'Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior' review: Forest Whitaker takes command

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Overview: If you're a fan of CBS'  "Criminal Minds," then this should fill your cup to the brim. Forest Whitaker makes some unique choices as the team's leader.

"Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" brings together a team of FBI crime investigators in Virginia headed by Sam Cooper, a very sensitive, bordering on clairvoyant, profiler played by Whitaker ("The Shield," "ER," and several films). 

The next big player, as evidenced by her appearance after Whitaker and before the rest of the team (a hard rule in TV writing), is Janeane Garofalo ("24," and, again, several films). She plays Beth, a smart investigator with the knack for calling it how it is. The rest of the cast are easy on the eyes, but serve in a very functional way - at least for the pilot.

You met Sam's team last season on "Criminal Minds" when it joined those BAU agents in San Francisco to investigate several murders of homeless men. This kind of "backdoor pilot" has led to several of CBS' "CSI" spinoffs. 

Spoiler alert!

The pilot starts off with the typical confusing murder scenario, which gets Sam's juices flowing. It's a fast-paced hour with the team's theories and the case facts flying at warp speed. At times, things can get confusing, but hold on a few minutes. The cast will repeat the pertinent details to keep the viewers clued in.

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Along the way, it has the expected limited reveals of the suspect as the team builds its theory to a fine point and the necessary red herring suspect to throw us off a bit. Of course, they get their "man" and the over-the-top confession - which we have to say is always very enjoyable in a campy way.

We think if you are a fan of this franchise, then "Suspect Behavior" should please you. Whitaker gives us a nice twist on the team leader. He's pretty adverse to grandstanding and his knack for tapping into the suspect's mind gets highly emotional for him. His intensity is balanced by a solid performance by Garofalo and the team's quick wit. And we sense that their interest in Sam's talents will make for some good reveals for the character over the season.

"Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" premieres Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
Photo/Video credit: CBS