Friday, April 29, 2016

Everybody Loves Monty

 Tyler James Williams plays Russ "Monty" Montgomery on the new CBS drama Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. If you haven't watched it yet, you really should get on board. Don't let the title mislead you. The show is truly a unique concept from the original Criminal Minds. As you may know, Criminal Minds is a show about the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. It first became a major hint when criminal profiling was being understood and becoming a hit with the general public. Lately however, the show has descended into a misogynistic, soap opera that rarely focuses on the mind of the criminal.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders does not make this error, or rather, it hasn't yet. The CBS website describes the show as follows:

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, a spinoff of the hit CBS Television Network series “Criminal Minds,” is a drama about the specialized International Division of the FBI tasked with solving crimes and coming to the rescue of Americans who find themselves in danger while abroad. Heading the International Response Unit is Unit Chief Jack Garrett, a seasoned 20-year veteran of the Bureau. The team he trusts with his life includes Clara Seger, a smart, well-traveled and multi-lingual cultural anthropologist, Matthew Simmons, a former military hero with split-second profiling skills he honed on the battlefield, Russ “Monty” Montgomery, the unit’s compassionate, brilliant tech analyst who additionally liaises stateside with the families of those in trouble while his group is far from home, and Mae Jarvis, the team’s fearless and fun medical examiner. These exceptional agents are dedicated to safely returning U.S. residents home by profiling and identifying criminals who are beyond our borders.

Monty is my favorite character on the show. Here's why.

1. He's a true "techie".

One peek inside Monty's workspace and you will see nothing but cutting edge technology. He has several screens, programs and computers running simultaneously. There is always one broadcasting some television show, strictly for entertainment. But otherwise, there is constant data processing in the background. In one episode, one screen was completing facial recognition while one seemed to be searching the Darknet. Another one was searching license plates and Monty was busy on another, breaking into a remote system in the same room as the investigators half a world away.

One of the most annoying things about t.v. "techies" is that they use a keyboard to do everything. Monty has mostly touch screen hardware and only uses a keyboard to type. Ever notice how Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds does everything by typing? I don't even think she uses a mouse.

2. He's professional.

Nothing more irritating than watching a show where someone has been brutally murdered and having a character behave like a ditzy teenager every time she appears on the screen. Yes, I am speaking again of Penelope Garcia. The whole Baby Girl shtick had long since run its course for me. Derek Morgan would be standing over a dismembered corpse and they are exchanging pet names like Chocolate Thunder. I mean seriously, does Penelope even know how to answer a phone without a rambling monologue?

Monty on the other hand knows when to be fun and when to work. He answers the phone with a simple hello, usually in the language of the land in which the investigators are located. Sometimes he simply says, "Monty" or nothing at all, since, he's almost always on video when they call him. There's no pet names, flirting, gushing, or other excess of useless banter. He also dresses the part. I imagine his closet is filled with patterned collar shirts and vests as that seems to be all he wears. Head to toe he is professionally dressed. This is extremely important considering he is on video and is usually with the victims families in the US. Every time I see Penelope Garcia in stripper heels and a dress so tight she couldn't bend down to pick up a fallen Treasure Troll, I cringe. She's at work, not the club.

3. He's extremely useful.

I know, I know. I'm beating this whole Penelope vs. Monty thing into the ground. But the comparisons are almost unavoidable. Like the uselessness of a once useful character. Ever notice that the BAU asks Penelope questions that they could have asked SIRI? And SIRI wouldn't have sexually harassed them while delivering her answer. Neither would Monty. Penelope has become so useless that Monty appeared on Criminal Minds to help Penelope help her own team. While she gushed and rearranged her Treasure Trolls, he scanned the traffic cameras for images of license plates. He helped break the case by figuring out that the killer was using stolen rentals. The presence of this entire team in the 19th episode of season 10 of Criminal Minds, showed just how far off course the show strayed. I was left wanting more Chief Garrett and Monty from that moment on. When this show premiered, I got my wish. Shortly thereafter, Penelope Garcia showed up on an episode looking for an octopus mug. I found myself wondering, "Is she lost? She needs to go find her somebody to play with. This is a grown folks show."

On Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, when the International Response Unit calls Monty, he delivers. "Monty, we're in the suspect's room. There's a computer here. Can you get us in?" Asks Chief Jack Garrett, played by Gary Sinise. Then someone reads some numbers off of a router. Before the sentence is complete, Monty's face pops up on the computer screen. Usually before the team even asks, he has already performed facial recognition searches using the possible suspects' passport photos, saving the team crucial amounts of time. But his talents aren't just in technology.

Monty is a very compassionate communications liaison. When the families need to provide or receive information, he's not frozen like a deer in headlights. He's adept at extracting and communicating information to the families without compromising the investigation. He's also an artist, a talent that comes in handy when the families need a sketch artist.

4. He's increasing minority interest in technology.

Many black children and young adults recognize Tyler James Williams from original airings or reruns of Everybody Hates Chris. They grew up with him. They also remember him as the most gruesome death to date on AMC's The Walking Dead. They are already invested in him as an actor. Seeing him in a role as an expert in technology is inspiring to them. We don't really see minorities cast in rolls that require technological intelligence. Even though we are in the throws of a generation of tech-dependent Millennials, Hollywood seems to leave minorities out of the "techie" roles.

Seeing Monty on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders has inspired my own son. He turned 10 years old 5 days ago and has already declared his college major. He wants to create video games for fun, while working for national security in a fully technological capacity. For his birthday, he asked to be enrolled in a college course that teaches source code. I told him he'd have to settle for Minecraft for Xbox 360 instead. Needless to say, he watches Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders On Demand, anxiously awaiting the scenes with his favorite character Monty.

Tune in to CBS and watch Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders on Wednesday nights. Remove any thoughts of the original Criminal Minds from your brain as this show really has nothing to do with it.

Lemonade: Forgiving a Cheater

Lemonade is Beyoncé's short film containing music from the new album of the same name. It was released on HBO and bootlegged across the internet for those who refused to pay extra for HBO. It has been evaluated in many different accurate and inaccurate ways. This is not an evaluation of that music video. This post is about women who have decided to forgive their spouses after he or she has had an affair.

Cardinal Rules of Marriage

The extensiveness of this list of cardinal rules is dependent upon one's vows and spiritual beliefs. There are a few rules that seem to be universal.
     1. Be faithful
     2. Be honest
     3. Secrecy

The rules are self-explanatory. "Be faithful" means not to have any affair. The word "affair" has been manipulated since the evolution of the internet, specifically the introduction and takeover of social media. An affair is obviously physical. An affair is also emotional. There are laws that were quickly abolished by unfaithful US Senators called Alienation of Affection, that deal specifically with the non-physical part of the affair. "Be honest" means not telling direct or indirect lies, lying by omission or white lies, (or lies of any other color).

Secrecy is one that needs to be explained. There are to be no secrets between spouses. Secrets break down trust. To hold a secret is to enter into a pact of loyalty with someone other than your spouse. This causes a cascade of problems in a marriage. For example, one might lie to keep the secret or cause a spouse to be suspicious of an affair. Secrecy also means that what happens between spouses is to be kept between spouses. Beyoncé's Lemonade is a direct violation of that cardinal law. She not only told all her business, but also, she told her mama's business and her grandmother's business. If you are going to forgive a cheater, you cannot break this rule.

Now that we have a general understanding of what three of the Cardinal rules are, lets apply them to the task of forgiving a cheater.

Be Faithful

If you are going to forgive a cheater, you cannot then go out and cheat. Revenge cheating is always a bad idea. You were in love with your spouse. You still are, but now you're hurting. Revenge cheating is intended to hurt your spouse and repair your ego. However, your spouse didn't cheat with the intention of hurting you. He or she may have been careless, lustful, seeking something they felt they weren't getting at home, fleeing commitment, or cheating for some other inexcusable reason. At this point, you have but one problem, dealing with his or her infidelity. If you revenge cheat for your own pride, now you have another problem. Your spouse will want to know, where did this person come from? Did you already know each other? How were you able to cheat so fast? Were you already thinking about it? Did you use protection? Are there paternity questions? Will this person continue to wait on the side for the right time to come for you?

True, the first cheating spouse may have caused you to ask the same questions. But in this case, what incentive does the cheater have to change once you "even the score"? Why not just let the whole marriage burn? If you are not ready to burn it all down, find the strength to resist vengeance, remember that you still love that person and begin finding a way to heal.

Be Honest

The nightmare of the affair is over for the cheater the moment he or she confesses or is found out. They no longer have to live two separate lives. But for the spouse who was cheated, on the nightmare is just beginning. If the affair happened with a coworker, every time the cheating spouse leaves for work, you may have a panic attack. Every time your spouse comes home late, leaves the room to take a call, tries something new in the bed, looks at a someone too long, you will feel pain. You will wake up in the middle of the night angry over a memory popping into your head. You will go out for an anniversary dinner, and like a switch being flipped, you will go from feeling romantic to feeling crushing pain. You'll wonder if the beautiful words your spouse whispers to you were the same words whispered to someone else.

When this happens, and at some point it will, be honest about it. Don't lie and say you're fine when you're not, just to save the mood. Remember, you didn't cause this rift. Your spouse will not feel what you feel or even begin to understand how you feel, if you hide your emotions. They will not truly feel the magnitude of their poor decisions unless you tell him or her. Remember, they were relieved of the affair the moment they came clean or were found out. You don't need to beat them over the head with the truth, but it is important to explain what is triggering your mood swing.

Counseling is crucial at this point. It helps get all of the emotions out in a safe space. It provides the two of you the guidance and tools you need to recover from the affair.


Never ever tell anyone outside of your family what is happening in your marriage. If you tell everyone who will listen that your spouse is a cheater, you have now boxed yourself into a corner. Your marriage, and your decision to forgive or not to forgive is resting dangerously on your pride. What will people think or say about you when they find out that you've forgiven a cheater? Will they laugh at you? Will they say that you're a doormat? Will other adulterous suitors want to have a go at your spouse? Will anyone respect you again? The decision to forgive is one of the most difficult decisions of your life. You don't need to complicate it by being an open book for people who aren't going to help you through this.

The same can be said of your family. Think carefully about who you talk to about this within your own family. Your parents may never like your spouse again no matter how things improve. They're your parents, they want what's best for you. Telling your brother or sister may result in an assault charge for them if they're hot tempered. This is why a counselor is the better person to talk to. They at least are bound by confidentiality. Still, you may have a close family member with whom you share everything. If you feel they will be the most objective and supportive, then talk them. This option is better than not talking to anyone at all.

Marriage doesn't have an expiration date. You vowed to be together for better or worse, until parted by death. There is no reason to allow and affair to bring it all to an end. Recognize that if your spouse isn't willing to change or you just aren't willing to work it out, it may be time to let it go. But take your time coming to that conclusion and leave your pride out of the equation.