Criminal Minds Review: Copycats and Check Mates

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New year, new episodes of Criminal Minds. Finally! Welcome back, BAU lovers, and welcome back to Hotch and the gang.

They say good things come to those who wait, and anyone who watched "True Genius" would likely agree. After five long weeks without any Un-Subs to profile or cases to crack, the folks at CBS delivered what I'd consider to be a pretty entertaining episode to kick off 2012. With copycat killers, an infamous case revisited and numerous chess references, there wasn't a dull moment for the team.

BAU Reaction

First things first: Reid was especially brilliant this week. His constant deciphering of codes was impressive even by Reid standards, and when the Un-Sub directly challenged him, I was positively gleeful in anticipation. Even though the killer was himself a genius, nobody better step to Dr. Spencer Reid unless you plan to come correct - he's just one step ahead of the game. The chess game, that is.

I think it was clever how the writers led us on a bit of a chase to first decide whether the killer could possibly have been the same from 40 years ago, then had him communicating through the newspaper, and finally made us wonder whether it was Harvey or Caleb who was ultimately more evil. The answer: both. The fiancee should be happy she dodged a (literal) bullet on that one.

The idea of incorporating such a well known case like the Zodiac murders, featured in many movies, TV shows and books over the years, was also a fun way to engage the audience because we felt like we already knew some back story. Plus, the killer wasn't revealed until almost half way through the episode, and I appreciated how it wasn't clear right away what Harvey's role had been all along. I also liked how they had to change the profile halfway through when they found out the killer's IQ was above 160, and when Garcia said the Mensa society was "slumming it because it only required an IQ of 130." I couldn't help but laugh.

Some things that I noticed this week, in no particular order:

  • Reid's refusal to shake the detective's hand reminded me that he's been known to have phobias in the past (like elevators), so we can add germs to that list now.
  • When Hotch checked his watch in the park it seemed like a fairly overt product placement for Rolex. Did anybody else notice that? Either that or they want us to believe that FBI agents just rock really expensive watches... which could be true, you never know.
  • Reid flexed his federal agent muscles again when he called that guy out in the press conference for being a fake. Way to lay down the law Reid. The actual law.
  • Rossi kissing Reid on the face for his birthday was priceless. Nice how Rossi is such a father figure for them, he balances out Hotch's quiet demeanor.

And, finally, I think Prentiss and Reid's conversation about what he could've been doing with his life was interesting, considering the timing. One would think that any reflection on whether he'd taken the right path would've come when he thought Prentiss had died, because people often reexamine their lives in the wake of a loss. But I suppose his run in with that youthful CEO was the nudge he needed for introspection. Either way, we just got the team back together this season, so please nobody dip out again, thanks.

Next week's official preview shows more Morgan, which could be fun because he wasn't terribly active this week, and also a deadly soundtrack for the crimes. And, I hope, Garcia wearing cat ears again. She's just too quirky not to love.

What did you think of this week's action? Glad the break is over? Wonder what Reid got for his birthday presents? Wish there had been more intrigue? Weigh in, as always I'm all ears.

True Genius Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Criminal Minds Season 7 Episode 11 Quotes

Dr. Reid: It's not the real Zodiac.
Prentiss: How can you be so sure?
Reid: I just know it. Sometimes I can't really explain it.

JJ: So how old would Zodiac be by now? The murders took place in the late...60s?
Garcia: Yeah, December 20, 1968 to October 11, 1969 to be exact. But he was suspected of other crimes and he sent letters and codes to newspapers until 1974.
Agent Morgan: Well at the very least the Zodiac would have to be about sixty by now.
JJ: Yeah but it doesn't take a lot of strength to pull a trigger.
Morgan: No, but it takes a lot of skill not to get caught for forty years.