Criminal Minds Review: Hit it, Maestro

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Criminal Minds writers decided to honor the show's 150th episode by changing up the formula a bit.

As promised by A.J. Cook, theĀ  action in "Unknown Suspect" didn't disappoint, but it did keep us guessing until the very end. We're used to our UnSubs doing bad things, but they don't usually provide their own soundtrack (or share the same name as a Billy Joel song, ha!). Making a playlist to victimize to? That's just creepy.

It's also pretty brilliant, in a people-are-capable-of-doing-sick-things kind of way. I was amused by their choices of tracks as well. Some of those were torturous enough just to hear without having an UnSub assault on top of it. Rape is no laughing matter, of course. But I couldn't help but wonder a few minutes into the episode: do you think he takes requests?

Dina Meyer on CSI

It seems like writer Breen Frazier was really attempting to think outside the box when he wrote the script for this one. Our first surprise came when it was revealed that our victims had already been victims before, not to mention when they figured out the victims were being drugged via cigarette. Then, when Regina pulled out her taser and turned the tables on her attacker I almost leapt off my couch. Wow, didn't see that one coming.

I think the idea of throwing out a red herring to throw us off, in the form of the hospital orderly, was a good notion. It's nothing they haven't tried before, but I enjoyed the intrigue anyway. What I didn't expect, however, was to end up second guessing at the end whether or not the man being held hostage was innocent or if they'd known he was the UnSub all along. I'm sure our readers will have a wide variety of opinions as to whether or not this tool worked well, but I tend to think it was an effective way to keep us on our toes.

I have to say, though, my favorite part of was how they added little psychological factoids, like how the music we listen to at age 14 has the most lasting effect on us emotionally. How neat! You learn something new everyday. It also enabled them to deduce that the man in custody was too young to be the murderer, a bit of profiling I particularly enjoyed.

When Garcia made reference to "What Would SSA Hotchner Do?" and then said she imagined herself in a really good suit, I slapped my knee. I know she's been the subject of some love-her-or-hate-her? discussions in our comments sections lately, but for the record I think Garcia adds something to the show that can't be replicated. There weren't any Reid one-liners this week, but that's alright, you can't win 'em all.

As for the Prentiss dealing with her own death storyline, I was happy they finally acknowledged that Prentiss had turned into somewhat of a shoulder to cry on/sensitive advice-giver this whole season. Many of us have mentioned that her character seemed to be relegated to that role lately, so for them to at least own up to it was appreciated. It seems she's made progress by being able to tell Hotch she was having a bad day, even if she did blatantly lie to her therapist.

Did anyone else wonder why the FBI wouldn't have a psychologist capable of deducing if she was being lied to, especially since she was working with behavioral experts trained to control their physiological cues after all? Just a thought. Maybe they should've plucked one of their own BAU wannabe's or castoffs to fill that position; at least then they'd be able to spot when one of their agents was faking.

We'll be back in two weeks to dissect the next profiling madness on Criminal Minds. As usual, we love to hear your thoughts on this week's action, so pull up a seat and weigh in.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (149 Votes)

I really miss Sammy Sparks when he plays the piano. However, Hamilton Bartholomew was a horrible piano man. He commit 12 rapes and 1 murder. Sammy's mother, Alison Sparks, should've purchased the keyboard to Hamilton Bartholomew while he is in prison, but the warden doesn't the keyboard being brought in prison.


First of all, the episode was awesome! Didn't know if the piano player was the rapist or not! And as for Prentiss, she went undercover to get a terrorist and she saved Declan's life by doing what she did. Otherwise, he would've been tortured and killed because of his father!She is not at all a monster! I would actually like to see more of her storyline but that was a good start. And Garcia cracks me up as usual!


I'm sorry, I regret that last sentence!


Continued from below:
Breen said in a chat after "Painless" that Hotch and Prentiss were both survivors of MASSIVE TRAUMA and Prentiss, Hotch and Morgan are the closest in regards to surviving a violent assault, but Hotch's dealing with and healing is closer to Prentiss. JJ's sister's suicide, while traumatic, was not a violent assault on JJ and would give her no insight on what Prentiss is dealing with.
You know, if Criminal Minds is a little too difficult for you to understand, maybe you should switch over to Modern Family; absolutely no thought is required to watch that show!


Continued from below:
As for Prentiss sending Doyle to 7 years of torture, Prentiss didn't send Doyle anywhere; she gathered intelligence and delivered a profile. Obviously none of this was easy for her to do since she left the CIA shortly after this case. The point she brings up to Hotch about the FBI being "clean" because she knows who the good and bad guys are and she doesn't have to "screw" anyone over for a case proves that she is NOT a monster.
And what do you base "No wonder it was easy for her to let her BAU family believe she was dead"? Because if you had seen any of the episodes from this season, especially her conversations with Reid (Proof) and Morgan (Dorado Falls)you would know that it was NOT easy for her. The fact that her entire dynamic has changed this season shows the decision THAT WAS MADE FOR HER has weighed heavily on her.


First of all Donna, nobody said Prentiss was raped. The parallel between the A and B stories were about women being re-visited by the monsters from their past.
Prentiss was more of a monster than Doyle? Are you kidding me? Doyle was an international terrorist who killed without thought (and who knows what else). He kidnapped and tortured Declan's mother-for 7 months.
Prentiss didn't willingly have a sexual relationship with Doyle, the JTF-12 profiled Ian's past lovers and Emily fit that profile; in other words, she was doing the JOB the CIA/JTF-12 sent her in to do.
She took Declan in after Doyle was arrested, she didn't kidnap him from Doyle. Doyle wanted Declan to grow up into a world of violence and crime, Emily gave him a life of love and belonging.


I really didn't like the writer comparing Prentiss and her dealings with Doyle to real rape victims. Prentiss wasn't close to being raped but it seems the show now needs to portray her as a victim. In fact she was more of a monster to Doyle than he was to her! She willingly had a sexual relationship with him, set him up, kidnapped his son, sent him to be tortured for 7 years and staged his own son's death making Doyle believe Declan had died a horrible death. She's the monster and quite slutty in my opinion. No wonder it was easy for her to let her BAU family believe she was dead. Yet writer Breen Frazier repeatedly refers to Prentiss (and Hotch) as the only "traumatized" team members while completely ignoring what Morgan, also a real victim, went through as a child or even JJ's sister's suicide.


So I wonder if its true if Paget thinking of leaving if they did these to write her off


Criminal Minds wasn't even on in Omaha last night. Guess I'll have to wait for the repeat also.


Pretty good ep! And, yes, I too was left wondering until the very end...This season is sooooo much better than last season. Glad to see the team back together again and doing what they do best: catching the bad guy!

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Criminal Minds Season 7 Episode 12 Quotes

Garcia: At 7:36 he loaded an mp3 via USB drive, played it and promptly deleted it. Cleared the history so he could cover up his tracks.
Agent Morgan: The Un-Sub brought his own music to an abduction?
Garcia: Yes he did, and that is creepy.

Agent Prentiss: Vanessa Campbell and her husband moved to a new address. They put locks on the doors, they took precautions. She even knew what to do if she was dosed again and it still wasn't enough. That's what he gets out of it.
Agent Hotchner: Their fear. He wants them to know that no matter what, he can still get to them.