Garofalo & Suspect Behavior Get the Boot!

On Dragnet, Jack Webb would start his witness interviews with the famous catchphrase, “Just the facts, ma’am.”  Here are the facts about two CBS shows — both police procedurals — one renewed for a second season and the other cancelled after only one short outing as a mid-season replacement:

Police Procedural #1:  An updated “re-make” of a popular 1970’s television drama.  This show, set in an exciting, tropical locale, stars four young actors, with the lead character played by an Australian actor who had several previous CBS series cancelled after short runs.

Police Procedural #2:  A spin-off of a popular crime drama (now finishing its 6th season).  This show, set in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, stars six actors, one of whom won an academy award for best actor and one who also stars in the original series that gave birth to the new series.

On May 15, 2011, CBS renewed for a second season Hawaii Five-O, the highly popular drama set in the Aloha State.  Five-O has been one of this season’s strongest performers, even winning the Best New TV Drama at the 37th  People’s Choice Awards.

On May 17, 2011, CBS announced it was cancelling Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.  Alas, there will be no second season for what should have been a promising new series with a built-in fan base from the original Criminal Minds.

What we have here is a tale of two police/crime dramas, with two very different outcomes following their first season.  Hawaii Five-O, which ended season one with a bang (and several cliff-hangers), looks primed for a long run.  As a fan of the original series (1968-80) starring Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett and James MacArthur as Det. Danny Williams (“Book ’em, Danno”) , I was eagerly anticipating the new Hawaii Five-O.  As as child, I remember my parents letting me stay up late to just to watch the the theme song.

From the opening episode where we are introduced to the “new” Steve McGarrett — played by Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin — through the tense final episode of its freshman season, the new Hawaii Five-O did not disappoint.  I DVRed every episode and thoroughly enjoyed this first season.  I would daresay that Hawaii Five-O has become my favorite series to watch this past season (although the original CSI and Big Bang Theory are tied for second).

Why did Hawaii Five-O do so well in its first year, so well in fact that it was picked up for another season?  While writing is critical to the success of any movie or television show, without on-screen talent to credibly act out what is written and, without characters who the audience can like and relate to, the show is dead in the water.

In the case of Hawaii Five-O, not only are the four main actors — O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, and Grace Park — credible, but they portray their characters in such a way that they are likeable.  Very quickly, the four (plus some compelling and quirky recurring characters who were introduced throughout the season) developed a chemistry that was evident to fans of the show.  As a fan, I bought into the show mainly because of the characters who the actors portrayed (not to mention my nostalgia for the original series).  But, if any of the actors themselves would have been a hindrance for me believing their characters, it would have made it difficult to like the show and to keep watching week after week.

Which brings me to Criminal Minds:  Suspect Behavior.  Even though I was pre-disposed to like this spin-off because of my affection for Criminal Minds, the new show was a non-starter for me because of one thing:  the casting of Janeane Garofalo.  I, along with apparently many other people, did not watch a single episode of Suspect Behavior.  And, in order to be renewed for a second season, it helps mightily to have ratings that go up, not down, throughout the course of your first year.

Why CBS and the producers of Suspect Behavior wanted to limit their audience right off the bat with the hiring of Janeane Garofalo is baffling.  You would expect that folks who spend millions of dollars in developing and producing a television series would want a return on their investment.  And, in order to get that return, that they would take reasonable measures to ensure its commercial success.  In Hollywood, as in most places, success = money!

But, if you expected that from those involved with the train wreck that was CM:  Suspect Behavior, you would be wrong.  No one wants to say why this series did not make it after all.  At Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood, Nellie Andreeva acknowledges that Suspect Behavior did not meet expectations:

“Given the great success CBS has had with expanding its CSI and NCIS crime drama franchises, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior has been a disappointment, never finding its footing behind the mothership Criminal Minds series on Wednesday.”

Ms. Andreeva, however, fails to explore the reason why the series never found its footing.  Let me give it a shot.  I believe one of the main reasons that Criminal Minds:  Suspect Behavior failed to find and/or keep an audience is because of the poor casting choice of Janeane Garofalo.  I do not fault Ms. Garafolo from wanting to be hired.  I do fault CBS and the producers for hiring her in the first place.

I am fully aware that the producers can hire whoever they want.  I would not prevent them from choosing the actors and actresses who they thought best for each of the roles.  But, why would they hire a woman who is well known for her ugly diatribes against Christians, Tea Partiers, Conservatives, and Republicans?  They are crippling themselves and limiting their audience by offending so many potential viewers.  At least that was the case with my family.  I’m sure it was the case for countless others.

On multiple levels, CBS’ decision to hire Janeane Garofalo made absolutely no sense.  However, in the upside down world that is Hollywood, I’m quite certain that the folks associated with Suspect Behavior and the Hollywood elites will never understand how the choice of Ms. Garofalo affected viewership.

In the end, the viewers will decide what shows are worthy to stay on the air.  And, they spoke loud and clear.  Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and American leftist actress Janeane Garofalo get the boot.  Hawaii Five-O and Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin are coming back for a second season, baby!  What a difference it makes when you don’t even know the politics of the actors and actresses involved in a series.  Aloha!

10 comments for “Garofalo & Suspect Behavior Get the Boot!

  1. May 19, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    Okay, I couldn’t agree more about Janeane Garafolo, and I did not watch a single episode of the show. But do you think that her presence was what put the show in the tank? It would keep me away (from just about any show) but do you think that was the root of the shows failure? A contributing factor?

    • May 19, 2011 at 8:57 AM

      Dave,

      It’s hard to say. I think you and I are indicative of the typical view — quite normal in every way 🙂 If you and I did not watch a single episode because of Ms. Garofalo’s presence, I’m sure there are countless others who did not watch either. I must say, that as much as Forrest Whitaker maybe a fine actor, I could not watch him week in and week out on a show. If I would have watched the series consistently, I could have told you whether writing/storyline contributed to Suspect Behavior’s downfall. But, I couldn’t get past the actors/characters in the first place to even care about the story being told. That being said, I don’t think anyone in Hollywood wants to admit that someone like Garofalo, with her outspoken and harsh views, contributed in the least to the show’s demise. There’s nothing to see here — let’s move on. Have a great day,

      Howell

      • BDW
        May 19, 2011 at 9:16 AM

        So Garofalo is disliked because of why? How is she different from any other celebrity who dabbles in politics? She’s like a C-lister in the TV world. I just can’t imagine people care about the political views of someone that isn’t exactly a household name.

        On the other hand, Alec Baldwin is a A-list TV star with a popular show. He’s had some harsh things to say about TeaPartiers and Republicans over the last couple of years.

        I just don’t buy the idea that people tune out whether on the big screen or small screen because of the political views of the actor or actress – regardless of how outspoken. Sean Penn and Tom Cruise movies do quite well – and they are nuts. If Charlie Sheen were to return to TV tomorrow, his show would still be a hit.

        I watch a good bit of prime time TV. Love my big screen and love my DVR. I watched Criminal Minds a couple times – didn’t enjoy it so much. I only caught maybe one or two episodes of Hawaii 5-0. I like Scott Caan. But didn’t really get into the first episode. Might have to check it out again.

        • May 19, 2011 at 10:08 AM

          Aaron,

          Hope things are well with you in Waco this week. As I shared with Dave, I think that Ms. Garofalo’s presence on Suspect Behavior was a contributing factor in the show’s demise. How big a factor? We will probably never know. In addition to her outspoken political views (which she shares with many in Hollywood), I personally don’t find her appealing as a person or an actress. If someone is not likeable, that makes it difficult to watch a movie or tv show with them in it. It comes down to taste. Are there certain outspoken liberal actors that I will still watch? Yes. Matt Damon was excellent in the Coen Brothers remake of True Grit. But, he comes across as likeable, even if I disagree with his political views. Sean Penn is not in that category. It would have to be the rare movie with him in it that I would pay to see. I would encourage you to give Hawaii Five-O another look. It is well done and the characters have good chemistry on screen. Have a great day and God bless,

          Howell

  2. BDW
    May 19, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    My wife refuses to watch Tom Cruise movies b/c of his scientology, etc. So, I can see why some avoid Sean Penn movies. But The Interpreter and Mystic River were pretty good.

    I’d also add that I don’t think Garofalo’s appeal is with the heterosexual OR male demographic!!

    • May 19, 2011 at 4:00 PM

      Aaron,

      I think your observation about Garofalo’s demographic appeal is spot on! 🙂

    • May 19, 2011 at 9:23 PM

      She gets nowhere with this heterosexual male.

      • May 19, 2011 at 9:25 PM

        I just realized how creepy that sounds. Of course, I meant that she is not attractive in any way. I wish this was SBC Voices and I had the delete button.

  3. richard
    June 12, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Wow. I hope this review is not indicative of what gets put on the air. Politics are an ugly, ugly mess. Entertainment is an escape, even a show based on something as heavy as law. Any actor who is any good at all draws upon the character…they don’t play themselves. even Jeb Bush said that things have gone to far in this “All or nothing” point of view that has become pervasive. It is so childish. I watch a huge variety of shows but I’d never base an interest or disinterest on someones beliefs. I’m not a Scientologist but I like many movies with actors who are. Let’s not get myopic here.

    • June 12, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      Richard,

      I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. I would certainly agree with you that we should “not get myopic” when it comes to our entertainment choices based on the personal views of the actors and actresses. I think the point that I was trying to convey — perhaps not as clearly as I could — is that there is a line, which if crossed, makes it difficult for me to suspend disbelief and watch the particular actor or actress (in this case, Janeane Garofalo) in a movie or television show. These actors and actresses have every right to say whatever they want and to share their opinions on politics, culture, and religion. However, when those views are leveled as offensive, personal attacks against a group which I might be part of, that’s where the line starts to get crossed in terms of me being interested in watching anything that these folks are in. I think there is a way to disagree with another person’s politics or religion without being intentionally offensive. When you are in a business that needs to attract customers or viewers, you would think that it would not be wise to go out of your way to offend a sizable portion of said customers or viewers. For me, Garofalo fits that bill. Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts today. God bless,

      Howell

Leave a Reply