“Criminal Minds” episode in Belize? It was just criminal

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"De Los Inocentes" (Left-right) Clara Seger (Alana De La Garza),Mae Jarvis (Annie Funke) and Matt Simmons (Daniel Henney), Unit Chief Jack Garrett (Gary Sinise), comprise the International Response Unit, the FBI division at the heart of the upcoming drama series, CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS, which premieres Wednesday, March 16 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The IRT is tasked with solving crimes and coming to the rescue of Americans who find themselves in danger while abroad.
“Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” team in action:  (Left-right) Clara Seger (Alana De La Garza), Mae Jarvis (Annie Funke) and Matt Simmons (Daniel Henney), Unit Chief Jack Garrett (Gary Sinise). They are called the  FBI International Response Unit and they prefer running around in big black SUV’s while operating discretely in foreign countries. Driving golf carts on Ambergris Caye probably would not have worked for them in last night’s non-Belize-based episode.

My first inkling that the CBS series “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” dabbles in geographic bullshit was the network press release last week that touted Wednesday’s episode “Love Interrupted” taking place on the island of Belize.

It seems an American couple honeymooning on this mythical island is abducted and the FBI’s highly specialized foreign troubleshooting and extraction team drives to Ambergris Caye from the International Airport to rescue them.

Yeah, you read that right.

Drives to Ambergris Caye.

Typical Belizean scene with a surfboard in the background. Belize, as you know, is famous for its surfing breaks .....
Typical Belizean scene with a surfboard in the background. Belize, as you know, is famous for its surfing breaks …..

They also rent full-size vehicles here and drive past the rolling hills of AC — on superbly paved roads.

One agonized viewer mentioned cannibalism. Anyone know anything about that?

Here’s an unintentionally hilarious recap of the episode. Spoiler alert: Includes Aztec warrior methodologies.

I’ve got to be honest here.

I didn’t watch the episode. We opted to watch the more-reality-based superhero movie “Deadpool” (with Korean subtitles!) under the stars at The Truck Stop. I’m sure I learned more about super heroes watching “Dead Pool” than anyone learned about Belize while watching that “Criminal Minds” thing.

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We got a live, outdoor screening of the episode at The Truck Stop on Friday night. Here’s our reaction to it. It is even worse than we imagined!

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That name, by the way — “Criminal Minds” —  I’m pretty sure it is has a lot to do with how the show’ perceives its audience’s intelligence.

I think the show is about an elite FBI team that drops into foreign countries and rescues Americans in distress. No, not if you got drunk and ended in jail or lost your credit cards. Big stuff, like hostage situations.

I am also reminded of the recent visit to Ambergris Caye by our beloved American Embassy staff, during which it generously reassured us that there is almost nothing they can do if we get into some sort of trouble. Maybe these FBI guys operate on the QT?

Here are some of the reactions to the “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” episode “based” in Belize  that I’ve encountered on Facebook this morning:

  • “Well shit. Was looking forward to Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders being in Belize. That was sooooo not San Pedro. They could have at least gotten the beach right.”
  • “Yep. What a joke!!”
  • “Since when are there mountains in San Pedro lol?!?!”
  • “Wow, mountains, car rental, nicely paved roads … they seriously did no research! “We need a paramedic”, hahaha”
  • “I’d say they were in San Pedro, Cali” This person may be on to something. Another critic thought she saw the Queen Mary in the background and that ship is based in Long Beach, next to San Pedro.
  • A more-damning critique: “Oh so wrong!! basement in san pedro with lead pipes…hahaha.. car rentals? creole was pathetic! a tow truck business that picks up scrap metal..really? airport was surely not in belize, and the paved roads with rolling hills in san pedro….omg someone in production and the writers should be very ashamed of themselves for putting together such a farce of a show, the storyline was hard to watch with all the wrong scenery and misinformation being said. If they keep doing this with each location they supposedly go to, this show won’t last!! I see it as trying to put fear into americans to not travel abroad. I sure hope this does not scare the tourists away from Belize. so much of this show was unreal it’s maddening!”
My favorite reaction: “Oh now everyone thinks we eat people. No it’s just stew chicken & rice.”
 A telling comment from the show’s own Facebook page: “Not sure if it will survive the first season. They need to spend some money on production …”
Boy, do they.
I admit, mainstream television’s low expectations for their own content  — both in entertainment and news — makes for an easy target these days.
It really hurts when shows like this one and the Amazon series “Mad Dogs” — supposedly based in Belize — opt to shoot elsewhere. (At least the “Mad Dogs” pilot episode looked like it was shot in Belize.)
“Househunters International” spends more time in Belize than either “Mad Dogs” or “Criminal Minds” did — and it is a fictional program as well.
I get that Hollywood is most comfortable shooting in its own backyard — and Vancouver, Montreal and, until it went terminally stupid,  North Carolina where the labor is cheap, the landscape varied and the tax breaks as attractive as the extras. But it used to try and look like some place else.
I dunno. Maybe they got rid of research and continuity staff the way American newspapers dumped all their copy editors or the education system dumped teachers and support staff.
Maybe I just haven’t been watching much mainstream television these days.
I’ll confess, we are thoroughly hooked on Netflix original programming. To the point where I think we are recognizing similar sets being used for “Jessica Jones” and “Daredevil.” But then, the name Jessica Jones has been slyly dropped into “Daredevil” perhaps setting up a crossover episode some day? These and “Grace and Frankie,” “Sense8,” “Narcos,” “House of Cards” and more are both challenging and entertaining. Who has time for nitwit network TV.
If you spotted any other embarrassing Belize gaffs in last night’s “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” why not report them in the comments section below!



13 thoughts on ““Criminal Minds” episode in Belize? It was just criminal

    Julia Smith said:
    April 14, 2016 at 8:20 am

    LOL. Mike and I were appalled at this episode having just been there in January to visit you. Yes, the hillside were ridiculous (in addition to them being dry with more desert like forage, as were the cars. In addition to that beach that they filmed at LOL. I also don’t recall the Embassy being that large do you? We were hoping to see actual footage of Belize and that was what we were after. The only thing they got was the airport I think (may have to rewatch it to make sure) and that was it. Oh, and the police station. Come on!


    Gary Wade Barrentine said:
    April 14, 2016 at 8:20 am

    My favorite part was when they dredged the bay which was right off Banyon Bay.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 14, 2016 at 8:25 am

      So, there were some actual Belize scenes in the episode?


    Susan said:
    April 14, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Oh gosh I missed it, was watching Nashville…at least the songs are good and Nashville actually LOOKS like Nashville! Will have to wait for reruns! Darn!!!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 14, 2016 at 8:31 am

      I think you can now watch the episode by live stream off their website, as long as you are in the US or use a proxy DNS to bypass the blockade!


    Wayne McCrae said:
    April 14, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Well shame on us for thinking there is any realism in TV. Real pilots watch aircraft movies and cut them to pieces, as a 38 year vet of the Coast Guard I tore “The Guardian” apart as well as the Canadian based “The Guard” series. Me thinks we should not consider TV as fact based reality, but strictly fantasy based. Do we still believe in Superman and Batman as real people. Haha.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 14, 2016 at 10:17 am

      I remember watching the movie “Mystic Pizza” and thinking stuff like, “There is no way you can turn right at that corner and end up five miles away!” I was just too familiar with Mystic, Connecticut, to suspend disbelief.


    woof4treats said:
    April 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Watched for 2 minutes. Realized my time better spent finishing the packing for the real San Pedro.


    ME said:
    April 14, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    To quote Harry Chapin “Reality is just a word”


    Tom wagner said:
    April 15, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Don’t watch tv it’s the Devils workshop!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 15, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      Well, that sure explains a lot of stuff, Tom. Thank you!


    wolfgirl said:
    April 15, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    As a big fan of Criminal Minds, I was hoping for the same great quality of television. The first episode was pretty ludicrous but was willing to give it another try with episode 2. It didn’t take long to shut it down after the intro “tag line” went something like…”when Americans leave the safety of their borders to go abroad…” pretty sure the loud lgaffaw I emitted was heard around the complex. As an American, and as any observer of the news would know, we aren’t any safer here, and that did it for me. I won’t be wasting any more of my time. Hopefully the memory will become very distant once I am ensconced in my new home on the island…I hope I don’t miss it looking for mountains and paved roads:)


    […] Since its original TV airing on Wednesday, expats and Belizeans all over this tiny country have been convulsed in paroxysms of laughter. To be … […]


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