This week for the TV blog post prompt, I chose one of my favorite shows: Criminal Minds. It airs on CBS every Wednesday night at 9, and is currently in season 7. The show is made up of an elite group known as a subsection of the FBI: Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). Sometimes referred to as the unit, the members include Rossi, Morgan, Garcia (computer whiz), Dr. Reid, JJ (communications), Prentiss and Hotch (head of team). Their base is located in Quantico, Virginia, but the unit is constantly called in by police departments and other agencies around the country to assist in crimes. These crimes the unit is called in to help solve typically have many layers and are extremely or disturbing cases. When the BAU is handed a new case, much of their job revolves around profiling and victimology. By piecing together the basic characteristics of the assailant(s) and analyzing them, the team can work in an effort to anticipate the next moves, and hopefully catch the unsub (unidentified subject) before it’s too late.
This past weeks’ episode is titled “A Family Affair.” The Unit travels to Atlanta to investigate a string of murders. The victims have been prostitutes in the area who are stabbed to death in the same fashion. The Unit is called in because the frequency of these attacks continues to mount. The episode tells the story of dysfunctional family, the Collins. The Mother has been using pills, the Dad an alcoholic. They have one son, Jeffrey. Some years ago, there was a car accident. The Dad was drunk behind the wheel, the Mother in the front seat and Jeffrey in the back. Jeffrey is wheelchair-bound due to the accident, but blames his mother for what happened to him. Preview: criminal_minds_preview_a_family_affair_season_7_episode_16
Jeffrey’s parents try different outlets to persuade Jeffrey to take his medicine, saying “You know what happens.” Jeffrey refuses. While Jeffrey refuses to take his medication, he has a visiting therapist who takes him through a work out plan to gain strength back. Prostitutes are visiting the house more frequently. Jeffrey becomes frustrated when he cannot perform, and instead he stabs these women multiple times. The parents think the murders are helping their son! So, unfortunately, they feel they have no other choice but to continue to bring in fresh meat while disposing of the bodies.
One night the mother invites the physical trainer to dinner. After dinner the Father leaves the house and commits suicide: he speeds and runs the car into a light pole, killing him on impact. Found in his jacket pocket is a note confessing to the murders. While at the house the physical trainer attempts to find Jeffrey’s pills in his room and instead finds a bloody heart necklace under his bed. The Mother attacks her and said she shouldn’t have been in the room. At this point it is revealed Jeffrey blames his Mother for their family issues, as she holds a weapon to Erica’s throat. By this point the team has been able to pinpoint the trio must be parents aiding their kid and are able to pinpoint Jeffrey’s family’s circumstances. They arrive in time to shoot the Mother, save Erica, and arrest Jeffrey.
On a happier note, a side agenda happening in the episode is Hotch training for the FBI triathlon. His new lady friend, Beth, is there to support him. Hotch introduces her to his son (his wife had been murdered by an unsub in an earlier season). Hotch’s son asks if she is someone that works for his Dad, since the BAU literally consumes the lives of its members.
As always, the episode ends with a quote: “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
To relate back to management or business, I initially thought of how this team is coordinated as one unit. They all work together and use their strengths, operating as a single entity almost. I relate this to how a business or organization is a single entity, and treated as such in circumstances we have seen in many of our cases. In reference to the quote, don’t we want our leaders in business to act with fairness and integrity? This episode rang a bell with me in relation to Enron. When we discussed Enron, it seemed impossible that so many things had occurred in error BEFORE the disaster took place. The illegal activity and wrongful decisions were not acted upon until it was too late. I feel the same happened in this episode. The parents felt some obligation towards their son; they tried to make home life better by allowing him to murder because they believed it made him happier. It was them giving in to the guilt. By allowing Jeffrey to continue to feed into this behavior, the parents assumed it was somehow keeping their family together, when really everyone was on edge. The level of loyalty to family (much like the loyalty one can have to their organization) supersedes the moral dilemma of what is actually happening. The parents are aware that their actions are wrong; they are enabling their son to kill while cleaning up the mess! This lens can be seen with the leadership of Enron. The backdoor deals and other fraudulent activities directly hurt stakeholders, stockholders – basically everyone who had some sort of investment in the company. Because of the dynamic of Enron, the web of wrongdoing is immense, so do we blame in this situation? Just like Jeffrey’s family, who can be accountable for the killings? Is it better than Jeffrey killed prostitutes instead of other women? The personal conduct and standards Jeffrey’s parents hold themselves to flabbergasted me. Parents have a responsibility to protect their children, but at what cost? How could they justify in their minds what they were doing was for the better?