When watching a show where the bad guy is usually evil with almost no redeeming virtues, it's hard to imagine a story that has a twisted kind of altruism at its heart.
Yet that's what we saw in Criminal Minds Season 10 Episode 12.
This episode gave us the story of a man who loved his daughter so deeply that he went out to kill people who had signed up to be organ donors – all in the hope that one of them would be the donor of a badly needed liver for his daughter.
The contrast was Rossi who also has a daughter whom he loves just as deeply.
Yin meet yang.
The writing of this episode, as the scenes switched back and forth between our unsub (Frank Cosgrove) and Rossi, was intriguing. Each switch up provided a glimpse of key information.
I frankly had no idea why the unsub was killing people the way he was until learning of his daughter's liver problem. Interesting how the story turned on irony as well: instead of her receiving a liver from one of his victims, she got one from him after he killed himself.
Rossi's story about his friend Harrison Scott was both sad and hopeful, as he not only got the chance to provide a fitting funeral for his friend but he was also able to bring many of his long lost Marine buddies together.
He also had an opportunity to be comforted by his wonderful daughter – a woman who clearly feels her kinship with him.
I like how he's not used to being called "dad" by her:
Joy: The lake isn't going to dry up all of a sudden. Take all the time you need.
Rossi: You sure?
Joy: Yes, absolutely. We're going to be fine, dad. You there?
Rossi: I'm sorry. Whenever I hear someone say "Dad" I start looking around to see who they're talking to.
Joy: Well get used to it. Dad.
It shows that while most of us prefer to find ways to show our love for our family, there is a need for the opposite side of the coin to be manifest. It's not always the easiest thing to be on the receiving end of love and support, so it's a blessing when the opportunity presents itself. I think that in this story Rossi and Joy both know and portray this truth.
And what a wonderful send off – both for the character of Harrison Scott, and for the now-deceased actor who played him: Meshach Taylor, who died of cancer on June 28 of last year.
This was likely one of the most important episodes this year for Joe Mantegna, as he paid tribute to Taylor – one of his oldest and dearest friends.
Mantegna also directed this episode, in which an important organization that he champions - New Directions for Veterans – is highlighted once again.
- The song that was playing near the end of the episode was Mended Souls, by Casey Hurt
- It's great how the writers allow Reid to bring new knowledge to almost every episode. In this one he gave a brief description of MELD (Model for End Stage Liver Disease): a system used to determine the liver transplant candidates who are most in need.
- You may have recognized Lindsay Pulsipher (who played Estelle, the unsub's daughter): she's been featured in a number of True Blood and Justified episodes.
What are your thoughts on the episode? Did the dual stories - one in which Rossi had nothing to do with the case of the week - work for you? Be sure to watch Criminal Minds online and let us know what you think in the comments below!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.