Criminal Minds Review: "Devil's Night"

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Criminal Minds got into the Halloween spirit last night, and that meant even more heart-stopping, gruesome drama than usual from the CBS procedural. Good stuff though!

When you're Criminal Minds, unquestionably a show that's hard to stomach (in terms of subject matter, not quality), and Halloween is your medium, you have to step it up.

"Devil's Night" was a solid episode that certainly paid tribute to this time of year, albeit a side of it we would all like to pretend doesn't exist. Our setting? Detroit, Michigan.

Prentiss Pic

We thought it only applied to October 30, the night before the big day, but apparently in Detroit, the three nights surrounding Halloween are collectively known as Devil’s Night.

In any case, it's flat out mayhem, with criminals taking over the beleaguered city, looting, breaking stuff, setting things on fire, the works. Makes you not want to live in Detroit.

Our latest UnSub, Kaman, has marked the occasion with grisly abductions and murders for several years now, meaning the BAU knows where and when he'll likely strike again.

The only question is whether they can stop him in time.

On the first night of his annual three-night killing spree, Kaman takes a victim into an seedy, empty warehouse and sets it, and him, ablaze. This is absolutely terrifying stuff.

Morgan figured firefighters and first responders could be potential UnSubs given the nature of these crimes, but a huge civilian organization throws a wrench into that idea.

In talking to the victim's wife, Rossi learns that the kidnapper's body has likely been badly burned, and that disfigurement allows him to blend in only at this time of year.

Kaman abducts victim #2, but panics and hastily burns him alive in a back alley after a police barricade thwarts his planned escape route. They know is identity. It's on now.

Rossi Pic

In a race to find and save the third and last victim before it's too late, the team makes its way to Jay-Mo’s, a restaurant owned by the father of Tracy, Kaman’s ex-girlfriend.

Before the accident that mutilated him, she and Kaman were together. Feeling abandoned by her has led, in large part, to the killing spree this UnSub's been on ever since.

As Kaman tortures Jay-Mo, finding her is what he cares about now. Hot on the trail, Hotch barely gets a badly-hurt Jay-Mo out of the place before it goes down in flames.

Closing in by the moment, police surround Tracy’s house with Kaman inside. With the home covered in gasoline, any bullets flying could risk innocent lives. Time for Plan B.

Hotch convinces Tracy to tell Kaman they had a son together, one he had never met until now. That detail is enough to end the tense standoff without further bloodshed.

This was all frightening and unsettling to watch, but very well-written just the same. The action moved along at just the right pace, and the resolution felt appropriate.

The strong episode also included a sweet sequence in which Hotch and Jack prepare for Halloween, with Jack deciding to dress up like his father – a real hero. *Sniff*

What did you think of last night's Criminal Minds?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (30 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


The episode wasn't all that good,
Only scene I liked, but disliked was the one that when the ex-landlord got set on fire in the warehouse, he was chained up?
Like really, that pissed me off. & why did ya'll pick the murder mitten? Like really?, but aye, I liked the episode,
Only thing is now, they Need to write a "sequel" episode


they really need to re-group. The show was not scary, and it was suppose to be a halloween episode. I saw better acting on CSI Miami - and i am still surprised that csi miami is still around. criminal minds was one of the best shows out there and them messed it up.


I was surprised at the incorrect pronunciation of Samhain as well. Also, the collective 3 day Devil's Night in Detroit is false. I'm from there, and it has always just been one night,and NOTHING like Mardi Gras as they said on the show.


I was surprised at the incorrect pronunciation of Samhain as well. Also, the collective 3 day Devil's Night in Detroit is false. I'm from there, and it has always just been one night,and NOTHING like Mardi Gras as thry said on the show.


I turned this episode off as soon as I saw the gas can and knew what was coming. That was just too much for me.


@cminds1001 from what i have gathered from past episodes morgan and hotch go in alone from time to time but in the past few years things have become more serious for hotch and morgan from my perspective doesnt want him to risk his life considering he does have such a young son at home who is completely dependent upon him
when hotch came back last year morgan even kept some of the paperwork duties to give hotch more time with his kid but on to other things this episode was really creepy from the start like burning a man alive is too much but love the show been a fan since the beginning


I love this program and always have! One of the best!!!!!


@cminds1001, I just thought that Morgan thought going into a burning building was stupid, regardless of who was doing it. I didn't think we were meant to read up too much on that scene. I was confused about one thing, though. If this guy gets ready every year to set fire to people for three days out of the year, then how come only this year he started burning people that meant something to him? They never found connections between himself and the previous people he burned, just the ones this year. Weird... Also, Ernie Hudson has played a man in uniform in just about everything I've seen him in, if you count a jumpsuit and proton pack as a uniform.


I have to admit, it was a good episode and I especially appreciate the return of Jack. Bringing him in allows us to see the softer and more vulnerable side of Hotch, and with the departure of JJ, I find myself missing those qualities in the show. In case anyone's wondering, I still want CBS to bring back AJ Cook.
I do question one scene though, and that is when Morgan questions Hotch's decision to go into the house alone. Anyone who watches the show with regularity has seen Hotch do it before, so I have to wonder the writer's purpose in the scene. Does Morgan now question Hotch's ability to lead or does the concern come from the fact that Hotch is a single parent now and if anything happens to him, Jack becomes an orphan? I thought is was appropriate though, that Rossi defended Hotch. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? How did you view the scene?


I couldn't believe what I heard last night. "Samhain", the Celtic feast is pronounced "sowen" not "samhane." It would have taken about 2 minutes to find the correct pronunciation.

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