Actor Joe Mantegna as David Rossi in a “Criminal Minds” episode, titled “Sick and Evil,” which aired Wednesday night (Photo courtesy of CBS)
A Lewiston police officer, right, as depicted in “Criminal Minds,” which aired Wednesday night. (Photo courtesy of CBS)
The show opens with an aerial shot of a city that is definitely not Lewiston.
A few scenes later, we are in what is supposed to be the Lewiston Police Department, but which is definitely not the station on Park Street. What’s with all that paneling, anyway?
A little later, there is a glimpse of what is supposed to be downtown Lewiston. Will you look at that? We’ve got a Reny’s now. And a Lewiston Historical Society. And a Haldridge University for those who cannot afford Bates.
The Wednesday night episode of “Criminal Minds” mentioned Lewiston by name many times, and it’s probably a good thing. For those who tuned in just to see their home town represented, there was nothing much familiar about the city explored in the episode.
“Would it have killed them to do some simple scouting and a couple of drone shots?” wondered Mary Burpee of Lewiston.
Street names used in the show were not real Lewiston streets. Valcourt? Where the heck is that? And a few addresses featured numbers five-figures long, something else not seen in these parts.
“I get not filming here, but at least use real street names,” Ashley Phelps said. “Makes it a little more believable.”
One shot of the downtown looks sort of authentic, but there were a few too many canopies hanging over the storefronts to be from Lewiston of the day.
“The street shot they had after the aerial had potential to be Lisbon Street in days gone by,” said Jimi Cutting of Lewiston, “but that is as close as I’ve seen.”
Viewers took exception to a few other things: One FBI criminal profiler’s observation that “Lewiston, Maine, could be the setting for any horror movie ever made,” and another who said Maine is so rural most people don’t even lock their doors.
Some viewers said they did not really expect to see Lewiston depicted as is. They just enjoyed picking apart what the CBS show did right and what it did wrong.
“I’m watching it and it makes Lewiston look like Mayberry,” Pam Webber Carrier said.
What did the show do right?
Well, the police uniforms looked pretty authentic, right down to the LPD shoulder patch. And the detectives here will be happy to know that in the world of “Criminal Minds,” at least, each of them has his own office with his or her name on the door.
There was lots of flannel in the show — even thought it wasn’t winter — and actors in the episode didn’t even make attempts at a Maine accent – which almost always turns disastrous.
Overall, viewers were not wowed by the spot-on accuracy of “Criminal Minds” take on the city in which they live.
“The only thing physically ‘Lewiston’ about the episode was the name itself and some pretty-close-to-real replica police uniforms,” said Justin Pelletier, a former Sun Journal sports editor. “But that the city was used at all by a well-known, popular network show is overall a very positive thing for the community.”
“Overall, very disappointed in this presentation — was obvious they merely picked a city name out of a hat,” Cutting said. “The whole rural, ‘don’t lock their doors’ simply shows the from-away mentality of viewing Maine.
“Just not getting a Lewiston feel from this at all. The closest I felt to seeing Lewiston here was the sewn-on badges on the officers’ uniforms.”
Show producers did not responded to messages left from reporters with questions about the episode. Did they come to Lewiston to scope it out? Did they seek input from local police? Consult with the Lewiston mayor?
We can answer that last one, anyway.
“Nope,” Mayor Shane Bouchard said.
In fact, Bouchard said he only learned a hit TV show was basing an episode on Lewiston when he read about it on Facebook.