Review of FBI (CBS) – Partners in Crime, S1 E13

Recap:  Maggie and OA are on a mission to find a couple who are behind a spree of violent armed robberies that resulted in the death of an off-duty police officer.

ReviewFor educational purposes, I made a few reality check notes:

You know I like this show, right? I think the characters are well-developed and the plot lines entertaining and exciting. So, it makes me sad to be critical of this episode. However, in my opinion, an episode where the theme is family somehow failed to show real compassion for the FBI’s partner in crime, the New York Police Department.

In the opening scene, an off-duty NYPD officer is shot and killed. Maggie and OA both express to the Deputy Inspector on site their condolences for the hero officer who risked his life to protect others. But they then proceed to work their bank robbery investigation. Yes, two people attempted to rob cash from a federally insured, but there’s a dead cop on the floor. This is a homicide investigation first and foremost. The Maggies and OAs in the real FBI would recognize that the homicide was the lead crime, not the bank robbery. The FBI would be laser-focused on providing to the NYPD whatever assistance was needed to identify and capture two cop killers.

I’ve been to too many law enforcement funerals, three for FBI agents killed in the line of duty.  It was upsetting to view how this murder was de-empathized, and the NYPD labeled emotional for their reaction to it.

And then there was that cringe-worthy moment when Maggie threatened to have the badge of the NYPD Deputy Inspector if he made a move at the hostage scene without her consent. I was live tweeting as I watched the episode and I had to shake my head when I read a tweet admonishing the Deputy Inspector, “You answer to the FBI agents.” That’s not even close to being accurate. The FBI has no hierarchical authority over local and state agencies. State and local law enforcement agencies are not subordinate to the FBI. Some criminal violations have separate and distinct jurisdictions, for others, there are mutual agreements to defer to the law enforcement agency most appropriate to handle the investigation or to work matters jointly.

It needs to be stated once again that the NYPD has the largest Police Department in the United States and the resources and manpower available to the NYPD are substantial. In most communities, the FBI works bank robberies as part of a Violent Crime Task Force and FBI agents and local and state police work side by side.

The ending scene when the girls embraced and the father reunited with his kidnapped daughter was beautifully done. I even teared up a bit (I’m getting soft in my old age). I just wished more sentiment was displayed for the fictional murdered hero cop and his loved ones. I recognize that I’m extra-sensitive about this issue.

(Disclaimer: If you are watching FBI simply to be entertained, don’t read this review. I’m here to educate and provide a reality check for those who want to learn about the real FBI. My reality checks should not be confused with criticism. I like this show and believe that it’s a powerful promo for the real FBI. I’m excited that a new generation is watching and perhaps deciding they want to be FBI agents when they grow up. Attempting to create an accurate portrayal of an FBI investigation is an impossible task if the investigation must be solved within less than an hour. Corners must be cut, and creative license must be used to move matters along quickly. I get it. I really do. However, to counteract the “CSI Effect” this sometimes creates, I’m going to, respectfully, point out a few issues.)

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Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.

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