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Criminal – “Too Perfect” Characters?


Criminal-Script-ReviewAn excerpt from my script review for Criminal which will be available 04/18/16:

3.) Quality of Characters

Following the argument that a decent amount of the plot is too convenient, it’s our duty to present flawed characters.


He’s a felon who acts out violently and without emotion due to a defective brain.

This makes him the perfect candidate to receive the memories of the CIA’s most capable agent.

The good of Pope should be in direct conflict with the bad in Jerico.

Only it’s not.

Instead we get a “too perfect” hybrid, who can fight perfectly, intimidate perfectly, escape perfectly, access secret information perfectly, etc.

There was really no situation he couldn’t get out of, and constant successes become boring.

Instead of working through, around, or past problems, he bounced from one scenario to the other in an extremely episodic set of situations.

Look at page 96, where he dislocates his shoulders, gets the cuffs in front of him, pops his shoulders back into place, and then saws the cuffs off with the hospital bed? Okay, we’re told he’s in pain, but it doesn’t seem like it since he easily escapes via an orderly’s disguise.

And ALL of this happens in less than a page!


Just as Jerico is too perfect a “hero” so too is his nemesis.

He has instant access to the CIA via an iPad, doing little work for it.

When he wants to find Jerico, oh he just happens to have access to a top secret program that tracks various isotopes’ radiation signatures.

Don’t get me wrong, he and Elsa were pretty brutal and intimidating, but the antagonist shouldn’t have everything easy either. That’s just as boring.

The only time Hagbard IS NOT perfect is the ending, and again it doesn’t make sense? How can he be this brilliant hacker, having access to anything and everything for the entire script, only to NOT be able to hack when he needs it most?

But you already know that answer, because the writers wanted it that way.

Mess Them Up

Beat your characters up a bit.

The more we’re wondering if the hero can escape a situation, the better, meaning we’re interested in your story.

There were great opportunities missed by not having the conflict raging in Jerico’s head between his traits and Bill’s. That’s pretty disappointing.

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