Sunday, March 18, 2007

CRIMINAL MINDS: LETS DISCUSS THE CHARACTER DR. SPENCER REID. ANY THOUGHTS?


Lets discuss Criminal Minds character Dr. Spencer Reid portrayed by Matthew Gray Gubler. Any thoughts? :)

46 comments:

sherlockette said...

I did not realize until viewing the first season eps how many times he is put in peril and has to be rescued. At the same time he seems to possess a lot of common sense and added a lot to the discussions. He does not just spout facts. He seems to know a good bit about police tactics and investigations in general.

I am not sure that he is put in peril because he is socially inept. The genius is the problem. At times he becomes so focused on the task that he ignores the surroundings. My understanding of what makes a genius is not that they know a lot but that they are able to focus intensely on a subject until they can exclude all else from their thoughts.

Reid’s “innocence” is a useful tool in interrogations. He is perceived as less of a threat. The unsub might let down his guard, but sometimes he will tell bigger lies. Getting someone to talk at all is important in some circumstances. If Reid becomes too aggressive or assertive, he will lose his edge.

Allie said...

I think we have seen a huge change in his innocence level from Season one to two. He is no longer the naive nerd stumbling to learn social basics. Reid is the character I think is evolving the most and I think it is going to be interesting to see who he is when Season two ends.

belinda said...

When you rewatch the season one dvds it is shocking almost to see Reid's first scene. He has changed so much.

Kay said...

A sad character, I have always felt that way. Even when he is happy I always think he looks a little sad. I think he is really afraid of dissapointing people and that makes it really hard because everyone expects alot from him. This has seemed true since the first season.

Arden said...

I can see Reid becoming a bit like the Robert Goren character in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Someone who is comfortable in his own skin, brilliant, individual and intense. Still a loner but comfortable with it.

I can also see him going the other way, so worried about the possibility of inheriting his mother's illness that he can't function outside the BSU at all.

Anonymous said...

I like this character, but more importantly I LOVE what the writers are doing with him. I is so vulnerable and innocent in the first season and as cute as it was I like the second season Reid much better. His is the character with the most to learn and the most growth to be made and I have enjoyed seeing that.

I personally am enjoying the drug twist, I have often found it hard to relate to his character, but temptation and addictions are such a human quality and I finally feel like I can truly sympathize with him.

The interaction between him and the other characters is my favourite and that another reason why I am happy with the drug thing because it is often through his character that I learn the most about the others. I feel like the drugs are another example of how through Reid we may potentially see other character development.

Definitely like the Reid of season 2.

Sarianna said...

I Love the whole Reid drug twist, I love to see him struggle, and I love the growth that this character has made over the past 2 seasons.

mara said...

We certainly have watched Reid grow up since the premiere episode. He has lost so much of his innocence but I like the Reid of season two.

Kris said...

I think Reid has showed the most growth and change over the series' run. I think people need that. We don't want to see the same thing all the time. I think the writers have been really creative and adventurous for trying new things.

Elizabeth Bear said...

I'm really fond of this character--I think he's the first realistically presented genius I've seen on television. I love the Spencer!Cam a lot--that, and the greenscreen effects--are one of my favorite little gifts in the structure of the show.

I also adore the fact that while he's a geek and somebody who was apparently very much alone growing up, he's found a society of people who appreciate him, and he's been blossoming under that attention. I also am very fond of the fact that despite being smart and a bit socially inept, he's also portrayed as somebody who cares deeply about other people, and somebody with a good deal (you might even say an excess) of personal courage.

I'm very amused by the Spencer Reid, Boy Hostage thing, because more often than not, he gets himself back out of whatever situation he's gotten himself into, and that pleases me. Just because he's smart and not particularly physical doesn't make him incompetent.

And he knows how he appears, how he presents to people, and he uses it. And that's very cool as well.

sherlockette said...

Elizabeth Bear

I agree with you that Reid gets usually himself out of situations. He learns fast, at least about how to react to someone’s actions. That is a part of his genius. He honed his skill by watching every move his mother made.

One other thing I read about genius, particularly that from something like Asperger’s, is that he lacks impulse control. His chasing Tobias was not the best of ideas. His high pitched instructions to JJ in “Revelations” were emotionally based, don’t you think?

Praise to Matthew for doing such a great job with the character!

talia said...

I too would like to commend Matthew for the wonderful job he does playing this complex character. He is doing a great job and I love watching the show.

maura said...

I have to disagree because I do not think he gets himself out of bad situations. I think he leaves himself vulnerable and then the rest of the team has to save him. He should have said it was a bomb in FK2 and he should never have separated from JJ and gone into the fields. If the dogs had gotten him it would have been because he reacts without thinking things out.

Anonymous said...

I love the character of Reid, as someone who has been painfully shy at times due to growing up around people not my own age, I find his personality and reactions to be very realistic. His inexperience with people, the uncomfortableness, is a natural reaction to growing up without other kids in his life, not the result of some disorder like Aspergers or autism. He just needs experience dealing with people on the same level, which he's getting.
I love the growth he's shown and can't wait to see more. I think the traumatic events he's suffered through, and survived, will be the life-changing event that will make him see himself as an adult, not just the kid brother who's tagging along because the big kids let him.
The reactions to the drugs, the wanting them, and possibly using them, is totally in character. And while we still don't know how far it's gone or will go, I trust the writer's to take it a natural and realistic resolution. It's always going to be a part of him, but he'll absorb it and move on.
And I agree that while he gets into trouble a lot, he's also a big part of getting out of that trouble. In the Popular Kids, he does walk between Morgan and Cory, but he's also the one who gets into Cory's head, and then pushes out of Cory's hold so that Morgan can tackle him. Nobody ever seems to notice, but he plays the heros as often as he plays the "heroine in peril" role. Think Derailed, L.D.S.K. and Somebody's Watching. And Revelations, he's the one who figured out how to find himself, adn the moment he was able to communicate with the team, he did.
In short, he's the kind of character that conquers the world by sneaking up on it.

LoraLee

Elizabeth said...

I love the character - I think everybody does. You can't not like Spencer - he is such a sweetie and his vulnerability and insecurity are very endearing.

My one plea to the writers, however, would be to nip the whole "Reid has Asperger's syndrome" in the bud. An unsub says he has autistic leanings in Broken Mirror and so many people have latched on to that and diagnosed him. And he so obviously DOESN'T have Asperger's or any other developmental disorder.

Reid can empathise, he can read non-verbal clues, he was able to react to and manipulate someone with multiple personalities and he was able to give a coded message (Revelations) and receive one (LDSK) - all of which are things people with Asperger's, even very high functioning, are just not able to do.

Yes, Spencer is odd, but that is as a result of his childhood spent away from his peers, coping alone with a parent with mental illness. He is very childlike in his behaviour, but let's not forget that he is barely out of adolescence and never really got a chance to be a kid.

I do think he needs to watch less Star Trek and more horror films, however. First rule of horror films - when you find the bad guy, you DON'T split up!

nebula

slashgirl said...

Elizabeth(nebula) said:

And he so obviously DOESN'T have Asperger's or any other developmental disorder.

Reid can empathise, he can read non-verbal clues, he was able to react to and manipulate someone with multiple personalities and he was able to give a coded message (Revelations) and receive one (LDSK) - all of which are things people with Asperger's, even very high functioning, are just not able to do.


Oh, god. Word on this. I get so tired of hearing about it. Curse the writers for ever mentioning it. I've worked with a few children in varying areas of the autistic spectrum and none of them act like Reid acts now (nor as he did when he was a child).

That's something else, there's no way he could've cared for his mother and himself at the age of 10 if he'd had autism of any sort.

Sorry. Got a little ranty there.

I do like Reid and I love the development he's gone through in the show so far. As others have said, he may end up in Peril a lot, but he does manage to get himself out of it much of the time.

I also think MGG is a fabulous actor--he does such a great job with Reid. (Sex, Birth, Death and Revelations two very good pieces).

Elizabeth(nebula) said:
I do think he needs to watch less Star Trek and more horror films, however. First rule of horror films - when you find the bad guy, you DON'T split up!

This is true. And if he is a true trekkie, he knows that it's also the ensign in the red shirt that gets it. He was wearing burgundy, wasn't he?

Elizabeth Bear said...

Stacy, Elizabeth--

Agree about the Asperger's thing. I have known several people with high-functioning autism-spectrum issues, and they don't act like Reid.

He noticed something was wrong with Elle in the car park and went back to get her, and he's capable of very subtle manipulation of others. He picks up social clues nearly as well as Gideon does.

Also, if he watched more horror films, he would know that Corn is the Devil's Crop.

(Also, where on the East Coast is there standing corn in January? Nevermind, I know, time in BAU-Land is not like time on Earth. They hold the Superbowl in August there.)

Elizabeth Bear said...

He picks up social clues nearly as well as Gideon does.

Hah. I just realized how unintentionally funny that sentence is.

Append:

...when Gideon can be bothered to do so.

The Swedish Mystery said...

He is all that what you write about him but I also so see him as someone who is VERY competitive under his shy surface. He knows that he is this genius and he likes to impress others with all his knowledge.

It irritates him that many sees his awkwardness as a sign of weakness because he in fact anything but. With his background as seen in "Revelations" he is a actually a survivor.

Macmillk said...

I love the character of Reid, and I have loved watching him grow throughout the seasons. From the awkward, nerdy, new, underconfident young man to the still-awkward (but hey, he got a kiss by a hot girl so he's not a "kiss-virgin" anymore...haha), nerdy, more confident man he has become.

I really like watching his growth because realistically, of all of the characters on the show he IS the one that WOULD show the most growth since he is so young, and the growth is natural, whereas most other characters are older and have gone through a lot of those things already. That's what sets him apart from the rest.

I love how innocent he really is (or was, before the drug thing) and often how he takes just about everything so literally. I love his nerdy sense of humor (often jokes that nobody else seems to get!), and that he often doesn't understand a joke when it hits him in the face. ;-)

I too have actually enjoyed the drug thing (well, not enjoyed, but you know what I mean). It just goes to show that genius or not, BAU or not, he's still human and subject to things that millions of people worldwide deal with in their lives. I find it really DOES make him more real to me, and less of the sterotypical genius.

And, he's very easy to look at and MGG portrays the character of Reid so fabulously. ;-)

Jan L said...

I wish I were up to detailing my thoughts and feelings about our good Dr. Reid. Suffice it to say, at the risk overstating, that Criminal Minds has given me a thought-provoking and sincerely emotional grounding during a very difficult time in my life.

I believe that Spencer Reid is a unique and compelling character, and seeing him grow through his relationships with his peers and through his ongoing understanding of the human condition, has been one more light in my own struggles to find myself and my place in the world. My thanks to the writers, crew, rest of the cast, and most of all MGG for adding another example of how someone who is "different" can be a role model for many others.

Jean said...

Reid is one of those characters who draws you in; Elizabeth put it so well. It would have been easy to portray him as slightly arrogant - because of his unique abilities; but that would not have worked so well.MGG's interpretation is 'spot on' and a superb piece of casting.
'Revelations' hasn't been screened here yet, so all I know about Reid's subsequent problems is from posts; some manifestation of PTSD would be inevitable - the drugs issue seems ambivalent. All the more credit to MGG's acting abilities if people who've seen the episodes can't make up their minds about it.
His is a character that had much scope for developing and maturing - he was naive for a 24 year old, but given the unusual circumstances while he was growing up it isn't surprising.
I'm looking forward to seeing how he changes.

maura said...

Asperger's Syndrome is a mild form of Autism. Autism and Asperger patients can rely only on therapy to help them adapt to everyday life. Speech therapy often helps Autistic and Asperger patients because it helps them develop social skills but Reid is not void of social skills. I think the care he had to extend to his mentally ill mother and being an outcast in school with much older students kept him from naturally honing the skills we normally learn while growing up. I think the writers may have decided at one point to take Reid in that direction but obviously they never followed through with it. He definately does not profile as an a person with Asperger's Syndrome.

Ben said...

I agree with those who have pointed out that Reid does not act like somebody with an autistic spectrum disorder. Nobody I work with who has autism, or related disorders, relates to other people in the way that Reid does.

But the main reason that I love Reid is Matthew Gray Gubler. Another actor could probably have made him likeable, but Matthew makes him lovable. He really is a wonderful actor and not just a (very) beautiful face.

All that acting skill and cheekbones to just die for? What a guy!

love2teach said...

I like Reid. I think his character is great. I also think his character would look a lot better, if he got rid of those silly looking glasses! He looks much better without them. I also like that fact that he is the way is due to the way he grew up. It makes him different and unique, and adds more character to him.

JC said...

I love the character of Dr. Reid. I find watching him grow through his job and team members adds a depth to the show, that many other shows lack. I also find a certain ability to connect with Dr. Reid. I am not a genius but at 20 I still find it hard to fit in. I also agree with the other posts about Reid not having any signs of Autism. I have worked with autistic children and in fact I am now an RA of a student with Aspergers. I love the new drug twist and really hope the Jones episode is not how they are going to leave it, because the issue did not seem resolved at all. I also want to give props to Matthew Gray Gubler who dont an amazing job protraying such an interesting character capable or creating such depth in the show.

Mary Anne LK said...

Reids by far my fav char. I luv this whole drug thing it really pushes the character and I love the potential it has for him. I hope we dont see the end of it that it continues and i also hope its drugs not PTSD because that you can work on alone whereas drugs hell need the whole group to help him which i always love the inertaction of characters and his character has the sweetest moments with others.

Anonymous said...

Can't add much to these wonderful posts. Just want to add my thoughts on the drug thing. Personally I hate it. I see it as distructive to the character. Please resolve it. Please.

daniel said...

I agree that his innocence is a great interrogation gimmick. He is so young and inept that an unsub could drop their guard more than with an obviously seasoned agent like Hotchner or Gideon. And Morgan would intimidate God so Reid is a good choice many times. Very good point that you wrote about. It made me really think.

Elizabeth S said...

I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE the drug thing because I think it adds so much to all the characters potentially. I like the edge of my seat wish it was over already wait. The anticipation is so often more fun than the end result so Im going to ride this thing out and enjoy it. But I do love to see how there is such a division with this issue either people love or they hate it. Can't wait for the stellar conclusion, or at least it better be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lisa said...

slashgirl said...
And if he is a true trekkie, he knows that it's also the ensign in the red shirt that gets it. He was wearing burgundy, wasn't he?

There's a t-shirt you can buy on startrek.com that says: "I am a Red Shirt in the Star Trek episode of life." I think Reid should wear it in an episode of CM :D

Kay said...

Lots of insightful comments. I think Reid is willing to accept that he has a lot to learn which is good on the writers and actors because if you have guy whos good looking and smart it is hard to get people to care about them. But the writers did that by adding faults and a withdrawn personality. As for the ever popular Autism thing. I think see what the writers were trying to do and the missed the mark by a little. They wanted to portray Reid as a savant. Eidetic memories is a type of savant-ness (what?) that is sometimes present is severly autistic people. But then you have to work in the Asperegers because Reid isn't Autistic and Aspergers is simply problems with interaction. Unforunately you can't be severly autisitc and just have aspergers, thats an "inheriant contradiction"

Steph said...

Damn missed this my first time checking. I love Reid. I like how he's so amazingly smart and talented but is still so unsure. And MGG is hot as hell, of course. Reid moments always make me smile.

Adhara McCain said...

I just love Reid. Weird Al's White and Nerdy Song is Reid's Theme song in life.

hmr1126 said...

I have watched Criminal Minds from the very beginning and I truly enjoy watching all of the characters, but I have to say that Reid is my absolute favorite and MGG has done an absolutely amazing job of portraying the character especially in light of recent events on the show. I am anxiously awaiting the continued development of Reid's character!

slashgirl said...

lisa said:

There's a t-shirt you can buy on startrek.com that says: "I am a Red Shirt in the Star Trek episode of life." I think Reid should wear it in an episode of CM :D

*lol* That'd be great if he did! I had a classmate once who'd seen this parody stage play of Star Trek. The ensign with the red shirt was named "Ensign Toast" and his shirt had a target on the back! So now, everytime I see a red shirted ensign, I think "TOAST". Of course, we probably DON'T want Reid wandering around with a target on his back....

Anonymous said...

OMG i love Reid and Matthew Grey Gubler. I cannot stress that enough. My favorite quote is, (Not exact words because i don't remember)
Morgen: So what does keep Dr. Spencer Reid awake at night? Wait, let me guess, memorizing paragraphs in books? No...wait! I got it! Watching Startrek, and laughing at all the physics errors!

Reid: Actually, there arn't that many physics errors in Startrek, sure there are improbablilities, but for how long ago it was made, there arn't many errors

Morgen: Umm...yeah, right
(Season 1 forgot the episode name)

jacqui said...

Reid isn't my favorite (and he's not my least favorite, either), but I can still identify with him. his level of intelligence may be far superior to the norm, but his social abilities are far below the norm. this doesn't mean he's completely innocent or naive, however, but no one will believe him when he tells them that. for him, this is a useful resource. like I said...I can identify with him.

jacqui

Amber Goldsmith said...

Elizabeth said...

My one plea to the writers, however, would be to nip the whole "Reid has Asperger's syndrome" in the bud. An unsub says he has autistic leanings in Broken Mirror and so many people have latched on to that and diagnosed him. And he so obviously DOESN'T have Asperger's or any other developmental disorder.

Reid can empathise, he can read non-verbal clues, he was able to react to and manipulate someone with multiple personalities and he was able to give a coded message (Revelations) and receive one (LDSK) - all of which are things people with Asperger's, even very high functioning, are just not able to do.

Yes, Spencer is odd, but that is as a result of his childhood spent away from his peers, coping alone with a parent with mental illness. He is very childlike in his behavior, but let's not forget that he is barely out of adolescence and never really got a chance to be a kid.


I disagree, and cite a misconception. As a fan of Criminal Minds who has Asperger's Syndrome and high-functioning autism, I do find a lot of my traits in common with the behaviors Reid displays on the show - and, yes, akin to Reid, I can empathize, read non-verbal clues, etc. It merely proves a more difficult task than, say, book-work, mathematics, memorization, etc...and after years of isolation from my peers, akin to Reid, I forced myself to learn enough social skills to manage accordingly and adapt. This includes behaviors other "Aspies" cannot perform - including showing empathy, looking people in the eyes and acting interested, not dominating the conversation, etc...

One thing most people forget - and the makers of the movie "Adam", centering around a character akin to Reid with Asperger's Syndrome and portrayed by actor Hugh Dancy, forgot this as well - is that those diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome/high-functioning autism cannot be confined to a single stereotype.

It proves impossible; the range swings too far wide to allow for a definite, "in the box" diagnosis. So whereas Reid might not display ALL of the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome or high-functioning autism, he might display enough to merit a psychological diagnosis of such a social disorder.

Also, another remarkable similarity I found lies in between Reid and Dr. Temperance Brennan, the doctor with Asperger's Syndrome and high-functioning autism, from Bones. Both share many traits, and I with them, so I find it difficult to dismiss the possibility - however improbable though it may seem to some - of Reid possessing some form of Asperger's Syndrome/high-functioning autism.

Visceral said...

Thank You!

Asperger's has such a huge range it is impossible to box all of us into the tight constraints the pedants on this blog are pushing. That is why it is listed as PDDNOS.

I am also high functioning Asperger's, and my symptoms and habits are very close to Reid's.

Yes, I can pick up on some non-verbal cues. It isn't as easy as it is for everyone else, but I do it because I must. I learned to look people in the eye and respond with body language. I'm observant, and that helps. I have yet to learn when to stop talking or spouting facts, but, like Reid, I found a profession where that is actually valued.

And yes, I was pretty much on my own at age ten and managed to survive just fine.

Ebony said...

I HAVE aspergers syndrome and half the reason I love the show so much is that I can identify with Reid and all his idiosynchratic behaviours. One of the most obvious ASD characters on the tv. And non-autistic people stop trying to say what we can and cannot do!

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love, love, love Reid. He's awesome. I love the red shirt thing too. lol. It's really funny when he goes on and on about a subject for no reason, like in Compulsion. I'm pretty sure he was nervous that time, but it was sooooo funny.

The mental illnesses....I think it is wrong to sterotype people with these types of problems. My mom deals alot in the area of children with disablities like this, so I know a little bit. More than most ppl know. I just never thought of Reid having anything like this. I prefer to think of him as a genius without a mental illness but i do also agree with Amber Goldsmith, Visceral, and Ebony. They have a very good point.

My favorite scene with Reid is I think from the first episode. I'm not sure if this is word for word:

"This is Special Agent Dr. Reid."
"You look too young to have gone to medical school."
"They're Ph.Ds, three of them."
"What are you a genius or something?"
"I don't believe that intelligence can be accurately quantified, but I do have an I.Q. of 187, an eidetic memory and can read 20,000 words per minute."(pause)"Yes I'm a genius."

Anonymous said...

I think that the creators did an awesome job with creating his personality. I personally think that he DOES have Asperger's because some people have stereotyped that people with Asperger's don't emphasize well I do and I can read some body language and also with being with a mother that has Schizophrenia it became hard with him and that is also why he has some of the characteristics of that to. Overall even IF he doesn't have it I will still love the show and I can always say to myself that he does or something like that.

Visceral said...

"The mental illnesses....I think it is wrong to stereotype people with these types of problems. My mom deals alot in the area of children with disablities like this, so I know a little bit. More than most ppl know. I just never thought of Reid having anything like this. I prefer to think of him as a genius without a mental illness but i do also agree with Amber Goldsmith, Visceral, and Ebony.

Asperger's is a neurological disorder, not a mental illness. And I don't consider it a disability, just a different type of cognitive function. A little less condescension, please.

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter with Aspergers who is so high functioning that she wasn't diagnosed until she was 17. She makes eye contact, is able to empathize and she has a funny sense of humor. I believe because we offered her all the same involvement in activities that her neurotypical siblings participated in along with regular therapy, she was able to adapt by learning social cues from watching all the neurotypical kids interacting around her. I have been fascinated at how she is able to "learn by repetition and practice" to do things that neurotypical people do automatically and take for granted. Of course she still has distinct Asperger qualities, including being "emotionally young" for her age, but she is always learning and growing. With our help she is thriving as a film student in college where she is able to use her "genius" qualities that come with having AS.

Anonymous said...

Reid is amazing...but he needs counseling. In the deleted scenes of the DVDs; Dr Reid is shown using a very long piece of scotch tape to tape his testicles to right leg. He made to the statement that it is one of the best ways to keep them from being injured while running after UNSUBs. There are better ways to keep the boys steady.