Criminal Minds Review: The Leg Whisperer

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Gruesome is as gruesome does. Tonight, in Criminal Minds the team was up against a former undertaker who had a "God Complex" - sort of a compassionate psychopath (though the team were adamant that he didn't fit the definition of that). 

Anyway, the poor man just wanted to help his wife get a new leg, and he had what he thought was the perfect plan for doing so.

CM Pic

With references to Dr. Mengele and his horrific experiments on twins, the team finally figured out that this guy was doing some experimentation by cutting off a leg from one victim and attempting to attach it to a sawed off leg of another. His hope was to eventually smush a new leg onto his wife... who had been without her right one from birth.

Missing from the story was an account of where the mental train left the tracks. Why, after so many years of marriage, did he finally decide it was time to do something about his wife's lack? What made him oblivious to the fact that she was quite all right with only having one leg?

They sure picked the right guy to portray the part of the UnSub. Ray Wise played the oft-smiling demented undertaker in this episode, reminiscent of his stint as The Devil in the TV series Reaper.

I enjoyed the dialogue between the mortician and his wife too: sort of a wink to the viewers. Like that scene in the kitchen:

Wife: Don't worry about me. Worry about those little mice out in your lab.
UnSub: Well I hate to tell you but I've moved up from mice in the last couple of weeks.
Wife: Okay. Whatever critters you have out there I don't wanna know. But if it's a choice between them or the house, well, a couple more might have to give their lives up to science. | permalink

Spooky, and not a little unsettling.

Many cringe when viewing the torment some of these twisted UnSubs put their victims through. At least in this episode the last victim proved to be brave. Her struggles to get off of the gurney seemed to be a mirror of The Bride's struggle in Kill Bill when she was trying to get the feeling back in her toes.

The parallel plot in this episode was intriguing. We see Reid speaking with a mysterious woman, whose face we never get to entirely see. Equally obscure is the nature of their relationship and discussions. The team has proven over the years to be hyper-vigilant to this sort of thing and tonight was no exception. I was glad to see Blake starting to fit in more by doing what any other member of the team would do, and confronting Reid. She didn't let him off of the hook too easily either, and finally gave up when Reid insinuated that a romance was going on, about which he didn't want the team to know.

A little later, Morgan confronted him too, but he immediately went right to the romance angle, culminating with this grinning finale:

Morgan: Play on, playah. | permalink

The truly mysterious discussion - the part that made it seem like more than just a romance was going on - was the cryptic conversations between Reid and the mysterious woman.  What was that all about?  She said to Reid:

I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing this for you. Because I cannot let him hurt you, because if he knew..... | permalink

And that's when she stopped talking - when we all wanted her to continue. Evidently Reid knew, and that was good enough because that's when he backed off. (The full conversation is on our page of Criminal Minds quotes).

You get the sense that maybe the ominous "he" to whom she referred might be the same guy we saw in the first episode of the season; the guy in the darkroom who was hanging pictures of all of the team members. 

At any rate, we learned the following:

  • Reid and the woman talk every Sunday and had been doing so for six months.
  • They've never met in person. 
  • They're both adept at reading body language.
  • Reid had been getting advice on how to manage his headaches. 
  • Rather than call her he sends her a page from a phone booth, and waits for her to call him back.
  • There's a mystery man who they're both trying to avoid - neither of them wants him to find out about "us"

Maybe from this we can surmise that the dangerous guy that they're trying to avoid has access to police surveillance resources - hence the phone booth conversations instead of home to home calls.  There's a secret here, it isn't just about romance, even though she closed their final conversation with "love you!"

What do you think? Who's the mystery woman? Is she married? She's certainly frightened - though it seems she is scared for Reid, more than she is for herself.  Did Reid lie to Blake about who she was - a geneticist? 


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter



I can't believe Parker from leverage was in it! #heven Love you Beth!!


This may seem crazy... At the very end, during the conversation between Reid and the mystery woman there is a close up on the lower half of her face. (I think it is right after she stops talking and covers her mouth to stifle a cry.) That image and the very casual way she says "love you" makes me think that the actress is Kirsten Vangsness (Penelope). It is obvious that the character Penelope is now aware of the relationship...but maybe she played the part. ?? Or maybe there is some connection with Penelope?


I agree that the 'he' is the guy from the first episode. It looks like the writers are slowly setting up a big season long arc here, (which we have never had before we have only had recuring unsubs), they are doing a great job so far and i am very excited for this as we have never had a season long arc before :)


Too gruesome to watch. However, one comment about Reid's mystery relationship. Could it be that he's smart enought to imply a romantic relationship so that everyone will back off, when it's not actually a romantic relationhsip? Just a thought...

Beverly brooks

I find that I no longer find Criminal Minds interesting to watch. Something is missing this season.


Psychologically, I wonder if Reid tends to be attracted to "unavailable" women? It would certainly give him a sense of comfort and security (which is ironic, given the sense of danger we get from the "he" to whom this mystery woman refers). By the way - I'm enjoying all of the different theories being offered here around the relationship with Reid and the woman: it feeds some curiosity and anticipation of future episodes. @Wendi: I'm with you on the "Reid time". I'm also really curious to learn more about the newest member of the team. So many questions..... : )


I found this episode very unsatisfying from and emotional point of view for the victims. They have a leg amputated and then they are just fine? Too me, the horror of this mutilation for the victim was never shown nor explored. Even our brave girl at the end doesn't let out a scream of horror when she sees what has happened to her. Our reviewer has already questioned the evolution of the perpetrator and rightly so. The business with Reid and the mystery lady fails to gel-just one more attempt by the writers to build some not needed tension-we have enough with the crimes for heavens sake.


While this was a gruesome episode, we've seen worse. In fact, Wise played a far less despicable character than the villan on last week's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Even the photo of the dead girl on that show was worse (or more realistic) than this. I'm just glad we're getting some more "Reid time" and would like to see it continue. As some have mentioned, he is quite concerned with privacy but that doesn't mean we as viewers and fans can't know more about his life. Seeing all his enthusiasm and charm put into a romantic relationship would be interesting to watch. We know from his bond with his mother Reid is capable of great love and caring. This week's cryptic look into his personal life could be the start of a great story arc for the show. How typical of him to find someone who seems to be in a difficult, frightening situation.


I think the bigger question to ask here that no one has asked is HOW did she get her hands on Reids file????? She somehow learned about him and was able to get her hands on a file about him. But which one? How? If we knew that, then it would probably answer a whole lot about what is going on and who she is. And I agree that she acts like a abused wife. I also agree that I don't think the Photo Hanging Guy is the same as who this woman is protecting Reid from. I don't think whomever she is talking about really knows about Reid and that is what she is protecting. She is trying to keep him from ever finding out about Reid.

Avatar´s plausible that she felt love with him without even seeing him. So this is the only explanation I can decipher from the "mysterious" phone calls.

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Criminal Minds Season 8 Episode 4 Quotes

Body and soul cannot be separated for purposes of treatment. For they are one, and indivisible. Sick minds must be healed as well as sick bodies. Dr. Jeff. Miller.


Mystery woman: I don't know what you look like either.
Reid: Really?
Mystery woman: No. The only intimate side I've seen of you was your brain. When I studied the MRI you sent to me. That's when I said "this is a guy I need to get to know."