoff, I don’t want a spinoff. I want the magic of Criminal Minds back.

    • MaryWH2 says:

      Me too! This episode was badly written and underwhelming. Shot in California with a few palms thrown in is not enough to make an original show supposedly set overseas. It might as well have been set in Miami. I also groaned at the lacked of continuity over Garcia who has been counselling victims and their families for years. I hated the way the new team were held up as sainted perfection and the CM team fell all over them. Not good at all. Get the mothership back on track with clever stories and proper psychology and profiling and lose all the rubbishy soap opera personal stuff.

    • SevereCriminalMindsAddict (B. E. Frerotte3481) says:

      First of all, you sound like a child who lost his teddy bear and is yelling at his parents, “I don’t want a replacement!” This is a spinoff! That means it’s a different show, with the same concept, meant to give OPEN-MINDED Criminal Minds fans a fresh, thought-provoking twist on the original concept of behavioral profiling. They can’t just make a carbon copy of the original series. If you don’t want to see the spinoff just say so; however, I strongly disagree with hiding behind insults to the actors and writers. These people are just doing their jobs, trying to make a living. Most importantly, Garcia was not dumbed down at all! She gave the team a great lead before Monty even arrived. Also, the fact that in the beginning of the episode, she said to Jack, “We don’t have a lot of time; please tell me Monty is on this with us.” proves to all the unintelligent, idiotic Garcia haters who call themselves “fans” of the show that she doesn’t solve everything with her “magic computer” as the idiots put it. Finally, Garcia cannot bear to witness people suffer, that’s why she didn’t want to talk to the families, because THE VIOLENCE WAS STILL TAKING PLACE! Her hatred of suffering is why she counsels the victims’ families in her support group, which takes place AFTER THE FACT, and it makes her feel like she’s making a difference, despite the fact that the damage has been done. There is a big difference between not wanting to witness family members suffer – not knowing if their loved ones will be murdered or not, and helping the families cope with loss after the crime has taken place. This has been made very clear throughout the series; put on your thinking caps, guys… There was no lack of continuity regarding Garcia or any other character. This was an amazing episode which was amazingly written, brilliantly directed and extremely well cast; it set a strong foundation for a series which could easily become almost as successful as Criminal Minds, itself. I cannot wait to see the highly efficient, professional, and supportive Section Chief Mateo Cruz again; it has been confirmed that he will not only stay with Criminal Minds, but he will play the exact same role in Beyond Borders. Can’t wait. Try and open your minds, guys, or at least pay attention and have some background knowledge before accusing the writers of not showing continuity; psychologically, it’s much easier for Garcia to help someone cope after the fact, than to watch them suffer while their loved one is being victimized.

      • MaryWH2 says:

        Rose tinted spectacles or what?? First off, Garcia has dealt with all kinds of witnesses, victims, family, whatever in the past – she has even gone into the field to talk to people in the thick of the crimes so the way they wrote her in this was just over the top, I know she plays it as a wimp but even she is not as bad as they showed her. Secondly, this was not very original or fresh – they failed to use the international aspect to any great effect. Apart from a few bits of window dressing, the episode could have taken place in the USA just as easily. The new team – well of course they need time to flesh out the characters but they were painted as such wonders it immediately put people off. People are interesting by their flaws – that’s the mistake they made with JJ by making her so “wonderful” last season. These people were so amazing, had perfect personal lives, had so many talents they were painted just too good to be true. And there is a lot wrong with the mothership lately which too often is just a shoot-em-up soap opera instead of the clever show it started as. I have watched this show and its evolution for 10 years and it pains me when things are not right. I realise that you are a fanatical fan and love it blindly but when this show really needs criticism it should be told. I am one of the long time fans who miss the clever profiling and hate when they mess with continuity and I just hope this spin off, like the last, doesn’t pull the main show down further. If we get another season of the main show that is.

  49. Anything that goes on with my crimal mind shows and the cast I love to know about even updates never miss the show since it been on

  50. Ro Monte says:

    I love Gary Sinise; on screen and off.