May 20, 2012

Criminally Operatic Minds: the BAU profiles Wozzeck

Someone stop me - I'm suffering from "Compulsive-urge-to-write-opera-posts-based-on-TV-crime-dramas" syndrome.  And there is no cure.  Until I get tired of it, which is probably in the near future. Then I'll be cured.

It has one distinct upside for me: instead of "wasting time", watching TV is now "working".  It's "research", and not, therefore, to be disturbed for requests to take out the dog, clean the kitchen, and other irrelevant issues.

Anyway, after posting two blogs drawing on my abiding affection for Law & Order and House, now I'm going to the TV well once more for a show I'm less fond of, but will admit to having watched: Criminal Minds, the CBS procedural about FBI profilers.  I'm a little "meh" about this one; its ensemble cast is a little too transparently "diverse" and "interesting" if you know what I mean (the nerd genius, the cool black guy, the kooky techie, the strong capable woman, the cuddly cute blonde, the scholarly expert, the stoic boss), and the plots "boast" the most sadistic and gratuitous violence of anything on prime-time.  But hey - when it's 11:30 pm, insomnia strikes and there's nothing else on but "Housewives of Des Moines", what're ya gonna do?  And besides - like I said, it's "research".

So I proceed.

For this crew, I needed to find an opera character so twisted, so grotesquely noonoo-bonkers-insane, that no one else but Agents "Hotch" Hotchner, Reid, Prentiss et al could possibly crack the case:

Alban Berg's Wozzeck.

Here we go!

Criminally Operatic Minds
PROLOGUE: (Insightful quotation voice-over referencing literature, culture or something cool that, as the viewer will come to understand, perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the story to follow:)


REID:  Lucy Riccardo said, "If you jiggle it a little it'll open".  She said it really fast.


Scene 1.  The BAU office at FBI Headquarters in Quantico, Virginia.  Agents Hotcher, Rossi, Morgan and Prentiss are present, joined by Dr. Reid, J.J. and Garcia, whose hair is a kooky pink today.

J.J.
The police in Germany have requested that we assist them in stopping a brutal killer.

ROSSI
How many victims so far?

J.J.
Just one.  A woman named Marie.

HOTCH
(stoically puzzled) We're going to Germany because one woman was killed?

J.J.
I guess the crime rate's pretty low over there.  What can I say?

REID
Where in Germany is this?

J.J.
(looking at her notes)
It just says "a German town"

REID
There are hundreds if not thousands of municipalities in Germany.  How will we...

HOTCH
(stoically interrupting) Reid, that's not important right now.  The German authorities will meet us at the airport.  Wheels up in thirty minutes, team.

REID
But which airport?  There are any number of...  (But everyone has left, apparently willing to trust the libretto.)

Scene 2. The crime scene, near a provincial German town.  (Hotch was right!! Boo-yah!) The BAU is examining the crime scene while the German Authorities look on.

GERMAN AUTHORITIES
Und so... vhat are vee looking at hier?

REID
(bending over the mutilated corpse of Marie) The position of the victim's body indicates that the un-sub is likely to have endured repeated medical experimentation, probably with multiple doses of chemicals.  And peas.

GERMAN AUTHORITIES
How you know ziss?

REID
I have an IQ of 927 and hold 69 doctoral degrees.  I can read entire books in seconds.  This sort of crap is child's play for me.

PRENTISS
The number of stab wounds to the face and, um, "lady parts" indicates sexual rage on the part of the un-sub.  He "knew" the victim.  If you know what I mean.  In the Biblical sense.  Wink wink, nudge nudge.  As in...

GERMAN AUTHORITIES
Vee get it, vee get it, Gott im Himmel...

MORGAN
Her clothes are covered with little clippings and shavings of hair.

GERMAN AUTHORITIES
Ja, ja, ze frauelein owns a hund - a Cherrman Shepherd.

ROSSI
"Cherrman"?

GERMAN AUTHORITIES
From Cherrmany, dumkopf.

REID
Actually, this is human hair.  Specifically, there are hair clippings from over thirty different contributors on this victim.  I think the un-sub is a barber.

HOTCH
(stoically) We're ready to give the profile - let's go.

Scene 3.  Police headquarters in Germany.  Somewhere.  A provincial town.  Look it doesn't matter, okay? STOP ASKING - it isn't in the libretto.  Sheesh!

ROSSI
(to a group of skeptical police officers, in a professorial tone)  This un-sub is the product of a life of chronic poverty.

REID
Studies show that people who live below the poverty line for more than 17.69 years are 83% more likely to abuse porcupines and insects, 67% more likely to eat cereal out of the box with no milk, 92% more likely to pass cars in the right-hand lane, and...

HOTCH
(stoically stern) Reid, stop talking.

ROSSI
The un-sub is a classic sociopath, with no ability to feel empathy for others.  He is likely to believe that virtue is a "luxury", something only wealthy people have time for.

CONFUSED POLICE OFFICER
Agent, ven you say "un-zub", do you mean a zandvich zat iss not a zub, like a Cherrman baloney zandvich, or do you mean a boat zat iss not a zub, like a zailboat?

MOORE
(going on as if the Confused Police Office hadn't spoken, which is just as well, really) He is a white male between the ages of 10 and 65.  He's German, has a baritone voice, and sometimes speaks in a freakish combination of talking and singing.  Sounds creepy when he does that. 

PRENTISS
He may have attempted to make a living in regional opera houses in cities like Nashville and Phoenix, singing standard baritone roles like Germont and Figaro.

ROSSI
But hard economic times and sheer desperation have now driven him to accept more unpopular roles by composers like Arnold Schoenberg, John Adams and Alban Berg.  Also, he's a barber, probably in military service, and because of medical testing his mind has pretty much turned to strudel. You people eat strudel; I'm attempting to convey his mental state in terms you can understand.

MORGAN
(speaking into a big ol' computer the German Authorities have provided.) Hey, Garcia!

GARCIA
(her hair a kooky orange, seated at her office at Quantico before a gi-mongous bank of big ol' computers)  Hey, yourself, gorgeous...  How is my big slice of African-American heaven in a suit today?  Miss me?  Wanna fool around?  Wanna...

MORGAN
You know it, pretty mamma hot-stuff.  Hey, do a search for German baritones of any age who have been military barbers with a record of mental illness and living with women named Marie.  Oh, and the women named Marie have been unfaithful.

GARCIA
(after about 7 seconds of furious tapping on her keyboard without ever once using a mouse) Found him!  His name is Wozzeck!  Oh. My. God.  He just used his credit card at a honky-tonk saloon.  He's probably ready to SNAP!

REID
Where is this saloon?

GARCIA
Somewhere in Germany!  HURRY!

HOTCH
(with stoic determination) On our way.

Scene 4.  A honky-tonk saloon somewhere in Germany, minutes later.  The team is interviewing the piano player

PRENTISS
That is the worst-sounding piano I've ever heard in my life.  Don't you ever tune the damn thing?

PIANO PLAYER
Vhy? Vee kind off like it ziss vay.  It zuits ze atmosphere off ziss place, don't you sink?

ROSSI
(showing him a photo of Wozzeck emailed from Garcia)  Haff you zeen.. I mean, er, have you seen this man?

PIANO PLAYER
Oh ja, he vuss chust here - you chust missed him.

PRENTISS
How did he seem?

PIANO PLAYER
Pretty much koo-koo-berries, ja!  He took a look at ze full moon in ze sky und began muttering "Blut.... blut... BLOOOOOT" und zen he dashed out like a bat out of hell.

MORGAN
How did his voice sound?

PIANO PLAYER
Like ziss ferry creepy combination off zinging und shpeaking.. zort of a "sprech" und a "stimme", you follow?

THE ENTIRE BAU TEAM, AS ONE
It's the un-sub!!!!!!!

REID
Studies show that he's likely heading for a lake or pond nearby.

PIANO PLAYER
Vhat shtudies are those, precisely?

REID
Just... studies...

HOTCH
(with stoic anxiety) He's probably attempting to hide the murder weapon.  We have no time to lose. (They haul boogie out of there.)

PIANO PLAYER
Auf wiedersehen.

Scene 4.  A pond somewhere in Germany near the honky-tonk saloon. The BAU team stands at the water's edge, peering into the darkness and mist.

ROSSI
There - out in the darkness and mist - is that a figure walking slowly into the pond, deeper and deeper?

PRENTISS
It's the un-sub.  Morgan, swim out there before he drowns.

MORGAN
Are you high?  If that German sumbitch wants to drown his wife-killing ass, he has my permission.  I didn't bring a change of underwear.

HOTCH
(stoically) The case is over.  Before we head back to Quantico, let's make sure Wozzeck and Marie's child is told about his parents.

REID
No, it's covered.  His friends at daycare already told him.

Ze End, yo.


1 comment:

  1. I think you're onto something. It's certainly better than "Jerry Springer, The Opera"
    Tri Valley Singer

    ReplyDelete