Criminal Minds Review: So Long, Strauss

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Oh, how the mighty fall.

This week on Criminal Minds we saw an all-around collapse of authority. First, the Colonel's devious ways were uncovered, then Strauss' dirty little secret was revealed. Coming off of a few week break, this episode came out swinging.

One of the biggest pieces of reader feedback this season has been your desire to not know who the UnSub is right away, but you can't say that "Self-Fulfilling Prophecy" didn't keep you on your toes. The is-he-a-victim-or-the-aggressor? storyline that swirled around Josh for most of the episode was constantly changing, and it required some careful following along in order to keep up. Further, the introduction of the young cadet who killed himself's father, and then the killing of him off, was an interesting twist.

Matthew Gray Gubler Promo Pic

The message that the writers were sending with this episode - that of corruption and secrecy at upper levels of military authority (albeit a school and not the Army) - is nothing original, but it does venture into dicey territory.

Would such a place as Somerville Academy even be allowed to exist in real life? With no technology? Who knows. What I do know is that I'm kind of relieved that Strauss is out of the picture temporarily. Her alcoholism story line is nothing to be made fun of, but since she's been a less-than-savory character the majority of her dealings with with the BAU team, I won't necessarily be sad to see her go.

Of course, she has had her moments of compassion and kindness, but she never really meshed with the team, and now we see what she was battling all along. When Morgan confronted her, I was impressed. He didn't mince words, and he wasn't afraid to show her he meant business. I actually laughed when he said that at the beginning of her tirade against Col. Massey he was happy to see her go off, but then he smelled the alcohol and all bets were gone.

Morgan also had a rough time with Hotch this week. The guy made some valid points. I know Hotch is in charge of everyone, but for a group that relies so heavily on trusting one another, keeping things from them seems a very unwise move. Morgan's frustration with Hotch's tendency to withhold information lately - no matter how sensitive - really bubbled to the surface. I know they're handling Strauss' removal with discretion, but I doubt Morgan is the only one on the team who would feel that way towards Hotch if they knew everything, too.

Rossi was the one with the punchy one-liners here - his poison ivy knowing not to mess with him because he's Italian comment made me laugh out loud. And I still don't think Prentiss is being used to her full potential, but at least they gave her some more lines. Reid and Garcia's exchange about paranormal activity was pretty amusing, as well. He knows how much that interests her, and having his knowledge of the subject must be fun for her to dabble in from time to time.

The bullying aspect of this week's episode has been done a million times before since it's so relevant lately, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's any less important or enjoyable as a theme. I'm glad they touched upon it, though it's unfortunate that it exists at all.

Next week's boxer storyline looks like it'll be really solid (promo HERE). Not only is Charles S. Dutton co-starring, but Shawn Hatosy will also appear. I'm a sucker for his performance in Outside Providence, what can I say? Glad to be back with all new episodes, and as always remember to weigh in on what you thought of the action this week.

Something tells me the opinions on Strauss' departure and the Morgan/Hotch conflict will vary greatly...


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (126 Votes)

Since I'm late to the party, my comments may already have been said but I'm still going to say them. As part of the disability laws, you don't tell everyone when someone has a disease, and alcoholism is a disease. Morgan can be pissed off all he wants but he's not in charge of the team and didn't need to know until it impacted his work. When it did, he was told. Strauss may recover and go back to work but it doesn't mean she'll go back to the same job area. In other words, she can still work for the Justice Department but most probably won't be with the BAU except to clean out her desk, etc.


Wow, some really different dynamics this ep. It seems the most argued point so far is whether Morgan was justified in confronting Hotch, and was Hotch justified in not telling him about Strauss' drinking problem. My view is that neither of them should be judged harsely. Morgan has a right to be pee'd off, but Hotch also has the right to be discretionary about giving out information that he as the boss may be privy to. Before going down on Hotch, remember that as soon as Morgan told him that she was drinking Hotch disclosed her being in treatment. Having been in middle management for years, one learns very quickly that it's fullhardy to be playing around with confidential information, and that timing may be the most important factor at play. And Hotch has always played the political card much better then Morgan ever has, and he's done so with integrity. It's a reality of the job Hotch has, and he simply can't be pleasing everyone at all times. While Morgan is really savvy, he's far from being the leader that Hotch is. Now back to Prentiss'faked death - that was something where I thought Morgan and the rest of the team should have felt justified in being very upset about, simply because they were left to grieve, that much hurt could have been avoided.


@ Kay Hotch put Morgan life in danger when he put Strass with Morgan what if she was driving and after having a drink and got them both kill or what if was outside and fall in the wood and gotten hurt Morgan would of gotten in trouble for not portecting her. You don't keep Important stuff from people no matter what


"I don't know what kind of jobs you all have" LOL!! Exactly!!
I suspect that there are a few people here who have too much time in their hands and they haven't dealt with authority at work for a long time. :-)


@michael yes, so by law he would have to notify his superiors, and maybe the police, not Morgan. It being a free world has nothing to do with it. Hotch may have a moral obligation to let Morgan know, as they don't function as a normal working team, but it is up to his discretion. And I find it very hard to believe that if your boss's boss was drinking on the job, the first person your boss would tell is you. He would first go to Strauss, which he obviously did, he made sure she was getting treatment, and he may tell her superiors. But Hotch is the team leader- Morgan is not


As for the Strauss storyline, I think whoever the station chief is is going to be portrayed a little bit unlikeable. The FBI is a huge impersonal organization. It also gives the team a workable us vs them feel. I think Strauss will be back, and my guess is it will be a more petty and vindictive Strauss. She will fault the team with her career being derailed. Just my guess


@ Kay is it illegal to drink alcohol at work if someone would to find out not only would Strass be fire but so would of Hotch whole team that why Morgan was piss. And when my boss boss does something that affect me your dam right its my busniess these is it a free world where you can do whatever you want and not have to anwser to anyone


ok, i don't know what kind of jobs you all have, but your superior doesn't have to tell you about things his boss is doing. They might function as a family unit, but in the end it is up to hotch's descretion what he tells morgan. morgan's lack of trust is a problem because he isn't the superior. hotch keeps secrets because his job requires him to. besides, alcoholism is a disease, and you don't just stroll into the room and say, btw, your boss has a drinking problem. and as long as it was not affecting cases, it was nobody's business. as soon as it began affecting her work, hotch took action and allowed morgan in. it may not be what a friend does, but it's what a boss does.


Interesting title So Long, Strauss, why because she has a drinking problem so will that same title be placed on Reid when his drug problem starts to unfold. Both alcohol and drug problems fall under substance abuse so why is this writer Renata writing Stauss off? Why not wait and see how the story unfolds and why does a character on this show have to be in the credits to get treated fairly on CBS. I’m sure Strauss can get over her drinking problem just as fast as Reid.


I did not see trhat storyline about Strauss coming. I know at the end of last season she said she needed time off and needed Hotch to fill in for her. I figured she was ill or one of her children had a problem. I don't really care for her character, although she did have some good moments after Prentiss returned. And as for having more Prentiss, that would be great. She is my fav and I can't wait til they talk about everything she went through with the whole Doyle situation. The episode was really good though, the Hotch/Morgan confrontation was ok. I think Morgan forgets that Hotch is in charge sometimes and oversteps his bounds, but his only concern is for the team. I do like the way Morgan stood up to Strauss because that was the only way. She would never admit to it otherwise.

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Criminal Minds Season 7 Episode 9 Quotes

Agent Morgan: These kids are told what to say, what to wear and when to eat. This goes against the very nature of these boys. They're all looking for some type of control in their lives, and this place strips them of that.
Erin Strauss: And suicide is the ultimate power?
Morgan: Isn't it?

Dr. Reid: What drove them to suicide?
Strauss: A freshman cadet, Bailey Shelton, hung himself two weeks ago in his room.
Agent Hotchner: Identical bedsheet, hangman's knot.
Agent Rossi: Who takes bedsheets camping?
JJ: They would if it was the plan. Could be a domino effect.
Rossi: Campus would've been on high alert after the first one, so the kids wait until they're alone in the woods.
Morgan: They must've made some kind of pact.
Hotch: And there's something else. Six kids went on the trip, only five were found.