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Cops rock: Ranking this week's procedurals

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Image Credit: Michael Yarish/CBSIt’s getting close to the end of the season, which means that all of our favorite procedurals are taking brief dips into the serialized swimming pool. The Mentalist and CSI, that irascible pair of Thursday night poker buddies, both had season finales that focused on long-running storylines: Patrick Jane came face to face with Red John, and CSI brought back one psychopath (hi, Haskell!) to catch another (bye, Jekyll!) On CSI: Miami, Horatio’s ex-girlfriend returned… and got killed. On CSI: NY, Mac’s ex-girlfriend returned… and got hugged. Meanwhile, in the Law & Orderverse, it was all about marriages. The wife did it on Criminal Intent, the husband did it on SVU, and the dead husband killed his wife’s first husband on L&O. You’ve won this week, husbands.

But the modern world is consumed in amoral madness, and this week, only one cop show was tough enough to confront the greatest evil of all: the Internet.

Winner of the Week: Criminal Minds

Centuries from now, when Google Maps is beamed straight into your contact lenses and Apple makes special iBrain implants to give you easy telepathic access to the internet, this week’s episode of Criminal Minds will become the subject of the most popular drinking game at space universities all across the solar system. The rules? Every time someone onscreen acts like the Internet is rape dungeon for pedophile Nazis, take a shot!

The Behavioral Analysis Unit was investigating a string of murder-rapes, and they could only find one link between the victims: They all loved social networks. Everyone in the BAU expressed moral outrage at the bare idea of social networking. “Whose life is so important?” asked Joe Mantegna, sounding just like my grandmother would sound if she were totally lame.

But what pushed this episode from the realm of insipid reactionary panic into pure epic camp were the interviews with the victims’ friends and families. One grieving mother cried that her daughter never called her anymore: she just assumed her mother would check her Facebook wall for updates. Darn you, Internet, robbing poor old mothers of their daughters! Another interviewee, sounding like refugee from a heroin den, said: “You ever have so much e-mail you feel like you’re drowning? These websites are like e-mail on crack!” Later in the episode, Mantegna quoted Google founder Eric Schmidt’s line about the Internet being an experiment in anarchy.

Basically, it was Footloose, except John Lithgow was Joe Mantegna, Kevin Bacon was a serial killer, and “dancing” was “posting a Facebook update.”

Number of women we saw strangled on Criminal Minds

Three. One survived, but we saw one strangulation a second time in fast-forward.

This week in Eddie Cibrian’s ties

CSI: Miami‘s Jesse Cardoza wore a green cravat, indicating that the harvest will be good this year.

Evidence that Dick Wolf only hires writers with troubled marriages

On Law & Order: Criminal Intent, a closeted murder suspect (played by William Mapother, Lost‘s Ethan) married his wife because she looked like her dead brother, whose death he caused years earlier. On Law & Order: SVU, the squabbling parents of a kidnapped boy played a game of “Who’s Crazier?”: she was a semi-psychotic French madwoman who took half the SVU team hostage, he was a stuck-up American who hired a man with a clown van to kidnap his own son. And on Law & Order: Original Blend, three friends joined up in a secret scheme to hide their money from their wives while they all got divorces.

Single most suspicious thing said by a suspect

“My husband isn’t going to be buried. He’s going to be cremated. Like my first husband.” — Anna Gunn on Law & Order

Single most palooka-ish thing said by a suspect

“Outta nowheres, the broad tells me she’s pregnant. Inside, I’m freakin’. I do the gentlemanly thing, excuse myself from the table, enter the bathroom, and punch the livin’ hell outta the mirror.” — CSI: NY

The award for Most Elaborate Plot Contrivances goes to

CSI: NY‘s extended Rear Window homage. Mac saw a couple of mysterious men in the apartment across the courtyard from him. A couple hours later, and completely coincidentally, the CSI team found one of those men dead. Later that same day, Mac’s ex-girlfriend walked into the same apartment.

The award for Most Boneheaded Move by a Murder Suspect goes to…

Law and Order: Criminal Intent‘s unhappy wife, who busted her husband’s head in with a baseball bat, but then buried him with a murder weapon.

Out-Of-Context Gold Medal

“But we can’t prove it.”

“Yes we can. If we find that canary.” — CSI: NY

Out-Of-Context Honorable Mention for sounding utterly painful even though I have no idea what it means

“It’s inserted laproscopically through the groin.” — CSI

This week’s cameo by a Wire alumnus

Seth Gilliam, a.k.a. Carver, was on Law & Order as a defense attorney. I am not joking when I say that in about four minutes of screen time he blew everyone off the screen. IMDB check: he first appeared on L&O in 1992, and has also had guest roles on spin-offs Criminal Intent and Trial By Jury. All he needs is an SVU, and his collection will be complete!