Jennifer Love Hewitt has joined the cast of "Criminal Minds" -- news announced Tuesday but I didn't have the heart to post until now. She'll play -- per CBS -- "Kate Callahan, a seasoned undercover agent whose stellar work at the FBI has landed her a coveted position with the Behavioral Analysis Unit," and begins with the 10th season premiere.
Why no heart in the matter? I like Hewitt, think she's a perfectly good actress, and was good in the "The Ghost Whisperer." ("The Client List" I can't speak to.) What's ominous here is "Criminal Minds," which has had something of a revolving door with female leads or semi-leads in the last few years (Jeanne Triplehorn just left, but A.J.Cook and Kirsten Vangness have stuck around almost since season one).
What's the problem with "CM"? The show certainly had what we politely refer to in the critical trade as "content problems" -- a veritable parade of butchered people often women. CBS staked a claim in this type of programming years ago, known as "women in peril," which was once a staple of its long-gone movie franchise.
I have no idea whether "CM" is as awful as it once was; maybe it's turned into "The Good Wife," for all I know. But it was awful. Not that this is the only series on TV that traffics in blood porn; it's everywhere or in far too many places in fact and seems to be an absolute requirement for entry into the prestigious FX club. But "CM" entered the debate when Mandy Patinkin abruptly quit without explanation, then said this years later:
I didn't pay attention to the material, because once you get yourself locked onto the one need that you think you have [money, steady employment], which was the security of the job and having the job to go to every day, which I love, and the economic false security, 'cause I wasn't in trouble, I was doing fine -- I ignored the fact that there was a woman in a cage being tortured. I thought, "Well, this is just the pilot. You can't do that every show, for God's sake. How long would that be interesting?" Yet it remained interesting for now, I think, seven or eight years they're into.
So welcome, Ms Hewitt. And good luck. You may need it.