Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 9 Review: Profiling 202

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David Rossi, profiling god.

That's the central theme of Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 9

The Birthday Call - Criminal Minds

Oh yeah, the BAU also makes some progress on the escaped serial-killer front.

The occasion this episode is the FBI's brightest young minds coming together to learn from the agency elder.

Or, to put it another way, "The Art of Psychological War" by David Rossi.

It was fun to see scenarios suggested by the seminar participants being acted out by the BAU members, at least in animation, as Rossi gruffly corrects them.

It's understandable that Rossi is tense. 

Rossi gives a lesson - Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 9

First, it's his birthday, and he's not getting any younger. Second, every year serial killer Tommy Yates gives him a present: the name and location of one of his many kills.

To further complicate things, Yates is one of the few escaped serial killers still on the loose. So to taunt Rossi further, he's feeding him the location of fresh, not long dead, victims, while shaking up his M.O. erratically.

It makes sense that Rossi has seen an advantage to developing a rapport with Yates, in order to gain info from him that gives families closure.

Still Yates is way off base insinuating that he and Rossi are similar creatures. More like monster and monster hunter.

But Rossi makes a good point that coloring these killers as monsters gives them too much power.

I used to think they were all monsters too. But they're not. They're just men, and occasionally women. Not to respect the people I hunt would be like a soldier not respecting his enemy, and that mistake costs lives.


Rossi's pursuit of Yates deftly ties into how the profilers have to get inside the minds of these killers.

Every investigation at this point requires patience and, most of all, focus. All the answers aren't all out there, Most are right here [pointing to his head], and that's the job. That's why we get into the mind of the killer.


Rossi does the right thing by making sure these young profilers know what they're getting into, and how it can affect them. It's heartening to see one drop out before he goes too far down the rabbit hole in the hope of having a more normal life.

This episode does an excellent job of delving into who David Rossi is. He's been a mainstay of the BAU since Jason Gideon's early flameout.

Now granted, this had a kind of a sad "This is Your Life" vibe. Great at his career, and apparently in the kitchen. But he's got a family he rarely sees and no special woman in his life (I think he's still off with his ex, based on his comment in this episode).

But it's obvious that his co-workers appreciate him.

Listen to Prentiss:

Prentiss: You keep burning the candle at both ends, there won't be much of you left.
Rossi: Wait a minute, I say that. What are you doing, using my sayings against me?
Prentiss: I am. It's true. That's why it's a good saying. Go get some rest. No case was solved in a day.
Rossi: That's another one.
Prentiss: I know. What do you want? I learned from the best.

Then there's newbie Steven Walker

We save lives, and that's what matters. And every life we save is a win. You taught me that.

Walker [to Rossi]

New agent Stephen Walker - Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 9

Speaking of Walker, good first time out of the blocks, offering solid support to Rossi both at the seminar and behind closed doors.

What's his special skill? Who knows? Hopefully, he'll get the spotlight treatment sooner rather than later.

Some of these spotlight episodes work better than others. I like tonight's and the one about J.J., Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 2. The one about Lewis, Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 7, not so much.

Unfortunately, this type of episode means everyone else gets shoved to the background. So we had little of Lewis, J.J. and Alves, and precious little of Garcia, who is usually the only comic relief to be had.

Admittedly, an episode featuring an escaped serial killer wandering about mutilating women has little call for comic relief. Instead it was a bad case of the grims.

Once it was clear that Yates was a wounded animal, you knew that Rossi would soon figure out his plot and run him to ground. But seriously, Rossi was on display here, not the wheezing Yates, so that's to be expected.

OK. for those keeping score at home, we're down to three escaped serial killers. Mr. Scratch is the prominent one. Damned if I know who the other two are, but I'm sure they'll be featured down the line on Criminal Minds Season 12. Or maybe they can just die from bad sushi, so we can get fresh serial killers.

Those who want to attempt to catch up on the escaped serial-killer storyline can watch Criminal Minds online.

How did you like this glimpse into Rossi? Are you intrigued by Walker? Who deserves the spotlight treatment next? Comment below.

Profiling 202 Review

Editor Rating: 3.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (47 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 9 Quotes

I used to think they were all monsters too. But they're not. They're just men, and occasionally women. Not to respect the people I hunt would be like a soldier not respecting his enemy, and that mistake costs lives.


Walker: Agent Rossi was a mentor when I was coming up, so I'm happy to be here.
Prentiss: He said you're one of the most naturally gifted profilers he's ever seen.